What is Geofence Marketing?

Geofencing marketing offers businesses a powerful way to target an audience based on the places they go and the things they enjoy.
Location based advertising for small business

Geofencing marketing offers businesses a powerful way to target an audience based on the places they go and the things they enjoy – all within a specific timeframe.

Not only do businesses gain a competitive edge due to perfect marketing timing, but it is also incredibly cost-efficient advertising. Geofencing campaigns allow small businesses to compete with big businesses for a fraction of the price. Regardless of budget, there is a wide range of options that most small businesses can afford. And since 81% of American adults own a smartphone and spend nearly 4 hours per day using it, not taking full advantage of geofencing means missing out on a lucrative opportunity.

How Geofencing Works

Geofencing uses global positioning system (GPS) to capture mobile device IDs that have location services while at specific locations. Many smartphone apps transmit your location. Apps like maps send data when you are using them; others, like the weather app, are always using your location. With Geofencing, you can create custom shapes as small as 100 meters. You can then show ads to anyone who is currently within the shape, or has been within the last 30 days.

A potential customer enters the geofenced location with a mobile device.
A potential customer enters the geofenced location with a mobile device.
GPS technology captures their mobile ID.
GPS technology captures their mobile ID.
The potential customer opens a browser or app on that mobile device.
The potential customer opens a browser or app on that mobile device.
The potential customer sees your ad on over 600,000 apps and websites.
The potential customer sees your ad on over 600,000 apps and websites.

Geofencing Locations to Target

As your campaign runs, you’ll be able to use the data to better understand who your customers are, where they come from, and how you can better connect with them. If your customers are coming to your business after being targeted at one location and not as many from another, you’ll be able to shift your ad spend accordingly to maximize your ad spend.

Pet Store Icon

Pet Stores
By geofencing the dog park, other pet stores, veterinarian clinics, animal shelters, dog daycares, even “yappy hour” at your neighborhood pub, you can promote your pet store to ideal shoppers and their furry friends.

Golf Course Icon

Golf Course
Showcase your business to people who have been on a golf course or a competitors’ course, sporting good stores, driving ranges, country clubs, men’s clothing stores, cigar stores, and more. 

Restaurant Icon

Restaurants / Bars
Create crave by reaching people in local office buildings to build up lunch business, show off your specials to competitors’ guests, and even deliver ads to consumers that have frequented your restaurant in the past to get them back in more frequently. Click here to out a case study on how a pizza used geofencing amid COVID-19 to increase online orders. Or, click here for a case study on how an NYC nightclub dominated the competition using geo-fencing

Builders Icon

Use geofencing to engage home buyers by targeting competitors’ communities, sales offices, and real estate offices. People who visit these locations are likely in the market to purchase a new home, and viewing ads about other new home communities in the area may influence their decision.

Trade Show Attendees Icons

Conference & Trade Show Attendees
Generate interest before the show begins, encourage attendees to stop by your booth, and remind them about you after they leave.

E-commerce Icon

Online retailers
E-commerce retailers looking to expand can attract customers who currently shop at physical boutiques and entice them to visit their online store.

Gym Icon

Gym / Fitness Center
To generate interest in your gym, target users who have visited other health clubs, outdoor recreation areas such as parks, and health food stores in the past day, week, or month.

Roofers Icon

Target neighborhoods where there are older homes that might require roof repair – even areas that have recently experienced hail damage.

Car Dealer Icon

Auto Repair / Car Dealerships
Rev up sales by showing your ads to people that have visited competitors’ lots and even target your own lot to get those Sunday window shoppers. Car shows, banks that provide auto loans, and car repair centers are also great targeting options. Auto repair shops can target DIY retailers such as AutoZone or PepBoys – and other local shops. Click here to read a case study about how an auto shop in Florida used geofence marketing to gain customers.

Boat Icons

Boat Dealers
Geofencing area lakes, marinas, or visit boat dealerships to show off your business to boat enthusiasts.

Travel Icon

Hotels, Rental Cars, Airlines, etc.
Reach people who have been in an airport in the last day, week, or month; stayed in a hotel near the airport, or visited an airport’s rental car lots.

Event Icon


  • Sporting Events — Pro Sports, NCAA, etc.
  • Concerts & Tours
  • Radio Remotes
  • Performing Arts — Opera, Theatre, Musicals, etc.
  • Festivals — Music Festivals, Renaissance Festivals, etc.
  • Fairs — State Fair, Oktoberfest, etc.
  • Community & Cultural Events
  • Fundraisers & Benefits
  • Parades
  • Venues — Madison Square Garden, Daytona International Speedway, etc.

Places Potential Customers See Your Ads

When your customers walk into a geofenced location, your ad will be displayed to them while they are using their smartphone. Ads appear on browsers and apps such as Forbes, CNN, TuneIn, Weather Channel, Words with Friends, and other popular apps.

Mobile Apps
Mobile Apps & Browsers
Internet TV (Apple TV, Hulu, etc)
Internet TV (Apple TV, Hulu, etc)

Relevance of Recency

If you ran a pizza delivery service, who would you pay more to advertise to: a person locked into a “Pizza Lovers” segment, or someone you know searched for pizza delivery in your ZIP code two seconds ago? In this case, the old saying “timing is everything” turns out to be true. Subsequently, audience targeting value varies significantly based on when an action or behavior took place.

Range of recency is also important as not everyone needs to target someone who just took an action. Some businesses want to target people while they are in the research phase of their purchase. Others want to intercept them at the point of purchase. And yet others might want to time a message for after purchase as part of a loyalty strategy. Being able to leverage recency in geofence marketing makes it possible to place the right ad in front of the right person, at exactly the right time. In the end, isn’t that what advertising is all about?

Measure Your Return On Your Investment

Geofencing allows you to track how many customers visited your business as a result of seeing your ads using conversion zone tracking. In fact, conversion zone tracking answers the question, “Is my marketing really generating more customers.”

Additionally, you will know how many people saw your ads and visited your restaurant, store, shop, or other location. Also, you’ll know how much you spent to get them in your door. This is called your “Cost Per Visit.”

When your advertising is hyper-targeted, you’re only spending marketing dollars on prospects that are most likely to take action, and spending less money on those that are not.

Using Cost Per Visit, you can easily determine the Return On Your Investment

Example Geofence Investment: Pizzeria
Advertising Budget: $1,000
Average Cost Per Visit: $4
= You’ll get 250 guests thru your door by spending $1,000. Then, take it a step further and factor in your check average.

Check Average $30 x 250 Guests = $7,500

That’s a $6,500 Return On Your Investment.

Conversion Zone Tracking

1. Geofence locations where your ideal customers frequent.

2. Build a ”virtual wall” around your business

3. A prospect enters a geofenced location

4. The prospect sees your ad on their smartphone

5. The prospect decides to visit your business, walking into your conversion zone

6. The conversion zone recognized the prospect’s mobile device ID and attributes their visit as a result of the geofence campaign.

Want to learn more about how to use this technology to advance your business? Our experts are excited to help you get started.

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