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A Simple Guide to Geofencing for Mobile App Marketing

Aasif Khan
By Aasif Khan | Last Updated on January 1st, 2024 11:13 am | 5 min read

Mobile app marketing is a tough challenge to master. On an average, only 4% of mobile users will continue to use your app after one year. Despite being literally within arm’s reach, customers aren’t really that easy to reach for the companies. People’s phones are very personal to them and they hate spam.

Therefore, it is important that you market your services to clients in a relevant, more contextual manner. Location and time are two of the most important elements when it comes to mobile marketing. A mobile phone is inherently always on the move and location-based marketing can be quite effective in their case.

As a result, technologies that leverage location-based marketing are becoming more popular with businesses. There are 3 major types of location-based marketing:

  1. Geo-Targeting: Geo-targeting involves delivering content to a user, based on his or her location. This includes country, region/state, city, metro code/zip code, organization, IP address, ISP or other criteria. This technique is often used to advertise to local prospects.

  2. Geofencing: Geofencing allows companies to send specific, targeted messages to customers when they enter a unique marketing boundary. A geo-fence could be dynamically generated—as in a radius around a point location, or can even be a predefined set of boundaries.

  3. Beaconing: In this technique, devices that are sometimes also known as proximity beacons transmit relevant and targeted messages to nearby devices.

What Is Geofencing?

Geofencing is a feature in mobile applications that use the global positioning system (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to mark geographical boundaries. Using this technique, companies set up triggers when a mobile device enters or exits the boundaries that are defined by the administrator. These triggers are usually in the form of push notifications.

I strongly recommend you to read this detailed article we published some time back, about push notifications and how they work.

The fence created as the geographical boundary is called a geo-fence. The technique is used to send offers to customers who are passing through, entering, or leaving the geo-fence. Here are a few ways in which marketers can benefit from using geofencing tactics for marketing:

  • Increase foot traffic by sending promotional offers to customers.
  • Suggest relevant products
  • Improve customer service by capturing their feedback
  • Boost brand awareness

What are the most important things you should consider while implementing Geofencing?

Here are some things that you should consider while you are implementing geofencing:

  • It shouldn’t depend only on GPS, as GPS can eat away into the mobile device’s battery life.
  • The geofencing software you use should be optimized for accuracy and battery usage.
  • The data you interpret should be used to gain insights into the customer experience. You can also use the data to target users in a more personalized way.
  • Usually a geofencing solution comes with a management dashboard. You should use this dashboard to create and optimize geo-fences.
  • The most important aspect of implementing geofencing is to not spam the customer.

What are the Basic Requirements for Geofencing?

There are a few basic requirements that are critical for geofencing:

  1. Proper Permissions

    Each app that would be using geofencing needs to get the location permission from the app user. Usually companies ask for permission to get the users’ location outside app’s UI. The permission is gained through request prompts when the user first opens the app. Administrators get a notification about each permission update, which enables them to follow their audience closely.

  2. Define each Geo-fence

    Each geo-fence you define should have the following parameters defined:

    • Latitude, longitude, and radius of the geo-fence boundary (for circular shapes).
    • ID of the geo-fence.
    • The kinds of events that admin wants to be notified about.
    • Time value defines how much time users have to stay in the geo-fence before they get a push notification.
    • Start Time, which determines when the geo-fence monitoring should start.
    • Length of time, which indicates for how long geo-fence monitoring should continue.

Why should you choose Geofencing?

Here are some of the reasons why you should choose geofencing:

  1. Attracts Customers

    Attracts Customers

    Geofencing in mobile apps can be used to send out ads, sales, and promotions directly to the customers’ smartphones as they move in the proximity of the area of your business. Geofencing can enhance app usage by a significant margin. The click-through rate for Geofencing is much higher than normal push notifications.

  2. Cost Efficient

    Geofencing saves you a ton of money that you would have otherwise spent on paid advertising. If you don’t have a lot of money for advertising, geofencing is a great way to grow your business.

  3. Smart Marketing

    Geofencing in mobile apps is much cleverer than sending out ordinary push notifications to consumers in the area of your business. You are not limited to using your own locations when setting a geofencing area and you can also target consumers in creative locations that relate to your business.

How Geofencing Works in Mobile Apps?

How Geofencing Works in Mobile Apps?

A geofencing environment has the following three intermediaries:

  • An admin – the business owner
  • A geo-fence programmed app
  • User with a device – the customer

First the admin must get a virtual boundary established around a specified location in GPS- or RFID-enabled software.

To identify a user’s device within a geofenced area, geofencing in mobile apps employs cellular triangulation, Wi-Fi tower triangulation or GPS. Cellular and Wi-Fi based solutions are recommended for their reliability as GPS-based solutions are proven to drain out the battery quite quickly.

There is no special hardware required for geofencing, it is just a software form that can be incorporated into a mobile app.

Geofencing is more beneficial for people with large-range outdoor marketing needs. Geo-fence works best in a 50 to 50,000 m radius, for example, a shopping mall or a specific neighborhood.

Whenever a user enters the boundaries of the geo-fence, a response is triggered to send a notification to the user.

What are the benefits of Geofencing?

  1. Enhance Local Sales

    If you want to improve the performance of your business locally, you need to look seriously into geofencing. You can target local customers in a defined geographic area as it is a location-based system. You can easily change campaigns each day or have limited-time offers that will lead to increased sales from local customers.

  2. Engagement

    If your app provides them with relevant offers at the right time, customers are more likely to engage with your brand on mobile devices. Geofencing ensures better engagement with the consumers and increases brand loyalty and advocacy.

  3. Efficiency

    As location based solutions are highly personal and targeted, they can improve efficiency significantly. By providing specific offers to people based on their location, you can improve the impact that your communication creates on the buyers.

  4. Better Data

    Better Data

    Once you implement location-based marketing you get access to a lot of data. You can use this data to gain in-depth insight into customers’ experience and shopping journey all through the app. These insights include varied data like which stores are performing better, which target segment is more approachable, which locations are more suitable for expanding business and more.

    People with Vouchercloud app on their smartphones will be served a voucher whenever they are within 200m of a participating store. Vouchercloud has reported click through rates of 45% through geo-push notifications alone.

How Burger King Used Geofencing for a Unique Marketing Campaign

To combat their opponent McDonald’s, Burger King was selling its Whopper hamburgers for $0.01, but only to the customers within a 600-feet radius of a McDonald’s. To make the Whopper Detour campaign work, Burger King geo-fenced more than 14,000 McDonald’s locations across the US. The app was downloaded more than 2 million times in 48 hours and 150,000 one-cent Whoppers had been redeemed with just this single campaign!

This should be enough to give you an idea of the huge amount of impact it can bring to the business and the difference they can make to their scope and scale.

What are the Limitations of Geofencing?

What are the Limitations of Geofencing?

  1. Permissions

    Geofencing is a technology that requires approval or participation from the user. For the sake of privacy and to prevent monitoring, people might not give your app the permission to your app to access device location.

  2. Independence

    Geofencing is effective when customer data from other sources are mobilized in unison. So, geofencing is not really an independent technology for gaining quality business intelligence.

  3. Battery Life

    Geofencing in most mobile devices are too harsh on the battery life and this makes the users turn the feature off. Many users even prefer to avoid apps with geofencing capability because of this.

A Comparison between Geofencing, Geo-targeting and Beaconing

Data CollectionIP-addressBluetoothCellular/Wi-Fi/GPS
Target RangeLargeSmallMedium to Large
Real-time targetingNoYesYes
Best forBrowser marketingMobile & App MarketingMobile & App Marketing
Mobile & App MarketingNoYesYes

How to Get Started With Geofencing?

If you are looking to employ geofencing technology, here are the few steps to get started:

  1. Gather all the discussed requirements and ensure that geofencing meets requirements of your existing marketing strategy.
  2. Choose an appropriate geofencing software to implement in your app.
  3. Implement it into the app.
  4. Test the app.
  5. Design your own Push notification campaigns. You can get creative with these notifications.


Geofencing is a profitable tool to connect better with consumers. By developing an app with geofencing technology, you can give your business a competitive edge. If done properly, geofencing can build loyalty, generate real-time engagement, and maximize path-to-purchase conversions.

Adding the geofencing feature to your app is really simple, especially when you have an app on Appy Pie. What’s stopping you? Get started now!

Aasif Khan

Head of SEO at Appy Pie

App Builder

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