Geolocation isn’t a recent development. In fact, the geolocation revolution goes back to 2005 after a number of paradigm-shifting startups like fwix, Loopt, Ditto, Blockboard, Everyblock and Whrrl launched.
While most of these startups have folded, others like Foursquare have thrived by using geolocation to create customized and targeted marketing campaigns. Cisco indicates there will be 5.5 billion mobile users, representing 70 percent of the global population, by 2020.
Simply put, if you want to successfully reach your audience and boost conversions, your business should be embracing geolocation technology. But that doesn’t just apply to B2C companies.
What is geolocation?
For those new to the technology, geolocation uses a mobile device’s built-in GPS. It accurately displays where the user of the device is currently located. Amid concerns about privacy, location-reliant apps and web browsers can access this data only after a user has granted permission.
This is achieved by using Bluetooth Low Energy beacons, microchips and sensors. Microchips also power near-field communications (NFC), the same technology used for mobile payments. There are geofences that rely on technology such as GPS, Wi-Fi, electromagnetic fields or RFID.
Geolocation data can be relatively broad to extremely specific. This means mobile users can be tracked to either the proximity of a location or within several feet of an actual location.
Geolocation’s use in marketing
What’s the purpose of geolocation besides making excellent use of a business’s stalking skills?
In the Oracle Modern Marketing Blog, geolocation-based marketing was noted as a tool that delivers personalized and location-relevant promotions and messages. It’s designed to encourage impulse buying. The intent is to draw in customers who may not have a brand top of mind. What’s most promising about geolocation is it can create more tailored and relevant marketing for potential customers.
Geolocation sets a perimeter around a physical location and uses specific keywords for paid search ads. It can also include location terms. These terms include area code, ZIP code, neighborhood, community name, landmarks, popular venues, tourist destinations, and well-known street names. Even local slang can be used.
Geolocation tracking can work in a variety of ways on mobile devices. The most common use is location-based ad triggers for apps. These include apps that target customers when they’re near a business or event. For example, if an existing customer is within a mile of your restaurant, you could send him a push notification offering a 10 percent discount during happy hour.
Targeting customers within a certain distance of your competitors is another common use case. If a prospect is near a competing business, offer her a better deal on a similar product or service so she’ll support your business instead. Likewise, you can tailor search results to location. You probably do this daily when searching for restaurants, gas stations, electricians or banks on your mobile. For an enhanced experience, these businesses should be within 20 miles and have relevant promotions and content.
Smart applications of geolocation technology
We’ve only discussed how B2C companies are making the most of geolocation to sell to consumers like Millennials. However, geolocation is being used by a wide range of non-retail companies.
Targeted online advertising
Online advertisers and mobile marketers can geotarget a specific postal code. This can increase reach, relevance, and response among a target audience.
For example, if you are promoting your online-marketing business at an industry event and cater primarily to other SMBs, you could share with these business owners case studies, white papers, or e-books once they’re close to the event venue. Or, send out relevant information regarding the event, like giveaways taking place at your booth or the profiles of your team members in attendance.
If you sell products to other businesses, such as uniforms or equipment parts, you could notify them of a current sale or send an alert when inventory is dropping low and they’re in your business’s proximity.
Another promising development is using this technology to discover local influencers rather than nationally known figures. This can help entrepreneurs take advantage of word of mouth.
Instead of one-size-fits-all content, geolocation allows you to deliver relevant content, language, currency, products, and promotions. Doing so builds an immediate connection with a visitor and reduces website and transaction abandonment.
For example, a city-planning organization could use location data to better understand foot traffic and ride-sharing data. This helps city planners understand why travelers chose their city over others. The insights shape how to showcase the city’s appeal as well as plan future routes and logistical needs.
Additionally, it can help create more personalized content for specific travelers. For instance, a city could welcome families by sending them a survival guide containing the city’s best family attractions.
At concerts or sporting events, venue operators can direct attendees to the stands and restrooms without long lines. If someone notes they’ll be attending the event on social media, venues could also notify them about current weather or traffic conditions. This allows the person to plan accordingly and have a positive experience.
Geographic rights management
If you’re an online content distributor, you must follow licensing and copyright agreements involving digital-audio and video-content usage. Additionally, geotargeting comes in handy when you want to restrict downloads in specific geographic locations.
Geolocation provides a new and exciting way to view and analyze data. This improves web performance and site effectiveness. Also, it provides a real-time mechanism to act immediately.
Let’s say you’re trying to obtain a loan for your business. Banks could use geolocation data to visualize local competition and spending power. Or, they can use it to track footfall in a given area and assess population densities. The data helps the bank confidently move forward and you get the loan. Additionally, financial institutions can use this technology to provide automatic currency conversion, customer-service chatbots, and bank locators.
Geolocation data reduces fraud. Mastercard, as explained by Cédric Brun on Web Geo Service, enables retailers to cross-check a purchase’s physical location with the cardholder’s location. By using the geolocation data provided by the customer’s smartphone, the algorithm can determine whether the card was in the cardholder’s possession. Mastercard is also using artificial intelligence solutions. These tools help retailers determine whether a purchase aligns with a cardholder’s typical purchases.
Add geolocation strategies
Whether your business is B2C or B2B, you can use geolocation data. Geolocation data helps you offer discounts, information, and fail-safes customers need. The right-time strategy can then help you grow sales and retain customers.