Skip to main content ↓
Graphic for geofencing marketing

Geofencing Marketing: What Is It and How Can You Get Started?

search bar icon

What is geofencing marketing?

Geofencing marketing is a type of location-based marketing strategy that enables companies to advertise to potential customers within a specific geographic radius or area.

One of the most effective ways to hone in on your marketing’s target audience is to use geofencing marketing.

This strategy uses a combination of technology, including GPS and radio frequency identifiers, to construct a virtual boundary around your company’s location to promote your products or services to individuals in that area.

You can use geofencing to market to your target audience while they’re shopping with your competitor, browsing your offline or online store, or even as they’re preparing to use your service.

Want to learn more about geofencing advertising? Just keep reading! Here’s everything we’ll cover:

Don’t miss our Marketing Manager Insider emails!

Join 200,000 smart marketers and get the month’s hottest marketing news and insights delivered straight to your inbox!

Enter your email below:

Inline Subscription Form – CTA 72

*” indicates required fields


(Don’t worry, we’ll never share your information!)

cta44 img

What is geofencing marketing?

Geofencing marketing is a location-based marketing strategy that allows you to advertise your products or services to potential customers in your company’s geographic location.

How does geofencing marketing work?

So now that you know the answer to the question, “what is geofencing marketing,” you might wonder how it works in practice.

A geofencing advertising strategy works by setting up virtual boundaries around a specific location, like the location of your business. Then, this boundary will track whenever someone with a mobile device enters it.

As soon as someone enters the virtual boundary around your business or a competitor’s, your geofencing advertising campaign will send a notification or mobile ad to that person’s phone that advertises your local store, service, or product.

Expert insights from webfx logo

Sarah Gaffney WebFX Geofencing Expert

“Geofencing allows you to form a virtual fence around specific locations you want to target. When someone steps inside this fence, they’ll be added to your audience and will be eligible to see your ads for up to ~30 days.



If you have physical locations that customers visit, it is also a great way to track users visiting those locations! By adding conversion zones (your physical locations), you can see how many users saw or clicked on your ad and then visited one of your locations.”

Geofencing is a location-based technology that relies on several technologies, including Wi-Fi, GPS, radio-frequency identification (RFID), and Bluetooth.

4 significant geofencing marketing benefits

There are several benefits of geofencing marketing that your business can enjoy. Let’s take a look at four key geofencing advertising benefits below:

  1. Boost local foot traffic and sales
  2. Drive better marketing results with data-driven campaigns
  3. Personalize audience experiences
  4. Make your marketing more cost-effective

Keep reading to find out more!

1. Boost local foot traffic and sales

Geofencing can help you improve your local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy by giving your company more opportunities to show up in local searches when your audience is looking for your products or services in their area.

The result? You can help more local customers discover your business, boosting your foot traffic and sales in the process.

2. Drive better marketing results with data-driven campaigns

A core part of geofencing marketing is analytics. It runs on data, giving your marketing team or provider actionable information for your next campaign. Geofencing also provides your team with that data in real-time.

Some factors you can measure include:

  • Ad impressions or views
  • Conversion zone visits
  • And more!

Another benefit of geofencing marketing is that you can modify your campaigns on the go. If you notice users aren’t responding to your promotions, for instance, you can investigate what’s not working in your campaign. Maybe you’re targeting the wrong area or timeframe, for example.

3. Personalize audience experiences

Perhaps one of the best geofencing marketing benefits is that it allows you to use data to personalize experiences for your audience.

Your geofencing advertising campaign will give you detailed insight into the local population’s demographics and which offers generate interest in your local business. You can leverage this data to personalize your messaging to resonate with your target audience.

For example, if you notice one of your products is more popular among a certain age group, you can alter your messaging and targeting accordingly to generate more sales.

4. Make your marketing more cost-effective

Finally, geofencing allows for much more cost-effective marketing campaigns. You don’t need to worry about spending money to advertise to people who aren’t even located in your area, because you know that all of your marketing is being targeted to a specific geographic area.

As a result, you know that every dollar you spend on your marketing campaigns is being used to reach people who are actually potential customers. You’re not wasting your budget on people who have no chance of purchasing from your business.

That cost-effectiveness also goes up even more when you add additional parameters like demographics.

7 types of geofencing you can use

If you want to use geofencing for your business, it’s important to know what types of geofencing you can run. Here are seven tactics you can try:

  1. Location targeting
  2. Event targeting
  3. Addressable geofencing
  4. Keyword targeting
  5. Category contextual targeting
  6. Geo-optimized targeting
  7. Website retargeting

Read on to learn more about each one.

1. Location targeting

When you think of geofencing, this is the most commonly use tactic associated with the practice. Location targeting, also known as competitor targeting, involves targeting a specific location, often a competitor’s location.

For example, a wedding dress company might build a geofence around David’s Bridal locations to target their customer base. When those customers are near David’s Bridal, they’ll see an ad related to the other wedding dress company.

Location targeting is a great way to target interested people to your business and away from your competition.

2. Event targeting

If you use event targeting for your geofencing marketing, you’ll build a geofence around a location where an event is happening. This geofence is set for a scheduled timeframe of when the event is running.

Anyone who enters the fence during the event gets added to an audience. You can then remarket to these leads up to 30 days after the event occurred. Event targeting is great for industry events, job fairs, concerts, and more.

So, for example, a country-themed bar and restaurant might target people who attended country concerts at a local venue because they know those people would likely be interested in a country bar.

3. Addressable geofencing

Addressable geofencing involves targeting people who live or work at a certain address. This option is great for business-to-business (B2B) companies that want to advertise to decision-makers at a desired company or for businesses that have a list of addresses from customers.

An HVAC company, for example, could have a list of addresses from previous jobs. They could use that list to target those people with promotional offers for yearly maintenance.

4. Keyword targeting

Another geofencing marketing option is to use keyword targeting. Keyword targeting involves targeting potential customers based on the content they read across the web. It’s an effective way for you to target people who have an interest in your industry.

For example, a cabinetry supplier may target a list of keywords related to kitchen remodeling to show ads to people who have been looking at topics related to kitchen remodeling. It’s an effective way to reach people who might need your products or services based on what they’ve been searching.

5. Category contextual targeting

With category contextual targeting, you use geofencing marketing to target people based on the content they view online. You target topics or categories of information and your ads are shown to people viewing that content.

6. Geo-optimized targeting

As the name implies, geo-optimized targeting involves reaching people in a specific geographic area, based on zip code, city, state, or something similar. This option is good for companies that want to build brand awareness through targeting a larger geographic area.

7. Website retargeting

To wrap up this list of type of geofencing marketing, let’s talk about website retargeting. This type of geofencing serves ads to people who already visited your website in an effort to drive them to your physical store. These ads are great for getting people in the door who showed a previous interest in your business.

4 tips for implementing geofencing into your marketing strategy

Wondering how to implement geofencing into your marketing strategy? We’ve got you covered! All you need to get started with geofencing is an app and GPS coordinates.

Then, you can follow these simple geofencing tips for incorporating geofencing into your marketing strategy:

  1. Research your target audience
  2. Keep your geofencing boundary small
  3. Make your call to action (CTA) actionable and clear
  4. Use all your targeting techniques

Keep reading to find out more about each one!

1. Research your target audience

Your target audience is essential to geofencing marketing.

If you understand who your audience is, as well as what they want, you can create a target area that’ll drive results. Plus, you can develop ads that will engage shoppers and encourage them to purchase. If you’re unsure of who makes up your target audience — or are revamping your target audience — look at the data you already have available.

If you’re active on social media, for example, interact with your customers and see what they’re saying about your business, services, or products.

2. Keep your geofencing boundary small

In most cases, you’ll want to keep your geofencing area to a four to five-minute radius around your local business. Making your boundary too large could result in you promoting your brand to uninterested people.

It’s also a good idea to consider whether most people in your city walk or drive. If they tend to walk more, you’ll want to keep your boundary to a four to five-minute walking radius. And if they drive, a four to five minutes driving distance will do.

3. Make your call to action (CTA) actionable and clear

Which is more actionable — “Buy an entrée and get one free, today only!” or “Come in for our dinner special!” Sure, you’re inviting users with each, but you’re much more specific and to the point in the first call-to-action (CTA).

It’s also worth noting that you should develop ads that aren’t spammy or self-serving. If you’re promoting a new product, for example, invite users to try it versus telling them to buy it. With this approach, you’re guiding them through the buying funnel in a natural way.

4. Use all your targeting techniques

In geofencing marketing, you can use several outside marketing techniques, including:

  • Context targeting: A targeting option that shows an ad that’s relevant to the content on the page, such as an ad beside a news article about local restaurants.
  • Content targeting: A targeting tool that targets keywords used in searches, as well as the intention of those keywords. If you have content for the keyword, “restaurants with private dining areas,” you’d ensure the content discusses your private dining area and options.
  • Retargeting: targeting strategy for marketing that shows an ad to users that have viewed a product on your website, such as after visiting your storefront.
  • Dayparting: A targeting technique that targets users at certain times of day, better known as ad scheduling. If you have a target audience that’s active on the weekdays, for instance, you may only run your promotions Monday through Friday.

Like many digital marketing tools, geofencing marketing will support and complement your digital marketing strategy. It’ll inform your team, for example, about when your target audience is active, as well as how to market to them after a store visit.

5 geofencing marketing examples

Ready for a few geofencing marketing examples to inspire your campaign? Here are five to start:

  1. Taco Bell
  2. History Channel
  3. Burger King
  4. BMW
  5. American Eagle

1. How Taco Bell amplified annual sales

Taco Bell, a fast-food giant for Mexican dishes, leveraged its mobile app for geofencing advertising. The marketing team at Taco Bell wanted to target users under the age of 30 that had enabled push notifications for the Taco Bell app. The goal? For users to say, “Yo quiero Taco Bell.”

By creating well-defined geofences in areas near Taco Bell locations, the team improved the company’s annual profits by six percent. For reference, the company recently posted $10 billion in annual sales — that means the campaign generated close to $600 million in additional profits.

2. How the History Channel raised brand awareness

The History Channel, a television network for all-things history, improved awareness for its brand by partnering with Foursquare, a mobile app for finding local restaurants, entertainment, museums, and more.

If users opted to check-in to a historical location, such as the White House, they’d see additional information on the location.

For the White House, for example, they may see an overview of its construction dates, as well as notable historical events. While the companies didn’t release numbers on the campaign, industry insiders view it as a success.

3. How Burger King detoured customers away from competitors

Burger King’s Whopper Detour campaign is an excellent example of geofencing marketing. More specifically, it’s an example of geoconquesting — a geofence marketing strategy designed to draw customers away from competitors.

Here’s how the campaign worked. Burger King set up geofences around McDonald’s locations. When users entered those geofences, they received a notification offering a Whopper burger for one cent if they bought it through Burger King’s recently redesigned app. The app then provided directions from the McDonald’s to the nearest Burger King where the customer could pick up their order.

The stunt drove more than 1 million app downloads in just a few days and earned Burger King quite a bit of attention.

4. How BMW made geofencing a service

Many companies focus on geofencing as a marketing tool — and BMW did too — but as a unique selling point. How? With their BMW Trackstar and BMW Trackstar Advance services, which track the position of your vehicle to ensure its security.

If your vehicle moves without your car keys, BMW notifies you. For BMW, the decision to bring geofencing into its marketing and business plan worked. The service not only offers an advantage to consumers but also offers a continued source of revenue for the company.

BMW Trackstar and BMW Trackstar Advance have an annual subscription fee.

5. How American Eagle increased in-store purchases

American Eagle, an apparel company, also found success with geofencing marketing. It focused on targeting mall locations, which often house American Eagle stores. The company also wanted to persuade its competitors’ customers to choose American Eagle.

By creating ads with special offers, as well as incentives for trying on clothes, the company accomplished its goals. In fact, its in-store sales increased three times over, generating new revenue for the business.

See more geofencing examples here

Want to learn how to start a geofencing marketing strategy?

Join our newsletter and we’ll deliver tips and tricks for creating a geofencing marketing strategy that delivers real results! Or, contact us online for professional help developing, launching, and managing your geofencing advertising campaign.

Try our free Marketing Calculator

Craft a tailored online marketing strategy! Utilize our free Internet marketing calculator for a custom plan based on your location, reach, timeframe, and budget.

Plan Your Marketing Budget
Marketing Budget Calculator