Last updated on November 17th, 2023 at 02:38 pm
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VPN expert Alex Mitchell discusses how to improve ROI with geo-targeting and the challenges of targeting users on VPN connections hiding their locations.
In this blog, we’re going to look at the topic of geo-targeting and examine how it can help your website. We’ll look at how businesses and advertisers can use geotargeting to better target advertisements for higher ROI.
We’ll also look at some of the disadvantages to this approach from the customers’ perspective, and how solutions such as a VPN can allow customers to avoid advertising by cloaking their IP address. See our review of PureVPN on VPNpro.com too for further insights into the benefits of VPN services.
What is Geotargeting and IP Targeting?
Also known as local PPC, geotargeting and IP targeting both work to deliver different types of advertisement or content to a website visit, depending on their geographic location. The approach is often used with paid search campaigns to ensure that advertising is placed in front of local prospects for higher conversions. This increases the value of the advertising by better targeting potential customers and by effectively ignoring those who live outside of the target geographical radius, to increase ROI and minimize wasted cost.
How Can it Help Websites?
Whether you have a bot e-commerce or a non e-commerce site, there are advantages in using geotargeting, particularly when it comes to advertising. For example, if you are using Google Ads, you can specify a location or series of locations in which your online advertising will be shown.
This will be key if you are a business that relies on local foot traffic or home deliveries. Examples of these types of business could include e-commerce sites, restaurants, physical stores, local entertainment venues and so forth.
How to use Geotargeting
There are two main ways to use it. Firstly, you can specify geographic locations that you want local advertising to target so that users with IP addresses in those locations are more likely to see your advert and convert. Conversely, you can exclude any geographical locations that are beyond your delivery area.
This is akin to handling negative keywords. So if you are a local business service that deals with customers on the South Coast of the UK only, you could exclude other counties from your search campaigns.
Using Trends Reports
You can also use Google Trends to identify geographical regions which have the highest conversion potential. With this tool, you can carry out a search breakdown volume according to a region, country, sub-region and city.
Also make sure you use location and call extensions so that local prospects can get in touch easily. By doing this, local prospects will be able to view your street address. Call extensions provide a direct link to your business phone line or your phone number. Remember that landing pages tend to be the classic ‘leaky’ part of any digital marketing funnel, and by adding extensions you can help to prevent this.
Last but not Least…
Specify too when placing your ad that you want to target searchers who are physically located in your geography – so that users who are carrying out a search engine search of your location don’t end up seeing your adverts. Again, this will avoid wasting budget and clicks.
The Challenges of Geotargeting
It can be difficult to truly identify the locations of your website users, especially if some are using VPNs to disguise their true location. But the Geographic dimensions report provided by Google is useful and it provides the detail around the top locations of your website users. Select your campaign and then choose Dimensions, before selecting the view tab and then the geographic option on the drop-down menu.
You may see here that are a number of clicks are arriving from unspecified areas. This can be because they are using VPNs. It can also be because the search engine can’t identify their location from their IP address for some reason.
Solutions to these Challenges
Users may be keen to actively avoid being the subject of geotargeting efforts, especially if they want to access otherwise blocked content from overseas. In this instance, a VPN such as PureVPN can be a means of allowing users to access websites which would otherwise be blocked because of their location.
The VPN does this by masking the IP address of the user and providing an alternate server in the relevant country which cloaks the real IP address and suggests that the location is in-country and valid. This then allows the user to access the content freely.
Web developers must factor in VPNs, which are highly efficient at location masking, and which hide IP addresses to maintain user anonymity. However, when it comes to wasting online marketing funds, the existence of VPN users may simply have to be accepted as a cost of doing business! Web developers can’t do much to get around VPN service users. The reality is that these services offer users significant benefits, including the ability to access content in countries where websites such as Facebook and Google are banned.
Yes, you may end up paying to advertise to people who are not actually in your location but who are using a decoy server to provide an alias IP address, but if you work hard to pin down your settings as tightly as possible when placing online advertising, this number should not be a huge problem.
Alex Mitchell is part of a team of online anonymity, privacy & security professionals. Here to share cyber security news & tips so you can make the right decisions for your privacy.