How Home and Garden Advertisers Can Utilize Geofencing

Take Advantage of Location-Based Targeting to Reach Home & Garden Consumers


Spring is officially here, and for many, that means it’s time to move on from winter hibernation and get back out into the garden. While gardening in southern parts of the U.S. can be a year-round venture, for the rest of us, horticultural endeavors are restricted by the danger of frost.

However, that weather-dependent schedule provides an optimal campaign targeting opportunity for home and garden advertisers. They can tailor ad impressions to the time and place where there’s the best chance of moving an audience down the funnel towards conversion, by leveraging geofencing and weather-based targeting.

What Are Geofencing and Weather-Based Targeting?

Geofencing is marketing to audiences on their smartphones once they enter a specific, pre-determined area. For instance, marketing in a radius around a particular store location, targeting the parts of a town where farmers are more likely to be found, reaching hyper-local shopping locations that may signal intent to purchase agricultural supplies, etc. It’s an ideal way to restrict ad impressions—and thus limit ad spend—to areas where they’re most likely to yield results, by leveraging device location data (i.e. via Wi-Fi, GPS, RFID, or Bluetooth).

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Meanwhile, weather-based targeting serves ad impressions or specific creative based on the current weather or an upcoming forecast. That home and garden consumers are impacted by the weather should go without saying—neither commercial farmers nor weekend warriors tend to plant seedsduring a torrential downpour (albeit for different reasons). And nothing draws the crowds to a big box home and garden store quite like a sunny weekend and a 5-for-$10 mulch sale.

Use Seasons and Weather-Based Targeting to Drive Home Messaging and Grow Brand Loyalty. 

Garden Blog Quote-01Tying ad creative to the weather forecast and location is vital for the home & gardening industry. Save top-of-funnel messaging and engagement—perhaps a native ad that links to inspirational “garden ideas” blogs that plant the seeds of an idea in consumers’ minds—for rainy days and places where the warm season hasn’t quite kicked off yet. Get them thinking, “yeah, that might be a fun project to try this year” when the weather’s poor. Then, drive the sale with lower-funnel messaging for the supplies they’ll need for it on the nice, sunny days of spring and early summer.


This campaign methodology isn’t restricted to the spring season. The average last date of frost is an obvious date to build messaging for tender annual plants. However, many casual gardeners may not know they can plant a second round of short-season crops (i.e. leafy greens, peas, and root crops) in summer, working backward from the local average first frost date in the fall. Offer ad creative that reminds them it’s not too late in order to get them back to the store after their first visit, for more seeds and supplies. As the fall season kicks into high gear, switch to creative highlighting seasonal sales of autumn garden décor—mums, gourds, hay bales—and don’t forget leaf cleanup supplies!

As frost approaches, leverage weather-based targeting to serve up messages for last-minute cold prep—row covers, frost blankets, and cloches to extend the gardening season. Advertise products to winterize and protect landscaping in advance of snowfall. Use the forecast to motivate purchases—snow predictions drive sales of deicers, snow shovels, and snow throwers. So, letting buyers know you have these products in stock when snow's on its way is the perfect way to build a reputation as a reliable brand to get their last-minute supplies.

How Else Can Home and Garden Advertisers Leverage Geofencing and Weather-Based Targeting?

If the advertiser is a single-location hardware shop, serving ad impressions to people who would have to drive two or three hours to get there is unlikely to yield significant ROI. This is where the hyper-local nature of geotargeting can help, as it serves ad impressions to phones located within a reasonable driving distance of the store. Or, if multiple stores are close enough to be competing for customers, advertisers can geo-conquest by serving ads to recent visitors of nearby businesses. For instance, let them know that next time they should try your store—make sure to highlight the things your business does better (better pricing, greater selection, etc.).

Garden Blog Quote-03Another great location data use case would be for a mail-order plant supplier offering perennials. Showing an ad for a plant that’s hardy to zone 8 to a gardener in zone 6 will only disappoint them. Either they understand the local climate already and feel they’ve wasted their time when they see the plant is a bad choice, or they purchase it and the plant dies over the winter. The former would frustrate a potential customer with a horticultural bait-and-switch; the latter is even worse, as it creates a poor impression of the nursery’s products and can lead to negative reviews. With location-based marketing, though, advertisers can leverage Wi-Fi, GPS, and so on to pinpoint product ads to only the gardeners who would be most likely to succeed with a given plant.

Meanwhile, big box suppliers with locations across the country should use their geofencing advertising to vary creative with regionally appropriate recommendations. For example, advertising xeriscaping (desert landscaping) products to prospects nearing store locations in the rainy Northwest coast won’t do. And they’ll probably have more success highlighting succulent containers with gardeners in Arizona than showing them the DIY pond kits, even if both could be ordered off the website for in-store pickup. As stunning as a crepe myrtle in full bloom may be, there’s no point in showing it off to consumers in northern Maine or Vermont. Use location to excite potential consumers with projects they can envision themselves doing for their own homes, rather than making them jealous of the cool thing someone might put in their backyard on the other side of the country. 

MNI’s local advertising solutions are the perfect fit for your home and garden advertising needs, whether they are large or small.

About the Author

Amanda Wenger, Designer with MNI Targeted Media, is also a sometimes-author, the self-appointed office nerd, and an avid gardener. She brings an off-beat, outside-the-box perspective to all she does to make both gardens and MNI’s brand stand out.