Geofencing as a New Tool to Monetize Content - Part 1: Local Publishers

In this first of a two-part blog series, we will discuss the value of “Geofencing” - the process of building a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area - to different types of publishers in terms of monetizing previously untapped audiences.

The term itself has been applied to a swathe of online industries, ranging from child location services to telematics, and from human resources to unmanned aerial vehicle navigation systems. Simply put, geofencing is the process whereby businesses can execute specific actions or triggers based on the location of the individual who is accessing their website, application, or online service. This creates not only a more personalized user experience but also allows companies to better segment audiences and employ targeted strategies for each.

The ability to automatically generate actions or responses based on an individual’s location has also been the remit of Hollywood and the gaming industry for years, yet beyond targeted advertising content, the publishing industry has failed to embrace it. At LaterPay, we believe that this is a missed opportunity. Publishers who enjoy either a national - or international - audience are losing out on the opportunity both to generate additional revenue for their publication and build a more loyal user base, if they fail to employ geofencing as part of their digital strategy.

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Scenario One: Local Publication with a National Reach

Let’s consider a local media outlet - perhaps one based in a larger metropolitan area. It started out as a local publication that was free to read, relying on a small but loyal advertiser base to generate revenues. Over time, it’s readership has grown and it is now regularly attracting national-level advertisers who want access to its urban readership base. At the same time - as happens in larger cities - many of its original audience has moved to different parts of the country, but they still read the paper faithfully and, because business is doing well, it has built a larger reputation for national, as well as local reporting.

With advertising levels starting to plateau, however, the publication is looking to generate other revenue streams to compensate. But how? The publication is still free to read for its audiences and the publishers don’t want to risk losing their loyal local readership by starting to charge for content. Geofencing would enable publishers to overcome this issue by segmenting audiences who read the paper locally and keeping content free for them, but for anyone outside a predetermined zip code alternative options could be employed. Readers could, for example, be allowed to purchase individual articles, or offered a Time Pass for the day, providing unlimited access to the publication for 24 hours, which would allow them to decide whether they want to read more regularly. Publishers could offer weekly/monthly subscriptions as well, to engage the loyal - but remote - readership, who can’t do without that city’s news, or its brand of reporting.

In this way the publication retains the loyalty of its local audience but does not need to reply solely on advertising to generate revenue. Instead, it can take a targeted approach, exploring ways to monetize content with a national audience that would not as a matter of course expect the paper to come for free.

Want to learn more? Check out the second half of this blog series, or contact us for more information.

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