What you will learn:

  • What is Geofencing Advertising and Geo Targeting in Online Marketing and Advertising?
  • What is Geofencing?
  • How Does Geofencing Marketing 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 Ads Marketing and Advertising Campaigns
  • How to Setup Geofencing and Geo Targeting on Facebook Advertising Marketing Campaigns
  • How to setup Geofencing Ads on Instagram?
  • How to setup Geofencing Ads on Snapchat
  • How Much Does Geofencing Advertising Cost?

What Is Geofencing and or Geotargeting Online Marketing and Advertising?

Geofencing and Geo Targeting are location-based services. An app, browser or other services might use location data. This could be cellular data, Wi-Fi, global positioning (GPS), satellite, radio frequency identification (RFID). A device, transmitter, or RFID tag may enter or leave location parameters known as a geofence, location target, or Geo Targeting.

Once this “location boundary” is set, the location information can trigger a programmed action. This might be a push notification, SMS message, alert, display targeted advertising, tracking on a fleet vehicle, enable or disable certain equipped technologies, or create and collect location-based marketing data. Geofencing and Geo Targeting are often used in search engine advertising, online advertising, social media marketing, as well as other tracking and location services.


Location setting example on an iPhone

Some geofences may be set up to track activity in certain areas, which alerts when anyone enters or leaves a specified area. Businesses can also use geofencing to track employees, automate time cards, or maintain awareness of company property.

It’s important for businesses and online marketers to use the powers of geofencing advertising/marketing.

It’s always important to refine the targeting of digital marketing or geofencing and location-based advertising campaigns to restrict audience locations.

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. You can do a lot to trigger immediate sales if set up correctly. Also, you can collect data to understand the mindset of different shoppers. Geofencing should be included in your marketing plan.

Geofencing campaigns can be set up across many types of online advertising campaigns. This includes search engine advertising, display advertising, remarketing, online video advertising, and all social media campaigns.

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 geofence in an area surrounding its physical location. When users pass through the designated area, they would receive a location-based alert. Or offer a deal that might make them much more likely to stop in and shop at the store.
  • An auto dealer could set up a geofenced ad which targets individuals who are leaving a competing dealership after browsing for a vehicle. This auto dealer could send a direct message to them with an offer for zero percent financing on a comparable car model. The customer is likely to continue browsing at the advertised location since the deal addressed a particular need they had at the time.
  • Concert and event producers can geofence venues for art or music events with offers for upcoming events that are relevant. Artists and musicians could set up geofences around different tour stop ahead of time. Then they can promote upcoming shows for those who are likely to revisit the location. This same process could collect data about people within the geofenced area to understand the mindset of the attendees. This might be able to predict and prepare future event turnouts.
  • Geofencing for lawyers. An attorney, lawyer, or law firm could set up a geofencing advertising campaign to target specific areas of interest. This might include hospitals, jails, or courthouses to reach their target clients. They could also set up geo-targeting around competitor locations. Also, take a look at these Law firm Marketing Ideas.
  • In healthcare, medical practices, whether they be for profit or not, can improve their marketing strategy by actively using geofencing as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy. A plastic surgery practice could use geotargeting to reach potential patients looking for plastic surgery. We’ve also put together a complete plastic surgery marketing guide.

 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 user-specific data should help with future refining targeting efforts. It depends on which types of messages and targeted users were the most successful.

How to Setup Mobile Geofencing Advertising on Google Ads

To set up geofencing advertising with Google Ads, select the campaign you’d like to manage, then go to the campaign Settings. Google Ads allows you to geofencing on, search, display, and Youtube campaigns. With geofencing in Google Ads, 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 Ads, geofencing and geo-targeting are called Location Targeting. Geofencing with Google Ads should help your quality score by serving more relevant ads to local users.

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 advertising campaigns, select the option of entering a 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 the following example, searching for Dallas brought up several options. It returned a match, as well as the possible Reach for each of those geo-targets. Reach, in Google Ads, is the estimate of how many people are nearby. The target or excluded location of the geofencing or geo-targeting settings in your campaign find Google users nearby.

via Google Adwords

To select advanced geofencing options, select Advanced search. Once you select advanced search, you can select to add or exclude 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 geotargeting. 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. The number of ways to leverage this tight geolocation 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 set up geofencing advertising and location targeting on Facebook and Instagram, start the normal campaign creation process. 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

Snapchat Geofencing Advertising

Setting up geofencing advertising on Snapchat is a very similar setup to Google, Facebook, and Instagram. While you’re in the ad account in Snapchat, there are a few different types of geofencing ads you can run. The main story ads, and filters. The Snapchat geofencing options go down from country geofencing, then down to a specific area like a state, or city.

To drill down in Snapchat geofencing, you can select 0.06 miles around a radius of a map plot, which is very tight.

Screenshot of geofencing on snapchat ads manager

Using Snapchat geofencing

Snapchat geofencing ads

How much does geofencing advertising cost?

Geofencing marketing with Facebook and Google Ads does not cost anything more than the other online campaigns. Bid prices might be a bit higher than blanket location targeting. But that depends on the competition and targeting options near points of interest. The cost of geofencing is either a CPM, CPA, or event cost per conversion, depending on your campaign goals.

Does Geofencing Marketing Perform?

Absolutely! If you add specific targeting layers to local online marketing campaigns, your performance will improve. For local businesses, the more targeted your message is, the better it will perform.

Geofencing Marketing Companies

If you’re interested in our Geofencing marketing and advertising services, contact us to discuss your marketing goals. SERIOUSLY, GET IN TOUCH.

Most of the time with our services, geofencing is only one part of a more comprehensive campaign. We help you reach your business goals and get customers and the lowest possible price.