How to Geofence Advertising with Google, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat

What is Geofenced advertising?

Geofencing is the use of GPS or RFID technology to create a virtual geographic boundary, enabling software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area. Geofencing in terms of advertising is triggering targeted advertising to users in a specific geographical area.

Geofencing allows businesses to reach a hyper-specific audience. For instance, if you are a personal injury lawyer, your potential clients will very probably visit a hospital after an injury, or a car dealership after their car has been damaged in an accident. Or, if your exhibiting at a trade show you can build a parameter around the venue and popular hotspots and run special offers available only at your booth to your target audience.

The concept of geofencing has been around for several years but with the proliferation of mobile devices, the options and capabilities have expanded rapidly. Today, we’re going to examine a few of these options and share some ideas and concepts on how you could utilize these platforms to promote your business.

Geofencing Advertising for Google Ads

You can easily set up geofencing advertising on Google Ads. To do so, choose a campaign and then go to its Settings page. You can choose from a number of geo-targeting options such as Country, State, Zip Code, Radius, DMA, City, and Metro.

You can set up Google Ads geofencing on the ads displayed on search results, display and YouTube. To more specifically target a location, manually enter the location. Google will display the estimated number of users within the geofenced location that meet other criteria that you have defined. It is also important to note that you can apply additional levels of targeting to this audience to be even more specific. For example, if you’re targeting an auto show you could use Google’s affinity audiences to see if someone is in the market for a vehicle or layer on keyword targeting to see if they’ve been searching for specific types of automobiles or manufacturers.

You can choose from ‘Location’ or ‘Radius’ options as well. The Radius option lets you target an audience within a more customized and specific area that you define. You can choose mile-radius or kilometer-radius to target a pinpointed location. This gives you the ability to target your paid Google Ads campaigns on the relevant audience within a very specific area.

Geofencing Advertising on Facebook and Instagram

Facebook has become an immensely important advertising platform for businesses. With over a billion users, Facebook offers endless opportunities to tap into your target audience through paid ads and bring in new customers to grow your business.

Facebook has a fairly simple and straight-forward interface for ads campaigns. To set up geofencing on your Facebook ads, first create a standard marketing campaign. Then browse to the ‘Audiences’ section of the campaign.

In the Audiences section, you can use different factors to accurately define your audience. One of these factors is ‘Locations.’

In the Locations section, specify a particular location for your target users. You can also provide the Locations that should be excluded from the location you have selected. For instance, you can select a particular neighborhood, and then exclude some of the areas of that neighborhood that you don’t want to target. This creates a more effective and specific geofence for your Facebook advertising campaigns.

When selecting a Location on Facebook ads, you are also presented with a map interface. On the map interface, choose the ‘Drop Pin’ option to exactly pinpoint a location. Once the location is specified, select a specific radius around that location. The minimum radius you can set around a pinpointed location is 1 mile. But suppose you want your target location to have a smaller radius.

This is where Location exclusions come in handy. After defining your target location and radius, you can add as many location exclusions as you like. So within the 1-mile radius, you have set, you can add exclusions all along the boundary of this radius. By doing so, you are able to build a geofence that is tighter than the one-mile radius and a lot more specific.

You can create geofenced ads on Instagram in exactly the same way as Facebook.

Geofencing Advertising on Snapchat

Much like Google and Facebook, you can also create highly targeted geofenced ads on Snapchat. In fact, Snapchat makes it even easier for you to target a more specific location.

You can choose from country, state, city and other geographical divisions to target a broader audience. If you are looking to create a more specific location, you can drop a pin at a particular location to target the area. Snapchat lets you select a minimum radius of 0.06 miles around a pinned location. This allows you to lock in on a highly targeted location.

You can use geofenced advertising on Snapchat to push story ads and filters to the right audience. This means that your ad dollars have a better potential of bringing in more traffic and customers. You can also create and promote filters based on a user’s physical location which allows for some unique promotional opportunities.

The Costs of Geofencing Advertising

Geofencing advertising is simply a technique of using the standard advertising platforms in a more effective way. So there are no additional costs for creating geofenced ads campaigns. That said, you will need quality data in order to be successful in your geofencing advertising. Such data includes the behaviors and habits of your target customers as well as their relevance to the areas you are targeting.

Much like the standard Google or Facebook ads, geofenced ads on these platforms are run as Cost-Per-Mille (CPM), Cost-Per-Impression (CPM) or Cost-Per-Click (CPC) ads. Depending on your preferences, you can choose a model that best aligns with your advertising and marketing goals.

Other Considerations for Geofencing Marketing

Any marketing effort is as much about the human behavior as it is about the technology you use. So make sure you understand your customers well before you curate customized geofenced ads.

Consider this example: You have a product which is relevant for the youth within a specific age bracket. This particular audience popularly frequents the local gaming zone. You decide to target the venue through geofencing advertising because you believe this allows you to target your desired audience very effectively.

However, you may want to consider these questions:

  • Does your audience have the time to see ads when they visit the venue?
  • Is your audience likely to take the desired action when at the venue?
  • Is your target user likely to use the phone during the visit?
  • Is the user likely to be immersed in a browser or mobile app session during the visit, as most
    geofenced ads will be displayed through these mediums?

These and other considerations are important when crafting geo-targeted ads. At the end of the day, you want to be specific through geofencing but creative enough at the same time to make the most out of it.

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