Today’s internet is a network of interconnected devices where each device has a unique address. This unique address is an IP address, or a string of integers assigned to each device in order to reach it―similar to a home’s physical address. At the local level, these IP addresses are issued by the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to route information to the devices and to know where they are. This presents an opportunity for digital marketers to use the location intelligence of an IP address to build and reach audiences through all the connected devices present at those locations.
IP Address Targeting Gets a Boost in Accuracy
For the last two decades, web-browser cookies were the key tool used in delivering digital ads. One reason why the IP address was not the key delivery mechanism was because IP targeting had been inaccurate due to the fact that different ISPs assigned IP addresses for their customers with different logic. Hence, without a third-party service that provides information on where that IP address is actually located, cookies were the logical choice. However, Gathr Lab, using industry-leading IP intelligence and geolocation data from its sister company Digital Element, is now providing much-needed accuracy to allow for more precision when IP targeting.
In a time where privacy is paramount, IP geolocation allows advertisers to responsibly and accurately hyper-localize messaging and leverage data on the context of user connections—all while maintaining complete anonymity. Digital Element’s trusted and proven IP Intelligence utilizes billions of global, opted-in, daily device-derived data points to map connections and enhance services ranging from geographic rights management of digital content to online fraud prevention to privacy-sensitive location-based content delivery and more. While detractors have stated that the IP address location can be changed and is susceptible to missing the mark, as IPs are reallocated by ISPs or routers are reset throughout the world, Digital Element is employing its unique and proprietary technology to track these changes 24×7 and is leveraging its data science team to ensure that location and connection data is accurate and reliable, regardless of any potential allocation changes.
An IP Address Provides More Privacy Than a Cookie
Having such accurate IP-address-to-location intelligence enables more precise and targeted digital campaigns. This is analogous to an auto mechanic chain sending direct mailers to specific neighborhoods within the vicinity of the shop because it wants to make local customers aware of its latest service offerings. In comparison, a third-party web cookie is capturing user-specific data. With the macrotrend of increasing protection of user privacy, it is time for marketers to consider using IP address activation as another channel for digital ad campaigns. Additionally, an IP address also provides another unique advantage over web cookies. Because the IP address can also be used for Over-the-Top (OTT) devices, the targeting to those households has the effect of reaching multiple viewers at the same time, essentially ensuring that decision makers in that location will see the intended ads.
When Paired with Mobile Devices, IP Address Activation Creates a Powerful Marketing Tool
There is a significant amount of spend in digital advertising that has already been flowing to mobile devices, and for good reason. However, targeting all devices connected to a specific range of IP addresses, like that of a business or a home, can be even more powerful. If the goal of a campaign is to reach a business in an account-based marketing campaign or a household in a political campaign, then using IP addresses ensures that the message is delivered to as many devices as possible at those targeted locations. Gathr Lab’s data science team and its audience-management tools allow a campaign manager to also receive a custom audience graph―all IP addresses that a targeted audience segment frequents. This essentially ensures that all other people who also frequent those same locations can see the targeted campaigns.
Even though an IP address is a core element of how the internet is connected, it is only in the last few years that it has become an exceptional digital marketing tool for custom-audience targeting. Innovations in technology now allow us to accurately place IP addresses from mobile devices and Wi-Fi connections on a map. Digital marketing managers would be wise to change their thinking and pay attention to this new must-have capability as it allows them to widen their audience targeting with precision, while also complying with the new privacy-protection requirements of policy makers and the general internet population at large.
Vinod Kashyap, Head of Product