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Geography has always played a crucial role in marketing to consumers in the offline “real” world.

It shapes the way companies reach out to target audiences. It affects the way products are promoted and priced. It helps analyse consumers within a particular area, and it places restrictions on the way business is conducted due to laws and regulations in a given area.

The same holds true of course in the online world. Understanding user location can be a critical factor―and competitive differentiator―in customer outreach today.

And yet, many businesses continue to present online consumers with a single “one size fits all” approach in their online initiatives and thereby miss out on the opportunity to create instant connections with local audiences.

There is an alternative.

IP geolocation is simple, cost-effective and privacy-sensitive

IP geolocation technology allows any type of online business, from publisher networks, e-commerce websites and streaming media portals, to social networks and local businesses, to deliver more relevant content in a simple, cost-effective and privacy-sensitive manner―tailored to users' locations at the moment when it's most relevant.

At its most granular, IP geolocation technology is accurate down to a 5-8 km radius, or about 1,000 to 2,000 households.Since the technology is based purely on analysing network infrastructure and ISP internet access nodes (not individual households or devices), no cookies are ever installed and no personally identifiable information is collected or stored. 

As such, this technology enables companies to offer a richer, safer, more personalised user experience, while preserving complete user privacy.

IP geolocation offers cross-functional applications

Armed with new information about the way in which individuals interact with the online channel, organisations from startups to the world’s most sophisticated Internet players have the ability to create more meaningful and impactful interactions with online users.

Sample IP geolocation applications include:

  • Targeted online advertising. Enabling advertisers and marketers to geotarget down to a postal code-level worldwide, increasing advertising reach, relevance and response. Incorporating other IP parameters, such as connection speed, domain, or identifying the connection as home or business allows for even more pinpointed targeting and flexibility.
  • Content localisation. Providing online entities with the tools to move away from “one-size-fits-all” messaging and information and instead deliver locally relevant content, language, currency, products and promotions—creating an instant connection with website visitors. This helps reduce website and transaction abandonment, resulting in increased sales and revenue.
  • Enhanced analytics. Offering companies a new way to view, parse and analyse online data to increase performance for online initiatives. It also provides a real-time mechanism that allows marketers to take immediate action to tactically refine local and international marketing campaigns with clarity and control.
  • Geographic rights management.  Allowing online content distributors to adhere to licensing and copyright agreements surrounding usage of online audio and video content. Additionally, IP geolocation can be used to restrict downloads in certain geographic locations for encryption software or in other online uses where content needs to be legally restricted.

Use IP geolocation to build a local strategy

A universal, all-things-to-all-people approach to online content is outdated and unnecessary.

For small companies, IP geolocation can help build a solid, local footprint to compete with bigger brands. For large national and international brands, IP geolocation can help tailor the traditional “blanket” messages to local customers from city to city, region to region, or to specific countries.

Moreover, IP geolocation enables precisely targeted, cost-effective and privacy-sensitive online campaigns that create instant connections with the online audience and help to establish meaningful customer relationships.

Kate Owen

Published 25 September, 2012 by Kate Owen

Kate Owen is Managing Director, Europe at Digital Element and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

2 more posts from this author

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appleiphone5deals.co.uk

Hi,
locally global marketplaces use new models that provide sellers of any size, anywhere in the world, the performance of local and international marketing campaigns...

almost 4 years ago

James Perrin

James Perrin, Digital Communications Specialist at Feefo

Hi Kate, this is really interesting. I can see it being a major benefit for both small and larger businesses. For smaller, more local businesses, being able to target your audience in such a way can prove beneficial. Such a local strategy is already in place from an SEO perspective, and this idea just strengthens the belief that all businesses need a localised online strategy. As you mentioned, it can also help larger businesses in the sense of those with multiple stores and locations across the UK, and indeed the world, can tailor messages, adverts and content to their localised audience.

Obviously there is an issue with regards to how such data is made available, as some people may not like the idea of their privacy being invaded. This may prove to be stumbling block with how well received IP geolocation is. Also the type of message that is being communicated may affect just how beneficial such localised targeting is, but that's an issue for the individual businesses and their marketing departments/companies.

Good post, interesting stuff. Thanks.

almost 4 years ago

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Kate Owen

Thanks James! You're right, the key to real competitive advantage for companies both large and small is of course HOW companies use the technology to serve whatever messaging they're looking at doing. That's something I'm planning to touch on in the future, because there are lots of interesting and sometimes surprising use cases out there.

To your point on data privacy, users do remain completely anonymous - the location associated with the IP address is not personal to them and the IP address itself is not obtained using any personal data.

almost 4 years ago

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public relation firms Houston

Really nice post!!I think using IP address information to give users a more relevant online experience is not the only method available to you. Indeed many smart publishers employ a variety of methods – both standalone and in combination with eachother – depending on what you want to achieve and on your specific goal or campaign.

almost 4 years ago

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pracaara

Definitely, Potentially a great technology but for mass adoption, hope more user friendly API's are available. Indeed if anyone comes across any nice Geolocation tech API's, please pass along. thanks

almost 4 years ago

Dominic Brenton

Dominic Brenton, B2B Web Communications Manager at Ordnance Survey

How can this work when, at least in the UK, most consumers connect to the Internet through big ISPs that allocate IP addresses dynamically and whose gateway to the Internet might be located many miles from the Internet? If you target ads based on IP geo-location, would you risk trying to serve ads for florists in Watford (because their ISP is based there) to somebody who lives in Truro?

almost 4 years ago

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Kate Owen

Thanks Dominic - the answer to your "dynamic routing" question depends upon the technical sophistication of your chosen IP geolocation data provider. Typically, discount IP data providers are more susceptible to the issue of dynamic routing, because they simply repackage publicly available ISP registration data, and ISPs themselves are not required to keep an up-to-date account of IP locations with Internet registrars (most in fact simply report their corporate headquarters address for all assigned IP blocks). A more sophisticated IP intelligence provider, on the other hand, deploys network infrastructure analytical techniques to continually run traceroutes, monitoring and updating dynamic IP reallocations as they occur. Using a premium IP geolocation provider, therefore, will help ensure that the flower ads would be safely served in in Truro as opposed to Watford. :)

If you have specific questions please feel free to contact me directly on kate[dot]owen[at]digitalelement[dot]com!

almost 4 years ago

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Kate Owen

Hi pracaara, I'd be happy to discuss specific questions regarding APIs, please feel free to contact me directly on kate[dot]owen[at]digitalelement[dot]com.

almost 4 years ago

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