How IP Outreach Advertising Works and How You Can Use It
Projected to reach upwards of $160 billion in revenue by 2016, online advertising continues to evolve with increasingly sophisticated targeting technologies to reach audiences. One targeting method gaining ground is IP outreach advertising (a.k.a. IP targeting), which enables advertisers to target prospects based on their geographic location. The main advantage of IP outreach advertising is its ability to provide laser-targeted reach and relevance for businesses who want to put their message in front of a location-specific audience. Businesses that have taken advantage of IP targeting have experienced dramatic increases in ROI and conversion rates. So how exactly does IP outreach advertising work and will it work for your business?
The IP Address: The Key to Ultra-Targeted Traffic
Every computer has an IP (Internet Protocol) address; it’s similar to the concept of every house having a street address. An IP address is a specific series of numbers assigned to a particular computer (or other device) on a network. Since the majority of computer users connect to the World Wide Web through the network of a local Internet Service Provider (ISP), their IP address provides general information regarding the user’s geographic location. This doesn’t mean that your IP address will reveal the exact location of your computer; it will only provide an approximate location based on the physical location of the network to which your computer is connected.
Search engines use this technology all the time. If you were to type “dog training schools” into Google, more than likely your search results will only feature dog training schools that are within a certain radius of your local area. As soon as you send your search query to Google, their servers detect your geographic location based on your IP address, and then they instantly narrow your search down to the businesses that are local to your area. This makes perfect sense for search queries that are inherently location-based; after all, it would not be practical for Google’s search results to give you dog training schools in St. Louis if you live in Miami. This ability to target and customize your searches based on your physical location is also referred to as “geotargeting.”
The same technology that Google and other search engines use to narrow down your search parameters based on geographic location is now being regularly used by advertisers to serve ads with pinpoint accuracy. Using IP targeting, an advertiser can segment their messages based on relevance to the user’s location, giving their ads a much more personal feel. The effectiveness of IP outreach advertising is hard to deny; according to top geolocation technology firm Digital Element, IP targeting can increase advertising upsells by 30 to 40 percent, and it can also improve ROI by reducing wasted impressions. Click-through rates are typically higher with geotargeted ads as well.
Examples of IP Outreach Advertising
IP outreach advertising enables businesses to optimize their targeting efforts on a granular level. For example, a hotel can increase room reservations by geotargeting customers based on real-time location data, enabling them to advertise matching location-sensitive promotions and discounted room rates. An airline can leverage IP targeting to present ads to users that will show them the cheapest flights available at the closest airport. Device type tracking is also commonly used by advertisers to determine if the user is viewing their ad from a desktop computer or a mobile handset. A restaurant could leverage this information to present a relevant, location-specific ad to users who are on the go, enticing them to stop in and enjoy a discount on a nice dinner. Other industries such as clothing retailers, gambling or gaming establishments, financial services firms and more can benefit from the various capabilities of IP targeting as well.
Proponents of IP outreach advertising have hailed it as a landmark step toward more accurate and cost-effective advertising methods. Critics of the technology have derided it as invasive and excessive. For better or for worse, IP outreach advertising has made an indelible mark on the online advertising landscape, and it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.