• Consumer Research

7 Tips to Map Out Your Next Geo-Fencing Strategy

Emily Basileo
5 min read
Posted on September 30, 2014

Last month, I indulged in a Parisian gastro-tour. Before traveling, I carefully selected only the most elite restaurants for each of my reservations. Amass. Check. Le Atelier de Joel Robuchon. Check. The list went on. With a plethora of tasting menus and mountains of foie ahead of me, I didn’t expect to find myself hungry in the middle of Paris. But I was.

I immediately deferred to my always on, always there companion – my smartphone. I frantically scrolled through its apps, looking for nearby diners before I became too hangry to function… Overwhelmed with options, I stared helplessly at its screen, hoping that one café would magically stand out from the rest. As though reading my mind, an ad for a neighborhood bistro magically appeared in my app. 100 Meters… less than a block away. An ad saved my day.

* * *

With mobile devices becoming more ingrained in everyday users’ lives and as buyers’ expectations increase, advertisers must fight to remain center stage. Their mobile ads must be both engaging and relevant – and these days, location is becoming even more important.

In our personal care study we found that 4 out of 5 American consumers actually expect mobile ads to help them find something nearby and that more than half of them expect mobile ads to influence them to switch brands. This is great validation for advertisers to incorporate geo-fencing as part of a comprehensive strategy. And according to a study conducted by Nielsen, mobile users are 42% more likely to like location-based mobile ads now than in 2012.

What is geo-fencing?

A geo-fence is a virtual perimeter that is established around a physical place (e.g. a retail location, an airport, a sports arena, etc.) to send push notifications or ads to mobile devices that enter or leave the defined area.

How can YOU stay relevant using geo-fencing?

    1. Understand your consumer : Understanding who your consumer is, the context surrounding their mobile use, and how they're using the mobile phones can be instrumental to building a successful campaign. Point-of-interest targeting, e.g. geo-fencing ads around locations where your consumers are, can be especially relevant.
    2. Think outside the your box: Build geo-fences around where your customers are likely to be, which may not always be where you are. Competitor conquesting has proven to be a hugely successful tactic for many big brands.
    3. Be relevant: The rule of thumb is that geo-fences should be within a 4-5 minute travel radius from the targeted location to remain relevant.
    4. Prompt Action: The message of the ad should prompt immediate action. The call-to-actions should be clear and concise to best drive conversions.
    5. Be Transparent: It is important to inform users about how you are using their location information. Mobile consumers are open to receiving discounts, offers and relevant advice, and they want to maintain their privacy – be transparent about how you are using their information to help gain their trust and loyalty.
    6. Incorporate multiple targeting techniques: Leverage geo-fencing as part of a comprehensive targeting strategy. Context targeting, day-parting, content targeting and retargeting are just a few other targeting methods that you can choose to implement.
    7. Optimize your campaigns: As always, data is key. In this digital age, advertisers are consumed with calculating ROI and making data-centric decisions. Fortunately, tools exist that aggregate and analyze user engagement, conversions and brand lift, all measures of ad performance and effectiveness. It is imperative that you leverage these tools and understand the accompanying metrics in order best optimize your campaigns.

Geo-fencing in action

Besides the perfectly placed café ad that was served while I was starving in Paris, what are other examples of successful geo-fencing campaigns? The following are a few examples of awesome geo-sensitive campaigns that ran on InMobi’s network.

    1. QSR: A top 5 QSR business wanted to increase its breakfast share and maintain its stronghold on the QSR segment. It geo-fenced ads to consumers within a small radius around coffee shops, teahouses and cafes. It also chose to geo-fence ads around its two largest competitors. The geo-fencing was a highly successful component of a comprehensive targeting campaign.
    2. Retail: In an effort to secure back-to-school sales, a top 5 US retailer geo-fenced ads to consumers near its competitors’ stores. The campaign was a great success, out-performing non-location-based ads by 24%.
    3. Entertainment: A world-class entertainment resort geo-fenced ads to consumers within a small radius around its parks. The geo-fenced ads experienced tap-through-rates 8.7x those of the non-targeted ads.

Whether it is to entice users to your stores or to destroy your competitive landscape, you can leverage geo-fencing to effectively reach your consumers. As location targeting becomes the norm, don’t get fenced out!

To learn more about our research, contact insights@inmobi.com


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About the Author

Emily has always had an inquisitive mind and an active imagination. Her imagination told her that she was a superhero. Although Emily never developed the ability to fly, she spread her wings and left her hometown to study at NYU. Emily’s adventures eventually led her to San Francisco, where she joined the AppGalleries family and excelled as the Director of Operations. In 2012, InMobi acquired AppGalleries, and Emily was absorbed into the Strategy & Operations team. Today, Emily thrives on the Global Insights team, pondering marketing’s big questions, identifying trends, and crafting actionable strategies. Ever the optimist, Emily still hopes to fly – she has a cape.

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