Digital Byte: How to Leverage Geofencing for Higher Education Marketing

It’s no surprise that smart phone use among teens and young adults is drastically changing the way students consume content online and, thus, the way advertisers need to reach them. Recent surveys conclude that 91% of smart phone users have their device within arm’s reach 24 hours a day. And with higher smart phone use comes higher app use. In-app advertising is expected to more than double in 2016, from what is was last year.

This means one thing for college admission and marketing professionals: you need to leverage the mobile targeting capabilities of today to reach your prospective audience. But how do you identify which smart phone users are your audiences?

One of the newest and most targeted ways to tap into an audience by location is geofencing and mobile location based targeting. Geofencing technology allows advertisers to capture mobile devices based on a specific location pinpointed by satellite and GPS signals and serve ads to them while they are within this virtual parameter. Mobile Location Targeting takes it one step further by referencing those very same devices in order to reach them wherever they go, later on.

Geofencing is a game changer for higher ed, because, typically, geotargeting serves ads to people who are physically in a customizable radius around a pinpoint latitude/longitude location, which pairs nicely with programmatic display ad buying. Now, GPS technology and engineer-designed platforms allow marketers to reach prospects while they are within a specific “geofence” that has been virtually drawn to include and exclude specific areas at a more granular mapping level. The added beauty of mobile location targeting with it, is you not only reach prospects while they are within that geofence, but also after, allowing more scalability and delivery to take place over a longer period of time. Think of mobile location targeting as the new "cookie".

This means you can profile users based on the fact that they attend specific feeder high schools or community colleges to build a custom audience that can be reached on their smart phones for months to come.

We jumped on this technology at Carnegie, and we’ve already “geofenced” literally every high school and most community colleges by drawing polygons around them to better help our clients build their custom audience profiles based on past activity in those areas. We take our targeting one step further and layer in specific lists of websites to ensure your ads appear in relevant apps best suited for your target audience. (Yes, we have those white lists too!)

So as you start to think about new ways to tap into your prospective audiences this year, remember location-based targeting strategies, like geofencing and mobile location based targeting, can ensure your institution’s offerings stay within arm’s reach!

Follow Angie on Twitter @AngieMayWard

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