Designed to deliver a quick shot of helpful, easy-to-digest content related to enrollment management, our new “300 Words or Less” series includes advice, opinions, topical responses to news/events, and beyond. This insight comes from the day-to-day interactions we have with clients and prospects and our own insights and experiences in the higher education industry. 

IP Tagging vs. Geofencing in Higher Education Marketing (in 300 Words or Less)

By Gil Rogers

To get the most out of recruitment campaigns, many institutions are turning to digital marketing to optimize their recruitment efforts.

Diving into new technologies can be confusing.  So much so that some terms may be used inter-changeably when they shouldn’t be.  Two of these are IP Tagging and Geofencing.

What’s the difference?

IP Tagging

IP Tagging is the process of identifying the IP address of prospects (typically through a third party) and serving ads on devices connected it.  This is typically their home PC and any devices connected to home WIFI.

The pro?

  • It’s easier to match a home address with “ZIP+4” than it is on say, a device ID of a mobile phone (which potentially changes frequently)

 The con?

  • IP addresses are not perfect and oftentimes include clusters of households (hence the “+4” in ZIP+4). This can lead to a lot of wasted impressions across devices not being used by your target.


Geofencing is the process of casting a virtual boundary around a specific location and drawing a radius around it.  This is typically focused on mobile devices (used by the majority of prospective students) and potentially social networks (i.e. Instagram).

The pro?

  • Used strategically, you can reach a high volume of prospects when and where you know they are. Great ideas include geofencing community colleges to reach potential transfer students or office parks to support graduate outreach.

The con?

  • The path to conversion is fragmented. Most students will swipe through information on their phone but not fill out forms. They’ll talk with family about schedules and fill out the campus visit form later, on their home PC. Fortunately, with the right analytical tools you can measure overall campaign influence, even across multiple devices.

Need more?  Watch our webinar, “The Do’s and Don’ts of Digital Marketing for Higher Education”.