Every weekend a strip of fruit and veg stalls lines the high street of my south London suburb. I wander along it on Saturdays, not only because it’s so cheap that I can get about 400 bananas for £1.50, but because I enjoy the vendors’ friendly colloquial banter. It appeals to me because it’s engaging and familiar. Both these traits are key to a market stall owner’s success in the same way they’re key to any other marketer’s success.
But how does big business manage to maintain their customers’ engagement and characterise familiarity across a diverse global marketplace? One way is geo-targeting.
What is geo-targeting?
Geo-targeting is a marketing practice that delivers specific content to a website user based on their location. Determining a user’s location enables marketers to more accurately speculate on other information, such as culture, traditions, interests, etc., which all play a part in how their target audiences behave in the buying cycle.
Geo-targeting works by using a person’s IP address, postcode or even GPS location to advertise appropriate to the city, region or country they’re located. It’s how businesses can better serve their customers with content they’re more likely to appreciate.
Uses of geo-targeting
Geo-targeting on mobile, by zeroing in on a person’s GPS, allows advertisers to target consumers on the move. Marketers can then push specific ads based on the user’s proximity to a particular shop. Starbucks is one company that profited from this tactic when they offered customers discounted coffees whenever they wandered passed one of their outlets. Which, if you live anywhere near me, is about every 35 yards.
Seeing as this line of marketing is aimed at smartphone users, companies typically advertise on social media applications such as Facebook. Along with the platforms FourSquare and Yelp, Facebook has a check-in feature that gives users the chance to receive promotional offers from shops in the near vicinity.
Mobile couponing, made known by the likes of Groupon, Wowcher and Amazon, is another method internet marketers like to sink their teeth into. Campaigns can be targeted to appear on the device of a consumer within a given distance of one of their outlets, and allow said consumer to redeem coupons at the point of sale. I can attest to how effective this kind of advertising is as I once bought an In-car Smartphone Suction Holder, despite the fact that I don’t have a car.
Classified advertising is how smaller, service-based businesses are making use of geo-targeting. Local businesses, such as plumbers or bespoke furniture stores for example, place geo-targeted ads to get their message in front of local audiences without draining their budgets on a wider and wasteful marketing campaign. It’s the online version of a fruit and veg vendors’ banter.
Benefits of geo-targeting
Geo-targeted ads give marketers the opportunity to take their product or concept and market it to defined geographic and cultural markets, making each geographic region a niche market that can be targeted through moulding and optimising a campaign.
Granular, geo-targeted campaigns are easier and faster to measure compared to other forms of marketing such as television, print and radio. This near-immediacy means businesses can react quicker to their customers’ varied preferences and provide higher-quality content.
Ultimately, geo-targeting drives up a business’ ROI. With brands being able to reach a location-specific audience and offer far more relevant content, wasted impressions are reduced and engagement levels are increased.
If an engaging sales pitch can convince me I need to buy about 400 bananas every Saturday morning, just think what one could do for you.