July 2, 2020

Geofencing Strategies in the Age of COVID-19

Geofencing is a popular digital advertising tactic incorporated into many college enrollment marketing strategies. Geotargeted ads have the ability to reach users who are located in a single area based on their mobile location. These ads can pinpoint specific locations such as high schools, large festivals, and other events. 

But, in the age of COVID-19, how can colleges increase enrollment with geotargeting? The concept is built around someone traveling or being out of their home in a time where people aren’t doing either. As college and universities continue to feel the impact of coronavirus on enrollment marketing, geofencing capabilities have taken a big hit as well. With people quarantining at home, higher education marketers have had to adjust their tactics to continue reaching prospective students. 

Here are three quick ways you can adjust your geofencing tactics and enhance your enrollment marketing efforts, even with stay-at-home orders in effect. 

Incorporate Mobile ID Matching and Lookback Data

In geofencing, mobile device IDs are used to identify specific devices and users in a retargeting manner. This can be highly beneficial for mobile advertising campaigns when traditional digital ad targeting methods, like active location, are unavailable. 

In these instances, our higher ed marketing agency turns to device ID targeting, using powerful mobile data platforms such as Factual. This digital advertising strategy still incorporates some geofencing techniques, but with a window into users’ past, also known as a lookback window. 

These data tools are able to identify mobile devices that were in a specific location in the past, for example, students who attended a college fair six months ago. Based on device IDs that were captured and stored in a selected time period, ads can now target the same devices months later. Even if prospective students are staying at home during this pandemic, they can still be reached. It’s a unique and powerful way to turn your typical geofencing opportunities into actionable tactics during the pandemic.

Expand Your Idea of Target Locations

COVID-19 has changed human behavior for the foreseeable future. In order to continue garnering success from geotargeting ads, digital marketers must adjust their idea of an ideal geofenced location. Pre-COVID-19 higher ed geofencing strategies focused on targeting prospective students within a physical high school building, at a college fair event, or near an outdoor festival. 

With social distancing recommendations still in effect, the best way to engage users may be to expand your geofenced areas. These could include drive-through restaurants, parking lots of popular places, and outdoor parks.

Layer Additional Audience Information

With broader geofence settings comes greater chances of reaching irrelevant mobile users. Your prospective student-based campaigns are still centered on key audiences. So it does no good to spend digital marketing dollars reaching everyone at locations near your campus. 

However, this is a great time to strengthen your normal geofencing tactics by layering target audience information. Many geofencing platforms also incorporate third-party audience data including behavioral signals and demographics. Find the data sets that are most useful for narrowing down to your school’s desired audience. Consider narrowing your audience in a geofenced location into smaller age ranges or specific behaviors and interests. Then, you can turn that segment into a precise awareness-builder for your school.

Are you interested in learning about the advanced geofencing techniques we use to reach prospective students? Reach out to the higher education marketing experts at our digital advertising agency today.

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