What Is Geolocation Marketing?
Geolocation marketing utilizes a combination of geolocation, geofencing, and beacons to improve the user experience and connect with users. Geolocation that determines a user’s country, city, and state can be used to serve web content tailored to that region.
Geofencing and beacons can be used to pinpoint a user’s location at the exact moment they are interacting with your product or brand in the real world.
Benefits of Geolocation Marketing
You can use IP address geolocation to serve relevant content to visitors to your website, and ensure that requests coming from a device are coming from an expected location - this enhances security and user authentication.
Using geofencing and beacons, you can see when a user is close to or even inside your brick-and-mortar establishment, and help them navigate in-store, or direct them to particular products or a help desk.
You can also use geolocation to do things like send real-time updates to users via push notifications, show lists of businesses in the immediate area, and improve the demographic tracking of your marketing campaigns.
Types of Geolocation for Marketing
Let’s dive a little more deeply into the types of geolocation available.
This involves using a device’s IP address to approximately locate the latitude and longitude of the user. It is the least exact of the geolocation methods available. An IP address cannot give you any identifying information about the user, and its location cannot be updated in real-time.
An IP address is usually matched against an IP database and will give you an approximate idea of the city, state, and country the user is in. This is mostly useful for finding a target audience for messaging like email marketing and ad campaigns.
Geofencing relies on GPS data and can narrow down the location of the user to a city block or neighborhood. This is the method of geolocation mostly used now that we all carry smartphones.
Geofencing is useful for maps-based apps, apps that do delivery, and apps that do proximity marketing.
Beacons operate by Bluetooth. They receive location data from nearby devices like WiFi hotspots and can pinpoint a device’s location very precisely within a local network. Beacons are the most exact of all the geolocation methods but must be used in tandem with another method.
Beacons are useful for directing users to a specific part of your store. The downside to beacons is that the device’s Bluetooth must be turned on in order for them to work, and they cannot work outside the area where the beacon is placed.
Best Location-Based Marketing Tools
Now that we understand what geolocation marketing is and how geolocation data can improve your marketing strategy, let’s look at some of the best geolocation technology options available.
A geolocation API takes an IP address and returns geodata about the address. You can pinpoint a user’s geographic area down to their zip code and use this to improve your digital marketing efforts.
AbstractAPI offers a simple, secure REST endpoint to turn an IP address into information about a user’s location. Just make a GET request with the IP address string in the request data, and the API will return a JSON object with the IP address’s country, state, city, zip code, language, currency, and information about the device’s internet service provider.
You can use AbstractAPI for free with the 20,000 free credits the platform provides when you sign up for an account. Plans start at $8/month for up to 2,400,000 requests and range up to $416/month for 240,000,000 requests.
IPStack is another API that offers a clear and easy-to-use REST endpoint that returns location data about an IP address. IPStack also offers other tools like SSL encryption, a currency module, and a timezone module.
IPStack is pricier than AbstractAPI - plans start at $11.99/month for 50,000 requests and range up to $79.99/month for 2,000,000 requests. Custom pricing for enterprises is also available.
Other Geo Marketing Tools
Beyond geolocation APIs, you can use location-based analytics to track your online and mobile ads and target new customers, as well as GPS location and beacons on mobile devices to improve customer experience in the real world.
Google Analytics determines the location of a user via their IP address and uses that to improve demographic data. Knowing how your marketing efforts are received by consumers in different locations allows you to build a better target audience and improve conversion rates.
Mapsted is a location-based marketing platform that handles geofencing and in-store location targeting for you. They can help you to run effective geo-conquesting campaigns that drive new customers to your brand via highly localized targeting.
Mapsted is unique in that they do not rely on any hardware, so you won’t need to install Bluetooth beacons, additional or external WiFi, or any other physical devices. Contact the company through their website for plan and pricing information.
Navigating Privacy Regulations
It’s important to be aware of data privacy laws when dealing with user locations. In the US, there is no federal law that governs the collection of geolocation data, however, the FTC considers geolocation data to be sensitive personal information, and failing to adequately protect it violates Section 5 of the FTC Act for unfair or deceptive trade practices.
In Europe, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) protects location data like latitude and longitude, altitude, and direction of travel. Consent to have this data tracked must be explicitly and freely given.
Geotargeted marketing is an extremely effective way to target consumers, increase brand awareness, improve the conversion of mobile marketing, gather new potential customers, and enhance the security and experience of your existing customers.
Through geolocation, geofencing, and beacons, you can create on and offline marketing efforts that truly drive results.
What are some common challenges businesses face when implementing geolocation marketing strategies?
While the article discusses the benefits and uses of geolocation marketing, it does not delve into the potential challenges businesses might face when implementing these strategies. These could include issues related to data privacy regulations, technical difficulties in setting up geolocation tools, or challenges in accurately interpreting and applying geolocation data.
How can businesses measure the effectiveness of their geolocation marketing efforts?
The article explains how geolocation can be used in marketing but does not discuss how businesses can measure the success of these efforts. This could involve tracking metrics such as conversion rates, customer engagement, or foot traffic in physical stores.
Are there any ethical considerations businesses should be aware of when using geolocation data?
While the article briefly mentions data privacy laws, it does not discuss the broader ethical considerations of using geolocation data. This could include respecting customer privacy, obtaining informed consent, and ensuring that geolocation marketing practices are not intrusive or annoying to customers.