The term that has been a mobile marketing buzz word for years “Geofencing” is now used in many types of advertising and non-advertising use cases to do with location services. Understanding the How, What, Where and Why is on many people minds, but really understanding the usefulness for ones particular needs is the key to leveraging the technology’s benefits.

What Is A Geofence?

A Geofence is a virtual perimeter that is set in a radius or polygon format used to typically trigger a notification of a device entry, dwelling or exit of that perimeter. The geofencing industry is said to be and estimated 300 million dollar industry by 2017. The main reason for that number and most likely soon to be increased figure is the integration of mobile devices into the everyday life of the consumer.


Source: CBS (Under The Dome)

Types Of Advertising & Consumer Communication Using Geofences

The mobile marketing industry has shown case study that by adding location targeting with a ad campaign it’s effectiveness can as much as double. Just like any messaging to a consumer relevance is key and here are a few ways to deliver a more relevant message for your brand.

Display Advertising -For advertising purposes geofencing has been incorporated in forms of ad delivery. Web or mobile ads can be delivered based on IP address or mobile device’s location and a marketer can choose to deliver their ads to only consumers who match particular location requirements. Mobile devices give marketers the data they need to deliver the most relevant messaging possible for their brand via mobile banners and other forms of native advertising.

SMS or Push Notifications– Different types of geofences can be set up to communicate directly with a device based on its location. With approval from a mobile device owner either via text message or mobile application a message can be triggered for marketing messages or general alerts for activities such as deliveries or pick ups.

Content – For examplevideo & audio serving technologies location can be used to trigger content that is relevant based on IP address from device or mobile application’s location features. Geofence marketing is already being used in the radio industry and as media continues to integrate new creative use cases will be released using types of geofences to deliver relevant content.

Geofencing Comic-Con San Diego


How Location Is Found & A Geofence Is Triggered

GPS -A device can be tracked and it’s location can be delivered to a server in various ways. Typically a device using GPS (Global Positioning System) sends information back to a server and is managed through a web application that can translate the returned decimal format location data into longitude and latitude measurements to match with a mapping system that matches coordinates with the predetermined virtual area or geofenced and if the numbers match the notification is triggered. The GPS device can be attached to vehicles, equipment or a chip in mobile devices and strength and size may vary.

Cell Tower Triangulation -There are ways to find location in mobile devices for instance through it’s carrier using cell tower triangulation. Not the most accurate, but Cell tower triangulation is used by the carriers for many purposes and includes the process of sending a signal to a mobile device from a cell tower and then waiting and timing the “ping” back. The distance is then measured from multiple towers and a approximate lat/long is returned of the mobile devices location.


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 Wifi – Wifi or Wi-Fi wireless local internet technology has coordinates that can be collected in lat/long as well. Once a mobile device enters an area where the coordinates of a wifi device is known the device can join the network and mobile devices IP address is seen and location can be determined. With multiple WiFi devices signal strength can be measured in a similar way as cell tower methods via signal strength to determine  location. This can be used in large facilities and to also help track movement of consumers with devices. Another way to track movement and get location is through mobile device using applications connected with bluetooth beacons. BLE bluetooth low energy works with application to then receive signal and communicate between a server and mobile.

Privacy While Using Location Services – How To Not Be Geofenced

Pretty simply in terms of a mobile device using your location legally a device owner must have somehow agree via opt-in or part of a mobile application’s terms and conditions under their location or data privacy. A mobile device users has a few option in terms of stopping the use of their location a few of the easiest being turn off the phones location services in settings or opt-out via text or online at ad exchange or serving companies. For those who are particularly paranoid with their location being used without their permission there is Vysk.

A Geofence marketing simply is a tool that is used in conjunction with other location services to trigger an event such as SMS, email or deliver access . If you would like more information on geofencing and how it can be used to communicate for marketing or consumer notifying purposes please contact us today.