A top 3 best practices in Geofence Advertising

A look at 3 companies and the creative ways they've used geofencing for their location-based marketing strategy.

A top 3 best practices in Geofence Advertising

By now we’ve done a whole tour of the geofence circus. If you’ve read our previous blog and some of our earlier stuff, you probably know all about it. So why another blog on the topic? Hear me out.

I’ve talked about Burger King and how they hit a location-based marketing home run with their $.01 Whopper deal in an attempt to steer away customers from McDonald's. That had me thinking, what other great geofence marketing strategies are there?

After a lot of research, soul searching, meditation, attending lectures, meeting Yoda, and a pilgrimage to Vatican City, I’ve found three geofence marketing strategies that I want to share with you all.

My meeting with Yoda. No, this isn't from the film, a friend of mine took a video and I made a gif out of it. Source: trust me bro.

Sephora

Yeah, that French multinational retailer for beauty and personal care products has used geofencing to redefine their brick-and-mortar store experience for their customers. I guess the best way to describe it is that they’ve digitally personalized the in-store experience. That’s been made possible in a whole heap of ways which are very interesting, but not all of it’s relevant for this blog so if you don’t mind we’re just going to stick to what’s important for geofencing and location-based marketing.

One of the ways they’ve digitally personalized their customers' in-store experience is through their mobile app. It comes with the similar features and uses that you’ll find with other company apps, but for its in-store experience the Sephora app has something more. The “Store Companion”, as they’ve called it, is activated once the user enters a store. This in-app companion helps you find the nearest store to you, checks if items you want are in stock, can book reservations, inform you of promotions and limited edition offers, and show product reviews and product recommendations. “Store Companion” also sends a notification to a customer that a product they have on their online wish list is in stock at a nearby store. It’s personalized advertising that’s done in such a way it doesn’t feel the same as other geofence advertisements because the “Store Companion” gives you a sense of interaction with the app on a deeper level.

Volvo

A Volvo dealership in New York executed a 30-day marketing campaign that saw them attract 500 new customers to their website and 132 of them to their showroom. All done through geofence advertising.

Geofences were built around areas that had a lot of car shoppers. As a luxury car manufacturer, they specifically targeted those looking for a luxury brand, and built geofences around those local competitors. So, those car shoppers/enthusiasts would receive targeted banner ads.

To measure whether that was working, Volvo created a conversion zone around their dealership. They got a lot of data from that. They could track customers who actually visited the showroom, those who entered the established-target geofences, and those who saw or clicked on the ads. Even more, they could track those who did see their ads and went through the geofences, and also those who didn’t see them but still went through those geofences. That way they could compare their natural foot traffic to their converted foot traffic to see how effective the campaign was.  Not only did this help them build brand awareness but they were driving traffic (yes, that was intended) to their dealership, and actually reaching customers who were already out shopping with the interest to purchase a luxury car.

Photo by Nirmal Rajendharkumar on Unsplash

Dunkin’

Like many coffee chains, Dunkin’ also sends app notifications to users entering a geofence with targeted location-based ads. They started this in Providence, Rhode Island back in  2014 with banner ads that included coupons for users to claim and use at their nearest Dunkin’ store. It proved to be a success with their loyal Dunkin’ customers and the campaign was then optimized and introduced to other markets. They noticed that consumers were saving coupons instead of redeeming them immediately. It gave Dunkin’ the idea to offer coupons to customers that were not loyal to Dunkin’ (basically those who don’t have the app), luring them to collect and save coupons, and eventually redeeming them by downloading their app.

They’ve done other creative marketing campaigns that use geofencing too. On National Donut Day (Friday 2nd of June, 2023, you're welcome), Dunkin’ created a geofence ad campaign through Snapchat. Users had access to a giant pink frosted donut filter whenever they were in a geofence around a Dunkin’ store. It increased user engagement and reminded them of the national holiday and the added bonus fact that they could pick up a free donut. It was an effective way to drive customers to their stores and boost sales.

Missed some of our previous geofence content?

Maybe this was the first time you’ve read one of our blogs related to geofencing. If so, check out some of our previous work! Not all of it is about location-based marketing or advertising but here’s a list of recommendations:

  1. What is geofencing and how can it benefit your business
  2. Geofences: retail’s key to success in the post-pandemic era
  3. Curbside pickup: what’s the big deal?
  4. Improving your delivery service with Roam.ai
  5. How to get started with location-based marketing