The New Age of Mobile Advertising: Geo-Fencing

There’s a new way to advertise that’s tailor-made for small businesses. It’s called Geo-Fence Targeting, a medium so specific it lets you pinpoint prospects down to the streets outside your business. It’s also cost effective, versatile and simple to implement. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Read on for details.

Simple Concept

Geo-fencing is a tactic made possible by the emergence of smartphones and other mobile devices. With over 90% of Americans owning one, it’s a medium that’s right for the times.

When you use geo-fencing to advertise, you designate an area around your business as a target for prospects. It could be a radius of a few miles or an area bound by streets, neighborhoods or other boundaries, like a river. When a prospect enters your designated area and uses a smart phone or device, your ad can pop up.

Here’s an example of how five companies are using geo-fencing.

Benefits of Geo-Fencing

You might be asking yourself, “how is geo-fencing any different than mailing a flier or coupon to prospects in my business footprint?” There are many answers to this question that make geo fencing an attractive alternative:

  • You’re typically hitting prospects when they’re out and about, so the likelihood of them responding is higher than if they received a mailing at their home.
  • Your offer won’t get thrown away with other “junk mail.”
  • You can include links to special offers and more information that the target can access immediately using their device.
  • It allows you to collect customer data that can be used in future marketing efforts.
  • Because it’s device driven and not target dependent, it hits all demographics – anyone with a smartphone is a prospect.

In essence, your business becomes a digital “pop-up shop,” and if prospects like what they see, they can make an instant decision to seek you out.

Cost Considerations

Costs are driven by the size of the virtual barrier you set and the number of prospects you want to reach. Both are variables that you control, which makes it easy to manage expenses. You’ll also have to consider what it will take to develop the asset that appears when a prospect enters your geo fence. This might be a simple banner ad with your logo and a call to action or something more complicated, like a special offer page with links to a product demo.


Let’s say you’re running a four-day sale over Memorial Day weekend promoting patio furniture. By targeting prospects within a ten-mile radius of your store, you might reach ten thousand units over the course of the weekend at a cost per thousand of $20. You might also spend another five hundred dollars to have a banner ad with a video component produced. All told, your total expense for this geo fence campaign would be:

$20 (CPM) x 10 + $500 = $700

While costs vary depending on many factors, this example shows just how reasonably priced a geo fence campaign can be.

To Get Started

If your business is serious about geo-fencing, the best place to start is with an agency that provides it as a service. Many advertising agencies offer geo fencing, and some firms exclusively do just this. Here are some geo-fencing companies that do this kind of work.

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