Geofencing vs Beacons – Which option is best for you?

Geofencing vs Beacons – Which one is right for your business? It seems like more and more of our clients are asking us about proximity based marketing, so I wanted to put together this quick post that outlines some of the benefits of each option. Geofencing and Beacons each have specific use cases that benefit each business differently. Hopefully this post will help you decide which direction is right for your business. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions.

Geofencing vs Beacons – The Breakdown

What is your objective?

Before deciding on which proximity based marketing method to use, you should have a good idea of what you are trying to accomplish. For example, are you a restaurant that wants to notify patrons about menu specials or happy hour deals? Or, are you a realtor who needs clients to get specific information while visiting a property. Always create a strategy before implementing your plan.

Do you understand the infrastructure?

One of the common misconceptions of using proximity based tech is how proximity interacts with the your potential and existing clients. How is your message going to be delivered to your users?

Mobile App: The most surefire way to ensure your clients will receive your proximity based content is via a mobile application. This way you can build the entire user experience from top-to-bottom without relying on any piggybacking or unnecessary 3rd parties. (our recommendation for fast mobile app deployment with proximity based features is BuildFire).

Advertising Channels: Services like GroundTruth and Propellant are 2 of my favorite advertising channels, as they work within existing apps, to provide an integrated solution by serving specific ads to people within a defined geofenced area. Both companies work with hundreds of thousands of apps and websites.


Beacons are physical NFC devices that communicate wirelessly with mobile devices. They communicate by transmitting a signal that your phone receives, triggering a notification via mobile app. Most companies use NearBee app to communicate with beacons, considering there are already millions of NearBee users; however, over the past couple of years, beacon marketing’s limitations have proven to be their downfall. Popularity of beacon advertising is shrinking due to Google Nearby being decommissioned and geofencing’s rising popularity.


Geofencing uses your phones specific location and does not require any hardware beacons, and can be combined with existing apps, new custom apps, marketing platforms, and even peer-to-peer (think: friends near me). We believe that geofencing is the ideal solution for companies that are trying to target potential clients from various locations that they may not have access to place hardware (for example, Grocery Store A might want to tell Grocery Store B customers about their special weekend deal, OR, the Sandwich shop across the street from the college may want to advertise their lunch special to local students).

The fact is, geofencing has risen in popularity due to the ease of use and scalability.

Our Recommendations:

We have been loyal users of Beaconstac for a while now. Not only because they have a robust API that easily integrates into mobile apps, but because they work with both geofencing AND with beacons. We set up beacons for one of our retail clients last year and they loved it.

Our clients were able to send a welcome message when customers entered their lobby, and another notification of “Today’s Deals,” and finally a “See ya next time!” alert when they left.

Impending Issues: The only issue we’ve had is the beacon batteries running out, and when they do, they’re somewhat difficult to replace. Also, there’s no alert when a beacon goes offline for any reason. We intermittently faced issues with notifications being sent multiple times during a single visit, etc. Now, we’re rolling out a geofencing option that works even better.