How to Add Geofencing to Your Mobile App Marketing Strategy
Of all the ways that marketers can interact with potential customers, geofencing might be the most powerful. This location-based technology allows you to trigger certain messages or record events when users enter a designated area.
While it’s obvious how businesses with a physical storefront might benefit from geofencing, there are numerous ways to use the technology. For instance, geofenced mobile ads garner twice the number of clicks as the industry average. This also leads to twice the number of secondary actions — such as downloading an app or signing up to an email newsletter. What’s more, geofenced ads can be up to 12 times more cost effective than bidding on search keywords.
So, how can you add geofencing to your own mobile app marketing strategy? Here are some ideas to get you started.
When user engagement is the name of the game, staying relevant is really important. No-one likes being prodded with push notifications all day — but receiving traffic updates as you leave for work is definitely welcome. In a similar vein, marketers can use location-based push notifications to deliver relevant updates to their users. This mobile app marketing strategy can have a huge impact on your user engagement.
Take the example of Vouchercloud, a popular coupon app in the UK that has partnerships with many top retailers. When users visit one of these stores, the app delivers any relevant offers through a push notification. In one campaign with Subway, Vouchercloud reported an average clickthrough rate of 30 percent. On peak days, the figure was more like 45 percent. These numbers make pretty compelling reading.
The secret to Vouchercloud’s success is that these notifications offer some value to the user. In general, consumers aren’t very happy to be tracked unless they benefit from the transaction. It’s certainly not a good idea to bombard people with adverts whenever they enter a specified area.
It’s even possible to get users to set up their own geofence. You can see a simple example of this in action with the Reminders app on iOS. As a user, you can ask the app to remind you to take out the trash before you leave for work. Reminders then creates a geofenced area around your home. When you are on the edge of this zone, the app nudges you with a notification.
Of course, geofencing doesn’t start and end with push notifications. By setting up an invisible perimeter, it’s possible to personalize the content delivered through your app. This can lead to better engagement and greater brand loyalty.
Sports teams like the San Francisco 49ers are leading the way in this area. When fans arrive at the big game, they can use the official team app to see live scores and find food. Using geofencing, it’s even possible for such venues to deliver different content to fans in different parts of the stadium.
Marriott uses geofencing in a completely different way. The big-name hotel chain has a virtual perimeter set up around each of its properties. When a guest shares something about their stay on social media while they are within the geofenced area, Marriott’s marketing team gets in touch. Particularly favorable tweets may even be rewarded with free nights. As a consequence, 82 percent of these guests will go on to follow the brand on social media.
As part of your mobile app marketing strategy, it’s also worth thinking about data analysis. There is nothing more valuable to any brand than a detailed understanding of customers.
For instance, an online retailer could set up a geofence around major concerts and sporting events. This data could later be used to provide personalized offers on related products, such as tennis shoes or official band merchandise.
On a more general basis, geofencing allows app developers to understand their users better. Ecommerce apps can learn how often their users visit rival bricks-and-mortar stores. Travel and leisure apps can learn how often users venture outside their home town. Productivity apps can even figure out how long users spend at work. This data can be invaluable in delivering a more personalized app experience to each user.
When implementing any kind of geofencing strategy, there are some key rules worth bearing in mind.
- Users will generally opt in to location tracking if you give them a good reason. Using geofencing to bombard your users with advertising is likely to alienate your users rather than entice them. Instead, make sure that you are providing value to the user through messages that are timely and relevant to them.
- Geofencing technology doesn’t have to be used alone. If you are going to target users who enter a specific zone, make sure your message is relevant to them in other aspects. In addition, you can use geofence data to improve your other marketing channels.
- Keep your geofenced areas to a reasonable size for the use case. For example, receiving updates about a store that’s located three miles away isn’t particularly helpful, but sending city-specific content to all users in a city-wide geofence is helpful.
For even more tips on how to use geofences successfully, take a look at our cheat sheet that highlights JetBlue as a great example.
Geofencing already plays a huge part in many successful digital marketing strategies. It’s one of the few ways that brands can link digital experiences with the real world. In addition, marketers can use the technology to better understand their users.
You don’t need an epic marketing budget to try geofencing for yourself. Localytics’ own PlacesTM feature lets you target customers using geofences with a few clicks. It can even handle the all-important data that you collect. If you’re ready to try geofencing for yourself, you can check out Places here.
And if you need some inspiration, take a look at how companies are already creating targeted push notifications with geofencing.