Geofencing through Google has its limits — but there are other sources.

Mobile web traffic continues to increase, which puts more pressure on marketers to find ways to reach people through their phones. The good news is that targeting consumers through mobile ads can actually be more efficient than regular desktop pay per click campaigns. But the bad news is that the big ad player in the game (yes, we’re looking at you Google) makes it difficult, so savvy marketers have to work around Google’s restrictions or even find other sources to feed ads.

One great advantage of targeting ads at mobile users is that we can target based on the user’s location. Think about it… we can now target ads at mobile users who are at your competitors’ locations, or people who have visited certain locations that you know match your target audience.

The biggest problem with using Google ads to reach mobile users is that their geofencing area is set to a minimum of 1 mile. But if we target, for instance, a competitor hospital for our client, we will be reaching many, many more people outside the hospital that don’t fit our target audience. Granted, many of those people won’t click the ad, so it won’t really cost us anything on a pay per click basis. However, lack of clicks will lead Google to give our ads fewer impressions.

The way around this is to use Google’s “Exclusion Areas” (which are also limited to a minimum of 1-mile). Exclusion Areas define the areas where we do NOT want our ads to appear. The creativity here is to overlay exclusion areas over the defined area so that we can reduce the defined area down to as close to the building as possible.

Here’s a map of the 1-mile area around a hospital. If we target this hospital and use that 1-mile radius, we will be targeting all of the homes in the surrounding area. Not good.

But, if we go one step further and add Exclusion Areas, we can exclude those surrounding areas of homes and focus very closely on just the hospital. Here we added four Exclusion Areas, leaving only the hospital in the middle.

Problem solved! But, Google isn’t the only player when it comes to reaching phones in specific locations. There’s a company called El Torro that does an even better job, and another company whose name we won’t reveal since their results for us are incredible and we do not want to give out our trade secrets! In fact, we’ve used these other companies to not only target competitor locations, but also key employment areas and certain behavioral categories. One other plus with these companies is we can run ads by the hour in order to reduce waste, meaning we can target employment locations from 9-5 when people are working, or neighborhoods outside of work hours when people are home. One company even allows you to run ads ONLY when it’s raining at the targeted locations (think movie theaters)!

So if you’re only running ads on Google’s network, you are missing many, many opportunities to reach potential customers. Contact us and we’ll get you in front of these people effectively and efficiently.