This week to promote it’s new app, Burger King (BK) announced that anyone who downloaded the app and went to a McDonald’s would receive a coupon for a Whopper for only one cent. This caused the app to shoot to the #1 downloaded app in the app store within its first day of launch. Now THOSE are some results.
While I’m skeptical of the strategy of asking consumers to arrive at one restaurant to immediately leave and go to a different restaurant (I would probably just stay where I am because I’m pretty lazy,) I will admit this strategy is pretty great! It’s hard to argue with those results of course, but also this plan combined two of my favorite things: brands being savage towards each other and utilizing new technology.
I’ve already talked enough about the former so today’s blog post will be about the latter. How did BK pull this off? Geofencing of course! If you didn’t know: geofencing is a digital perimeter of a real life geographical location. If you’re on the internet, you probably use it a lot more than you realize. Nextdoor, which I’ve written about before, bases an entire social media platform around geofenced neighborhoods. Those location-specific Snapchat and Instagram filters you’ve seen and likely used? Those pop up because you’re in an area those filters are geofenced to respond to. That’s why Indianapolis filters only respond when you’re in Indianapolis and not Dallas, TX.
BK’s use of geofencing is just one of multiple uses advertisers and marketers are exploiting to get more personal and appealing advertisements. We’ve previously used geofencing for a client where we set up a geofenced area around competitor’s stores. Once a consumer stepped inside a store, and opened their browser, they would be hit with advertisements from our client.
On top of utilizing competitor’s locations, geofencing comes in handy when trying to advertise a logical next step. For example: a personal injury lawyer might set up a geofence around emergency rooms to advertise to patients. Or a grocery store could set up a geofence around a butcher shop with advertisements for fresh produce. Inserting your brand or client as a next step is a marketing tactic as old as time, and geofencing has made it much easier.
Geofencing doesn’t have to just be used to bring new customers in, it can also be a great help for delivering coupons and services to existing clients. If I’m a regular customer at Ulta with the Ulta app on my phone, they can use a geofence to send me coupons off my next purchase via the app whenever I get close enough to their store.
Lorraine Ball isn’t convinced on the merits of geofencing, saying it borderlines on an invasion of privacy. It can be pretty creepy, yes, but if consumers are really concerned about their location being followed they can easily turn it off on their phone.
What do you think? Still skeptical? If you still have your doubts you can read Lorraine’s blog post on geofencing here.