Geotargeting 101: Unlocking Personalized Experiences Based on Location

Marc Kranendonk
Marc Kranendonk
Content Manager
May 24, 2023

-- Updated on May 7th 2024 --

What is geotargeting?

Let’s kick off this 101 with a geotargeting definition.

Geotargeting is the combination of using geography and internet marketing to deliver personalized content to users. It's a popular marketing strategy that has been used to deliver targeted content, ads, and promotions based on a user's geographic location. The aim of it is to form of location-based marketing efforts tailored to a specific audience.

How does geotargeting work?

To generate content based on a persons location you'll need to collect location data from various geotargeting tools. Whether you are collecting this data by yourself or through a geotargeting platform, it's a good rule of thumb to know that the more geotargeting tools you use the more robust your data will be.

Geotargeting Tools

  • IP-based: The IP address of a user's device is used to determine their approximate location. By mapping IP addresses to geographic locations, you can estimate a user's location. This method is often used for targeting at a broader regional or city level.
  • GPS-based: GPS-based geotargeting utilizes the Global Positioning System technology built into smartphones and other devices to pinpoint the precise location of a user. GPS is a common method of collecting geolocation data, and allows you to target users within a specific store or a particular street. 
  • Wi-Fi-based geotargeting: This is about using Wi-Fi network signals and their associated data to determine the location of users. When users connect to a Wi-Fi network, their devices transmit data that can be used to triangulate their position based on nearby Wi-Fi access points. Using Wi-Fi to collect location data is  often used indoors, where GPS signals may be weaker.
  • Mobile app-based geotargeting: This method is determined by the permissions granted by users from the apps they use on their mobile devices. Only then can location data be collected from those apps to allow advertisers to target users based on their real-time or historical location data. This method enables precise and context-aware targeting, such as delivering ads or notifications to users when they are in proximity to a specific location or during specific activities.

Geotargeting applications

Geotargeting is not limited to marketing and advertising, and is effectively applied in other industries. 

E-commerce and retail

In the world of e-commerce, geotargeting allows businesses to provide customized shopping experiences based on a user's location. It enables them to offer localized product recommendations, personalized offers, and promotions tailored to specific regions or even individual stores nearby. It’s also useful for optimizing inventory management and delivery logistics by targeting users within the proximity of distribution centers or stores.

Travel and tourism

Geotargeting can be used to offer personalized travel recommendations and location-specific promotions to tourists. Travel agencies and websites can use this geographic-based data to target users based on their desired destinations, and deliver relevant deals and offers for flights, hotels, attractions, and more.

In combination with geofences, geotargeting helps deliver location-based notifications  where specific areas or landmarks are designated to enhance customer experiences.

All I know is, this kind of technology would have saved Joey a lot of time when they visited London for Ross’s wedding. He wouldn’t need to “step into his map”, and Chandler wouldn’t be suffering from some (unnecessary) second-hand embarrassment. Then again, I’m not sure the sitcom would have had much success if it applied this kind of logic. That’s why I’m not writing a sitcom right now, I guess.  

Joey Stepping into the map from FRIENDS with Chandler

Local services and businesses

For local services and businesses geotargeting plays a significant role by enabling location-based search results and recommendations. Users receive relevant information about nearby restaurants, shops, healthcare providers, or other local businesses based on their current location. Businesses can effectively reach their target audience and deliver geotargeted notifications, offers, or promotions to engage with users in their vicinity.

Best practices for effective geotargeting

How does one effectively use geotargeting for their business and app? There are a few fundamental elements that are needed to utilize geotargeting optimally.

Obtain data with geotargeting tools

It starts with obtaining accurate geolocation data. You don’t want to be sending a location-based notification to someone about a store that’s as far off to them as Voyager 1. 

Wheatley from Portal 2 stranded in space
Voyager 1, probably.

To ensure that you’re obtaining accurate geolocation data at all times, you’ll need to use the geotargeting of obtaining location data that we’ve described before. You can’t rely on just one source either. As hinted, GPS can start to get inconsistent for a plethora of reasons, including having difficulty in picking up accurate location data indoors. To ensure you have consistent location data, use multiple geotargeting tools at once. This also applies to the geotargeting platform you're working with. A solid way to determine their quality is to investigate their data sources.

If you’re working with multiple geotargeting tools at once, you’ll always have the option to interchange between them. It’s like they’re all backup options to each other. One does better in scenario A, and the other is better in scenario B. 

Respecting user privacy and data protection

Next to that is respecting user privacy and data protection. As you’re going to be handling personal data, which is considered sensitive data, you’ll need to abide by the laws set in place that protects your users from privacy violations. It’s important to understand these privacy regulations with respect to your users. Make sure you’re following them otherwise the EU is going to have a field day

Understanding your target audience

Analyzing and segmenting your target audience will help you in your location-based targeting too. It’s simple really, if you have a clear idea on who your target audience is and you throw geotargeting in the mix, you should be able to reach that audience with greater accuracy.

Geolocation data on its own is not enough to understand your target audience. Sure, you’ll gather insights on their frequently visited POIs (Point of Interests), their work and home locations, and other location-based behaviors. But that’s not enough, other factors such as their age and purchase history will be needed for you to analyze and segment your target audience to get the best out of your location-based marketing strategy. 

Monitoring geotargeting campaigns

You want to know how your geotargeting-based campaign is doing, right? You don’t just assemble a Fantasy Football team and never check it. I didn’t, and that’s one of the reasons I won my league last year for the first time. Humble, I know.

That unnecessary point aside, monitoring your campaign performance is crucial in how successful you are in using geotargeting in your location-based efforts, no matter where you apply it. Campaigns should be regularly monitored and evaluated to gain insights into their performance, optimize strategies, and achieve better results. Here are key aspects to consider.

Define relevant KPIs based on the goals of your campaign. KPIs may include metrics such as click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, sales, foot traffic, or engagement metrics specific to your campaign objectives.

Utilize tracking tools and analytics platforms to collect and analyze data related to your campaigns. These tools can provide valuable information on user behavior, engagement, and conversions based on location. Our platform, for example, can track geolocation data and provide insights into user interactions and performance metrics.

Conduct A/B testing to compare the performance of different geotargeting strategies or variations within your campaigns. By testing different targeting parameters, messaging, or creative elements, you can identify the most effective approaches and make data-driven decisions to optimize your campaigns.

Analyze the performance of your campaigns across different geographic segments. Compare the results across regions, cities, or specific locations to identify high-performing areas or areas that require adjustments. This analysis can help allocate resources effectively and refine targeting strategies.

Track and attribute conversions to specific geolocations or campaigns. By understanding which locations generate the most conversions or higher-value customers, you can allocate your budget and resources accordingly and optimize your geotargeting efforts for maximum impact.

Based on the insights gained from monitoring campaign performance, continuously optimize your geotargeting strategies. Make adjustments to targeting parameters, messaging, creative elements, or even budget allocation to improve performance over time.

Things to consider when using geotargeting

Whilst geotargeting is effective in delivering personalized and relevant info to a target audience you should consider balancing personalization with user experience. 

Geotargeted content should be relevant to the user's location and context. Make sure that the information or offers provided are genuinely useful and aligned with the user's needs, preferences, or intent. Irrelevant or generic content can lead to a poor user experience and may diminish the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Bombarding users with constant notifications or offers is annoying and will trigger negative feedback. Determine an optimal frequency and timing for delivering content.

Madagascar's King Julien
Your users after the 10th notification of the day.

This slightly overlaps with what was said before about privacy, but communicate your data collection practices with your users. Provide transparent opt-in/opt-out options, and adhere to privacy regulations. Obtain user consent before collecting or utilizing location data and ensure secure handling of such information. You should provide options for users to customize their preferences, opt-out of your campaigns, or adjust their privacy settings. Respect your users' decisions and make it easy for them to manage their location data and the personalized experiences they receive.


Thank you for reading! I hope this “101” blog has assisted in your understanding of geotargeting. We covered the different methods of collecting location data, explored applications, discussed best practices, and shared some wisdom on how to best utilize the technology.

If you want to learn more about geotargeting and location-based marketing, check out our retail page to explore further about the subject. Find out how can help you in your location-based marketing strategies and efforts through geotargeting. 

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Marc Kranendonk
Marc Kranendonk
Content Manager
May 24, 2023