One of the most popular products that Bay Area Digital Solutions offers is Mobile Conquesting.  It is also one of the more advanced and sophisticated products because of all the shiny bells and whistles that it offers. With Mobile Conquesting, we can target consumers by online behaviors (people who have shown specific behaviors online or are in a certain demographic) and also by offline behaviors (targeting people by where they have been tracked with their phone recently, such as a location, business, or specific brand name stores).

That’s the first layer of Mobile Conquesting. With the second layer, we can add in all sorts of “geo” terms, like geo-fencing, geo-retargeting, and geo-retargeting lookalike, where we put a tight radius around an address to capture device IDs and serve ads to those mobile devices. While this is a really neat product, some people might question the validity of how a tight radius is determined. Is the advertiser going to have wasted impressions because the radius is cutting into the neighboring business? Are they counting people in the parking lot of the strip center that the business is located? Is the radius actually around that business owner’s location?

IF YOU ARE DOING GEO-FENCING FOR YOUR BUSINESS YOU SHOULD ASK YOUR DIGITAL PROVIDER WHAT TECHNOLOGY METHOD THEY ARE USING!

Let us break down the different methods mobile technology vendors use for geo-fencing businesses:

Radial Fence by Address – The most basic method of location-based geo-fencing is by placing a radius around a place’s address. Since addresses were built to provide directions to the location, many times the physical location is across the parking lot or on the street.  Research estimates that there can be up to 84% waste in targeting this way.

Radial Fence by Geo-Code – This method places a radius around the center of a business or location. Since most locations are not circular, there will inherently be waste. How much waste depends on the size of the radius.  Research estimates that there can be up to 75% waste in targeting this way.

Parcel Mapping -Also known as property mapping and tax mapping are maps typically built to identify property boundaries and is a popular data source for industries such as real-estate. Parcels can often contain many businesses in the same plot.  Research estimates that there can be up to 51% waste in targeting this way.

Polygon Mapping (This is the technology that we use with Mobile Conquesting) – Polygons are formed by tracing the store or place boundary based on satellite images and latitude/longitude and capture the precise boundaries of a location.  Percent waste = 0%

Now that we have taken a peek behind the curtain to see how geo-fencing is put into action, let’s talk about on-site visit tracking. Another one of the bells and whistles that business owners love about Mobile Conquesting is that they can see their return on investment.  We can show how many people saw their ad, and then physically came to their location.

How do we track the actual business and not surrounding areas?

In-Store mapping is the most granular polygon layer, serving to precisely map the outlines of the business or point or interest.

On Lot mapping is a polygon layer that separates a business from it’s parking lot.  In instances of a standalone business, this could be the entire parking lot.  For strip malls or adjacent storefronts, this will typically just be the area directly in front of the business.

Here is an example of an auto dealership polygon:

How visits are verified:

Once the location signal is matched to a place, the final step is determining whether a visit has actually occurred.  The following data is evaluated to determine whether a visit is deemed to be verified:

  • Store hours – How frequently does the user visit and for how long? What are the store hours and when did the visit take place? Only visits that occur during open store hours are counted.
  • Employee status – Understanding employee status allows (when people work and how often) allows the system to exclude employees.
  • Dwell time – How long did the user spend in the store? Dwell time is used to filter for inaccurate visits.
  • Speed – How fast was the user moving when he/she was tracked as a visit? If they’re moving faster than then the system’s average speed threshold, the visit is not counted.
  • Horizontal accuracy – What is the percent accuracy of the lat/long the system received? If the horizontal accuracy that falls within the polygon that is being tracked is not higher than the system’s average percent threshold, the visit is not counted.

This verification process means that the system has a 94% accuracy rate!

There are several “geo” terms in digital advertising, and it can be complicated to determine which option is best for your campaign. With so many opportunities and choices it is important to understand the differences.

First let’s define our “Geo” terms:

Geo-Targeting (Geographic Targeting):  all digital ads are geographically targeted meaning we serve ads to specific geographic areas like a city, zip codes, or large radius around a location (several miles), etc.

Geo-Fencing:  serving ads to anyone possible, in a small, specific geographic area (i.e., a competitor’s location). We usually do this with our Mobile Conquesting product

Geo-Retargeting:  serving ads to people who were in a geo-fenced area and following them after they leave the geo-fence. This is done with our Mobile Conquesting product. (This is sometimes called Geo-Farming by other providers)

Geo-Retargeting Lookalike:  serving ads to people who were in a geo-fenced area and following them after they leave the geo-fence AND targeting their neighborhood. This is done with our Mobile Conquesting product.

Geo-Framing:  going back in time to an event and serving ads to people now who were at the previous event.

So now that we know more about the terms, how do we determine which strategy is the best fit?

Geo-Targeting allows you to layer specific consumer targeting like demographics, behaviors, and interests in addition to where the person is located. So we are using groups of IP addresses to determine location, and then adding in additional targeting options. Go with Geo-Targeting if a client needs to reach  specifics targets in a broader area, for example: “soccer moms who frequent Starbucks in zip code 90210.”  This can be done with any of our digital products such as Behavioral Targeting, Native Ads, Facebook and Instagram, Mobile Conquesting, etc.

Geo-Fencing is usually used when the geo is tighter, and you are okay with capturing everyone within the fence regardless of their demographics or behaviors such as what coffee they like.  Use this if a client has a request such as: “I need a tight geo fence around the arts and crafts festival located on 123 main street for 3 days this summer.”

Now for the other options and layers. Once you start with the Geo-Fence on our Mobile Conquesting platform, you can add options. Like, “Continue to follow everyone who was at the arts and crafts festival until my impressions run out.” That adds the Geo-Retargeting piece. We are following people (on their mobile devices) because they were inside that virtual fence.

If the client also wants to reach the neighbors of people who were inside the Geo-Fence, go ahead and add “Geo-Retargeting lookalike.” A great example here would be car dealerships. They might Geo-Fence their dealership as well as competitive dealerships, so they have the potential to reach EVERYONE inside those fences. Now, hopefully someone drives home with a new car. We are still able to follow them AND their neighbors (who likely now have “new car envy”) with an ad for the dealership. Not every client will need to add this piece, but when it makes sense it can be very effective.

Geo Framing works completely different. In this case we go back in time to an event that was missed. Let’s go back to the Arts and Crafts festival. Perhaps you have a client that is offering an Arts Camp late summer and they didn’t Geo-Fence the event. We can go back in time, capture the mobile device ids of people who were at the event, and then we serve ads to their phones and at their households on any device through their wifi connection. If the event is at least two weeks past but not more than six months, this is a great option to recommend.

One final note, although I talk about Geo-Fencing mainly with Mobile Conquesting, it can be done with our display exchanges as well. The difference is the fence is not as tight or accurate, think one mile vs. 500 feet.

If you need more help deciding which option is best for your business, reach out to us to schedule a capabilities appointment.