What is geofencing and how does it work?
In simple terms, a geofence is a virtual boundary created around a real-world physical location that measures when a user enters or exits the area. Geofences are defined by latitude and longitude coordinates and can as big or small as you'd like, from your local airport to an entire city.
When a user crosses a geofence, an "event" is triggered that can be used to send a message, such as a notification, to the user’s device or to perform actions in the app's backend.
Typically, mobile geofences are predefined by marketers, developers or business owners to send relevant ads in the form of real-time push notifications. Alternatively, geofences are useful to collect data about your customers such as how long they spend in the store and how often they visit.
Imagine you want to bring more customers into your store, setting up a geofence around your business can allow you to send passersby special discounts and promotions at the right time and place.
This is an example of one of the most common use cases for geofencing: targeted location-based advertising. But there are actually a wide range of applications for geofencing that benefit both the user and the business, from food delivery to understanding consumer trends.
Here’s a summary of how geofencing can benefit apps:
- Target users with right time, right place messages
- Gain insights on customer behavior to improve how you run your business and create personalized app experiences
- Enhance location-aware applications such as food delivery or social apps
What types of apps use geofencing?
Geofences continue to be used in new and intuitive ways by marketers and developers. Here are some of the most popular use cases in 2021:
- Targeted advertising: Also known as geotargeting, advertising to customers based on their physical location is one the most widely used geofencing techniques. Using geofences around certain stores or regions allows businesses to send relevant promotions to increase foot traffic and customer engagement. Remember, sending promotional notifications always relies on the user having the relevant privacy and notifications turned on.
- Social media: Social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat allow advertisers to create geofences around specific regions. These geofences can be utilized to deliver location-based ads or offer location-specific features such as filters or stickers.
- On-demand: From ride-hailing to grocery delivery, geofencing can automatically help connect customers to the nearest driver within a certain radius of their location. Apps can also use geofences to keep the customer notified about the status of their order from pick-up to drop-off. This helps to streamline the process of matching the right driver and to increase transparency about the status of their order.
- Logistics: Transport and shipping companies can set up geofences around warehouses and stops along the route to send employees and customers notifications when goods are arriving or when there has been a delay. With real-time accurate information about arrival times, employees can coordinate effectively to improve operational efficiency and customer satisfaction with alerts about delivery times.
- Events: Open-air festivals, conventions and sports events can utilize geofence technology to reach attendees with targeted messages about starting times, directions or promotions. Geofencing can also be used around an event to increase foot traffic to specific areas that could interest the user. These geofences can both increase sales and personalize the user’s experience for a more enjoyable event.
Building geofences into your app with Roam.ai's SDK and APIs
As geofences use location data to determine when a user has crossed into an area, the more accurate the data the more targeted you can make your messages. The location SDK uses cellular network, WiFi and sensors in the phone to guarantee accurate location.
Roam.ai's geofencing is customizable and scalable, allowing you to create unlimited geofences of any shape and size. Using Roam.ai's realtime architecture, you can use geofence events to send your rich notifcations or collect useful data to help your business.
Here are some of the main features:
- Circle geofence: Set a radius of your choice to create a geofence for any use case.
- Polygon geofence: If you want a geofence around a specific area such as the vicinity of your business, a region or a city, Roam.ai’s polygon geofences are simple to use with lat/long coordinates.
- Moving geofence: Great for social apps and ride-hailing services, this innovative feature allows you to attach geofencing to moving objects.
- Time-aware geofences: To prevent sending out promotional messages when your business is closed, set specific times for your geofences to be active.
- Nearby API: Roam.ai's flexible Nearby API creates a geofence around a user or location point to find other users, drivers or points of interest in a set radius.
Read more about our complete geofence offering in our brand-new upgraded documentation.