What if you could reach your exact target audience at the right place and time?
With geotargeting, you just might be able to.
Geotargeting is, essentially, converting location data to marketing strategy. More specifically, this type of geomarketing enables marketers to deliver powerful customization to prospects at all sales funnel stages through real-time data. Put simply, geotargeting is reaching specific audiences based on location and other filters. This location-based tactic helps marketers focus and inform their messaging, and put it in the right places at the right times.
It’s the antithesis of blind marketing.
With geotargeting, marketers can key in on “hot spots” — virtual geofenced locations as broad as a country to as granular as a neighborhood. For example, an edtech company might target cities or neighborhoods with many colleges and/or educational institutions. Or a company attending an expo in another city could run online ads there during the event.
In some cases, marketing is a lot like real estate: It’s all about location, location, location.
Geotargeting is more commonly used by B2C companies. But there are plenty of significant use cases for B2B brands as well. In fact, any company that could benefit from gaining valuable geographic insight into its target audience could see major results from geotargeting. And with the right tools, geotargeting can empower any company to optimize its marketing messaging and content.
With geotargeting, companies gain an understanding of their target audience’s digital footprint, which reveals where they spend time online, their personas, their buying journeys, and more. This informs marketing strategy as to customer needs, business problems, and what content will resonate and at which stage.
To further break it down, there are three primary areas in which geotargeting helps B2B brands:
1. Gaining customer insights
Geotargeting tools collect customer data, which is transformed into insight into consumer spending and buying habits. With a deeper understanding in those areas, marketers are enabled to optimize personalization of various marketing efforts such as display advertising and triggered emails. This is especially useful in the B2B world, where longer sales cycles make lead nurturing efforts increasingly critical.
2. Gaining competitor insights
Geotargeting also helps marketers build competitive analyses. Just as it does internally, geotargeting provides external insights into the competitive market, too. In most cases, geotargeting data informs B2B brands as to who they’re competing with in specific locations, and how their marketing performance compares to competition.
3. Powerful, simple customization
It’s fairly simple to target a particular area or location with geotargeting. And because of that, marketers can run campaigns across various locations simultaneously.
Not only that, but geotargeting campaigns can be adjusted and optimized as they run. So when a campaign is working well in one particular area, advertising spends can be upped in that specific territory. And if social paid ads are performing better on Facebook than LinkedIn in one location, for example, that, too can be considered and acted on at any time.
There are three primary types of geotargeting:
1. IP Address
Most ad networks and publishers determine user locations via their IP address—a set of numbers identifying devices connected to the internet. This type of geotargeting is best used only when targeting a fairly broad area, as your IP address is often linked to the nearest ISP hub, which could be a town or two away.
2. Subscriber-Provided Data
With this geotargeting method, the website on which you’re advertising provides user information. This third-party data could be anything from purchase intent to transactional data to interests and other behaviors. Publications often amass user data over time by requiring information, such as location and business affiliation, in exchange for access to content. This enables publications and their partners and advertisers to target geographically.
This tactic uses the location services of smartphones and other mobile devices to target a specific latitudinal and longitudinal location. With geofencing, a marketer can set a circumference around an event, building, or relevant area. Ads will show up only for those within the target area (and with location services enabled on their mobile devices).
Brands might be interested in geotargeting for a number of reasons. Here are a few common use cases:
- A developing business is looking to build a local customer base first. As a new business works to establish itself, it’s easier and more cost-effective to focus prospecting efforts locally at first.
- Geotargeted expansion. When an enterprise expands into a specific region, geotargeting can be used to focus marketing efforts in that area.
- Targeting regions with sales managers. For companies with regional sales managers, geotargeting can be used to focus marketing efforts in those areas.
- Based on the availability of a product or service. Some companies have products/services only available in particular regions. Geotargeting comes in handy here.
- Geographic swim lanes. Marketing campaigns are often designed, through geotargeting, to progress outwardly across states and regions over time. This helps to avoid marketing teams from being overwhelmed by a new campaign, and enables them to learn and work out kinks in campaigns step-by-step.
Some things to consider when implementing geotargeting
- Geotargeting is based on location data and customer characteristics, therefore it’s driven by demographics and keywords. Behaviors and interests factor in secondarily.
- Geotargeting relies heavily on the target’s mobile use. So the more your target audience uses their smartphones — especially in the places you target — the more effective and informative the tactic will be. This can prove slightly problematic for B2B as targeted areas are often workplaces or work-related locations, and people use their smartphones less in these places.
- Geotargeting is typically pay-per-click advertising. And it can be pricey, so well-researched, accurate targeting is vital in order to see a solid ROI.
- B2B geotargeting must be well-researched. To see success with geotargeting efforts, B2B organizations must first understand their audience’s buying habits and the products and services they seek. The more specific your target customer base, the more research you will need to have done.
- Keep in mind you can also exclude poorly performing areas, or those with few target customers, in your geotargeting campaigns.
- When geotargeting, it might be wise to hide your ads from competitors. Through IP exclusion, you can avoid competition being made aware of your new campaign.
- Geotargeting is most commonly done through major ad networks and search engines such as Google, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
- Geotargeting value propositions tend to focus on competitive advantages — why you’re different and/or better than competitors.
- Especially when geotargeting locally and with a very specific target customer base, you may deal with data scarcity — a lack of user information, and therefore a lack of prospects to target.
- Geotargeting is just one of a number of location data-driven marketing tactics. Others include conquesting and proximity marketing.
Ultimately, geotargeting can prove to be a highly impactful marketing strategy when done right. It stands to benefit both the seller and buyer by improving overall customer experience. And it can help connect the two via providing marketers with insight and access into the right place, and right time to message or engage.