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Geofencing Digital Advertising Playbook

Chad Bingle

Chad Bingle, Director of Media here at Mediavision2020, sat down with Jarrod Davis and the 8th & Walton crew to talk about how to strategically develop a geofencing media campaign. Listen to the full podcast conversation or grab the notes below!



Basic Elements of Geofencing

  • Targeting location: Geofencing is targeting people based on their location, typically that of their mobile device
  • Area: A geofence is simply a defined area on a map: circle or polygon, and anyone inside that geofence is your target audience. That basically translates to a set of coordinates
  • Size: A geofence can be any size, but is typically most effective around a specific building or within a section of a building (like a section of a store).

Geofencing Isn’t Just One Technique, It Has Many Facets To It

  • Unique Functions of Geofencing
    1. Real-time advertising (in geofence now)
    2. Retargeting advertising- really effective for when you want to build a custom retargeting audience where where they have been in the recent past is a salient layer of data.
    3. Attribution & analytics
  • Context for Geofencing
    1. Shopping: in-store & conquesting
    2. In-home: individual devices or entire households
    3. Lifestyle: Concerts, Sports Events, etc.
    4. B2B: Offices, Conferences, Trade Shows
  • Reach: Device vs Cross-device & Household

Geofencing Advertising

Common Geofencing Mistakes to Avoid

Everyone geofences, but all geofences aren’t created equal. There are a few red flags to watch for when crafting or evaluating a geofencing plan.

  • Irrelevant or Missing Call to Action. If you’re going to go through the effort of targeting, make it worth it. Just pushing information/impressions: not having anything relevant at that point in time. A conquesting campaign should have a robust, exclusive offer that’s time sensitive. If you’re a CPG company, your geo-retargeting campaign should try to engage shoppers while they’re between grocery trips and planning their list.
  • Wrong timing: Doing real-time by default when retargeting would make more sense
  • Too broad of targeting: Just b/c location targeted doesn’t mean you’re relevant.
    1. Targeting an entire area around a big box store where everyone is there for different reasons, for example.
    2. Location isn’t always enough to reach the right audience.
    3. Layered data for better relevance (think: data sandwich)
  • Measurement: What’s your goal? If geo-conquesting, did you drive click-to-call actions or visits to your store? If you’re influencing consideration, did you run a controlled test and see positive comparative sales for your test group within a given timeframe? While geofencing can be challenging to measure with accuracy, it’s possible to at least measure it consistently and do it in a controlled test.

When Geofencing Is Right, When It’s Not The Best Fit

When it’s right:

  • Location = relevance: When your geofenced actually helps you reach your target audience in a meaningful way, where location = relevance, not just coincidence
  • Conquesting (goal of growing share): lower ROAS requirements, open to aggressive approach
  • Influencing consideration, offer exclusive content or offers
  • Enrich targeting of current behavioral campaigns or complement other media tactics like search and behavioral.
  • Bridging ecommerce and in-store through retargeting

When it’s not the best fit:

  • Bottom-funnel: Goal of immediate lead gen or sales gen with a lower CPA
  • Location = Irrelevance: Location is not aligned to intent
  • No value added, nothing unique about reaching them through location targeting