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For local businesses and national brands alike, location data can be a valuable marketing tool to help reach your target audience. By understanding where your consumers are located and adjusting your messaging appropriately, you can send them personalized, relevant content to help drive them further down the consumer funnel and drive them to your stores. Geofencing and geotargeting are two different digital marketing tactics that make this possible. 

While the terms geofencing and geotargeting sound similar, they should not be used interchangeably. Let’s break down the similarities and differences between them, and how each strategy can be used to find and convert more customers. 

Geotargeting vs Geofencing

Both geofencing and geotargeting offer marketers the opportunity to drive engagement by sending relevant messages to consumers in a specific location. The location data that is used to power these tactics is gathered through a variety of technologies, including GPS or IP address. Both geo-fencing and geo-targeting can be done on mobile, tablet, computer, or even gaming devices with internet access. 

Geotargeting offers the ability to deliver content to a user who fits a specific audience target based on their location. The location in geotargeting can be defined by zip code, city, state, or even as broad as a country. This tactic is used by virtually all types of digital marketing, and if you’re already running any digital advertising including social media advertising or PPC, you’re probably already using it. 

Geofencing refers to another method of serving ads to someone in a unique geographic location. Instead of just choosing the city, country, or DMA you want to include, geofencing relies on a virtual fence that is drawn around a certain area, such as a store or venue. When customers enter, they receive a specific message or offer. Geofencing parameters can be any size, but most are used to include a tight radius around a specific location, with a minimum radius of approximately 1 mile. There aren’t any other demographic or behavioral parameters outside of location to choose who your audience is, although you can choose to add other targeting attributes on top of your geofence.  

Historical Geofencing is just what it sounds like — targeting a group of people who have previously visited a specific area. If a customer has visited a specific location in the past 400 days, you can serve them an ad. One of the most common use cases here would be conquesting, or gaining customers from your competitors. As an example, Moe’s Southwest Grill could choose to target anyone who has been to a Taco Bell or another specific competitive location in the recent past, and encourage them to visit Moe’s instead next time around. As the marketer, you could then determine the lift for an audience exposed to that messaging, compared to those not exposed to the campaign.

GeoFencing Use Cases

While geotargeting is common enough to be included in almost all digital marketing campaigns, geofencing is not quite as There are quite a few times that marketers might want to use geofencing, but here are some of the most common:

  1. Event Targeting: Target people who attended a certain event at a specific time. For example, this could work in a stadium, where a store or food stand targets people watching the game with a special coupon or promotion. 
  2. Conquesting: Use promotions or price matching messaging to disrupt your competitor’s efforts, by targeting users who have visited a customer’s store to drive them to your store. 
  3. Audience Targeting: Target people who work or live within a certain area, or even someone who is near a specific store, and entice them to come in and shop.
  4. Customer Loyalty: Target people who have already visited a particular store to promote seasonal items, sales or events, to help boost brand loyalty and drive return visits. 

Benefits of Geofencing and Geotargeting

  1. Personalization: By collecting data about your customers, including what type of offers appeal most to them or actually drive them to your store, you get a better understanding of the customer journey. If one particular product appeals more to a certain local population, you can adjust your promotions accordingly. 
  2. Increased Analytics – Geofencing offers a number of metrics, including sales, how long they are in store, and how frequently they visit your business
  3. Enhanced Local Sales – Send push notifications to target customers in your area, change promotions, or offer limited-time offers to increase local sales.

Reaching your target audience is not always an easy task, but geotargeting and geofencing makes it easier to connect and engage with your ideal customers, wherever they are located. User-based marketing efforts are always more effective than mass communications. 

AUDIENCEX powers effective omnichannel geotargeted marketing campaigns across programmatic DSPs, search, and social platforms. No matter where your audience is, we can help you reach them. Contact us to schedule a time to talk about your upcoming campaign goals and how we can help you reach them.