What is Geo Targeting?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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Geo targeting is a type of specific type of Internet marketing effort that tailor’s ads to the user’s specific site so that the advertisements are more likely to be relevant. While some advertisements are for national products, other types of ads may be more readily accepted by a local audience. Geo targeting is used in all sorts of Internet marketing efforts, from political-based ads to consumer products and travel-related efforts.

One of the biggest criticisms of Internet marketing in the early days of commercial ventures on the Web was that it was not practical to target ads of a local nature very easily. Unlike a newspaper or magazine, which can print ads for certain cities, or deliver inserts only to certain places, the Internet was broader in its scope. While that may have been an advantage in many cases, advertisers wanting to reach a local audience would often find their money spent reaching not only a local audience, but many others as well. Geo marketing helps take care of some of those limitations.

In order for geo targeting to work, the website the user is going to must have a server that is capable of understanding the user’s IP address and where it is coming from. IP addresses are often very specific to geographic regions, and often identify the state, region, or city. The server can then determine which ads are going to be placed on the page based on that geographic location.


Advertisers may pay more up front for geo targeting services, simply because it means their ads are relevant to more people. If the payment for the ad is paid on a click-through basis, then it is to the advantage of both the website and the advertiser to make sure the advertising content is as relevant as possible. Otherwise, revenue will fall as users will not find the ads interesting or applicable to them.

In some cases, geo targeting efforts could be counterproductive, if a product would have wide appeal over multiple regions. If the product being advertised has wide appeal, then use of geomarketing may be limited. In such cases, the main goal is to reach as broad of an audience as possible, which is where the Internet can excel.

In some cases, even national products can take advantage of geo marketing situations. For example, when promoting a heavy winter coat, the message to those living in colder climates may be focused on the coat’s ability to keep one warm throughout the winter, with an emphasis on insulation. In southern climates, the message may be how good the coat can be for winter ski trips, with a focus on it being waterproof and breathable.


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