How to Ensure That Your Geofence Is Sized Correctly

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fenceLocation-based push campaigns have a lot of upside, from satisfied customers to higher ROI. But it can be a thin line that separates a successful campaign from one that leaves mobile users extremely annoyed — so really homing in on how to deliver the right geofence to optimize your campaign is crucial.

There’s no question that location-based ads are hot: according to a recent Econsultancy report, 27 percent of global companies plan to deliver location-based marketing in 2013, with 34 percent of them investing in mobile advertising. Meanwhile, another study from Verve Mobile determined that use of geofencing and geoaware targeting among advertisers more than doubled, from 17 percent in 2011 to 36 percent in 2012.

A good geo-targeted campaign can deliver three to five times more impact than a standard campaign. But there is an art and science to doing it well. So here are six tips for sizing geofences to maximize mobile advertising campaigns:

  • Embrace the Opt-in
    Getting users to voluntarily opt-in to receive push notifications is the most important thing you need to do. If they are to be successfully targeted, users need to know what they are agreeing to, and how it will benefit them, and once you have that information you are golden. Without it, you’ll end up with users turning off location services for your app, deleting your application entirely, or starting other PR nightmares or class action lawsuits. The language in an opt-in needs to be strong and specific. If possible you should check the end-user feedback and offer an opt-out option on a regular basis if the result is not the one expected. Once you’re delivering something they value, consumerswill be on board, and it is your job to make sure they know what to expect before the first push notification arrives.
  • Know Your Location
    If you’re in an area where people are driving their cars everywhere, or you’re promoting a campaign in an urban setting where people are going to be walking, set your geofence appropriately. A reasonable travel time for people in cars to alter their path to benefit from a push notification is a 5-10 minute drive, whereas in an urban setting people are willing to walk 500 meters, 2-3 city blocks, or a 5-7 minutes for a deal.
  • Check the Access Point
    You don’t want to just blindly drop a pin on the store you’re promoting, set a three-block geofence, and consider your work done. Every campaign needs some finessing, especially if small tweaks can yield more impressive results. Look around your geofence and see if you’re just missing a subway stop or a train station, to make sure you are getting the highest number of people available in that area.
  • Use Frequency Limits
    Some people may live within a geofence, or their job has them going in and out of a specific geofence throughout the day. So, it’s important to make sure they get the latest promotion, but not five of the same promotion.
  • Check Your Catchment Area
    Your geofence should always reside within your catchment area, and should be fine-tuned with each campaign.
  • Timing Matters
    Part of the appeal of push notifications is how they can play with impulse. So, if you’re running a campaign for a restaurant, and want to tell people about your lunch specials, the main question is going to be when to push it out within your geofence. At 9 a.m., people might not be thinking about specific lunch plans yet, and at 11:30a.m., they might already have them. So, there is a sweet spot somewhere in between that will bring more people into your business. Find out when it is.

The most important aspect of managing geofencing campaigns is to continually track and refine them. These campaigns deliver a mountain of data about what succeeds and what doesn’t,  and understanding this data enables you to keep driving ROI and engagement even higher.

Michele Turner - mBloxMichele Turner leads the global product team at mBlox, including product development, product management, and product marketing.  She has over 20 years of experience in high-tech product marketing, product development and business management. Follow Michele on Twitter @mturner.