Geo-Fencing vs Geo-targeting

geo-conquestingThe terms Geo-Fencing and Geo-targeting, are increasingly being used, but are not clearly being explained and differentiated. We decided to shed some light on these two similar, but distinct terms.

Definition of Website Geo-Fencing
Geo-Fencing is essentially a virtual perimeter that you can draw around any location on a map to deliver dynamic content to visitors – it is a form of website personalization.

Great! So, Geo-Fencing = personalization. So, what does this mean for dealers? This means that dealerships can generate personalized content in real time based on where their visitors’ IP addresses are registered. Since we know where your visitors are physically located, we can leverage this information to provide visitors with personalized videos, photos, text, and calls-to-action that are relevant to them. This will ultimately provide your buyers much more value from their visit.

How does Geo-Fencing work?

Dealerships can set rules to establish which content is served (or not served) to which area so that visitors receive a unique experience, just for them.

Why use Geo-Fencing?

Because people expect a personalized experience. They want to see information that is relevant to them. Delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right place, at the right time has been proven to shorten the buyer’s journey by catering to the needs of each individual buyer and proposing a solution to the problem they want to solve.

Example of Geo-Fencing

Think of out-of-towners – if you are a dealership in Mississauga, perhaps you would draw a fence around Toronto, and anyone who came to the website from Toronto would see a different message than those in Mississauga. In other words, the image, call-to-action, and text would be different for those viewing your website in Mississauga than it would be for those viewing your website in Toronto.

The personalized text could be something like, “When you come into town to visit our dealership and purchase a vehicle, we will cover a free night of accommodation in Mississauga!” or “Our Out-Of-Town Buyer’s Program was specifically designed to eliminate the unnecessary hassle and expense when traveling to find your perfect vehicle”. All this can be published on the homepage, to a very specific set of visitors.

You can even draw a virtual perimeter around a small section of a city – for example, the University of Alberta as shown below. In this example, students attending the U of A that visit your site will see the special offer for U of A students, coupled with an image of university students. Students seeing this messaging as opposed to generic messaging will be more likely to get to your inventory to take advantage of that special.
geofence around the University of Alberta

geofencing - offer to students at the University of Alberta


Definition of Geo-targeting 

Geo-targeting, on the other hand,  pertains more to online advertising as Geo-targeting allows you to define specific geographic areas where you want your ads published. Currently, geographic targeting allows advertisers to select their target audience on the basis of a country, province, town, or  postal code.

Facebook allows you be to even more granular with your geographic targeting. It is now possible to add many options to further refine targeting users that are most likely to be interested in your content:

Users who live in the area: this includes users whose geographical position on their Facebook profile is inside the targeted area. This group consists of users based on their IP address.

Users who have recently been in the area: This includes users whose latest geographical position is within the targeted area. User location can be determined through their mobile devices. This group therefore includes all users living in the area and passing users.

All users in the area: This includes users whose geographical position on their Facebook profile is within the area and all the users which have been localized in this area through their mobile devices.


How does Geo-targeting work and why use Geo-targeting?

If your dealership is located in the Maritimes, it would be counterintuitive to serve advertisements to the people of Vancouver Island. When running digital advertising, you undoubtedly want to serve your advertisement to the most relevant prospective shoppers possible.

By defining a radius by distance around your dealership, you strategically opt-in users to receive your advertisement within that radius and opt-out users outside of it.

You can also try geo-conquesting, which targets customers around a competitor’s location or a competitor’s area of interest. Google AdWords even allows you to adjust your bids to prioritize locations. For example, a dealership in Victoria may use bid adjustments to prioritize Victoria but also reach, at a lower cost, more northern cities such as Nanaimo, Comox, and Campbell River.

For more information about geo-fencing or geotargeting, feel free to reach out to our team today!

Leave a Reply