Well let’s start off with the basics. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), IP targeting is delivered to a user’s geographic location as determined by his or her Internet Protocol (IP) address.
So every computer connected to the Internet has an IP address associated with it. Pretty cool and quite a lot of laptop and desktop screens to show advertisements!
It’s no wonder that IP-targeted advertisements are quickly on the rise and are here to stay! Imagine having the ability to place your ad in front of millions of households reaching an audience within the comforts of their home. For a fraction of the costs of radio, print or TV advertisements, IP targeting is the more cost-effective approach.
IP Targeting is a attractive form of engagement
The strategy to target households, Starbucks, airports, buildings is an attractive one, no doubt. Compared to other forms of advertising it’s innovative, and a fresh approach to marketing. It is cheaper compared to other forms of mobile audience targeting but I’ll get into the pros and cons in just one second.
For marketers, IP Targeting is a tool that is here to stay. In some cases, we are only looking to engage with a captive audience who is attending a trade show or conference. IP Target is a good way to deliver a timely and relevant message. In other cases, just adopting an IP-Target strategy may costs you more money in the long run.
When we recommend solutions for our partners, IP Targeting is one of the last strategies we will recommend. However, our partners prefer a more laser-targeted solution that we offer.
Known problems with IP Targeting
For those marketers smart enough to do your homework about IP Targeting, when you go to Google and search for known problems you get some decent results. There is really not a one-stop resource to cover all the issues. the following list is from our research.
First one is a big one – the numbers in IP addresses have no correlation with a specific geographical location.
The computer’s location cannot be determined by IP address alone. For that you need to team up with an IP intelligence firm that matches IP addresses to a physical location. Even with the help of a third party data provider you need to question the accuracy of their targeting.
Then there are the added costs of having your advertiser outsourcing this work to an IP intelligence firm. Believe me, you, will be paying for these additional costs whether you know it or not. The cheaper something costs the cheaper something is. There are also are limitations to the quality of data relative to advertiser intent.
Accuracy can be a challenge
The second problem relates to reaching actual people versus their IP addresses.
The inconsistency between the location of an IP address and a consumer’s physical location cuts at the precision and accuracy of IP Targeting. There are several factors that contribute to this difference. Some IP addresses change physical locations each month.
Since the IP address is a static number and not based on a phone number with a geographical area code assigned, the location of the IP address can be virtually anywhere.
As a marketer, if you want to serve advertisements to employees who work for a specific organization, you need to keep in mind that some organizations have multiple locations around the country and the world. If your servers are registered to a Louisville, KY location and you want to target Humana, serving content relevant to Louisville, KY where Humana is headquartered presently is a great strategy for brands like Maker’s Mark or the Kentucky Derby.
If the organization you are trying to engage with is headquartered in Los Angeles and you are working for that company in Louisville, then getting advertisement for the L.A. Lakers won’t make much sense yet sometimes that is the case when adopting an IP Targeting strategy. Sometimes you are targeting a centrally located server.
If you are not too concerned with local relevant ads then IP Targeting is the way to go. The same goes with proxy servers, where some ISP’s use a small number of servers on a server farm like AOL does. Sometimes AOL customers may see content for business in northern Virginia where AOL is headquartered.
Advertisements based on location or for local events perform poorly with IP Targeting. The more granular the Direct Marketing Area (DMA) the less reliable IP Targeting can be. You can still deliver your messages but is the right message reaching the right audience?
Right message for the right audience
Do you even know if your message is reaching the right audience? Let’s say you’re a Democrat and your receiving political advertisements from GOP candidates running for office in Kentucky at your home where you are connected to your IP Address on your Wifi.
When scrolling through Facebook from time to time, you will see these ads. However, everyone who knows you knows that you are definitely the wrong demographic for GOP served advertisements.
Second, what if you live in Indiana just across the river from Louisville and the Indiana/Kentucky border. When the wrong demographic see these ads, it’s not hard to think that the advertiser just wasted their money trying to engage with you.
Now you could make the argument that you might know someone living in Kentucky and can convince them to vote Republican when you’re a committed Democrat, but that’s a real stretch. Those offering an IP Solution might have matched the previous owner of your home who was a Republican and therefore included your IP Address in their advertisement campaign.
Even if adults who are registered Republicans are living in a household in Kentucky, how do you know that they are even logging on to their computer, laptop or mobile device while in that physical household location?
Imagine how hard it must have been for a political campaign to raise that money in the first place only to later discover they served ads to Democratic voters living in Indiana. They would be furious, yet it happens all the time because the inaccuracy that IP Targeting presents.
There is a better way
If you are willing to invest more into your mobile marketing efforts then a data-driven marketing strategy is the way to go. When we consult with prospect who later become partners, in some cases they have been using a IP vendor and they have been underwhelmed. They had been promised huge results yet they don’t see many new leads.
There are some really good IP Targeting vendors out there, but we hear too many horror stories and that is why we recommend IP Targeting as a last resort. Our approach is different.
We match online and offline consumer profile records with their mobile devices so we can serve native advertisements on their mobile devices. Everyone seems handcuffed to they’re mobile devices like me and we are seeing much better Return on Investment (ROI).
When you match mobile devices to consumers it opens up the door to match their media consumption habits, buying behaviors, their passions and their affiliations. You can target more precisely and on the platforms you know they spend the most time on like their mobile versus desktops and Facebook versus Candy Crush.
We encourage you to investigate a targeted audience on mobile strategy. We are more than happy to share more information with you about this.
If you find this article useful or have additional questions about Mobile Audience Targeting and the difference with IP Targeting, please let us know in the comments below.
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