Geotargeting, geolocation and privacy


Surfing over the internet, every person leaves some traces on the web pages. Those traces are called cookies, that allow saving the information about the user. The information depends on the user’s actions, but it can be location data, duration of the session, pages visited and lots more. Don’t worry, websites always ask before collecting your data and save the cookies.

So that, for any kind of business, it is essential to learn the auditory it works with. In case of e-commerce websites, collecting the information about the customers and visitors is fairly easy. You may track down what countries and regions are involved. And of course, the categories of goods viewed by the visitors are available as well.

What is possible to be done with all that information? When it comes to the huge auditory, it is more effective to divide all your customers to the separate groups, which is called segmentation. As a result, you get segments categorised by the exact customer criteria. That helps to plan your sales and make personalised offers to the clients. The general point here is increasing your conversion. As you are obviously more interested in customers rather than the visitors on your site.

A set of people with the same needs and preferences is a segment, that you can focus on. There are lots of segmentation types due to the specific criterias:

  • Demographic (age, gender, education, profession, etc.)
  • Psychographic (interests, hobbies, social class, lifestyle.)
  • Behavioral (purchase occasion, reaction to marketing factors, the rate of product usage and sought out benefits.)
  • Geographic (breaking down audience by their geographic location).

Segmentation provides the categories of the customers, for which you can bring personalised content. That allows you to increase your ROI promoting your goods to the auditory that is capable to be a customer.

There are not so many companies (that are pretty big and entirely known over the world), who can supply needs of all segments. For the rest of the businesses, targeting categories that are most interested in your goods is reasonable.

To choose the proper segmentation type, study your auditory, look at Google Analytics results, study your metrics. Even asking yourself 3 simple questions will be much more productive than nothing:

  1. Who can use your product?
  2. How he or she will use it?
  3. Why will he use it?


It is not necessary to target only one segment. For businesses that have a great variety of products, it is possible to gain profits promoting different products to more than one segment.

The general point here is increasing your conversion. As you are obviously more interested in customers rather than the visitors on your site.

Demographic targeting can be taken as a standard. Because it seems obvious to create segments based on the basic differences. Nevertheless, demographic segmentation doesn’t represent an exact value. It gives some general understanding of who your clients are, but for today people have really different needs and wishes being in the same segment of gender or nationality. Urging to satisfy everybody’s needs, you would obviously have to deal with all those diversions. Take into account, that social networks offer a big part of personal information of the people, that they share on their pat. So, targeting demographic segments is a wonderful thing, but only if you can’t reach for more.

So what about Geotargeting? One thing you don’t have to clarify for sure, people always seek for the geographically closest variant. It is way better to know that you may purchase a product in your hometown, rather than wait for shipping from Mongolia.

Geotargeting is now closely associated with the mobile phones. Instagram users freely share their geolocation, checking-in at different bars and cafes, malls and clubs, letting to determine their location accurately enough. As well as Facebook does similar things.

Targeting users based on location data is possible in the three following ways:

  1. Geo-Targeting — bringing personalised content with the help of IP address. Targeting via IP address is not that precise, that is why it is used to target big territories like the whole country or region across the city. Every time you see advertisements of the nearest auto-service on the web pages, it means Google knows where you live. But, there is another part of a coin. Several persons using the same PC, can give you mixed data and confuse, which is not unusual.
  2. Geo-Fencing — mobile-world answer to the IP address targeting. GPS on the mobile phone gives lots more advantages and literary a more precise location.
  3. Beacons — least global, due to the conditions of its work. They can function among the store, being installed inside a brick and mortar store. And it receives data via Bluetooth. Considering that we are not that often leaving the Bluetooth turned-on, the frequency of work is a big question mark.

Geotargeting lets to bring personalised content to the users, but it is not the only feature. Companies who tend to target, for example, more than one country or region, often have two versions of the sites for both of the regions. A different version of the websites can have geo-targeted design and content. As well as concentrating more effort on the exact region, several countries and regions can be cut off.

How to start

The generation of millennials has quickly accustomed to geolocation updates after every visit to the store/cinema/exhibition. And that is great, because, in further usage of their smartphone devices, they will receive more personalised content. And in its turn, geolocation has become a usual part of shopping. Collecting all that data and mixing it up with the home address of the users, you will receive an extremely precise “map” of interests, needs and usually visited places.

You can get benefits even from a simple check-in at your brick and mortar store. To make your customers check-in at your store, you can place a simple call to action, stating “Check-in if you like us!”. The thing is, it costs nothing for the customers to make that quick thing. But, it is a free advertisement for your business. Or you may propose any kind of benefit in exchange, showing your loyalty.

Talking about e-commerce. Well, geolocation targeting is pretty obvious from the marketing standpoint. But, it can be pretty difficult to be implemented from the development standpoint. Pay attention to the WordPress, where you always can find the ready-made decision in the form of plugins like CF Geo Plugin or Geotargeting Lite. It won’t take too much time to get the profit, tritely targeting your ads on the specific city.

Privacy and data

You have to keep it in mind, your customers are live persons, that have their privacy. And you can’t break in their life. Geolocation data can be a great tool to raise up your conversion rate. But it should not make the person feel as in the Truman Show.

Collect the data accurately, in the course of quick polls or making surveys. Pay a great attention to the data your audience shares for nothing in the social networks. Show your loyalty and respect and then your customers will show their loyalty to your business.

Do you consider geotargeting as a must-have feature? Do you experience geolocation marketing as a consumer? Feel free to share your thoughts!

Photo by JOHN TOWNER on Unsplash

Photo by Tim Graf on Unsplash