Targeting Your on-Line Display Campaign Geographically

What is geographic targeting?

Map of UK
Map of UK

Geographic targeting is identifying and defining the geographies you want to target and then placing your banner campaign in front of consumers within that geography.  When you advertise off-line you may choose to advertise only in certain locations.  You could achieve this by advertising in the local newspaper or in a series of local newspapers, on billboards in a certain county, in a magazine only available in Wales or in a national magazine.  On-line it’s somewhat easier to define the geographies you want to target.

How does geographic targeting work online?

The internet knows where you are.  It’s a little bit of a scary thought, but it’s actually quite simple when you think about it.  Your computer is connected to a network and is assigned a numerical label to differentiate it from the other devices in the network, the devices in the network all go through a router to be able to connect to the internet, which also has a numerical label.  This numerical label is call an IP address and it serves to identify your network’s router and locate it.  The downside to this is that your consumer’s router may be located miles away from their computer – so what you’re actually getting is quite a rough idea of where they are located.  For the purpose of geo-targeting for an advertising campaign the accuracy will usually be sufficient enough.

In addition to IP targeting, there are other ways of determining where your consumers are located.  You could mirror the off-line method and choose targeted local sites, like a local newspaper on-line or use a company who collects data about consumers to identify an audience located in your target area.

How do I know what locations to target?

Don’t spread your campaign too thinly, take a look at how much money you are willing to put into your campaign and only target as large an area as you can afford.  It’s better to have a big presence in smaller area, than barely any presence in a huge geography.  Likewise, ensure that you are targeting enough people – a campaign targeted to a very granular area will reach a saturation point very quickly.

With these two points in mind – think about who your target audience are.  Don’t advertise to people who are too far away for you to sell your product or service to and use geo-targeting in conjunction with other layers of targeting to make sure you are targeting the right people.