In a globalized world, companies are forced to operate internationally. Moreover, online merchants have to deal with a clientele spread across many different countries, and each of these customers speaks a different language and has different customs. As a result, having one standard website for everyone is often not enough. Instead, what consumers want is for companies to target them with personalized web content, so online marketing has to aim to be at its best. Similarly, advertising media and product offerings specifically designed for local customers is a very promising tactic. In short, geotargeting can be applied in both cases,…
What is geotargeting?
As part of the target segmentation process, geotargeting comprises different techniques that are applied in online marketing to geographically locate customer groups. The aim here is to make it possible for users in a particular region to access content specifically designed for them, such as, for example, the language version of the site or regional advertisements. Geotargeting plays an essential role in eCommerce, but it is not exclusively used in this commercial context. In this introduction to geotargeting, we will give you an overview of the most common localization methods and discuss their areas of application.
Areas of application of geotargeting
Internet users rate as relevant web content that is tailored to their needs. In this respect, the user’s location is an essential factor and what provides online companies with indications of the preferred language, socio-cultural particularities or basic legal conditions in each region. Geotargeting, however, does not apply exclusively to the provision of web content or the development of advertising media for the target group. Developers of smartphone apps also make use of the possibilities offered by localization to implement cross-media strategies and to link online channels with offline touch points. In addition, geotargeting techniques can also be applied in the market economy sector, in the field of intellectual property protection and in the protection of online transactions.
Multi-language websites: Many websites target users from all over the world and therefore offer them content in different languages. The language preference data appears in the page header and is automatically transmitted by the web browser with each request to the server. If a web page that is available in several languages is consulted through a browser where Spanish is the language already configured, the underlying content management system (CMS) will offer the Spanish version. However, if a person in the United States visits the site, he or she will read the same content simultaneously in English. However, not all websites rely on the data contained in the header, so geotargeting allows languages to be defined based on technical localization methods.
Geotargeting in eCommerce: online stores also target an international clientele with websites in different languages. Geotargeting offers the possibility of offering different versions of a store under the same global URL, making available, depending on the target area, a range of products, currencies, prices and delivery conditions that differ depending on the specific region, along with information on the nearest offline branches.
Regional advertising: The advertising industry makes use of the technical possibilities offered by determining the location of Internet users to increase the relevance of advertisements for the desired target audience. Advertising networks such as Google AdWords or Microsoft’s Bing Ads offer advertisers the possibility of targeting users in different areas with ads for regional products or services. In this way, local craft businesses can use online advertising to acquire new customers in the surrounding area. The aim is, in this case, to reduce advertising costs and use the available media in those areas where the best results can be achieved.
Location-based services: With the increasing spread of smartphones and tablets, geotargeting is becoming even more important in the context of location-based services (LBS). There are now a large number of apps that automatically record data on the user’s residence with the user’s consent. This gives developers the opportunity to adapt software functions to the current location. In this respect, there may be services that are only available for a specific company or in selected stores and restaurants. Such location-based services are used, for example, in apps that work with coupons: if a customer accesses a store that has this option, a discount ticket will automatically appear on the screen of his or her smartphone.
Market research: market research also makes use of geographic data when it comes to pinpointing the audience and delimiting the demand for products and services according to geographic areas.
Intellectual property protection: a form of user localization called geoblocking comes into play in the context of intellectual property protection. Multimedia platforms such as YouTube make use of the technical possibilities of geotargeting to restrict content to specific countries or regions and thus protect the rights of authors. In addition, only part of the web content can be accessed based on the subscriptions of public broadcasters in the countries of origin.
Payment security: Another area of application of user localization is online payment procedures. Payment providers use geotargeting techniques to compare location information with user’s account data and thus discover possible inconsistencies.
How does geotargeting work?
This recent trend in digital marketing operates on the specific locations provided to us by customer’s IP devices. The first three digits of each IP determine its country of origin, and all the numbers that follow determine the zones defined within that domain. Obviously, we are not talking about a 100% accurate system when it comes to delimiting a place, but the possibility of error is so low that it has turned geotargeting into one of the marketing strategies with the highest profit margin among the companies that use it.
Many are the organizations that have benefited from this marketing tactic to boost their business, improve the relationship with their customers and, ultimately, increase their visibility as an entity. However, even though we have entered the world of geo-targeting, it is essential to be aware of its great benefits:
- It allows us to adapt the natural language of the web page according to the place from which the customer is accessing at that moment. In addition, all those pages of information or general interest will offer as “more relevant” those news pertaining to the user’s region.
- Having our target segmented and separated by place of origin allows us to offer specialized content that the customer will receive as positive. Consequently, we will stand out in web valuation over the competition.
- Now we will be able to promote ourselves and send advertising focusing on specific targets to whom we will provide the services they want so much.
- By being aware of the user’s locations, we can offer them information from the nearest web server and reduce waiting times considerably.
- Geotargeting facilitates a personalized company-customer relationship, showing them that we are much closer and we care about their well-being. It is also a technique that works perfectly to avoid all types of fraud when making credit card payments over the Internet.
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