Nowadays, mobile devices are pretty much an extension of our bodies. Where we go our phones go: work, holidays, yoga classes, Friday night drinks. On average, we engage in 76 separate mobile sessions a day which amounts to almost 3 hours a day. All those mobile sessions take place at many different locations. Using this information creates an opportunity for marketers to:
1. Reach out to customers during those mobile moments
2. Learn about customers’ behavior in the real world
BUT mobile is also a very personal channel to most people. Therefore, contextual marketing tools, like geofencing, are getting more popular with marketers.
In this article, we’ll touch upon what geofencing is, how you can use it for marketing, what the difference is with other popular location-based marketing methods, how you determine whether it is right for your business and how to stay on the right side of privacy issues. Once you have read it, you will have a good idea about how useful it can be for you.
What is geofencing?
Geofencing is a location-based marketing technology. Marketers use this technology to collect information about and target their customers as they enter, leave or stay in specific areas, also known as geofences.
A geofence is a virtual fence around a real geographic location, like a restaurant or an airport. It can be as small as store or as big as a city. Geofences can take different shapes. For more straightforward use cases it could be round. For complex situations, marketers could build polygon shaped geofences.
The general functioning of geofencing is that it uses cellular triangulation, WiFi tower triangulation or GPS to locate a user’s device. Geofencing comes in the form of a software plugin that can be implemented into a mobile app and managed through an online dashboard.
Geofencing requires mobile users to give permission to the app to use their location and to send notifications (in case the app wants to send them).
Using geofencing in marketing
There are 2 ways any marketer in any industry can go about using geofencing, sometimes referred to as active and passive. In the first scenario, marketers actively reach out to customers with notifications at certain locations. The second approach is all about collecting data related to these locations and customer behavior. Let’s look into them in more detail.