What Is Geotargeting? (And How Does It Work?)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 7, 2022 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated July 7, 2022

Published February 25, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Understanding geotargeting can help you develop a solid marketing strategy that will reach customers who are most likely to purchase your product or service. In this article, we explain the methods and importance of geotargeting, how geofencing differs and offer examples and tips for your geotargeting campaigns.

Woman stands holding cellphone with large map behind her with pinned locations

Definition of geotargeting

Geotargeting is a method that consists of delivering content or advertisements to users based on their geographic location. Advertisers often use geotargeting to reach local prospects. They specify one or several areas where they want their advertisement to show. They also customize the language and visuals they use according to geographic location to better reach the potential consumer.

A person's location is a good indication of their purchasing intentions and environment at a particular moment. Once marketers know what a potential customer is interested in, it makes it easier to deliver relevant advertisement content.

Examples of geomarketing are:

  • Custom landing pages

  • Email notifications for new products and services

  • Advertisement of promotion in local stores

  • Direct newspaper advertisements

  • Geotargeted text messages

  • Print advertisements in premium local magazines

  • Personalized display advertisement campaigns

  • Advertisements for promotions in local stores

  • Position campaigning

Buyers focus on specific types of product categories, which are called niche markets, and some factors differentiate one niche from another. The more marketers learn about the niche they try to reach, the better they can adapt their message. Learning about where buyers usually shop and what platforms they use for different niches can help marketers use geotargeting to create specific advertisement campaigns.

How does geotargeting work?

Geotargeting works on a complex technical level. Every device that can connect to the internet has an IP address. This IP address indicates the user's location. When a user visits a website, geotargeting extracts the geographic location from the user's IP address. Marketers usually identify consumers' positions on their mobile devices via IP address or device ID. They can also do it on a more granular level through GPS signals, or "geofencing," with the city or zip code level.

Geotargeting can be based on real-time location. For example, a motorcycle accessories company could deliver advertisements as a user is visiting a motorcycle dealership. Since the person demonstrates an interest in motorcycles, the advertisement is more likely to be successful.

Geotargeting can also be based on historical location. In this case, marketers use the locations users recently visited to predict their intentions and deliver a compelling message. For example, sports teams can target fans who have been to a specific event or stadium to drive ticket sales or invite them to download applications.

Related: Marketing's Promotional Mix: Definition and How To Use It

Why is geotargeting important?

Geotargeting is important for three main reasons:

Geotargeting is essential to use marketing funds efficiently

When marketers show advertisements to consumers in relevant areas, they increase their chances of return by spending their funds on only relevant consumers. Geotargeting can allow you to acquire customers for a lower cost—you don't spend money on customers who don't fit your target.

Geotargeting offers relevant content

Geotargeting allows you to set up specific location parameters. Therefore, you know who you are addressing the message to, and you can use the adapted advertisement. The language, design, colors and many other parameters can be customized to reach the right customer.

Geotargeting allows people looking for a business in your area to find yours first on search engines

Some businesses depend on foot traffic or home deliveries. They need to reach potential clients in their area. For example, restaurants improve their chances of bringing customers in if they appear in search engine results when customers are nearby.

Related: Creating a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy

Geotargeting tips

To implement geotargeting, you will first track new or existing visitors on your website. Then, determine from which location your website gets the most clicks. As you discover what people are looking for on your website, you can send them automatic notifications about your offerings based on their location. Here are some best practices you can apply to geotargeting:

  • Target the areas your business serves.

  • Identify the regions that offer the most potential conversions.

  • Adapt your campaign.

  • Provide your contact information.

  • Match the page language to the visitor's country of origin.

  • Adapt the visual elements.

  • Match the local currency.

Target the areas your business serves

Adapt your search campaigns so that they only show to people present in the area where your business is active. By doing so, you won't spend money on clicks from users who won't be able to become clients. If you don't deliver in certain areas, you can exclude those from your search campaigns.

Identify the regions that offer the most potential conversions

Use tools that can calculate the volume of searches for a given keyword by region, subregion, city and country. You can detect where people are looking for your product and target that area. For example, if you sell bathing suits, you may find that many people are searching for bathing suits in coastal regions. You could then target your search advertisements for areas with beaches.

Related: 15 Marketing Jobs That Pay Well

Adapt your campaign

You can run different campaigns in varying locations. Match your marketing message with the audience you want to approach. Geotargeting allows your advertisements to be delivered all over the world in various forms, so take advantage of it to convert more users into clients.

Provide your contact information

Make it easy for local prospects to find you by using location extensions. Location extensions are an option for your search advertisements. They allow potential clients in your specified areas to see your street address. You can also enable a call extension that will provide either a direct link to a phone line or phone number.

Match the page language to the visitor's country of origin

In your website setup, you can allow a language switch so that visitors read your content in their preferred language. The language switch button should be easy to find on the homepage.

Adapt the visual elements

Consider the way visual elements are interpreted by different cultures to adapt your advertisements. The visual changes might also need to happen from right to left in one culture and from left to right in another. This way, users grasp a first visual impression even before reading the content.

Match the local currency

For an e-commerce website, it can be valuable to allow users to see prices in their local currency. Setting up your website to change currency can help users easily see how much they would need to pay for your product or service without having to perform any calculations.

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