What is Geofencing?

Global Positioning is currently a common feature across most smartphone brands. From a marketing perspective, this allows for getting a general idea of where the customer base is. While advertisers aren’t allowed to directly track customer movements, they can establish event triggers for whenever a customer enters a certain location, such as a city. This helps with distributing much more locally relevant ads.

Mobile Geofencing

Mobile tracking is not a new concept.  On all current devices, it is a function that can be toggled in the settings to allow specific external users access to a variety of tools and apps.  This has been a feature for well over a decade and has become more prominent than ever with the majority of the world utilizing mobile technology.  Utilizing this now mainstay feature, advertisers have figured out how to establish geographical boundaries for their businesses designed to kick in whenever a user has gotten close enough for their advertisements to become relevant.

SMS Geofencing

This is the strategy of using the aforementioned location tracking for SMS marketing.  There are two additional hurdles that must be surpassed first before sending such advertisements:

  • The user must give consent

There are anti-spam laws that SMS marketers must follow.  However, there are workarounds for acquiring user permission to receive advertisements.  For more on opt-in marketing as well as some of the limitations that iOS 15 enforces, more can be found here: (url to our opt-in page).

  • The user must give permission to use their location

If the user does give permission to receive SMS messages, they must also give permission to use their location too.  Users must activate this functionality from their end on their device settings.  Otherwise, sending blanket SMS messages will not work.

When permission is given, messaging marketing may continue.

 

How it works

Tracking the customer’s location requires the SMS provider to have a tap into the customer’s GPS or RFID signals. As location information is not a permanent function on messages, searching up a user’s location is necessary for determining when they cross a geofence.  There’s an optimization process to look up a customer’s location, lest the marketer unnecessarily expend time and money trying to keep an eye on customers day in and day out, especially once customers have passed out of effective range of the relevant geofence.

For example food establishments such as cafes and restaurants should consider using geofencing during periods of the day related to spikes in activity.  During the hours leading up to and at noon, it would be optimal to send SMSs advertising food.

 

Optimizing Geofencing

A few things to remember when planning how to use geofencing to its greatest effectiveness are:

  • Search using different times:  Known as ‘A/B Testing’, there’s no harm in searching around at various times of day to get a proper idea when the customers are most interested in what marketing has to offer.

  • Adjust location as well as time:  Alongside A/B Testing, don’t forget to adjust to different geofence areas if growth and engagement within a specific geofence zone has already been maximized.

  • Structure the message around when they are sent:  In conjunction with the aforementioned points regarding when to search for customers, it’s important to also specify time and day for the promotion too.

    • Set realistic boundaries for promotion:  Geofencing can cover a wide area and people typically don’t like to remain on the road for particularly long.  Regardless of how many people receive a SMS advertisement, most of them won’t bother reacting if they feel what is advertised is beyond their reach.  In that case, it would be much better to maintain advertising within a closer range.

    What Marketing Can Look Like with Geofencing

     

    Geofencing can help marketers reach out to their customers at the right place and time.  By knowing a customer’s place and time relative to where the marketer wants them, it becomes easier to plan for the customer a path that will seem relatively convenient or desirable.  Used with other data regarding customer demographics, this can help further refine marketing efforts.

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