Mobile marketing is an important aspect of every marketing plan (or at least it should be.)

Even when they’re on the go, consumers expect to receive relevant messages that meet their specific needs, whether that’s on their phone, tablet, or wearable device.

The good news is that technological advances are giving marketers more and more ability to effectively target their mobile marketing more accurately. Leading the charge in this innovation race is the ability to utilize geolocation for targeted mobile marketing efforts.

What is Geolocation?

Geolocation uses mobile devices built in GPS to accurately show where the device, and the user of the device, are located. This data is accessed through apps that the user grants permission to use their location data.

Although many people will disable this feature in some of their apps, there are a few apps on which users are very likely to leave geolocation tracking active. These include web browsers, weather apps, and other location-reliant apps that they find genuinely useful.

Geolocation data can range from relatively broad to pretty specific. With modern mobile GPS technology, a cell phone user can now be accurately tracked to a general location down to within a few feet of their actual location.

How to Use Geolocation Tracking for Marketing

The use of geolocation tracking has many different functions. It can be used for presenting ads, relevant content, promotions, or coupons. The best thing about using geolocation data for mobile marketing is that it creates more tailored and relevant marketing for potential customers.

Geolocation tracking can work in a few different ways on mobile devices. The most common usage is location-based ad triggers for apps.

This can be done in a few different ways, such as:

  • Targeting customers within a certain distance of a business/promotion
  • Targeting customers within a certain distance of a competitor’s business
  • Search results based on location

Target Customers When They Are Near A Business/Promotion

This can work really well for many different types of businesses or products, and you can do it through apps or through web searches.

This isn’t necessarily a new technique for marketing, but its adoption in mobile is growing rapidly. Being able to have a specific business show up in search results for a certain product because it’s nearby can help to give a leg up against the competition.

Mobile devices are already tools for convenience, and targeted mobile marketing based on geolocation helps to feed the user’s need for convenience. Showing a potential customer that what they want or need is close by gets them closer to achieving their goal without feeling intrusive.

This technique can also work well when mobile users are sent special deals or promotions based on location, such as coupons or sale offers.

Although stores can utilize geolocation tracking to attract customers to their stores, brands can also use this data to specifically attract customers to their product within a store.

With certain stores releasing their own shopping apps, brands can now utilize tracking data to present special promotions to customers when they are nearing a display, or when they enter the store.

Target Customers When They Are Near A Competitor

There’s nothing wrong with creating a bit of healthy competition. One way of utilizing geolocation based targeting is to have your own company’s marketing material show up when mobile users are in the vicinity of your competitors’ business.

This can be very useful for businesses that are located near their competitors, because it can help influence potential customers to go to their location rather than the competition.

This is especially useful if a business has a promotion going on that would give a customer a better deal on similar products from their store.

Search Results Based On Location

Displaying search results based on location isn’t a new idea. This has been something that everyone does for computer searches by decoding an IP address.

Now with mobile usage higher than ever though, this is a big deal for mobile marketing success.

People are looking for products and services on their phones or tablets more than their computers, and they expect to get the same tailored results that they would on a computer.

Being able to have content, store or restaurant locations, products, etc. show up based on their location makes for a much better mobile user experience.

A simple example is looking for food.

If somebody is looking for something to eat near them, it is important that the restaurants that show up are actually near them, not 20 miles away.

This also can be used to have search results for content show up based on location as well. Many mobile users are not necessarily going to click on an ad or a promotion, but having relevant content that “sells” based on how helpful/informative it is can be a great way of attracting new leads.

What to Beware of With Geolocation Targeting

Unfortunately, as we all know, there is not a single marketing tool out there that works for everybody all the time.

The biggest downside to using geolocation data for mobile marketing is that it is easily blocked by mobile users.

Although there are many mobile users that use a plethora of apps with the GPS location feature enabled, there are also many that simply don’t use apps that allow GPS location data to be collected.

Also, geolocation-triggered ads may not work on all devices due to ad blockers.

Apple is introducing more advanced ad blockers on the iPhone and they surely won’t be the only company to do this. This means that even if you have ads that are triggered based on location, the ad may not show even though the mobile user has the GPS location feature enabled.

Get The Most From Mobile Marketing

Increase the effectiveness of mobile marketing efforts by utilizing geolocation data to create more tailored marketing for customers.

Mobile users are consistently on the rise and will continue to make up a large portion of customers so make sure your marketing is working as effectively as possible for mobile.

This article is by Alan Meyer from