There are many location-based features in mobile devices that can be used to target customer based on their location and proximity, these features are mostly available in ad servers like Google and Facebook. Below is a list of those features and how each can be used to target customers.

1- Geo-Social: This feature includes users sharing their own location on social media with their friends. A lot of social media platforms, such as Facebook, offer that feature and label it as “Check in” feature. Users can “tag” their friends in these locations, such as restaurants or bars. Since users’ data can be used for advertising, marketers can target users based on their “check-in” activities, whether they frequently check-in at a certain merch or restaurant, or possibly can expand that to target them based on the geographical area they’re always visiting.

2- Location-Based: This feature allows marketers to target users who are looking for local services or products within a certain geographical area. For example, searching for “plumber in Ann Arbor” could lead to seeing ads for plumbers in that area or possibly around it. Google Maps, one of the most popular map search engines, is filled with fake business listings, which shows close-by locations for repairmen or other local services and when the user calls them, they get directed to the main location that is probably in a different city and further away from them (Read more here:

3- Mobile-Local Social Network: This feature works mainly by retrieving the user’s location from their mobile device using the GPS imbedded in it. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, leverage the location retrieving permission granted for the mobile app by the user to get the user’s location and target them with ads based on where they are, what time of the day, and what are their interests are (Read more here:

4- Proximity-Based: Proximity marketing is based on targeting users that are within a certain radius on a business based on their location. For example, users might get certain ads for business if they are within a mall, or an airport. Proximity in mobile devices also works, in iPhones at least, by displaying an on-screen message for users who are near certain stores that offer their payment methods with the iPhone Wallet. For example, as soon as approach a Starbucks, whether in a mall or an individual store, I get a pop-up on my iPhone’s screen with a swipe option to display my Starbucks card (Read more here:

5- In-Store Messaging: Although this feature might sound similar to Proximity Marketing, but it is difference in a sense that the user must be inside the store. This works by using Bluetooth devices, referred to as beacons, that communicate with the store’s mobile app on the users’ device, and send the user push notifications when they enter the store. This can be used to send users coupons or information about certain sections within a store. Beacons can be placed in malls, inside big stores, or even in museums. I have worked in the past with a local museum to place beacons around the exhibits to send information to visitors about the exhibit they’re in. More info about beacons can be found at this beacons vendor’s website: You can also read about my past experience working with Beacons here:

6- Location-Based App Messaging: This feature is very similar to in-store messaging, but it doesn’t rely on Beacons to work but rather on the user’s actual location. One of the best examples of Location-based app messaging apps I have ever experienced is the Apple Store app. When I enter an Apple store, my iPhone displays a message welcoming me to the store, and when I open the app, I can browse what is in-stock at that store. Not only that, but I can also pick up a product I want to buy, scan it, and pay with the app and leave without having to deal with any sales associates at the store. If you have an iPhone and visit the Apple Store frequently I highly recommend downloading their app. Link here:

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