Geo Targeting refers to the practice of targeting visitors online with localized or location-appropriate content based on a visitor’s geographic location. Geo Targeting is often deployed by online business for offsite digital marketing purposes, or in order to provide a more relevant onsite experience for each visitor. Geo Targeting strategies can be deployed on varying geographic scales, from targeting visitors based on the continent to more granular targeting on a country, city, or even zip code and neighborhood level.
Geo Targeting is mostly made possible by IP spidering, in which each visitor’s IP address is mapped down to a certain geographic location (up to a 1,000 feet range), as well as by WiFi triangulation technologies, user-supplied location information, browser cookies that contain previously stored location data, and opt-in GPS location services on applicable devices. Since IP spidering is the most common practice for Geo Targeting, visitors can utilize proxy servers and virtual private networks in order to conceal their location or mislead the targeter.
Onsite Geo Targeting is leveraged primarily by online fashion retailers that distribute merchandise across vast distances, covering states and countries with distinct climates, seasons, weather conditions and shipping methods, as well as by content providers such as Hulu and Amazon who restrict content based on the viewer’s location, Telco and Insurance companies that offer different plans based on local services and regulatory considerations, and local event-based businesses.
Examples of a well-orchestrated Geo Targeting campaigns can be seen by fashion retailers who personalize their Display Ad campaigns and onsite experience based on a visitor’s local weather conditions, i.e. highlight or promote ski and ice sports items for visitors near ski resorts in very cold climates, and swimwear for visitors in tropical areas with warm weather. The same online retailer will make sure to notify visitors that items can be purchased and shipped directly to a visitor’s location, specified dynamically. Additional effective Geo Targeting examples can be seen by brick and mortar retailers that target nearby shoppers who have their mobile devices’ location services turned on with relevant or targeted promotions in order to draw them into the store.