Geolocation: The all-in-one marketing tool

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Marketers can quickly find themselves managing an online environment that's grown quite complex from multiple technologies that work in silos, instead of in-tandem. Marketers need more cross-functional technologies to make it easier for them to attract and engage online audiences.  

Geotargeting or geolocation technology can help drive such engagement and cross-function. Today's geotargeting technology allows any type of online business to identify the location of online visitors down to a zip-code level, without invading user privacy. This new generation of technology called IP intelligence, which is based on users' IP addresses, can also uncover other valuable information such as connection speed, Internet service provider (ISP) and domain name, providing a more accurate picture of online traffic.

Today's geotargeting technology provides the type of all-in-one tool to take online interactions in the right direction—toward a closer relationship with your online audience, no matter the goal. This includes creating an instant connection with a first-time site visitor; driving revenue for online marketing campaigns; or ensuring that content is in the right hands.

Let's look at some of the ways to deploy geolocation technology:

  • Targeted online advertising - Enables online advertisers and marketers to increase advertising's reach, relevance and response

Note: Although geolocation capabilities can target down to the zip code level, the technology cannot be used to determine demographics for specific “houses on the street.”

  • Content localization - Provides online entities with the tools to move away from “one-size-fits-all” Web content and instead deliver relevant content, language, currency, products and promotions

Note: Employing geolocation technology involves making some assumptions. Marketers should still give visitors other options to access the information and products that are relevant to them, i.e., Not every visitor logging on from Spain speaks Spanish, so it's important to have other language options available.

  • Geographic rights management – Allows online content distributors to adhere to licensing and copyright agreements surrounding usage of online audio and video content

Note: Organizations might turn away some legitimate buyers if they are operating behind a proxy because although proxies can be identified, they cannot be traced to the true originating location. 

  • Analytics – Offers companies a new way to view and analyze online data to improve Web performance and site effectiveness

Note: Understanding a site's geographic breakdown is valuable only when taken in context with other site usability factors. IP Intelligence is best utilized in analytics when it is coupled with other online analytics applications.

The best practice is to start small. Implement geolocation technology within your online initiatives where it makes the most sense, and then expand to include other functions where synergy can be achieved.

A number of our clients are finding these types of benefits bring new value to their online initiatives. Consider the following:

  • Ace Hardware uses geolocation for the “Store Locator” function, helping website visitors quickly find a retail store near them.
  • 4 Wheel Parts uses it to show the company's products online, relevant to users' locations.
  • Allrecipes.com relies on geolocation to seamlessly redirect visitors to the new international sites, but also targets relevant messages to cooks based on their geographic location.

Through a single technology, marketers can address multiple business needs and succeed in meeting a wide array of distinct online goals.

Rob Friedman is executive VP of Digital Element, providers of IP intelligence technology.

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