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Geofencing Vs. Geotargeting: What’s the Difference?

Eden Chai

Sometimes digital marketing jargon can get confusing: CPC, CPM, SEO, PPC, the list goes on…

Geofencing and geotargeting are some of the most commonly confused terms in digital marketing, so we’re here to set the record straight!

We’ve outlined these terms below to help you understand how they differ and know the pros and cons of using geotargeting vs geofencing.

So, what’s the difference?

Geofencing and Geotargeting may sound like the same thing, but they are used in very different ways.


Geofencing refers to creating custom-shaped target zones around a specific location. To understand geofencing vs geotargeting better, let’s use a competitor as an example. If the property down the block from you is a direct competitor, you can create a geofence around their leasing center. Then, when anyone with a mobile device walks into your geofence (in this case, your competitor’s leasing center), they will be added to your marketing list for 30 days. Since you’ve opted to geofence the office of your direct competitor, you know that a high percentage of their prospects are relevant to you as well.

To find your competitor’s leasing center, utilize Google Street View. Remember, top platforms such as Simpli.fi will let you hone your accuracy (within feet), so take advantage of those capabilities to keep your geofence as specific as possible.

Bam! You’ve found their front entrance, great work! Now let’s work on creating an accurate geofence so that you can serve ads to these prospects.

Creating a custom shape is important, especially in this example. This property is on a main street; if you make the geofence too large, you’ll end up targeting people who are simply walking by your competitor’s leasing center, which will result in many unqualified prospects. You don’t want that.

Now that you’ve created a custom geofence, it’s time to create your ads so that you can reel these prospects in. Your ads will show up on any mobile apps or websites that accept mobile advertising, such as CNN, ESPN, local blogs, etc.

See an example below:


Geotargeting, also referred to as local PPC ads, refers to delivering content/ads to a visitor based on their location. Geotargeting allows you to target visitors through country, region, state, city, zip code, and other criteria. This is most commonly used to target local prospects online with location-appropriate content.

See an example below of how we use geotargeting in our Google Ads to target a specific area:

Once you set this radius, the only people who will see your ad will be in this radius.

See an example of an advertisement that uses geotargeting below:

Geofencing and geotargeting each have their own unique capabilities.

Do you use geofencing or geotargeting in your marketing strategy? We’d love to hear about it!

Have questions on the best way to use geofencing or geotargeting to garner leads? Drop us a comment below and we’ll share our thoughts.

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