Distance and Local Competition in Mobile Geofencing

Yi Jen Ho, Sanjeev Dewan, Yi Chun Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This research studies the performance of geofencing, a practice where mobile users are targeted within a predefined virtual geographic boundary around an advertiser’s establishment. We argue the significance of distance (i.e., the mileage from a consumer to a focal establishment) and local competition (i.e., the number of alternatives in consumer vicinity) in ad responses. Drawing on the notion of the purchase funnel, we develop a two-stage hierarchical Bayesian model to examine consumer click and conversion choices. A unique data set of geofencing ad impressions is collected from one of the largest location-based marketing agencies in the United States. The results suggest that local competition matters in the click stage, whereas distance influences the propensity of conversion. Quantitatively, one additional competitor in the consumer vicinity zone lowers the click-through rate by 1.03%, whereas a 1-mile increase in distance results in a 17.64% decrease in the conversion rate. We also find a significant interactive effect, whereby a higher degree of local competition amplifies the negative impact of distance on the likelihood of conversions. Additionally, product differentiation ameliorates the effects of distance and local competition, whereas these effects are found to be more prominent during office working hours. This study discovers the stage-varying roles of distance and local competition along the customer journey and offers new directions for more effective location-based targeting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1421-1442
Number of pages22
JournalInformation Systems Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences


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