Geofencing vs Geotargeting for Colleges

College marketers are increasingly using geolocation services, and for a good reason—it helps get information to the people most likely to be interested in your school. A geolocation is the physical location of a device, and marketing targeting a device in a defined radius allows you to get your message to people in that area at a specific time. GPS navigation devices or fitness trackers use geolocation to provide useful information in our everyday lives. The same tech can help you reach the right people with your marketing.

Using geolocation technologies in marketing can efficiently get your message to people who show a specific interest by visiting certain locations. For college marketing, there are many great uses for these technologies. But knowing the difference between geofencing and geotargeting can help you strategize to maximize your reach while staying within your advertising budget.

Geofencing for Higher Ed Marketing

A geofence is an imaginary boundary around an area, and when a device crosses into this imaginary area, an ad can be sent to the device. Geofencing also includes the dimension of time in addition to space, as you can choose when and where to have the ads pushed out to devices. Your geofence can consist of a limited area, like the area around a college stadium, or be larger to include a whole town or city.

For marketing to prospective students, targeting an area that high school juniors and seniors may go to, like a popular mall, a high school conference, a sporting event, or any other location where teens may frequent, could be a good use of a geofence. In addition, you can choose the times you want ads to appear on devices inside the geofence, such as during a football game, in the morning, and so on. The devices that received your ads can also be targeted with follow-up advertising for 30 days following the first event, no matter the device’s location at the time.

One good use of geofencing for colleges and universities would be to announce a recruiting event in the hours or so before it starts. Then, you can offer an incentive like college swag or movie tickets for the first people to arrive. Combining geofencing advertisements with in-person events can be a very effective strategy that lets you use creativity to make a real splash.

How is Geotargeting Different?

If you want to be even more specific with your advertising, geotargeting may be the way to go. With geotargeting, you send your ads to people with particular interests or demographics within a geographic location. For instance, you might want to advertise during a rock concert that will have lots of teenagers in the audience, but you don’t want to send your ad to people who are over 25 in that crowd since they are less likely to be looking for colleges. So you can target your ads by age, interests, purchasing behavior, and so on.


Want to explore geotargeting or geofencing for your college marketing? We would be happy to look at the options and collaborate on a strategy that meets your goals and budget. Contact us today to find out how we can help your institution level up its digital marketing strategy.


If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you adapt to the evolving education marketing landscape and ramp up your efforts, please contact us today.

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