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What is geotargeting?

Geotargeting, also known as geo-location advertising, is a marketing technique which targets people based on their current geographic location.

Geotargeting is often used by businesses for digital marketing and to provide a better onsite experience for visitors. Geotargeting marketing strategies can be applied to a range of geographic locations, from continents all the way down to postcodes and specific neighbourhoods. In PPC search campaigns, geotargeting is often used by businesses targeting a local audience.

How does geotargeting work?

Geotargeting works by using a combination of IP addresses, WIFI triangulation technology, browser cookies and information supplied by users (Opt-in location services) to determine the location of users in order to serve them with geographically relevant messaging. Some digital advertising platforms such as the Fluid Ads platform and Google Ads allow users to specify a location, or multiple locations in which they want their ads to show.

Geotargeting best practices

To get the most from geotargeting, target areas where your prospects are. A really simple example would be if your restaurant has a single location in London, make sure your advertising campaign is only targeting people in London. It is also recommended to exclude locations that your business doesn’t cater for, think of this practice, in terms of geotargeting similar to negative keyword lists for search ads. 

How is geotargeting used in marketing?

Fashion retailers are among many businesses that use geotargeting very effectively. The larger fashion retailers operate on a global scale, therefore it is crucial to display relevant products according to the user’s location.

For example, it wouldn't be a good use of advertising budget to target people in warmer climates with winter clothing and vice versa.

Geotargeting is also used by brick and mortar stores looking to increase footfall to their locations, restaurants trying to take their competitor’s customers and football clubs to target fans at events with the aim of increasing ticket sales for future events, app downloads and shirt sales.

Geotargeting software

There are several platforms available that have geotargeting functionality. Get the most out of your next ad campaign by using the right platform to target people in locations best suited for the goals of your business. First of all you want to make sure you know the audience you wish to target. Do you want to target the internet via display ads or look at focusing only on social platforms.

Fluid Ads Location based Ads

There are two geo-location functionalities in the Fluid Ads platform to help businesses engage with audiences using Geofencing and Geotargeting.

Geofencing allows you to draw your own digital “fence” around a location. When a user that meets the campaign criteria passes through that area in real-time, a digital marker is placed on them which allows the ads to be served to them regardless of the device they use. To get started with Geofencing Ads, you can add postcodes directly into the platform or simply upload a CSV of addresses and set the radius to pool around it. 

Geotargeting targets a geographic area based on criteria including Country, State or County, City and Town. Sign up for a complimentary Fluid Ads account to try it yourself.

Google Ads Location Targeting

Google Ads targeting settings allow users to serve ads to countries, regions, cities and a radius created by the user. Users can also target ‘location groups’ that include places of interest, a radius around a landmark or business locations. For example, someone in Manchester searching for hotels in London can be shown ads for hotels in London because they showed an interest in the topic. 

Google Ads also allows users to to exclude people based on locations. For example, if your business only operates in the UK, you could exclude anyone outside of the UK. 

Social geotargeting channels 

Remember that your digital ad reach is limited to the social channel you advertise on so it’s crucial to choose the best social platform that aligns with your goals for real performance gains.

There are preferred platforms for B2C brands such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and these are more commonly being favoured to grow D2C relations, however LinkedIn remains king for B2B targeting. Take a look at some examples of social advertising channels that offer geotargeting as part of their advertising campaign features. 

Facebook Location Targeting

Facebook is one of the biggest advertising channels in the world. Nearly 3 billion users have signed up with a large percentage of people using the platform daily.

One of the benefits of using this channel for advertising is the sheer number of people marketers can reach, but this could also be a drawback for businesses who are operating with a limited ad budget or are trying to conserve ad budgets. Luckily for people who are limited by budget or only want to serve ads in their certain areas, Facebook location targeting allows you to target users based on country, city and region. Facebook will even monitor the performance of your campaign and reallocate budgets to increase the number of ads served to the highest performing areas.

To start using the geotargeting feature in Facebook Ads, you will need to make an account in the Ads Manager feature. 

Twitter Geotargeting

Twitter gives their users the ability to target specific countries, states / counties and postcode as part of their campaign management settings. This can be a very good option if you believe that Twitter is the best advertising platform for your business and you want to target prospects in a specific geographic location. 

Twitter monitors a user’s recent location using IP addresses, cellular signal and WIFI signal. To start using this feature, click the ‘Targeting’ option in campaign setup and scroll to ‘Select location, language and technology’ and then click ‘All locations’. This is where you will find the option to target specific geographic areas. 

Instagram Location Targeting

Instagram has the functionality to add a location to a post so when a user searches for a location, your post can be seen by anyone searching the location as a hashtag. Posts with a tagged location achieve nearly 80% higher engagement rates than posts without. When advertising on Instagram, you can target specific locations to ensure you are only reaching people in locations that are relevant to the goals of the campaign.

To use this feature, navigate to Instagram’s targeting feature in the Ad Manager section and choose areas that you want to target.

LinkedIn Geotargeting

When advertising on LinkedIn, location is a required option. With so many geographic locations available to target, this is a sensible requirement. LinkedIn identifies the location of user’s based on the location information supplied by the account holder and IP addresses for short visits, however, when advertising on the platform, you can only target the long term locations of users. 

To target locations with ads on LinkedIn, navigate to the locations menu and click ‘add locations’. When you start typing in the field, locations will begin to appear; select the ones you would like to target and exclude the ones you don’t. 

Snapchat Location Targeting

If your target audience is of a younger generation, Snapchat is generally a good platform to test new campaigns; more than 50% of internet users aged 15-25 use Snapchat. The platform allows you to target the same locations in the same way all of the platforms mentioned above do which allows you to target a very specific audience demographically and geographically. It also allows you to do radius and longitude and latitude targeting. 

What is the difference between geotargeting and geo fencing?

Geotargeting and Geofencing both fall under the category of location based marketing, however, they serve different purposes. In essence, geo fencing is the practice of drawing a virtual fence around a specific location and serving ads to people who enter the fence whereas geotargeting often involves various factors, including geo fencing. To find out more on the difference between the two, have a look at this dedicated article on the difference between geofencing and geotargeting.

To find out more about Geofencing, check out the most comprehensive guide to geo fencing in 2022.

We hope you enjoyed this article and have the information you need on how location based marketing can help your business.

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