What Is Geotargeting?

What Is Geotargeting?
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What is geotargeting? Geotargeting, which grew up as a result of smartphone and GPS technology, is a way to reach and communicate with consumers or businesses based on their zip code, city, IP address, or other location factors.

Geofencing is a type of geotargeting, whereby marketers can establish a “fence” around a specific location and then send targeted messages to those people who enter the area.

These forms of marketing fall under the larger umbrella of location-based marketing. As convenience and proximity become more important to today’s consumers, reaching shoppers, diners, and service-seekers where they are is essential to building your brand and business.

People use local search to find businesses near them, but geotargeting enables those businesses to proactively appeal to people with messages, offers, and other communications that may impact their purchase decisions.

Knowing where your prospects are at any point in time is invaluable in marketing to them.

These great brands use geotargeting in creative ways

Knowing where your prospects are is just part of the geotargeting equation. Brands that have run successful geotargeting campaigns combined their location knowledge with the demographics and needs of potential buyers.

  • Urban Outfitters targeted offers for party dresses to women who recently visited bars and nightclubs. By combining location data with shopper insights, they saw a boost in revenues of close to 150 percent.
  • Pizza is a category where consumers have multiple choices. Smart geotargeting can help store owners get a larger slice of the sales pie. Using digital and social ads (Google, Facebook, Twitter) can be a cost-effective way to attract new customers, especially during sports seasons, when customers may be looking for nearby alternatives.
  • BMW, Chevrolet, and other car brands have incorporated geotargeting and geofencing into their marketing strategies. Realizing that people in certain neighborhoods liked a particular car model, Chevy heavied-up on their ad buy in a specific region, boosting sales dramatically. In fact, the results were more than 200 percent better than in areas where geotargeting was not used.

Getting started with geotargeting

As with all forms of tech-powered precision marketing today, you must have a clear idea of who is currently buying your product or service, where they live, and how large the market in that geography is, so you can calibrate your spending to your opportunity.

Start with a concentrated area or radius so you can test and fine-tune your approach before investing in a larger area. Work with experts who have broad and deep experience with targeted programs.

Make sure you’re matching the right advertising media and creative to the demographic. For example, if you are targeting college students, you might want to use a platform like TikTok. As with all digital advertising, you want to be sure that your platform is consistent with the social media behaviors of the audience you’re targeting.

In addition to powerful social media or other digital creative, you will need area-specific landing pages, so that the entire end-to-end buyer experience feels personalized and relevant.

Welcome to the future of location-based advertising and geotargeting

As a result of the pandemic, people are seeking a wide range of options close to home. Smart marketers are using geotargeting to reach those consumers in the places and at the times they are ready to buy using previous search and purchase behavior to hone-in on opportunities. The proliferation of 5G and the continued adoption of smartphones will make location-based marketing easier and faster.

On the flip side, privacy legislation presents an ongoing challenge. but as long as you’re staying on the right side of personalization versus surveillance, you’ll find that geotargeting can be a cost-effective way to reach your market.

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About the author

Nancy Shenker

Nancy A. Shenker has been an independent consultant, writer, and speaker for more than 15 years, following a career as a C-level marketing executive. Her company theONswitch provides virtual CMO services. A content strategist and writer, she is the author of four books and publisher of five business and lifestyle websites. Her passions are humanistic tech, food, gadgets, and travel.