Why you should Geofencing when developing your location-based app

If you have recently seen localised or location specific ads, Geofencing technology could be to blame. As recently as the past few years, Geofencing is a form of marketing that has taken the industry by storm. With app developers, marketeers and business owners all looking for ways to implement this technology.

In this blog post we will go through a few things:

  • Firstly, what Geofencing is and how it works.
  • Secondly, the types of Geofencing.
  • Thirdly, some real-life examples of Geofencing at work.
  • Finally, the benefits that the technology provides.

What is Geofencing? And how does it work?

Geofencing, simply put, uses coordinates to fence off a specific area, whether it is a retail store, stadium, shopping centre, etc. It takes user’s location data (GPS) to determine their proximity, to sense whether a user has just entered or exited or whether they are inside or outside the fenced off area.

Ultimately, this allows marketeers to communicate a message (via push notification) to the user’s phone. Amongst many things, this is a popular function to send offers, coupons or messages to users. However, it does not end there. It also allows retailers, shop owners to offer a more personalised experience. I.e. Allowing shop attendees to see when a VIP customer has entered the store, look to see what has been purchased, and therefore allowing them to provide a more personalised experience.

Overall, there are a few types of geofencing action triggers

Types of Geofencing


This focuses on the location of a mobile user with respect to a changing data stream. E.g. “An open parking space”. Easily put, a notification is sent to mobile app users who happen to be driving nearby.


This focuses on the location of a mobile user with respect to a changing data stream. E.g. “An open parking space”. Easily put, a notification is sent to mobile app users who happen to be driving nearby.


This focuses on the position of a mobile user with respect to other users. E.g. Check-in notification of nearby friends on a social mobile app like Facebook.

Famous Examples of Geofencing

Geofencing – Sephora “offers a store companion”

Sephora’s “store companion” is a great example of Static Geofencing and smart location-data solutions. The Store companion not only turns on as soon as the user walks into a store, but it also gives users information on past purchases. Furthermore, it gives information on product recommendations and reviews, wish-list product availability, plus much more. Using geofencing technology, the app increases customer satisfaction and loyalty through the use of great mobile content. As well as, location-targeted messages (push notifications).

Burger King mocks McDonalds.

A recent example of Geofencing in action is Burger King’s “Whopper Detour”, which consisted of a 600-feet fence around McDonald’s locations. This creative campaign encouraged customers to visit McDonalds (which seems counter-intuitive), however, there was a twist. Not only did the customer receive a deal for a one-cent Whopper burger upon entering a McDonalds store, but it also mocked the chain by doing so.

This risky tactic paid off. The Burger King app not only saw over 1,000,000 downloads, but it also boosted the app from 9th place to 1st in the Apple App Store’s food and drink category.

Why you should use Geofencing in your mobile app?

In order to work out whether, Geofencing, is right for your business, it is important to understand all of the Pros and cons.

Pros of Geofencing.

  • Targeted to business’ location to show only to relevant users.
  • Can target a competitor’s business location in an attempt to steal market share.
  • Can send promotions or incentives to users that are near the business location.

Cons of Geofencing.

  • Typically focuses on impulse purchases, such as our coffee example, or consumables.
  • Requires user to download an app on their mobile phone to receive the advertising.
  • Requires user to be BOTH using the app in question, as well as be located near the business that is advertising.

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