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Complete Guide to Location Based Marketing

With mobile device usage increasing in popularity year on year, location has become one of the biggest factors to take advantage of in marketing, however, not all marketers know how to use location-based technology effectively.

In this guide to location based marketing, we explore the different ways to target potential customers and clients using the various and most popular methods of location based targeting available on the market today.

What is Location Based Marketing?

Put simply, location based marketing is using people’s location as a primary or secondary targeting option. You are targeting people in a specific location with your promotions. The most popular and effective way of location based targeting uses data on peoples mobile devices to send them relevant content to places they are or have been to recently.

Common ways to utilise location based marketing are through advertising, SMS and local SEO.

Why is Location Based Marketing Important

Location based marketing can benefit companies in a number of ways. Not only does it bring a different and more effective way of targeting people, but it can also be used for very effective customer retention strategies and luring customers away from your competitor’s premises into yours.

Why use Location Based Marketing?

The justification for using location based marketing is an obvious one when you look at the data. A report by Factual states that nearly 90% of marketers said that location based marketing and advertising resulted in growth of customer base and increased sales.

The most beneficial elements of location based marketing, according to 46% of global respondents in the Location Based Marketing Association’s (LBMA) fifth annual Global Location Trends report , are the functionality to geographically target, followed by the ability to increase brand recall (21%) and driving sales at the point of sale (17%). The most popular benefit, however, was using location based marketing to increase brand recall which increased from just over 1% in 2019 to 21% in 2020.

For the first time in history, consumers are now spending more time on their mobile devices than they are watching TV and the time spent watching TV is expected to reduce even further. This is great news for marketers who already use location based marketing and other forms of marketing to mobile devices.

Fluid Ads - Complete Guide to Location Based Marketing - types of location based marketing

What are the main types of location based marketing?

There are various methods of location based marketing, some being more popular and successful than others depending on the goals of the marketing campaign.

The primary methods of location based marketing are:


Geofencing involves drawing a virtual fence on a map and serving adverts to people who enter the fence.

You can even serve ads to them for up to 30 days after they leave the geofenced area. The ads can come in the form of an app notification, a text message or display ads on websites the user visits. To get started with geofencing, companies use one of the technologies that have this functionality, such as the Fluid Ads Platform.


Geotargeting, also known as geo-location advertising, is a method of marketing that targets people using their current geographic location. Geotargetargeting is often used by businesses who want to provide a better onsite experience for their customers. Geotargeting campaigns can be applied to large areas such as countries or continents all the way down to postcodes or neighbourhoods. This functionality is widely available when advertising on social media channels and websites.


Geo Conquesting is the practice of using location based marketing to target people who visit their competitor’s premises with the intention of luring them away with competitive offers or one-day-only deals. Burger King famously used this strategy to lure their app customers away from McDonald’s locations with a very tempting offer of a one cent whopper.

Proximity marketing

Proximity marketing involves the use of beacons, augmented reality or near-field communications to trigger the delivery of ads, alerts or content to a smartphone that is within a few metres of a specific location. The rise in popularity of QR code scanning means that customers can bring to life some of the products they are considering buying, get more information or be sent an offer when they scan the codes.

Local SEO

When it comes to marketing your business today, you probably already know that SEO, otherwise known as search engine optimisation, is of huge importance.

Fluid Ads - Complete Guide to Location Based Marketing - Local SEO (1)

However, what about local SEO? This is an incredibly effective way of marketing your company online. It involves utilising an array of different strategies that help you to appeal to local customers. After all, every day, there are millions of customers who use local search so that they can find the best companies in their area. You need to make sure you feature high up on the search result pages.

How to start using location based marketing

Now that you are familiar with the different types of location based marketing, you may be wondering how to get started. Well, that all depends on the goals of your business.

If, for example, you are a local bakery seeking to increase footfall to your premises, local SEO may be your best option. Your aim would be to appear at the top of the search results or map listings when someone searches ‘bakery near me’. Being at the top of the results for this search term would almost certainly increase footfall to your bakery, especially if you are not there already. To get started with local SEO, you could read about the best practices and apply them yourself or team up with an experienced SEO agency.

For large companies seeking to increase sales or brand awareness, or charities looking to increase donations, geofencing and geo targeting are the perfect option. Fashion retailers for example, especially those who operate globally can use geofencing and geo targeting to ensure they are promoting the right products to the right locations. It wouldn’t be very effective to target people in the Mediterranean with large winter jackets, nor would it be very effective to target people in Scandinavia with ads that contain shorts and t-shirts.

To start using geofencing you want an easy to use interface, like the all-in-one ad platform from Fluid Ads and you can see a video of geofencing in the platform here. Tools like this allow you to create ads, target using location based tactics effectively, manage and report on performance and make adjustments where necessary. We even provide the option of fully managed campaigns which leave you with more time to focus on running your business.

  Location based marketing

Benefits to Location-Based Marketing

Highly targeted and cost effective

Implementing location-based marketing will need less investment than previous years because of how readily available location based marketing platforms have become. The highly targeted nature of location based marketing means that marketers tend to see high ROI’s, making it one of the most cost effective and lucrative marketing methods available.

Get to know your customers better

Location based marketing allows marketers to get to know their customers on a personal level. Because some aspects of location based marketing uses data from smart mobile devices, marketers can use this advantage to really familiarise themselves with their customers’ and increase consumer reach. Marketing relevant ads on mobile apps, websites or browsers will almost certainly attract more customers than a mass scale campaign that pays no attention to geographical locations.

Boost business during quieter periods

There are times when businesses can experience quiet periods of time that can cause them to worry and fantasise about winning new business. Location-based marketing, in whichever form
a business chooses, has the ability to have an immediate impact, whether it is increasing footfall to brick and mortar stores or driving online sales.

Attract new customers

Location based marketing is one of the most effective ways to attract new customers. It is a great way to encourage people who have never heard of your business to interact and try your offering for the first time. Using location based marketing allows you to be a lot more effective with your targeting and messaging.

Increased creativity

Some of the best results when using location based marketing are seen when marketers get creative with their messaging. Creating geographically relevant ads is one of the best ways to increase ROI on your marketing campaigns. People are more likely to engage with your adverts if the content is location driven and they feel like the advert is personally targeted to them and the location they are in.

Disadvantages of Location-Based Marketing

Requires consumers to opt-in or enable location services

One of the main disadvantages of location based marketing is that most methods either require users to opt-in to notifications or have location services turned on. This is how the location based marketing process starts. Once it is established that the device has the location settings turned on, it will be able to participate in receiving relevant ads and notifications that promote businesses.

Targeting Inappropriate Demographics

It’s all happened before. Random ads that pop up when using your internet browser. It can only attract customers within a general vicinity. Because it relies so much on where customers use their smart devices, this can be the cause of random pop-ups of ads that may attract a different demographic. That’s why it’s important to look at how you can combine geofencing with complimentary tactics.

Inaccurate location data

Location based marketing heavily relies on the accuracy of location data. Sometimes there are inaccuracies with technology and other times users could have a VPN permanently switched on; both scenarios could result in inaccurate location data.

Ineffective targeting

Location based marketing is only effective when done correctly. The idea that there is a very large audience within a specific location is every marketers dream, but it does not guarantee results. Location based marketing works best when combined with other forms of targeting.

Industries that use location based marketing

Location-based marketing has taken the digital marketing industry by storm, however, it’s not just the digital marketing industry that’s benefitting. We have identified more industries who use location based marketing.


Retail stores can enhance the in-store experience and increase footfall by implementing location-based marketing. With the use of GPS or geofencing, the retail industry has seen increases in brand loyalty and a better understanding of consumer behaviour.


Hotels, bars, and restaurants benefit from location based marketing as they are able to not only attract consumers into their premises, but are able to lure customers away from their competitor’s premises. The hospitality industry benefits from location based marketing because it allows companies with the ability to send offers to nearby consumers with the intention of drawing them in.


Events organiser us location based marketing to sell tickets and merchandise to consumers within a certain radius of the venue. It would be a waste of ad budget to target people hundreds of miles away from the location of an event when the majority of people who will be attending the event will be local to the stadium.


Aside from hospitality, the travel industry also thrives when using location-based marketing. Whether it’s finding a place to stay, tourist attractions to explore, or a nice place to eat, marketers promoting the travel industry have invested in location-based marketing due to its convenience for loyal and potential customers.


Auto dealerships are a good example of businesses that often use location-based marketing. They benefit from geofencing to reach out to customers, especially ones that shop with other competitive auto dealerships, to showcase their current stock of cars.


With the use of geotargeting, restaurants tend to succeed in location-based marketing. Foodies who want to find hidden gems to eat at can easily look up what’s the best place close to them. The convenience of location-based marketing in the food industry continues to grow.

Thanks for reading our guide to location based marketing. If you have any questions or want to get started with geofencing ads, contact one of the team today.

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