Targeting and Trust Series: Part Two – Options for Location-Based Advertising

This month, we continue the “Targeting and Trust” series of blog posts dedicated to why IP-based geolocation data is well positioned to deliver both the accurate targeting digital marketers need for improved response rates and the trust consumers crave in terms of personalized promotions without intrusion.

The second installment of our five-part blog series focuses on the options that digital marketers have if they want to develop more localized advertising campaigns.

Location data has grown into a reliable tool for marketers who have learned to use it in their customer segmentation, analytics, attribution and targeting. To display location-based advertising and content, you need to know where a consumer is.

So, what are the options if marketers want to “go local”? There are many ways to do this.

Here are the main geotargeting data options:


Sometimes you can just ask consumers for their location information. They can fill in a form to declare their whereabouts. However, this is the real world. Most consumers lack the time or the will to do this. And, even if they do, then the information is not always accurate—and can go out of date quickly.


A cookie on someone’s browser can store previously entered location details. However, this is only true when the person actually supplies this information (see above). He or she might also clear the cookie cache at any point. Finally, of course, the cookie’s days are numbered. Browser companies are phasing them out.


Every smartphone supports GPS. The technology can be accurate to within a few feet. That sounds great, but again, GPS data is only available when mobile users agree to share it. Most don’t because of privacy or battery-life concerns. GPS is also application based (not browser based). Together, these two factors drastically limit how many users a brand can expect to target using GPS.


HTML5-based mobile sites can collect some location information from visitors. However, visitors have to agree to this. Not to mention, their permissions expire after one session. As a result, HTML5 is very limited in terms of reaching an addressable audience.

IP Geolocation

IP geolocation technology uses an IP address to determine where a user is located. Everyone and everything connecting to a website is assigned an IP address. There is no connectivity without one. As an example, even a smart refrigerator has its own IP address.

An IP address is made up of a series of numbers. It can be used to identify location and other connection attributes, such as the type of device and the network it is connected to. The number includes:

  • The Internet Service Provider’s (ISP’s) name
  • The ISP’s host name
  • County/region/state/city

But that’s not all. An IP address can produce other properties that support even better targeting. These include 4G, 5G and Wi-Fi connections, or whether devices are on a corporate or home network. An IP address can also reveal connection speed. All of these extra attributes can help brands personalize—and localize—their goods or services.

Finally, here is what an IP address does not reveal:

  • A person’s name
  • An exact street address
  • A phone number
  • An email address

As stated in Part One of our series, the absence of this personally identifiable information (PII) protects a consumers’ privacy.

One marketing tactic that has been missing in the online world is the ability to effectively reach out to consumers without first asking for something in return. For example, in the current e-business world, for users to receive information that matches their unique tastes, they are required to give away a piece of themselves in the form of PII such as name, age, etc. And, more often than not, consumers are unwilling to part with such valuable—and personal—information for fear that it will be mishandled or sold to a third party.

By incorporating IP data into marketing initiatives, companies can improve the way they prospect for, acquire and retain customer relationships.

In Part Three of this series, we’ll delve into how IP geolocation technology helps digital marketers overcome challenges they face every day.

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