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Geofencing – Your Next Best Friend to Target Your Local Audience


If there’s one thing we all know about advertising, the more targeted, the higher your conversions will be.

Geo-fencing ads are one of the ways that we can get really specific with our targeting, and it’s a new technology that Google has developed, which lets us target our customers – down to the last meter.

In this article, we will look at how they work, setting them up, and some real-life use cases so that you can start running them on your own.

What Are GEO-Fencing Ads?

Geo-fencing ads are part of a new advertising technology developed by Google that lets you target your ideal customers down to the last meter.

The way it works is that you draw a fence around the area you want to target, as seen in the featured image:

From there, Google will only show your ads within the area of that fence.

Google can even send custom notifications to the phone via the Google Maps app, so your target customer will be sure to see your message.

Types of GeoFencing Advertising

The most common types of geofencing ads are notifications and ads that target users who have been in a specific location.

Who Should Use GeoFencing Advertising

Geofencing ads can be effective for any type of local business that wants to target users in a specific location.

This may be:

  • Restaurants & Takeaways
  • Cafes
  • Taxi Services
  • Car Dealerships
  • Grocery stores’ & shopping centres

Or any type of local business that can target users in their vicinity.

What Are The Benefits?

You might think: “But why would I want to target based on a fence? Isn’t it better to target a larger audience?”

Well, with Geo-fencing ads, you can get REALLY specific in the message. Below, we’ve walked you through some benefits and real-life use-cases.

Boost Local Sales

There are endless ways you can use GEO-fencing ads to boost local sales. Especially with special deals or just making your ideal customers nearby aware of your products/service.

Geo-fencing ads can also be effective for businesses that don’t have the ideal location.

For example, if you’re just a street away from the city center, but it’s on a minor road that gets fewer pedestrians passing, running ads in the city center targeting users’ mobiles could be an effective strategy to boost your local sales.

Extra tip: To get just a few ideas of how you could use this technology, you can look at billboard signs that have the distance to whatever they are advertising on them. This is just one way to use them, and we’ll break down some more later on.

Plus, since users are more focused on their phones, you get a higher quality of attention while knowing exactly where they are.

More Effective Remarketing

One of the cool things about this type of campaign is that you can target your ideal customer who is near you and make them aware or remind them of your business.

In most cases, you’ll want to pair this with a strong offer that makes them want whatever it is you’re selling… Right now.

Example: Burger King

Burger King launched a geo-targeting campaign targeting a parameter of 600 feet around various McDonald’s in the US.

Once the customer entered this parameter, they got an ad offering them a Whopper for 1 cent if they downloaded the app.

This campaign landed them a whopp(er)ing 3.3 million app downloads, which of course, has a tremendous lifetime value (LTV).

Not only this, but it also helped them directly take a small % of the market share from McDonald’s. Not bad.

(Specific) Brand awareness

Geo-fencing ads can boost your brand awareness in a particular area.

Even though people are in the local area, they may not necessarily be aware of your brand, especially if it’s slightly harder to find.

Geo-Fencing ads can get you in front of the audience while they’re in proximity and have the potential to remind them or make them aware of your brand.

For example, let’s say you are running a promotion for students; you could run ads geofencing a university so that you can send students a notification.

Types of Locations That Can be Targeted

Here’s a list of the specific types of locations you can target:

  • Streets
  • City centers
  • Building departments
  • Competitors’ locations

Geofencing Advertising Examples

Besides the Burger King example we walked you through earlier; many other famous brands have succeeded with Geo-fencing advertising too.

Below, we have mentioned some of our favorite Geo-fencing advertising examples.


Uber had to get creative with its geo-advertising campaigns because the Los Angeles airport banned all Taxis, Uber and Lyft from the airport.

However, Uber ran geo-fencing ads targeting the arrivals area of the Los Angeles airport, letting them know about Ubers that are nearby.

As there wasn’t much competition, Uber’s campaign was successful and got tons of people ordering Ubers from nearby locations.


Volvo set up another highly-successful geofencing marketing campaign. Within the first 30-days of their testing period during a campaign, a car dealership in New York attracted:

  • 500 new leads
  • 132 new customers


By running geofencing ads at competitors in the local area. As explained in the main benefit of geofencing, they got really specific.

They ran ads at leads who had visited the showroom of their competitors, which meant they knew that the lead was interested in purchasing a vehicle.

Volvo targeted the users with banner ads, but this didn’t just build brand awareness – it led to direct sales and new customers.


Starbucks is another company that has successfully leveraged geo-fencing ads to send notifications to users nearby a notification about hot deals such as their happy hour special.

But it gets even more effective because Starbucks can also target users by the drinks they drink once they come through the door – for example: whether they drink a cappuccino or a frappe.

How To Start Geo-Fencing Advertising

Now you might think, “This all sounds great, but how do I get started with it?”

We’ll walk you through the creation process now. After that, you can geo-fence on both Google and Facebook.

However, Google lets you target down to the last meter with its geofencing API.

Facebook only enables you to target down to the last mile or a little less, depending on the location.

Generally speaking, Geo-fencing ads will be more effective with Google, as you know what they’re looking for – while being nearby.

Going back to the previous example of Burger King, if you advertise on Facebook, you have proximity but no search intent.

But if you’re advertising on keywords like “Takeaway near-me,” you have search intent, and you have the proximity.

And in cases where you want to get highly specific on the location (i.e., down to the last meter), you’ll need the Google geofencing API.

How To Start GEO-Fencing on Google Ads

With Google ads, you can geo-fence target search, display, and YouTube campaigns.

To start geofencing targeting within your Google ads account:

  • Select the country
  • Select “Enter another location.”
  • Get specific by drawing a fence around the location you want to target
  • Exclude additional parameters (anyone outside of the targeted area and/or anyone who has just expressed interest in it)

When setting up GeoFencing ads, ensure that you follow the last step and exclude anyone who isn’t in your targeted area.

Get Super-Specific With The Google Ads API

You can get super-specific with Geo-fencing ads through the Google Geo-Fencing API.

The API is a pay-as-you-go model, costing $5 per 1,000 hits.

When using the API, Google will calculate whether the user’s distance is further away than the circle’s radius (which you can draw around any area).

If the distance is closer, Google will send your notification or display ads when they do a search (depending on your setting).

With the API, you can get down to the last meter and can run some highly-effective campaigns for your business.

Plus, sending a notification to your users is extremely powerful too.

Setting Up Geo-Fencing Ads on Facebook

In your Facebook ad manager, you’ll want to ensure that you target a specific audience from the “Audiences” step in setting up your advertising campaign.

Once you’re there, you can use the “drop pin” to pinpoint a specific location and target a particular:

  • University
  • Street
  • Park

Then again, similar to Google ads, you’ll want to exclude any specific locations outside your targeted parameter.

Geo-Fencing Ads: Frequently Asked Questions

Finally, we wanted to answer some frequently answered questions about geofencing ads.

How much does Google geofencing cost?

When it comes to Google geofencing ads, the cost varies. As mentioned earlier, to get specific with Google geofencing ads, you will need the Google geofencing API, which costs $5 per 1000 hits. You’ll also pay an average CPM of $3.50 to $15.

Can you do geofencing on your own?

You can set up geofencing ads in your Google ads manager, so if you know how to set up your ads, you can also set up geo-fencing ads.

Of course, running them does take some skill and experience, but if you can set up Google ads, you should be able to set up geofencing ads.

How do I create a Google geofence?

To create a geo-fence, you need to have the Google geo-fence API. From there, you need to connect it to your Google ads account. Once you’re in the Google ads manager, you’ll be able to start using geo-fencing ads for your local advertising campaigns.

Do you need an app to geofence?

No, you need the API and your regular Google account. That’s all you need to start running geofencing advertising campaigns. You can find more information about the Google geofencing API here.

What is the difference between geolocation and geofencing?

Geo-location is the standard technology used for advertising to target users in a specific area. Geo-fencing technology takes this to the next level and lets you target users to the last meter.

Final Thoughts

We hope you have enjoyed this article on geofencing ads. For more digital marketing news and updates, visit our blog, where we break down the latest technology to help you succeed.

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