Fences. They are usually made from wood, aluminum or plastic and they come in a variety of colors. We put them around our yards to keep the dog in or the neighbors out. However, marketers have been putting up their own fences and it’s likely you have walked through them and didn’t even notice!

What Fence?

We’re talking about Geo-Fencing, a virtual fence that that targets consumers in a certain geographical area. Techopedia defines Geo-Fencing as, “a technology that defines a virtual boundary around a real-world geographical area. In doing so, a radius of interest is established that can trigger an action in a geo-enabled phone or other portable electronic device.”

There are a couple types of Geo-Fencing. The first type is App based, which requires the consumer to have and run an app before they can be targeted. Another form of Geo-Fencing is Network-based, which has the potential to reach more consumers because they do not need an app. GeoFencing App or Network

In either case, the consumer must opt in to Geo-Fencing before they receive any messages. These messages can come in the form of SMS text messages, E-mails or social media promotions.

Geo-Fencing for Marketers

Geo-Fencing can be a valuable tool for Marketers. A business can set a radius around their location, so they can send out promotions and coupons to consumers who enter their targeted radius. For example, an ice cream business could send out a coupon on a hot day, trying to lure the consumer out of the heat and into their store to enjoy some ice cream. The image below shows images of Starbucks locations in London that have Geo-Fences set up to send out coupons.

Geofencing banner 2

Facebook has been using Geo-Fencing for some time now, but soon Twitter will begin to use Geo-Fencing to send promoted tweets to consumers. Their goal is to unveil their location-based feature by the years end, in time for the holiday season. However, some people believe using big names for your Geo-Fencing, such as Twitter, Facebook or Google, could be actually hurt your brand.

Other Uses for Geo-Fencing

Marketing isn’t the only use for Geo-Fencing. There are several other ways that Ge0-Fencing can be used. Below is a list of Apps that use Geo-Fencing:

Find My Friends (Free)

Wondering if your child is home from school? Or maybe you want to know if your husband has left work yet.  Find My Friends allows you to create Geo-Fences around areas of interest such as your home, work or a child’s school. Find My Friends is only on the Apple Store, for a similar app on android check out AirCover Family Locator. Watch the video below to see how Find My Friends works!

Checkmark ($4.99)

You walked past the market on the way how from work, yet you somehow forgot to buy the milk. You left for the beach and then you realize you forgot your sunglasses. How often do these things happen to you? Well if you download the Checkmark app it might not happen again! Using location-based reminders you can set locations, such as the market, so Checkmark will tell you to buy milk as you pass the market. Check out their witty ad below!

MapAttack (Free)

MapAttack is a real-time location-based game in which users collect points by entering a certain “Geo-Fenced” locations. Maps can be made for park, college campus or even an entire city! MapAttack is relatively new so there is still some work to be done, however, with the help of the MapAttack team you too can set up a MapAttack game in your area. For more information check out the video below and this link.