The Ultimate Guide to Location-Based Mobile Marketing
Published: Jul 4, 2022
You’ve definitely heard the phrase “location, location, location,” whether in a movie, business meeting, or any other scenario. And it’s true—while the phrase was used in another context, it greatly applies to marketing as well. Think about how you tag a cafe on your Instagram stories or how you check in at your favorite hangout spot on Facebook. As a matter of fact, most of your mobile searches are location-based. Think of the times when you googled “Japanese restaurants near me” or “ATMs near me.” With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that location-based mobile marketing is taking the world by storm.
What is Location-Based Mobile Marketing
According to TechTarget, location-based marketing’s definition is the following: a direct marketing strategy that uses a mobile device's location to alert the device's owner about an offering from a nearby business.
As with other kinds of marketing, location-based has the purpose of attracting the attention of users and potential customers and getting them to purchase your product. Businesses go about this process with mobile ads and campaigns that are based on their location. These can pop up on their phones by either receiving notifications about special offers, conducting “near me” searches on Google, or in other ways.
Whether online or offline, marketers use location data to target and reach people based on their preferences and demographics. From proximity to a shop to events taking place in a region, experts use this information to create targeted offers. And of course, users must opt-in to receive location-based marketing notifications.
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Types of Geo-Based Mobile Marketing
Normally used to deliver instant messages to users in a certain area, geotargeting determines where users are with IP addresses. In mobile marketing, this works best to deliver breaking news without getting too precise. This means that geotargeting isn’t real-time and you can’t collect detailed information regarding where your users are or determine foot traffic.
Unlike geotargeting, geofencing uses real-time data to determine where users are. This occurs with the help of triangulation of location services—these include Wi-Fi, cellular towers, and more. Essentially, this type of location-based marketing is the process of using geofences to track app users when they enter, exit, or remain in a certain region, meaning it’s better suited for long-range outdoor aiming. As a result, when users enter the boundaries of the geofence, they are prone to receiving push notifications or messages from the brand.
Perhaps the sneakiest type of location-based mobile marketing is geoconquesting. To put it simply, this is the art of “stealing” your competitor’s customers. Geoconquesting is the process of placing a boundary around your rival’s location. When a user enters that boundary, they receive messages or notifications from your brand, urging them to use your product or services instead of the competitor.
Although the aforementioned types target larger areas, proximity marketing is ideal for smaller ones—preferably within 200 feet. In fact, this is its greatest advantage. With proximity marketing, you discover users’ exact locations thanks to technologies like Bluetooth beacons, NFC, QR codes, and more. Most experts use this type of mobile marketing strategy for local events to guide users throughout your business and provide personalized experiences.
How Does Location-Based Marketing Work?
Ad servers utilize a user's IP address to determine their location when conducting geotargeting. The ad server has a vast database behind the scenes that has every IP address already registered to its country, region, and postal code. When an order comes in, the ad server extracts the IP address from the request's header. It then searches this table, gets the relevant location data, and selects an ad that meets that criterion.
To employ geofencing, a system administrator or developer must first create a virtual border around a specific place in GPS or RFID-enabled software. This may be as basic as a 100-foot circle generated on Google Maps, as defined using APIs when designing a mobile app. If an authorized device enters or leaves that area, the virtual geofence will trigger a reaction determined by the administrator or developer.
Geo-conquesting uses GPS technology to target consumers near your rival. When opposed to monitoring their digital journey, tracking the actual sites clients visit can imply a more dedicated buying intention. This technology enables you to discover unidentified leads and the target audience of your rivals. It converts anonymous prospects into identified leads who may be reached via a variety of omnichannel executions.
Proximity marketing often uses Bluetooth low-energy beacons or geofences to initiate a series of events. RFID, NFC, QR codes, and Bluetooth beacons are examples of technologies that can help with this. Each has unique powers and limits. However, when it comes to the most common proximity use-cases, Bluetooth beacon technology is the most adaptable and effective solution.
Location-Based Mobile Marketing Examples
Google search results are the most common examples of geotargeting. Picture this: you’re googling vegan restaurants in your area. The search engine brings up results based on location data from your device’s IP address.
Imagine you own a retail store and you want to target customers near your business to get them to visit. Thanks to geofencing, a consumer can receive back-in-stock notifications about a certain product at the store if they review it online.
The most popular example of geoconquesting is Burger King’s campaign. With the help of geoconquesting, the fast-food chain was able to target McDonald's customers when they were 600 feet from a branch. Burger King motivated them to download their app and sent promos for a 1 cent whopper, therefore “stealing” McDonald's customers.
Proximity Marketing Example
Walmart is a smart case of proximity marketing. The retail company utilized GE light bulbs to house beacons and transmit push alerts to in-store shoppers about discounts and discount coupons. Using the beacons embedded within them, these beacon-equipped LED lights can follow consumers throughout a business. This reduced the need for such businesses to purchase additional beacon-related gear.