GeoFencing is a term that I have used regularly and repeatedly for the past 3 years and apparently others in the advertising and marketing world have too.

But it has caused a ton of confusion because some people who are selling this service don’t understand how it works, what it does and so today I’m here to set the record straight.

Save this article or podcast as a reference so when someone tries to sell you GeoFencing, you know if they as much or more than they do.

Here’s a modern day explanation of GeoFencing:

GeoFencing is drawing a border or fence around a location that is then used to identify potential customers because they stepped inside the GeoFence. 

Here’s how I offer GeoFencing as a digital marketing tool:

Along with the radio options I offer with WOWO Radio to invite potential customers to your business, I also have a number of online options I offer through the Federated Digital Solutions division of our company.

Custom Audience Targeting has been proven to be one of the most highly effective online options. We use Custom Audience Targeting to determine who to serve online digital banner ads to.  Depending on the business, we will use a combination of the following 4 tools to find the right people.

  1. Site Retargeting. This is serving ads to people who have visited your website.  We know that they are potential customers because they have visited your website and we want to keep you Top Of Mind after they leave, because a majority of first time visitors don’t buy on the first visit.
  2. Search Targeting.  These people are qualified because they did an internet search for you or the products or services you offer.  Search Targeting is an exclusive offered by our vendor partner for Digital Display Banner ads.  Keywords are an important criteria in finding the right people using this tool.
  3. Contexual Targeting. Also called Content Based Targeting.  Potential customers are identified because of their browsing habits.  The content someone reads online in an article or email has keywords and phrases that match the words and phrases for my advertising partner.
  4. GeoFence Targeting. When someone enters a certain geographic zone, border or fence, they are qualified to receive your ads.

I don’t sell these four tools separately.  We offer them as a complete solution, a Custom Audience Targeting solution to find the right people to serve ads to for your business to drive them to your website.

Here’s why we do it this way:

Each business is different and there is no “one size fits all” formula for using these 4 tools.

A business has to have enough organic traffic that it makes sense to allocate enough ads to the site retargeting tool and at the beginning of a campaign, many businesses don’t have enough.

That’s why the other 3 tools are also used.  Or at least 2 of the tools are also used.

See, GeoFencing isn’t appropriate for all business either.  Why?

Some business don’t have a physical location that their customers come to.  A plumber for example.  When you need a plumber, you don’t go visiting plumbers and ask them to follow you home.  You call them and usually you have no idea where their shop or office is.

I do have a couple of examples of some really cool GeoFencing campaigns that were highly effective.  One is a doctor who GeoFenced other doctors.  My doctor has a different business model and the offices we GeoFenced were using the traditional business model.  We were able to track new patients that came to my doctor after visiting the GeoFenced doctors.

Pretty cool, right?

How does your phone identify you as someone who qualifies to see these ads?

Simple answer: Location Services.

This is built into all of our smartphones and most of the apps on our phone use it.

Your phone’s technology is telling others where you are.

When you (your phone) goes certain places, you are being tracked.

Who is tracking you?


Facebook for one. Google for another.  Any app that relies on knowing where you are to provide you with important information.

I just took a quick check of the apps on my android smartphone and some of the apps that are tracking me include:

  1. My camera
  2. Chrome web browser
  3. My Contacts
  4. Emergency Alerts
  5. Facebook
  6. my bank app
  7. all things Google
  8. my hair cutting app
  9. Xfinity Hotspots app
  10. iHeart Radio app
  11. LinkedIn app
  12. Google Maps (duh)
  13. Facebook Messenger app
  14. My car insurance app
  15. Panera app
  16. Starbucks app
  17. Google Photos
  18. Redbox app
  19. Regal Cinema app
  20. the Weather Channel app
  21. Twitter
  22. Instagram
  23. YouTube
  24. Yelp
  25. a couple of local news apps
  26. a couple of national news apps

Turns out that nearly every app on my phone is tracking me.  And the same is true for you.

The Location Services app built into your phone that communicates with the GPS systems that allows your phone and the apps to know where you are so your phone and the apps can tell you where the closest Starbucks or Panera is located without you having to know where exactly you are.

This location service also is important when there is bad weather heading our way to alert us, or if we are using our phone’s navigation service to guide us down the road. When you post on social media and it asks you if you want to include your location, that’s all possible due to this same technology.


GeoFencing by itself is not a marketing solution.  But it is a marketing tool that when used properly can be pretty powerful at finding the right people to target your online ads to.

Before wrapping this up, I’m going to clear up a couple more misconceptions about GeoFencing and the rest of this Custom Audience Targeting that I offer.

  1. Everyone that walks into your GeoFence is not necessarily going to start receiving your ads. You are buying a certain quantity of ad impressions and there are usually going to be more people who enter your GeoFence than you have bought ads for.  I can show you the formula we use that estimates the number of people you will reach with your ads.
  2. The ads don’t just pop up all over your phone instantly.  That would be annoying.  However there are plenty of apps that are advertising supported along with websites that have space for ads and that’s where your ads show up.
  3. There is a Huge Difference in the methods and capabilities of both the companies and the sales people that offer digital advertising campaigns.  I have seen the programs offered by local Fort Wayne radio stations, the “phone book companies (Dex & Hibu) and independent digital advertising agencies, even some long standing traditional ad agencies and through thorough research and verification by myself and other experts, in nearly every case, no one was able to provide a better service than what I have with the Custom Audience Targeting Digital Ad Solution with Federated Digital.

That’s enough for now, want to know more and see if this is appropriate for your company?  Reach out to me and let’s talk.