Category: Geofencing

Geotargeting vs Geofencing: What’s The Difference?

internet of things marketing concept, the store use geofencing to text the message to customer for special price in the retail

In marketing, as in much of language, synonyms can be overused to the point of words losing all meaning. And in a buzzword-heavy industry like marketing, this risks confusing two similar, but inherently unique strategies.

A solid example of this effect is how our industry has come to use “geotargeting” and “geofencing” interchangeably. But the two concepts, while conceptually similar, do feature a number of nuances that separate them.

In this article, we’ll help you understand the similarities and differences between geofencing and geotargeting. This will include pros and cons for geo fencing vs geo targeting. In the end, you should be able to determine which marketing strategy is most aligned with your business goals.

The Core Concept: Location-Based Advertising

Whether discussing geo fencing vs geo targeting, both concepts have to do with leveraging audience location insights. The goal here is to drive better marketing and sales results. A “see what sticks” approach might work for some businesses. But geotargeted media tends to see higher engagement with audiences than non-targeted media.

All of this piggybacks on the plentiful data that is gleaned by social media companies, search companies, and more. Each stores reams of data about individual user location patterns. Much of that data can be used to help drive a more focused and directed marketing push toward your prospective customers.

The one key differentiator, however, is specifically what effect geo targeting vs geofencing has on your audience base. As Indeed puts it, “geofencing results in a larger target audience, while geotargeting results in a smaller target audience.” Essentially, it is the difference between customizing your marketing content per a user’s habits versus their persona.

But what does that mean for your business? Essentially, it means tying your customers’ experience with your brand to dedicated, specific locations in our world. Many customers do their brand engagement online as they conduct their day-to-day activities and errands. By tying your marketing promotions to frequented locations, you can potentially increase the likelihood of a sale for your audience.

Geotargeting, Map GPS Localization. Pin Navigation Icons on the City Map. 3D Illustration.

Geotargeting Pros and Cons

At its core, geotargeting is all about brand awareness. The more times your brand is presented to your target audience, the more likely they are to engage with it.

As such, persona insights are a heavy factor in this strategy, when you compare geotargeting vs geofencing. The more detail you can gather from tech companies about a user’s interests, home and work locations, behaviors, and more, the more personalized your ads to them can be. And the more personalized, the better for your potential ROI.

As an example, imagine a network of franchised consumer goods stores that operate in just a collection of U.S. states. While the company could turn on a general advertising campaign that targets audiences nationwide, this wouldn’t yield strong results. A geotargeted campaign would focus on serving content just to the states in which the business operates. With this level of focus, the business can be confident that their ads are being served to relevant audiences.

However, it’s not all plusses in geotargeting’s column. As a rule, user data isn’t stored in geotargeting campaigns, so your audience insights will be flash in a pan. It’s also entirely reliant on user data like IP addresses. This means audiences who have enabled privacy or anti tracking features in their mobile devices are unlikely to see your content.

Geofencing Pros and Cons

As an inverse, geofencing (vs geo targeting) is all about building an inclusive marketing strategy. A geofencing campaign is built on the notion that conceivably anyone could be a potential customer. With strict geographic radius settings, any user who crosses that threshold is worthy of your digital marketing content.

One of the best reasons why this methodology works is entirely reliant on the content that is served. Sure, if you serve a general awareness campaign, it will be seen. But imagine an example of a local restaurant running a location-based campaign.

Consider a geofencing campaign that serves a 5% off coupon between the hours of 10am and 2pm. By targeting anyone within a 10-minute walk of the restaurant, the location based marketing content is not only audience-centric. It also allows for immediate action on the audience’s part. They can’t simply opt to come back because they are signaled that the offer is fleeting.

In the downside column for geofencing, there are numerous considerations:

  • They require more manual effort to set up, as geographic location details aren’t as broad as city or state.
  • They are not only served to qualified leads, meaning your ad spend might be higher than expected.
  • More marketing content is needed for these campaigns, since they tend to be time-and-place specific.
  • They collect and store user location data. This could potentially put some businesses at legal risk in case of a data breach.

The good news is lots of businesses and agencies use geofencing tactics. All in all, it is by no means a fringe concept.

Find a Geofencing and Geotargeting Partner

Regardless of whether geofencing vs geotargeting is the right strategy for you, your marketing campaign rollout is key. It’s imperative to find a partner who can deliver your geofencing and geo targeting content effectively. AllOver Media has partnered with countless clients to drive location-based OOH results.
Looking for some help with geofence advertising? See how AllOver Media can help!


Person using an iPhone

Thanks to smartphones, we now have information at our fingertips at all times. But this can also make things a little more complicated when it comes to local advertising.

With so much media going digital these days, how does a business best advertise to their target audience? How do you catch a consumer’s attention when pop-up ads and email blasts can so easily be ignored, silenced, or deleted? The answer is geofencing advertising.

But what is geofencing? Broadly, it is , the digital marketing technique that’s making it easier than ever to reach your target audience. It is a key tool in your toolbelt to innovate and ultimately beat out the competition.

Read on to learn more about geofencing marketing. In our guide, you’ll see how you can implement this novel marketing concept in your campaign strategy.

What is Geofencing?

Geofencing is intuitive technology. It uses GPS, RFID, or IP technology to set up a virtual boundary around a geographical location.

What is Geofencing Marketing?

Geofencing marketing (also known as geofencing advertising), is an emergent tool in the marketing and advertising space. It is a means of using geofencing to drive consumer engagement. More specifically, it is designed to offer consumer insights through data-driven points of engagement.

How Does Geofencing Marketing Work?

A geofence marketing campaign is all about geographic parameters. Specifically, a campaign planner can set up a geofence as a sort of imaginary boundary or virtual fence. This can be around a physical location or an entire metro. Think: dropping a pin on a map and saying, “Everything three miles out from this spot is inside the fence” and you get the gist.

However, geofence marketing can also incorporate multiple specific geographic areas. For a retail chain, this could be different brick-and-mortar locations. Or for a consumer brand, it might be spots along a public transit route that align with the company’s core demographic.

Whatever the case, geofencing is a marketing tool to target people in a specific area through data collection.

Geofencing advertising involves using a mobile app or software that triggers a pre-programmed action. When a mobile device or RFID tag enters or exits the location, the action carries out. This could be anything, including:

  • A text message being sent,
  • A targeted mobile ad being displayed on social media,
  • Security monitoring being activated, or
  • Triggering the tracking of data.

There are countless triggers. But more importantly, the field is growing and evolving. So, it allows for a great deal of creativity and ingenuity. Think of how you might want to engage with an audience and geofencing ads can likely handle it.

What is Geofencing Used For?

One of the great things about geofencing marketing is it is highly amenable. Traditionally, it was thought of solely as a means of event participation. But in reality, it can be used in everything from time-sensitive promotion to augmented reality experiences.

For example, you might use geofencing ad opportunities to trigger once a customer enters your store. In this example, you could send a promotional offer to them upon triggering the geofence. You could also help the user engage in personalized experiences that drive their willingness to purchase even higher.

Businesses ranging from retail to hospitality have all started using geofencing ads to engage with consumers.

When it comes to geofence ads in retail, a geofence marketing campaign can target mobile users specifically. It can populate alerts, promotions, or coupon offers, based on the campaign designer’s preferences. These popups could be, based on their proximity to a specific location or event. Some retailers even use it against competitors, urging customers to consider their business instead.

Should I Use Geofencing in My OOH Marketing Campaigns?

From our team, it’s a resounding YES!

We’re seeing more and more industries beginning to rely more heavily on a “phygital strategy.” Those who want to reach target audiences and potentially increase sales are smart to consider this hybrid approach.

The name is just as it implies—ads and marketing material that exist both physically and digitally. These are ads that offer personalized, interactive experiences for consumers.

Geofencing is a particularly advantageous phygital strategy for out-of-home (OOH) marketing. That’s because it grabs a consumer’s attention in a relevant way. The ad is designed , based on the consumer’s real-time location and behavior.

The Advantages of Geofencing for Digital OOH Marketing

  • Alerts & Promotions: Geofencing is a popular way for retailers to deliver in-store promotions as customers enter the store. It also helps businesses target ads to a specific audience, based on users’ location data.
  • Social Media Interaction: Location-based promoted filters, stickers, and other shareable content on social media networks all use the virtual boundaries of geofencing.
  • Audience Engagement: By knowing more about your audience, you can provide them with specific, compelling advertising. For example, concert, festival, or fair organizers might use geofencing to engage with the audience. They could employ crowdsourcing social media posts. Or they could deliver information about the event or venue directly to those who crave it most.
  • Improved Inventory Management: When you have better insight into the movement of your product, you can better manage your inventory. For example, geofencing can track the movement of a product within the store. This way, you have a better idea of its popularity.
  • An Edge Against the Competition: With mobile geofencing advertising comes a competitive advantage. Geofencing provides a more personalized and convenient shopping experience for customers. This can undoubtedly bolster a stronger relationship between them and your business, which in turn can drive sales.

Here’s the bottom line: when a consumer is presented with an ad they find relevant and useful, it’s more likely that they’ll engage with it. Effective audience engagement means improved brand awareness, a higher ROI, and ultimately a lift in sales.

Build Geofencing With AllOver Media

At the end of the day, it’s about delivering the right message at the right time to the right person. And building a geofencing ads network can be your ticket to meeting your customers in the middle.

Ads that interrupt daily life don’t work and may even harm your business’s reputation. At AllOver Media, we strive to reach people in ways that add to their daily experience. We work to build compelling campaigns that are impossible to ignore, including mobile advertising.

If you’re looking to build or improve your own marketing strategy, we’re your go-to resource. Or, if you have any general questions about geofencing technology, our expert team is here to listen and help. Shoot us a message—let’s connect.