10 Fundamentals About Geofencing Marketers Need To Know

Do you know what geofencing is? If you’re a mobile marketer, then the answer to that question is something that you need to know. If you’re new to geofencing ...

Mar 11, 2019 Digital Marketing

Do you know what geofencing is? If you’re a mobile marketer, then the answer to that question is something that you need to know. If you’re new to geofencing or simply don’t have a complete understanding of how geofencing is used, then we have you covered. This article is going to go over the 10 fundamentals of geofencing. Once you have completed this article, you will be able to make an informed decision as to whether geofencing is a good addition to your current app strategy.

#1: What Is Geofencing Exactly?

Geofencing is known as the process of utilizing a geofence in order to target smartphone users. Marketers tend to use this particular type of technology in order to collect data regarding their customers as well as to target those customers as they are entering, leaving, or staying within a specific location area, also referred to as a geofence.

#2: What Is A Geofence Exactly?

A geofence is known as a virtual perimeter that marks a specific geographic area; it is a virtual fenced off area. The area within a geofence can be as small as a single building or it can be as large as an entire city. Geofences can be different shapes, such as round or square or even polygon or hexagon.

#3: What Are Marketers Able to Do with Geofencing?

Mobile apps tend to lose roughly 96 percent of its users within just 12 months after the initial download. It can be incredibly difficult to maintain a user’s engagement; as a result of the excess of commercial messaging that the user receives, he or she tends to simply sift through the noise. Users will respond to how they are currently feeling and where they are. Geofencing offers significant insight regarding a user’s surrounding and context, helping marketers properly adapt communications.

 With geofencing, marketers are able to:

  • Collect location-related insights regarding the office behaviors of users to use for audience personalization, segmentation, retargeting, online-to-online attribution, and competitive intelligence.
  • Send location-relevant content to smartphone users based on their recently-visited or current location, which helps to drive the user’s engagement with the app.

#4: How Does Geofencing Work in Difference Industries?

Geofencing is able to be used in a wide variety of ways. Here is a look at several of the ways that industry marketers have previously gotten creative with geofencing.

  • Automotive – Marketers retarget users that have previously visited an auto dealership (yours or a local competitor’s).
  • Retail – Marketers are sending promotional messages as potential shoppers are passing by a store in order to generate in-store visits.
  • Airline – Marketers are upselling flyers with fast-track services as customers walking into the airport.
  • Coupons – Marketers are providing the ROI of coupons utilizing location-specific data in order to track in-store visits that are initiated by these coupons.
  • Travel – Marketers are enriching profiles of users with a history of travel in order supercharge future targeting.
  • Hospitality – Marketers are capturing feedback just a short while after customers leave the hotel.
  • Mobile Payments – Marketers are reminding users of locations where they are able to pay when they visit them.
  • Coffee Chains – Marketers are providing discounts to returning customers in an effort to build brand loyalty.
  • Dining Reviews – Marketers are suggesting special lists of popular dishes to guests who visit particular restaurants. 
  • Online Stores – Marketers are geo-conquesting the locations of competitions with deals in the hopes of luring away customers.

#5: What Type of Location Technology Is Utilized for Geofencing?

The primary goal of geofencing is that it utilizes location-based services in order to detect the mobile device of a user within a predetermined zone—aka the geofence—so that a notification is triggered or visits are tracked. The actual location services that are utilized to do this are different based on the provider using the services. Geofencing can utilize the following:

  • Cellular
  • GPS
  • Wi-Fi

Though cellular and Wi-Fi tend to be the most common and recommended because of their reliability, GPS is not. GPS-based solutions are accurate, but they can drain the battery.

Keep in mind that app users will need to opt in for located-based services for your app in order geofencing to work. In addition, users will be able to opt out later.

#6: How Does Geofencing Compare to Geotargeting and Beacons?

Geofencing, beacons, and geotargeting are all types of technology that are utilized for location marketing. Different providers can choose to use either one or even all of these technologies. The different between all of these is how location data is generated as well as their target range. Below is a look at these differences and how each technology can best be utilized.

  • Geotargeting – Uses IP address technology and has a large (zip code, state) target range. It does not have real-time targeting, location data collection, or hardware and maintenance. It is best-suited for browser marketing.
  • Beacons – Uses Bluetooth location technology and has a small (bus stop, store aisle) target range. It has real-time targeting, location data collection, and hardware and maintenance. It is best-suited for mobile and app marketing.
  • Geofencing – Uses cellular and Wi-Fi location technology and has a medium to large (neighborhood, store) target range. It has real-time targeting and location data collection, but it does have hardware and maintenance. It is best-suited for mobile and app marketing.

#7: What Do Marketers Need to Know Regarding Geofencing and Privacy-Related Concerns?

Geofencing specifically relies on location-based services that naturally bring up the concerns that customers may have regarding companies directly accessing their location data. With that being said, here are a few things that you may want to be familiar with in this particular area:

  • The customer always has the power. Geofencing requires the permission of the customer to share their location data. The customer has the capability of revoking that permission at any given time.
  • You always want to remain transparent. It is important to explain to all of your customers why it is that you are requesting access to their location. In doing so, they will be more willing to give you their support.
  • The whole rationale behind accessing and utilizing the location and smartphone data of a customer is crucial: it needs to benefit the customer’s experience and not only you.
  • Make sure you’re providing security that keeps the data of your customers safe at all times.
  • Ensure that you have a privacy policy in place that properly communicates the assurances you are delivering to your customers. This privacy policy needs to be clearly available online.
  • When you communicate about location sharing with your customers, it is important that you choose the right choice of words as this can either scare your customers away or remove their concerns.

#8: What Should You Pay Attention to When You Select a Partner for Geofencing?

  • Don’t Rely Solely on GPS – GPS is going to deplete your app users’ battery rapidly.
  • Optimize for Battery Usage and Accuracy – Look for a solution that has a decent balance between both of these. A solution that is incredibly accurate often drains the battery, which results in users uninstalling your app.
  • Offering of Location Data Collection – Geofencing is continuing to focus more on collecting data about the offline behavior of users in an effort to target them in a far more personalized manner. Solutions that tend to offer only push notification will be considered primitive in the near future.
  • Allow Simple Management of Geofences – A solid geofencing solution will come equipped with its very own dashboard and API, which makes it simple for marketers to create, optimize, and manage their individual geofences.
  • Come with Anti-Spam Tools – This one is important for those marketers that are interested in targeting app users in dense areas where there are numerous geofences and are wanting to avoid sending excessive geofence notifications.

#9: Is Geofencing Even Right for My Particular Business?

As with anything else, geofencing may not necessarily fit in with your company’s mobile marketing strategy. It has been out experience that it is generally a good fit if you are able to relate yourself to one of the below examples.

  • My company has a brick-and-mortar location like a food and beverage chain, retailer, airline, airport, etc.
  • My company has clients with brick-and-mortar locations, like reviewing platforms such as Yelp and Tripadvisor, media sellers such as flyer and coupon aggregators, credit card companies that are connected to specific merchants, etc.
  • My company has a strong connection to brick-and-mortar locations like travel guides, navigation platforms, online retailers with offline competition.

#10: How Can I Get Started with Geofencing?

If you are interested in utilizing geofencing technology, here are a few tips that will assist you in getting your feet off the ground:

  1. You need an app.
  2. Select an appropriate geofencing software.
  3. Test your chosen software (most of them will come equipped with a testing app).
  4. Implement the chosen and tested software into your app (get help from development with this, if necessary).
  5. Get creative with your notification campaigns.

What Are Your Next Steps?

Now that you have completed this article, you should be familiar with geofencing and how it can be applied. The wheels in your brain may already be spinning with some creative ways on how geofencing can be implemented into your app.

If you have any questions or concerns about geofencing or how it can be used, get in touch with us here at WebDetail.

Do you have some insight? Do you have questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you! Share it with us on Twitter or Facebook.

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