Leveraging geolocation in digital advertising: How IP intelligence can help

Amid data privacy concerns, IP intelligence may be the solution to getting geotargeting right


As digital technology continues to proliferate, brands and their communities of followers are more connected than ever before. As such, the traditional tactic of brick-and-mortar institutions relying on foot traffic alone to drive sales is quickly being replaced with a robust online data exchange. Now, someone can buy groceries, schedule a doctor’s visit, and check out the spring arrivals at their favorite retail store, all from behind the keyboard.

Yet, exactly what kind of keyboard are they using the most? If you look at the world as a whole, it turns out that most consumers are actually on the move, surfing the web behind their smart, mobile device, rather than sitting at home hooked up to a laptop or desktop system. In fact, research shows that in 2018, mobile access comprises 61.2% of the total internet use around the globe. In 2019, that number is expected to reach 63.4%. This trend is especially apparent in areas such as China and India, where mobile use reigns supreme and handheld devices are often purchased ahead of bulkier, stationary setups.

As more consumers access the internet while on the go, it’s now become more important than ever for businesses to understand where they’re going. The logic behind this data analysis is that if someone is nearing a company’s location, there’s the potential to start them on the path to purchase. For instance, if a shopper is walking by a bakery and suddenly receives an SMS message offering a 50% discount on any item inside, odds are high they’ll at least glance at the offer and consider it against their schedule. This is in keeping with the fact that customers are becoming increasingly vocal about their desire to receive personalized and tailored marketing messages over broad, blanket advertisements. According to a recent study, 71% of them want to see customized ads, specifically ones that match their interests and shopping habits.

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To meet this expectation, forward-thinking marketers are leveraging the power of geolocation technology to pinpoint where their target audience is and where they’re heading. At its core, this technique has the power to change the outreach game and bring together a scattered, global audience. Yet, the very vastness of scale that makes the opportunity so rich also makes it puzzling, as brands strive to marry advertising aims with user privacy concerns. Consider, for instance, that a significant 68% of consumers don’t trust brands to safeguard their personal data or use it correctly and are concerned about how such personal interactions may affect their confidentiality. How, then, can a business utilize the power of geolocation without jeopardizing that critical trust that’s essential to building a long-term brand relationship?

The Wider-Scale Approach of Geolocation IP Technology

The answer may lie in not focusing efforts on geolocation alone, but rather, integrating that approach into a wider marketing campaign that targets the customer at various touch points, across myriad devices. Understanding the Big Data that surrounds every prospect on the path to conversion can help companies pool together a more complete set of customer profiling data, helping them ensure that all ads offered to these groups are relevant, timely and informative. When considered against the backdrop of such profiling, geolocation outreach is richer and more complete and can be achieved across entire regions, rather than on specific individuals. Then, a company will then be able to determine how well a particular advertisement did in one area compared to another, why that might be, and what alternatives are available.

This approach is less invasive and pinpointed than other geolocation technologies, helping to relieve consumer concerns over privacy and confidentiality loss. It’s performed via a granular IP technology that determines a user’s location only down to the zip code level and stops short of personally identifying anyone. So what kind of intelligence will marketers be able to achieve? To begin, they can determine the type of connection the user is connecting to the internet with, as well as the specific Internet Service Provider and mobile carrier they’re using. From that data alone, marketers can determine how their audience is interacting with their brand, and can begin to set up profiling data that groups them into like categories for comparison.

To further direct the focus, marketers can direct IP geolocation technology toward a specific event, such as an outdoor festival. They can then discern which connection types, speeds, carriers, and other attributes are directly linked to sales growth, and which are hindering the journey. This intelligence is important as many companies may assume their target customers are accessing their information on a mobile device equipped with a 5G, 4G or even LTE connection. As such, they may optimize their mobile web presence accordingly, failing to realize that many are actually on WiFi with a faster connection.

As globalization continues to change the way companies around the world find partners, boost sales and grow their brand communities, it’s vital to stay ahead of the curve. To maintain customer trust and build long-term loyalty, marketers must find ways to track their audience at a level that leaves both parties satisfied. While geolocation IP technology might not be the end-all, be-all solution, it is a step in the right direction toward reaching that ideal scale. 

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