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 like geolocation enable marketers to do make that happen, more effectively and more accurately.

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 app tracking active, such as web browsers and weather apps.

Geolocation data can range from relatively broad to pretty specific. With modern mobile GPS technology, a cell phone user can now be accurately geo 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. For example, Nordstrom integrates geolocation into its customer experience by sending push notifications to nearby customers, reminding them of items in their shopping carts.

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 isn’t necessarily a new technique for location-based 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.

Knowing people’s location also enables retailers to enhance the in-store shopping experience. DSW is one retailer with a centralized app, which organizes rewards points, recommendations, and favorite items. When a user walks into a store, DSW uses geolocation technology to send them rewards and product recommendations from sales associates.

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

With certain stores releasing their own shopping apps, brands can now utilize geo 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. “Near me” searches are perpetually on the rise and according to Google, 76% result in store visits within one day.

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, more personalized customer experience.

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.

Alan Meyer is a digital marketer and videographer.