Mitch Ostrower

Senior Internet Marketing Consultant

Do Fence Me In: Connecting Online with Offline Through Geofencing

In an industry where the gold standard is to marry online and offline experiences, geofencing provides advertisers with a vehicle to measure the in-store lift of their online paid media. Hitting the right person at the right time has become one of the most essential marketing ideologies. Geofencing adds "in the right place" to the equation, providing benefits to brands, marketers, and customers alike.

What is Geofencing?

Geofencing is a location-based service that sends advertisements to smartphone users who are within a defined geographic area. At Rise, we use advanced latitude and longitude geofencing technology to drive and measure offline visitors and in-store traffic lift, employing a “team plus technology” approach. A custom geofence is drawn around the area we want to target with display ads. Then, a zone is drawn only around the brand’s exact store location where advertisers wish to drive users.

Designating a conversion zone enables marketers to track the physical traffic within a brand’s location among individuals that have previously seen one of its ads by entering the larger target zone.

The Benefits to Brands Across Industries

While the applications of this cutting-edge tactic are especially beneficial to retail brands with brick and mortar locations, it can expand beyond that industry. Where retailers can use it to prove the number of individuals who visit a brand’s location after browsing their online store, geofencing also offers incredibly unique and valuable reporting to providers and brands in the healthcare industry.

Major healthcare clients often run campaigns to support their immediate and outpatient care clinics. However, when evaluating these efforts in terms of driving efficient appointment requests, the budgets are simply not justified. The reality is that people do not make appointments at immediate care clinics, they go when they need to go. Thus, marketers need a real-time measurement of value.

At Rise, we recently helped a healthcare brand geo-target within a five-mile radius of each of its clinic locations and track the number of physical clinic visitors that had previously seen its ad. Early results indicated a greatly reduced cost per clinic visitor versus the aforementioned cost per appointment request and a far more improved and valuable conversion point on top of that. In one month, its cost per clinic visitor was 93 percent lower than the cost per appointment request the brand had previously seen with its immediate care campaigns.

The Benefits to Marketers

We live in a world where mobile media consumption has increased by 131 percent over the last 5 years and the location-based services market is expected to reach $43 billion by 2019. Defining and executing a geofencing strategy is now essential for any advertiser with brick and mortar locations.

Geofencing can serve all parts of the marketing funnel—from generating completely new customers to being the last piece of the puzzle linking online paid media and offline sales. Marketers can become part of the customer journey and unlock significant opportunities for prospecting and remarketing.

Becoming a Part of the Customer Journey

Customers are on their phones all day, discovering and interacting with new brands. They not only take into account a brand’s value proposition, but also the cohesiveness of their message. By delivering promotional mobile ads while customers or consumers are within a few miles of a brand’s store or a healthcare provider’s clinic location, marketers can provide them with the most relevant brand experience. This enables brands to reach customers on their journey before they physically step foot in a store or clinic.

At the most basic level, a customer is able to receive an ad when it is geographically relevant and can take immediate action. At a more sophisticated level, marketers can ensure customers are receiving an ad only after they have visited that brand’s website, enabling them to feel truly connected to the brand.

Prospecting and Remarketing Opportunities

With geofencing, marketers can develop a prospecting strategy. This allows them to serve ads to any eligible individual within the preset store radius. Ads are served with the goal of increasing store traffic and appointment requests among new customers who have never interacted with a brand’s site and offerings through a hyper-local, store-centric approach.

On the other hand, with remarketing, marketers can serve ads only to individuals who have previously been to the brand’s site, either directly or as a result of a paid media campaign. In doing so, they can take a previously engaged prospect and capture them as a paying customer. Here, geofencing becomes the offline lift and measurement component of all online paid media.

Additionally, marketers are able to use geofencing to build audiences based on individuals who have previously interacted with a brand’s paid search, social media, or affiliate campaigns. Those audiences can be layered with the hyper-local display campaigns, and, as a result, marketers are able to serve ads only to people who are within the preset store radius and have previously interacted with online paid campaigns.

Overall, geofencing allows brands to deliver a cohesive message, gives marketers the ability to create a more effective marketing mix to drive revenue, and provides customers with a consistent brand experience.

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