What is location-based marketing?

Location-based marketing (also called geomarketing) is a discipline that uses a person’s geographic location to deliver a hyper-targeted message. The majority of Location-based marketing (or LBM) relies on location data from applications like Facebook, Google Maps, and more. Any business with a physical presence is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the many benefits of LBM.

What are the benefits of location-based marketing?

In the past, marketers relied heavily on demographic information—like age, gender, and education—to target digital ads. Targeting ads based on demographic information is better than nothing, but the combination of demographic information and location-based messages is allowing marketers to be more effective than ever before.

Typically, a location-based audience is smaller and more precise than general demographic information. For example, let’s say you own a drive-thru coffee shop just off Main Street. Imagine the power of showing a 20% off coffee coupon during the morning commute, specifically to drivers stuck in traffic just outside your store.

You can see the power that this level of precision gives to local marketing campaigns. The more targeted the message, the more likely it will work. High conversion rates are one of the main benefits of LBM, but they come at a price.

If you’ve ever run Facebook Ads, then you know the cost can vary significantly depending on how targeted they are. Showing an ad to anyone on Facebook is much cheaper than targeting dentists in Tallahassee who like Bocce ball, for example.

The same is true of location-based marketing platforms. The more specific your ad, the more you’ll pay for it. But the benefits often outweigh the costs, since conversion rates are usually much higher.

Like any marketing channel, location-based marketing should be tried and tested to see if it’s a good fit for your business. But if you have a physical presence, there’s a good chance it will work well for your business. Here’s a few ways to get started with location-based marketing.

4 examples of effective location-based marketing.

Local Signage

Location-based marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be something as simple as hiring a sign twirler during rush hour or putting up a sign at a busy intersection. The challenge with both of these methods is it will be much harder to measure their effectiveness compared to digital alternatives.


Snapchat Geo Filters Landing Page.

Geo-filters are another interesting form of location-based marketing that can help you stand out. Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram each allow businesses to create filters, frames, and geo-tags respectively, to target local audiences. These campaigns range from free to a few thousand dollars depending on the size, duration, and reach of your ad.

Geo-filters can be much more engaging than a traditional ad, since potential customers actually choose to share what they create with their followers. This can be a powerful endorsement, especially for businesses targeting a mobile-first generation.

In-app Navigation Ads

Waze Local Ads Page.

Waze (pronounced ways) is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app, and second largest navigation app. Just like Google Maps, Waze Local Ads offers a variety of location-based ad formats that range from a branded pin to a pop-up ad that dispays when the driver is stopped at a light or stuck in traffic. If you’re unconvinced of how effective these ads can be, consider a gas station advertising their post-game munchies and gas deal right after a sporting event, to drivers just outside the stadium.

Advertising in a navigation app like Waze or Google Maps combines the efficiency of a local message, with the targeting of a Facebook Ad. Both platforms offer detailed reporting, so you know exactly what you’re getting in return for your investment.

In-store Beacons

Beacon technology, as defined by Hubspot, is first introduced by Apple in 2013, are small Bluetooth devices that can send alerts to smartphones based on location proximity.

Beacons are small Bluetooth devices that can send smartphone alerts based on location proximity. Apple introduced the technology back in 2013, but only a few retailers have invested heavily in it since then.

One business taking full advantage of the technology is Major League Baseball. The MLB uses beacon technology to send real-time alerts of discount hot dogs and special deals on jerseys to fans throughout games.

The major drawback to beacon technology is that customers must have an integrated app open in order to receive the alerts. So next time you’re at an MLB ballpark watching your favorite team, keep an eye on your phone.

Delivering a local touch.

If you own or operate a local business today, you actually have an advantage over online competitors. Having a physical presence makes it easier to find your business in Google Search and across navigation apps. Using location-based marketing tactics can put your business in front of a highly targeted audience, right in your own backyard.

Nico Dato
Nico Dato Executive Vice President of Marketing

Nico Dato is the EVP of Marketing at Podium, the premiere messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers. He fuses his passion for statistics, design, and digital marketing to produce measurable results.

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