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Geomarketing 101: What Is Geomarketing?

Examining the power of location's influence on marketing — and how ad campaigns with a "geo" component drive more foot traffic to stores.

From geotargeting to beacons, location-based technology is opening up a world of possibilities for marketers — but it’s also complicated, as new capabilities and use cases seem to emerge every day.

With the goal of breaking down some of the most important “geo” concepts to provide a better understanding of the basics — and a jumping off point for exploring how far the power of location may take us — we introduce the next (and perhaps, most integral) installment of our GeoMarketing 101 series: understanding the concept of geomarketing.

What Is Geomarketing?

Geomarketing describes any form of marketing that incorporates location intelligence in order to improve the odds of a particular message reaching the right consumer at the right time.

This can be achieved in a number of ways, but the common factor is that location data or awareness is used as part of the marketing effort — that’s the “geo” element. Geotargeting is one common form of geomarketing, which is simply defined as delivering content to users (commonly via mobile, but cross-device as well) based on where they are or on what locations they have previously visited.

Geofencing is an example of a real-time geomarketing tactic designed to target uses within an established geographic area. More on the applications of geofencing, here.

The guiding principle behind these geomarketing efforts is that, in the words of location platform Sonata’s Lara Mehanna, “where you are is who you are.” Essentially, the idea is that the places a customer has visited tell a lot about them, and they can be a great predictor of intent.

To give a basic example, a consumer who has visited several car dealerships over the past several days is probably shopping for a car. Dealers who can deliver a relevant ad or offer on a new car to this interested person are more likely to make a sale.

In that vein, ad campaigns that use location data in this way have now demonstrated their link to in-store sales lift. This makes it especially appealing to brick-and-mortar businesses; elaborate ad creative is eye-catching, but at the end of the day, what a retailer truly cares about is what makes the cash register ring. Geomarketing has proved an effective way to get there.

Geomarketing Examples

As we wrote last June, consumers’ location information is a valuable tool for “in the moment” targeting, useful for everything from delivering a mobile coupon to a shopper passing by a store to geo-fencing amphitheaters and events to aggregate social content. But the capabilities of geomarketing now go beyond the real-time, says the Mobile Marketing Association, as major brands such as Walmart and Denny’s have used geo-data to create contextual audience profiles to help drive in-store traffic over time.

Examples of some particularly effective geomarketing efforts: Two of the campaigns from location ad marketplace xAd on behalf of Denny’s and Goodwill have been covered previously by GeoMarketing. As we found back in March 2015, xAd’s location ads for Denny’s generated a 34 percent rise in visits at the fast casual restaurant chain, while the geomarketing provider’s campaign for the non-profit service center resulted in 13,000 additional visits to Goodwill donation centers nationwide for a 43 percent lift in in-store action.

For more examples of the efficacy of location-powered campaigns, read more below:

What The Coming 30,000 Local Political Campaigns Can Teach Retailers About Geo-Targeting

Thinknear: Mobile, GeoTargeting Are Changing In-Store Shopper Marketing Strategies