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IP Targeting and Geotargeting. What’s the Difference?

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Both IP Targeting and Geotargeting are hyper-focused tools that digital marketers use to get their messages in front of specific audiences. Below, we’ll outline the differences between the two, how they work, and who can benefit from using them.

What’s IP Targeting?

IP targeting is a method of digital marketing that involves targeting consumers using their IP address and serving up advertisements accordingly. It allows marketers to discover the exact audience and put their ads directly into their line of sight. IP targeting can be used to send ads to any device – laptop, desktop, tablet, or smartphone – that’s connected to the WiFi network in mind. Both individuals and businesses can be targeted.

What’s an IP Address?

An IP address, or Internet Protocol address, is a unique numerical code that’s associated with an individual device or Local Area Network (LAN). It’s used when a device accesses the internet. In digital marketing, an IP can be used to target consumers or businesses on a specific network to send ads.

Who Should Use IP Targeting?

Anybody who’s looking to reach a specific audience to let them know about their or their client’s product or service could benefit from IP targeting. Here are some examples of situations where IP targeting can be beneficial:

  • Marketing a local event. With IP targeting, you can send ads to those who are most likely to attend and increase the likelihood that your ad spend will result in increased ticket sales. You won’t be paying for ads going to unintended audiences.
  • Increasing foot traffic at a local business. No matter what kind of business you’re helping, sending ads to those connected to WiFi near that business will be more effective at reaching potential customers than more generic advertising.
  • Increasing business within a particular demographic. If you’re trying to reach a college-aged audience, for example, you can send your ads to IP addresses associated with college-wide WiFi.

You can also exclude certain IP addresses if you don’t want a certain group to see your ads, such as a competitor.

What’s Geotargeting?

Geotargeting is a type of advertising that uses location data to reach people with messaging that’s appropriate to their location and behavior. It displays content based on an automated or assumed knowledge of a person’s location. Geotargeting allows you to deliver the right message at the right time to the right audience.

For example, a furniture store may run a geo-targeted ad campaign that serves up messaging to those who are within 10 miles of their store. Put simply, geotargeting helps advertisers create more relevant, targeted promotions for consumers, which can result in increased engagement.

You can exclude certain locations, use location-specific keywords, run local awareness campaigns, and create custom target lists for your ads. If you were running an awareness campaign for a local bike shop in Louisville, KY, for example, you could add a location-specific keyword like “Louisville bike shop” and only show up in those zip codes. You can also use negative keywords to increase overall relevance if you don’t offer services in a specific area or location, or you don’t want to target a specific demographic or interest.

Who Should Use Geotargeting?

Geotargeting can be beneficial in many situations, but there are a few where it’s especially beneficial, such as:

  • You have a business with only one physical location
  • You have different landing pages that you want to serve to people in different areas
  • You offer products that are seasonal to some areas, but year-round to others

IP Targeting vs. Geotargeting

IP targeting uses a list of IP addresses to deliver ads to specific households or offices on any device. Geotargeting reaches groups of IP addresses based on location.

More Questions About IP Targeting and Geotargeting?

If you’d like to learn more about how geotargeting and IP targeting can be beneficial to you or your business, we’d love to talk. At Current360, our strategy-driven digital marketing team works with local and national clients to get their ads, which we also create, in front of the right people at the right time.


Neil Patel

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Ed brings 15 years of traditional and digital media sales experience to the agency, giving us a perspective most agencies don’t have. When he’s not working or seeking new knowledge, Ed hangs out with his wife, two kids, two dogs, one cat, and a hamster. And yes, the cat and hamster are best friends.

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