At A Glance – Geotargeting

Geotargeting could be a marketer’s best friend, or their worst enemy

Every business knows that a key to marketing success is relevance. There are numerous ways to work out how to send relevant ad content to individuals, including browsing history, personal information and situational data. Another technique, enabled by the mass ownership of consumer devices, is geotargeting.

Geotargeting is a branch of location marketing that has become all the more important due to the difficult nature of connecting with customers. . . especially millennials. Geotargeting capitalises on environmental data by identifying potential customers in a certain location and sending them ads that reflect the surrounding environment. Customers can be located through their IP addresses, device IDs or GPS. For example, assuming you haven’t switched off mobile location services, you might walk past a restaurant at lunch and receive a push notification to tell you about a two for one meal deal. In theory, the restaurant boosts sales while providing quality customer experience. The customer doesn’t necessarily have to be near the restaurant, either. Using historical data, businesses can identify previous customers and send them offers in the hope that they will return. This is essentially an evolution of the mailing list, but one that is based on tangible habits instead of guesswork. Marketers can also use geofencing to target people within an entire area instead of specific individuals.

Honing in on customers with geotargeting is a sophisticated method of delivering relevance. However, it could easily backfire. If a customer visits a restaurant and then receives an offer every time they walk past it, sooner or later they will start to avoid it. There is a fine line between targeting and harassing, and amidst backlash about how and why corporations use customer data, the challenge for marketers will be knowing when to back off.