Geo-targeting is one of the cores of any advertising campaign, programmatic or otherwise. It has been the answer to one of the 5 defining questions that marketers use to figure out their target audience -
Demographic: Who are they? Their age, gender, race, ethnicity, marital status, education, employment, and income.
Psychographics: What are their attitudes, habits, and interests?
Geographical: Where are they located?
Product fit: Why will they buy your product?
Aspirational: What do they wish to be or own?
So, any marketer or advertiser would be very precise about the location they will be targeting before launching a campaign. Even while choosing the offline marketing channels, they will select the newspapers most in circulation in that particular geographical area or the billboard at the center of the city to get their target audience's attention. Online channels are way ahead when it comes to collecting and utilizing the audiences' Geo-signals, thanks to the always-online mobile users.
Location based targeting helps advertisers of all sizes, big corporations, or mom & pop stores make the most bang for their bucks. Simultaneously, it saves users from seeing ads that are neither relevant nor useful to them.
Media Buyers typically use two forms of strategies to employ Geo (Location) Targeting:
1. Top-Down approach – Advertisers start campaigns by spraying the target audience based on demographics, psycho-graphics, or other factors and later focus on areas or cities that respond best to their ads.
This approach is more common for brands that cater to a national or international population.
2. Bottom-Up approach – In this, advertisers start small. It may be even a few kilometers of radius around a physical location and gradually move beyond or replicate the same area elsewhere.
This approach is most suitable for brick and mortar retail stores, restaurant chains, or movie theaters.
Geo Targeting is not only helpful for advertisers to reach their desired consumer groups but is a crucial and life-saving tool when it comes to disaster management and relief work by government & agencies in times of emergencies. Even Google & Facebook extensively use Users' Device location to provide the Advertisers the option to target their Customer base by their Country, State, City, or a Radius around a Physical location.
Coming back to advertising, let's talk about a few ways location-based targeting helps marketers succeed.
- Country-State-City: This is the most common option, where all the users of Country, States and Cities are targeted. Used by Advertisers who want to maximize the reach by running branding campaigns.
- IP Targeting: IP addresses are one way to target users by location. Advertisers can choose a range of IP addresses to show their ads to, in order to reach a specific set of audiences.
- ZIP code: People residing in particular Zip (pin) Codes can be targeted by advertisers when the offering for the product, service, or experience is relevant only to a (set of) small neighborhood. A local event, the opening of a mall or a restaurant, a local community, or an education center are some businesses that use this form of location targeting.
- Designated Market Area: A DMA, also referred to as a media market, is a region of the United States used to define television and radio markets. Nielsen divides the country into 210 DMAs. Exclusive to the US, this type of Geo-targeting can be used to reach out to people segmented by their consumption patterns for TV, radio, streaming services, and on-demand videos.
- Latitude-Longitude (Radius): As the name suggests, this is used to target a small area within the radius around a Lat-Long. Physical stores most commonly use it to create a Geo-Fence around themselves and target people coming into their radius of operations, with promotions.
- Shape file Targeting: While Lat-Long targeting works well for local stores, malls or events where advertisers need to reach within a few miles in all directions from the physical establishment, when a campaign needs to reach each citizen of a district, let's say for a political campaign, you might miss quite a few of them. This is because not all regions of interest for advertisers are perfect circles. Shape file targeting comes to the rescue in such cases. Shape file targeting aggregates numerous smaller areas within radius around multiple lat-longs, thus covering a city or a district's length and breadth.
Since 1st to 4th are quite straightforward, we will now take one case study each for 5th (Lat-Long targeting) & 6th (Shape file targeting) to understand their differences and effectiveness.
In the first example, Kritter enabled a data intelligence company with their brand activation campaign at a shopping mall in one of India's metropolitan cities to engage local audiences and entice them to participate in a series of events as part of their Mother’s Day campaign. In addition to targeting specific demographics across the city, they rolled out a time bound Geo-fenced ad within 5 miles of the mall to engage with the audiences while they are on the move or live close by. Lat-long targeting was most effective since they wanted to cover just a few miles on all sides of the mall to reach people close by.
In another case, Kritter helped 6 democratic candidates in the US during their House of Representatives election campaigns in Georgia. Each candidate belonged to a different district. Since the ads needed to cover everyone eligible to vote in the entire districts, location targeting was employed along with demographic, device, domains & category targeting. In this case, Lat-Long targeting alone wouldn't be very effective since the district might not fit in the circle of the radius that we choose. Also, choosing a bigger radius would mean the ads might get delivered to people outside of the district, which would be annoying on their part and expensive on ours. Thus, Kritter deployed shape file targeting, setting up circles of smaller radius across the district, covering every inch of it without spilling out.
In today's world, the targeted user or audience are either nearby or are making decisions on the go. Hence, the narrower (or hyper-local) an advertiser goes into location targeting, the better is the campaigns' engagement and ROI. Additionally, it provides them with an elevated level of control in running specific promotions or experimenting with their messages with measurable results via personalized ads.