Geofencing: Oldie but Goodie

By Katelyn Lugo

The city I live in has been going crazy for the past few weeks as the Padres, our hometown MLB heroes, have been making history. During the most recent Padres vs. Dodgers game, the Padres’ team used an oldie but goodie tactic that some marketers love while others avoid – geofencing.  

Geofencing has been around since “digital marketing” became a thing. Simply put, a virtual fence is traced around an area (zip code, city, state, an address, or a specific spot in a building) and whoever walks in & out of that area can be served ads on their mobile phones once they leave the fence. Some marketers detest geofencing because there is no way to control who gets picked up by the virtual fence. For example, if we geofence a competing business for a client, we technically only want to grab customers of that business. Since geofencing is location-based, anyone who walks into that business can be grabbed by our system – customers, employees, delivery drivers, etc. This naturally leads to wasted impressions. Despite this con, there are many cases where geofencing can be an effective awareness tactic.  

Since Padres and Dodgers fans live close to Petco Park, the Padres wanted to make sure that the stadium was full of their fans. To do so, they geofenced their ad sales to areas where their fans reside. This could have been tricky as limiting ad sales could have affected attendance numbers. Thankfully, the stadium was full and almost 100% of the crowd was Padres fans. The Padres believe that the intense morale in their favor attributed to their victory.  

padres fans vs dodgers petco park in story 300x200 - Geofencing: Oldie but Goodie

Though this worked for the Padres, we here at Wahl Media prefer to use geofencing in a more targeted way by placing virtual fences around addresses instead. Since geofencing naturally comes with wasted impressions, we want to ensure our clients’ budgets go as far as possible by targeting smaller areas.  

Currently, one of our clients is purposely serving display ads to a very small audience. We gathered those people by geofencing two venues in Rochester during specific dates and times when they were having events geared towards an older audience. Once these people left the events, they were added to a display audience, and we are now serving them ads. So far, the campaign CTR has been the highest we’ve seen across all our clients in 2022. This can be attributed to serving super relevant ads to a niche audience.  

Another client of ours uses geofencing throughout the entire year. We place virtual fences around their competitors and serve ads to people once they walk out of the stores. Since these people have shopped at our competitors, we know they’re relevant audience members to become our customers as well. Though, as stated earlier, there is a chance we’re reaching employees since this is a location-based tactic. Our system can tell us if someone was in a competing location, saw or clicked one of our ads once they left, and later walked into one of our client’s stores. This is a valuable metric that shows us how effective these campaigns are. So far in 2022, these campaigns have recorded over 30,000 walk-ins into our client’s stores.  

Geofencing is a legacy tactic that continues to develop and offer new and exciting ways to increase awareness within relevant audiences. At Wahl Media, we use it with the intention of ensuring campaigns are effective while keeping costs low. If you’re interested in how geofencing can help your business, contact us today!