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Geofencing vs. Geotargeting: What’s the [EXPLETIVE] Difference?

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More terminology? More data? More ads invading my “safe space?” And more businesses fighting for my precious dollars this holiday season! It’s the daunting reality of our world today for consumers and business owners. 

So what’s the difference between geo-targeting and geo-fencing? And how does Target know that I like bananas, Pampers diapers and 1 percent milk? (You know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever received a flier in the mail containing coupons for all your favorite grocery store items.) Geo-fencing and geo-targeting are often used interchangeably, but it’s important to understand some key differences. Picture your backyard for a moment and draw a fence around your property line. Inside this fence are all of your friends and family enjoying some cocktails prior to the 7 p.m. LSU game. 

Geo-fencing collects GPS and IP address information from their mobile devices, then uses that information to pinpoint exactly where you are that moment to create your virtual address. When geo-fencing is used for marketing, everyone within a virtually defined space will be served ads. The technique is great for creating broad awareness within a narrow geography. Geo-targeting is similar, yet can be much more defined. The technique adds a layer to deliver content to those who meet a specific demographic and behavioral criteria AND who enter a defined radius. Geo-targeting is ideal for brands to market locally to a very specific audience. It weeds out the masses with an approach that is directed to those most likely to respond. 

So, if you are looking for broad appeal across a population of all ages and all interests in a specific location, then geo-fencing is for you. If your advertising must capitalize on a particular niche in a designated market area, then geo-targeting may be the better option.

Chris Herting is a Digital and Social Media Specialist at Gallinghouse Marketing + Creative. He has experience delivering innovative digital solutions for hundreds of brands, including the NFL’s Washington Redskins. Gallinghouse is located at 409 W. 21st Ave., Covington. For more information, call 985-893-7631 or visit gallinghouse.com

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