How 5 Brands Use Geo-Targeting to Fuel In-Store Sales

Share this:

Nothing’s worse than seeing an ad for sunscreen on a rainy day in Seattle. By serving mobile ads based on users’ geographic locations, brands can avoid these types of blunders and hone in on the type of hyper-specific messaging that boosts engagement and click-through rates.

Seeking to bridge the online and offline experience, enterprise marketers are increasing their spending on geo-targeted mobile campaigns, and as a result, geo-targeted ad sales are expected to rise from $12.4 billion in 2016 to $32.4 billion in 2021, according to research from BIA/Kelsey.

While the combination of ad-tech and match platforms are giving brands a greater ability to personalize and localize their geo-targeted campaigns, not all brands are seeing the same success, as there is still a fair amount of creativity involved.

Here are five examples of brands who’ve gotten it right, with geo-targeted campaigns designed to extend the connection with consumers and drive shoppers to the local retail stores where their products are sold.

Purple Mattress: Using local weather to dictate ad copy
As an e-commerce brand, Purple Mattress sells its products to consumers around the globe. Through trial and error, the company has found that it generates higher click-through rates when it runs Facebook ads with content that’s targeted based on users’ geographic locations. Purple Mattress’ conversion-focused campaign, which runs on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and the Google Display Network, targets consumers in warm weather locations, like Phoenix, Arizona. By refining the ad copy to include the city name and a reference to the current weather—for example, including the words “start sleeping cooler” in an ad during periods of hot weather—Purple Mattress has been able to generate higher click-through rates.

Whole Foods: Geo-conquesting around competitors’ stores
In a bid to boost post-click conversion rates for its mobile ads, while also drawing customers away from competitors, Whole Foods placed geo-fences around a number of store locations. Shoppers who entered these geo-fenced areas saw special offers on their smartphones. Whole Foods also took part in a practice called geo-conquesting by targeting ads to consumers visiting nearby supermarkets and encouraging them to come to Whole Foods in exchange for better deals. Together, the campaigns resulted in a 4.69% post-click conversion rate, which is more than 3x the industry average.

East Coast Wings + Grill: Using check-in campaigns to drive engagement
The fast-casual dining franchise East Coast Wings + Grill has more than 60 locations operating or in development. During the run-up to the Super Bowl, the company launched a social media campaign with locally targeted ads and posts on social media. Unique campaigns were created with dynamic content for individual restaurant locations and targeted toward social media users living within pre-determined radiuses. Social media users who clicked on those ads were funneled toward local pages for East Coast Wings, with detailed information about local specials and events. Running this type of geo-targeted campaign allowed the company to measure sustained traffic by sales, guest count, and social media metrics.

Urban Outfitters: Leveraging geographic information to understand consumer behaviors
Leveraging location data allowed Urban Outfitters to better understand its customers’ behaviors and make better use of email, push notifications, and messaging inside its own mobile app. Working with Appboy and PlaceIQ, Urban Outfitters used dynamic audience filters to deliver messages based on shoppers’ real-world locations. For example, the company sent push notifications promoting party dresses to females who had recently visited bars and nightclubs. The targeted campaign resulted in a 75% increase in conversions and a 146% lift in revenue.

Toyota: Customizing banner ads with city-specific information
In an effort to re-boot an aging campaign, Toyota began purchasing geo-targeted ads on Snapchat. The ads, which were part of the company’s “Let’s Go Places” campaign, ran inside Snapchat’s localized Live Story feature for people using the photo sharing app in the Los Angeles area. During the same period, Toyota also updated its Google campaigns with customized ad banners in 15,000 U.S. cities. Using an API, Toyota was able to incorporate city-specific information into each of its ads. The hyper-targeted ads were meant to encourage people to explore the areas around them—ideally while driving Toyota cars.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.




Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.