Geofencing and Geotargeting in Marketing and Advertising: What you need to know.

by | Nov 7, 2017 | geofencing | 0 comments

What you will learn about Geofencing and Geotargeting in Marketing and Advertising:

  • What Is Geofencing and or GeoTargeting in Marketing and Advertising?
  • How Does Geofencing and Geo Targeting Actually Work in Marketing and Advertising?
  • How Is Geofencing Being Used In Marketing and Advertising?
  • How to Setup Geofencing and Geo Targeting on Google Adwords Marketing and Advertising campaigns
  • How to Setup Geofencing and Geo Targeting on Facebook Advertising Marketing campaigns
  • How much does geofencing cost?

What Is Geofencing and Geotargeting in Marketing and Advertising?

Geofencing and GeoTargeting are location-based services where an app, browser or other technology service uses location data such as cellular data, Wi-Fi, global positioning (GPS), satellite, radio frequency identification (RFID), when a device, transmitter, or RFID tag enters or leaves location parameters commonly known as a geofence, location target or geotargeting. Once this “location boundary” is set, the location information can be used to trigger a programmed action such as push notifications, SMS message, alerts, display targeted advertising, allow tracking on vehicle fleets, enable/disable certain equipped technologies, or create and collect location-based marketing data. Geofencing and geotargeting are commonly used in online advertising / online marketing as well as other tracking and location services.

Some geofences may simply be set up to monitor activity in certain areas, which alerts when anyone enters or leaves a specific area. Businesses can also use geofencing to monitor employees on or off the work site, automate time cards, or to maintain awareness of company property.

It’s important for businesses and online marketers to use the powers of geofencing advertising to refine the targeting of digital marketing or geofencing and location-based advertising campaigns to restrict audiences based on a more specific location than a city or zip code would allow.

How Does Geofencing and Geo Targeting Actually Work in Marketing and Advertising?

To make use of geofencing, a user must first establish a virtual boundary around a specified location using GPS coordinates or RFID-enabled software. This could be as simple as a circle drawn in a 1 mile or a 1-kilometer radius around a specific location on Google Maps. This virtual geofence would then be able to trigger a response when an authorized device enters or exits that area, as specified by the targeting settings of an online marketing campaign or location service. Some modern software applications using geofencing technology even allow development using modern on-screen graphical interfaces (GUIs), so that more precise boundaries can be established by less sophisticated users.

A geofence is most commonly defined within the code of a mobile application, mainly because users would need to first opt-in to app-specific location services for the geofence to work. A retailer might draw a geofence around its outlets to trigger mobile push alerts for customers who have downloaded the retailer’s mobile app and also opted-in to location services.

A geofence could also be set up by people seeking to use geofencing capabilities in their mobile apps. Some “lifestyle” or “productivity” apps may allow a user to choose an address or location where they would want to trigger a specific alert or push notification as a reminder. This is called an “if this, then that” function, where an app is programmed to trigger a second action following an initial desired time, location, or action. Home automation services often allow users to control their home’s Wi-Fi connected devices from a remote location using the app, and increasingly provide automated functions such as automatically locking or unlocking doors, engaging or disengaging alarms, changing climate control settings, or other actions based on desired triggers often using geofencing.

Geofencing isn’t just for mobile apps, either. The technology has been used to control and track vehicles and containers in the shipping industry, livestock in the agriculture industry, deploy drones for various purposes, among other uses. Nearly every drone being made today is pre-programmed to accommodate geofencing, which are usually set up surrounding airports, open-air venues, and even the White House, where the FAA has set up drone-resistant geofence barriers capable of stopping a drone in mid-air, while other triggers may send a warning message to the user.

How Is Geofencing Being Used In Marketing and Advertising?

Geofencing is a very powerful way to engage consumers based on “hyper-local” location, which could do a lot in terms of triggering immediate sales if set up properly, as well as collecting data to understanding the mindset of different shoppers.

Geofencing campaigns can be set up across multiple types of online advertising campaigns, such as search engine advertising, display advertising, remarketing, video advertising, etc.

Here are some examples of how small businesses could use geofencing to enhance their digital marketing efforts and unleash the full power of geofencing:

  • A retail store could create a simple geofence in an area surrounding its physical location. When users pass through the designated area, they would receive a location-based alert or a deal that might make them considerably more likely to stop in and shop at the store.
  • An auto dealer could set up a geofence which is aimed at targeting individuals who are leaving a competing dealership after browsing for a vehicle. If this auto dealer sends a direct message to them with an offer for zero percent financing on a comparable car model, the customer may be very likely to continue their browsing at the advertised location since the deal addressed a particular need they had at the time.
  • Concert and events producers can geofence their venues for art or music events with additional offers for upcoming events which may be relevant to the attendee. Artists and musicians and their managers could also establish geofences around different tour stop ahead of time, promoting upcoming shows for those who are likely to revisit the location. This same process could be used to collect data about people within the geofenced area to understand the mindset of the attendees to predict and prepare future event turnouts.
  • An attorney, lawyer, or law firm could set up a geofencing advertising campaign to target specific areas of interest such as hospitals or jails to reach their target client. They could also set up geo-targeting around competitor locations. Also, take a look at these Law firm and Lawyer Marketing Ideas.

Even if a geofenced offer, advertisement, or notification doesn’t actually inspire an immediate visit or a sale, it still can allow business owners to know exactly what location a consumer passed through and where they were when they received the message. This very user-specific data should help in refining targeting efforts in the future based on which types of communications and targeted users were the most successful.


How to Setup Geofencing and Geo Targeting on Google Adwords Marketing and Advertising?

In Google Adwords, select the campaign you’d like to manage, then go to the campaign Settings. For hyperlocal targeting in AdWords, there are quite a few options.

A Country, State, City, DMA, Metro, Zip Code, and Radius. You’ll want to pay attention to the exclusions. In Google Adwords, geofencing and geo-targeting are referred to Location Targeting.

Google Adwords Geo Targeting in Settings_and_Location_Settings_for_Geofencing_on_Google Adwords ScreenShot
Once you select Locations you can expand the geofencing options in the Google Adwords campaign. Your top geofencing and geo-targeting options are the following:

  • All countries and territories
  • United States and Canada
  • United States
  • Enter another location
google adwords geofencing options via adwords screen shot by digital logic

via Google Adwords

For most local geofencing, you will select the option of Enter another location. You can use the search feature to start typing in a location to target. The tool will give you options that match the location you searched for. In this case, I started searching for Dallas and it brought up multiple options that returned a match as well as the possible Reach for each of those geo-targets. Reach in Google Adwords is the estimate of how many people are signed in to the target or excluded location of the geofencing or geo-targeting settings in your campaign based on how many signed in Google users across the internet.

via Google Adwords

To select advanced geofencing options, select Advanced search. Once you select advanced search, you can select to add or exclude a geography based on your selections. If you exclude a location in your targeting, then your ad will not serve to people in the exclusion settings.

The Radius targeting options in Google Adwords are either by the number of miles or kilometers around a location. When I’m running a campaign that has extremely tight geofencing or geo-targeting settings, I prefer to select a kilometer radius instead of a mile radius to have tighter location targeting.

To select radius targeting, select the radius option on your geo-targeting, then make your selections. In the example in the screenshot, I’m doing a one-kilometer radius around my physical location. Downtown in the small city of Shreveport, LA). For a Lawyer or Law Firm, this type of targeting can be very helpful if you’re running display ads around a hospital, but the number of ways to leverage this tight location targeting is endless.

radius targeting and geofencing on Google adwords options showing by kilometer or by mile screen shot by digital logic

via Google Adwords Radius Targeting Options

GeoFencing and Geo Targeting on Facebook

To setup location targeting on Facebook, start the campaign creation process and then in Audiences, you can select the location to target or location to exclude.

Facebook geofencing and geo targeting for busiensses setup 1

via Facebook Ad Manager


To drill down to a very specific local area, select the geography that you’d like to target. In the following example, you can select “Drop Pin” on the exact location that meets your targeting parameters, then select the radius to target around the desired location. This screenshot shows a 1-mile radius near Highland Park in Dallas.

Facebook radius targeting using a pin drop for geofencing and geo targeted location online advertising campaigns 2

Via Facebook Advertising platform


To drill down further with your location targeting since polygon targeting is not available on Facebook, additional targeting exclusions can be set to block in your geofencing even closer than a mile around the location pin drop.

Facebook Location exclusions with geofencing advertising:

Once you set the location that you’d like to target, to drill down to closer than a one-mile radius with geofencing, then you want to start building exclusions around the radius that you’ve set to target. In the following example you can see the original targeting with the location pin drop, and then the location exclusions built around the target location to make the geofencing and geotargeting even tighter than the one-mile radius. This is how you build a geofence on Facebook advertising.Facebook geofencing and geo targeting with location exclusions 3


How much does geofencing cost?

The cost of geofencing with Facebook and Google Adwords does not cost anything extra from the normal costs associated with running online campaigns. The cost of geofencing is based on either a CPM, CPA or event cost per conversion depending on your campaign goals. Goefencing or geotargeting is just a targeting option.

If you’re interested in our Geofencing marketing and advertising services from our agency, feel free to contact us to discuss your goals.