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Your Guide to Geolocation

Your Guide to Geolocation


Geotargeting is a method of online marketing that uses location data to target relevant content to specific users. It’s often used in conjunction with other digital marketing strategies such as retargeting, search engine optimization (SEO), and email marketing. While the basic concept may seem simple, there are actually a number of different ways that you can use geolocation to get your message in front of the right people at the right time. In this guide, we’ll cover everything from how these different methods work (and why they’re effective) to what factors you should consider before choosing one over another for your campaign.


With geolocation, you can target your audience more effectively. Credit: Shutterstock

Geolocation is the process of determining the real-world geographic location of an object, such as a mobile device or IP address.

The term geotargeting refers to targeting specific locations, interests, and demographics with marketing campaigns. Geotargeting can be done by choosing from a list of predefined areas (for example, zip codes), defining custom polygons on Google Maps for precise targeting, or using an IP lookup database for more granular targeting options.

For example, if you are running an ad campaign for holiday shopping in New York City, but want your ads appearing only to people who live within city limits and not those visiting from out of town, you could use specialized geotargeting to ensure that only New Yorkers would see your ads instead of just anyone within 100 miles of Manhattan!


Outsmart the competition. Credit: Shutterstock

Geofencing is a subset of geolocation, and it gives you the ability to target your most prized potential clients.

By creating a geofence within a location where your target audience frequently visits—such as a shopping mall or university campus—you can increase the likelihood that they’ll see your ad when they’re near one of these places (and thus be more likely to visit). In addition, if you offer a luxury product, you could create geofences around the wealthiest areas within your target location.

To deliver the maximum amount of ads to your prime prospects, we bid higher on ads served within the geofence. Geofencing, a highly specialized process, comes with a larger price tag. It can deliver a high return on investment, however, because of its hyperspecific targeting.


If your product is particularly popular with a certain group, geotargeting may be for you. Credit: Shutterstock

Geotargeting allows you to target people based on their demographic data. This can be especially useful if your product or service caters to a specific audience. For example, a medical spa that focuses on laser hair removal may want to reach women specifically within Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs. Using demographic data, we can target potential customers based on sex, age, marital status, income level, interests, and more.

Geotargeting allows you to select particular regions and further customize your campaign by targeting individuals with specific backgrounds or interests within that region. As a result, your ads will often see greater engagement and greater return on investment.


Geoconquesting can take your targeting down to a single address. As a result, you can go directly after your competition. We can deliver ads to people currently shopping at your competitors’ address. This method is especially effective if your business is offering a unique sale or discount. Customers may rethink their shopping habits if they see that your location is more affordable.

We also have the ability to target all devices that have been to a particular location within six months; this is called a “lookback.” Lookbacks allow you to go after some individuals who have visited your competitors’ locations.

Geoconquesting is also useful at trade shows. Geoconquesting “micro-proximity” targets people in real time while they are at an event like a trade show. This method is extremely effective because it allows you to deliver a message at the exact moment when it will be most relevant.

Which method is best for your campaign?

There are a number of ways you can go about targeting your audience based on location. Geotargeting is one of the most affordable and effective options, especially if you want to reach a broad group of people or even just specific cities.

Geofencing is helpful if you want to go after premium clients that are often based in a specific location. Geotargeting uses demographic information instead of location data to achieve this. Both of these methods allow you to specifically target customers you believe to be more interested in your product.

Finally, geoconquesting lets you go after the competition directly. This method is especially effective if you’ve experienced competitors cutting into your business.

These four methods of geolocation allow you to target your content based on your business’ goals. Consider your customer base as well as your location when creating your geolocation strategy. The most important thing is that you choose the right method so that your campaign is successful.

Libby Foster is a Marketing Specialist at Purplegator. She’s currently getting her master’s in Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Alabama.

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