Fall in Line with IP Geolocation as First Line of Defense

This past weekend marked the official start of fall. Unfortunately, that means it’s time to shed the summertime fun and turn our attention to the cooler weather-and the all-important holiday season.

This season we expect to see location playing an even bigger role in holiday shopping. For retailers, trying to match a product, service or message to a consumer’s specific location hasn’t always been that easy. Expanding marketing channels (i.e. social media) and new mobile devices (i.e. smartphones and tablets) have changed the face of geotargeting.

However, retailers should feel comfortable turning to IP geolocation as a good first line of defense in the geotargeting wars. Or should I say, offense? The old football adage “the best defense is a good offense” certainly applies here.

IP targeting identifies the geographic location associated with an IP address, enabling targeting where the user actually accesses the Internet down to the Internet Service Provider’s end-point equipment. IP targeting is the most versatile targeting method and it generally should serve as a ubiquitous first line of geotargeting for online ads, websites or apps, to supply content that is generally targeted to the user’s local area (and possibly enticing a user to opt-in and supply more information). It can also fill in the gaps where other methods fall short, for example when mobile users do not opt-in to location-based services on their devices. With trillions of IP-based look-ups a day and more than 13 years on the market, IP targeting is a proven way to get instant and reliable data. No user interaction is required. There are no legal issues because the individual isn’t targeted-just the node up the road.

With all the different geotargeting options available, from location-as-a-service to location-based proximity networks to GPS, what dictates when retailers should use one method over another? It depends on what message they want to convey to whom and when, along with how much contact and engagement they want with the consumer. An aggregated strategy is often best. Often, starting with an instant “first cut” of geotargeted content using IP targeting and then encouraging users to opt-in to get more relevant geo-targeted content is the optimal strategy.

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