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Local Online Marketing

The importance of local online marketing is increasing rapidly amongst businesses. Many experts believe that local online advertising will see a lot of growth in the coming years, with the introduction of different technologies that can help the companies in this sphere. Geo-targeting based on IP addresses is often utilized by advertisers to reach their target audience. Another tool used is behavioral targeting, which tells you about the online activities of the user.

IP based geo-targeting

When a computer is connected to the internet, the internet service provider or the ISP assigns an IP address to the machine. However, the IP address is in no way related to the geography like zip codes are. So, you cannot figure out the location of a computer using only the IP address. You have to take help of tools that map the IP address to a specific location.

Even though IP based targeting is widely available, it can be quite inconsistent at times. One of the most common reasons for the inconsistency is outdated information. Certain percentage of IP addresses change their location on a regular basis. These addresses can be reissued to any machine on the planet, irrespective of the location. So, it is very easy for a  geo-targeting database to have outdated information.

A lot of organizations have centers in different cities and they map their networks to a central location. So, the tool you use might tell you that the user is from Los Angeles, when in reality, he or she is from Cleveland.

There are ISPs that assign some of their users to a small number of servers. In fact, a few years ago, all of AOL users had their IP addresses pointing to Virginia irrespective of what their real location was.

Search targeting

Local search targeting is employed by companies to target users when they search for different services or places like restaurants or movie theaters. This form of advertising helps companies in presenting offers to customers that are localized and highly relevant. Search based targeting is different from IP based targeting because with search-based marketing, you are going for “what the user is looking for” and not “where the user is searching from”.

Targeting on the basis of profile data

When a user registers online for a site or a service, there are some attributes which make up the registration data for a user. When the user logs in, this data is associated with the cookies or with the audience database used by the company. When the user tries to log into a site that is associated with the data company, the cookies or the database information is matched. Most of the data is usually demographic-related or is about the purchase history. If the site operates in an ethically acceptable manner, the important information of the user is encrypted.

Regional insight

You can choose to go for any of the above methods of targeting, but it is important to analyze how they are performing. One of the ways to analyze the performance is by accessing other servers or by contacting colleagues in that particular region. However, if you do not have these options, then you might find it a bit difficult to understand a local market.

Using a proxy server can be a great way of solving this problem of local market access. A proxy server can easily place you in the location of your choice. You can analyze how your campaigns run in different regions, something which you couldn’t have done using most of the usual methods.

Different methods are employed by companies to get information about what their customers want from them. You might find some of these methods acceptable, while others might raise privacy concerns for you. If you are in the latter category, you can always use proxy servers or similar precautions to stay anonymous  on the web.

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