PARTNER CONTENT: The rise of mobile to become the dominant – and in some cases, only – way of accessing the internet has opened up a whole new set of opportunities for marketing and content providers. Consumers can access the internet at any time from any location, using devices which are highly personal – and they are expecting the content delivered to them to reflect this.

Differences in location and device can also signal a difference in intent: a tablet at home may signal casual browsing, while requests from a mobile phone might indicate a more time-sensitive need for specific information. Being able to discern the difference can impact the effectiveness of campaigns, and for advertisers and media companies looking to take advantage of this, access to timely and accurate behavioural data is critical.

Perhaps the most important factor in meeting this demand is the availability of accurate location data for targeting purposes. This can be used to help advertisers deliver contextually relevant campaigns to users, while content providers can make sure their services are available to customers in the right places – and conversely, not where there are restrictions on use.

While many devices have inbuilt GPS location capabilities, there is no guarantee that this will be active and, in-building in particular, availability and accuracy are not certain. Users also frequently move from mobile networks to Wi-Fi for reasons including speed and cost, which can make them difficult to target.

Accuracy advantage
An alternative is to identify location and other connection characteristics via the IP address. This can pinpoint users down to the postal code sector level and can provide important details of the connection type – all without using personally identifiable information or techniques that could impact privacy.

IP geotargeting can work with virtually all mobile traffic, whether using Wi-Fi or mobile connectivity. Delivering a mix of location, connection speed and device data enables advertisers and content providers to make sure they are providing material that is relevant to consumers in a context optimised for the device – dramatically increasing the effectiveness and ensuring budgets are spent effectively.

And another important benefit to using IP data to target mobile users is that there is no requirement for user opt-in, removing another potential barrier to delivering targeted advertising or checking if content should be made available or not. Of course, IP geolocation information can be combined with information such as GPS location in order to create an even fuller picture of the end user context.

The challenge comes in that not every company offering IP geotargeting data is created equal. At the lowest level, providers use data scraped from internet registries or repackage publically available data, which does not deliver the accuracy required by commercial partners.

For example, when an internet service provider allocates a block of IP addresses, it may not register the location. And even if it does, there is no guarantee this will be updated if and when things change – meaning the available data is not accurate enough for demanding commercial use.

Digital Element’s NetAcuity platform combines IP routing infrastructure analysis with anonymous location insight generated from a network of global commercial partners. Its database is created using the company’s own trace routing technology, which trawls the infrastructure of the internet to return location and connection characteristics of an IP address, and is then combined with third-party data to give the fullest possible picture.

The global coverage is accurate to 99.99 per cent on the country level and is refreshed weekly, to deliver the most up-to-date insight.

Market benefits
For advertisers, the benefits include the ability to target by geography, improving relevance, response and revenues, while minimising wasted impressions. It also offers a mobile targeting capability without the need for a specific opt-in, and can help combat click fraud.

At the most basic level, knowing where an end user is gives advertisers the chance to tailor their messages for specific regions or cities, enabling localised discounts and special offers, for example. Campaigns can also be tweaked to reflect specific preferences in various markets, or to highlight issues which have a direct geographic element.

For content providers, accurate geolocation is critical to managing digital rights, for example by preventing users accessing content in markets where they do not hold distribution rights – an issue which can prove costly. IP geolocation can also be used as an aid to identifying VPN use to circumvent geographic restrictions.

But this same data can also be used to improve the user experience, for example by offering personalised content catalogues which only list programming available in that region, or by delivering a localised version of an application or portal to provide access to the right features for a specific market.

And there are also applications in other segments, for example cybersecurity and fintech to prevent online fraud, such as checking that credentials given actually match up with the user’s physical location.

Asia push
Digital Element which works with companies including AOL, CNN, Discovery, ESPN, Hulu, Twitter and Yahoo. Key markets include the US and Europe (and the UK in particular), due to the maturity of online advertising in these markets.

Asia provides a number of growth opportunities for IP geolocation technology. China is a big market in its own right, and is home to a number of new adtech and fintech players as well as content providers and broadcasters. Other countries in the region including India, Japan and Singapore offer potential for growth.

In Asia, Digital Element’s customers include Huawei, Tencent and 99Bill.

The company is attending MWC Shanghai in order to drive awareness of its solutions and meet with existing and potential partners, reflecting the fact that the event draws attendees from across the industry – including adtech players and online content providers.

It is also a member of groups including the Streaming Video Alliance, the Location Based Marketing Association and the Mobile Marketing Association, and is accredited by the Media Rating Council.

Digital Element is attending MWC Shanghai 2019, and can be found at Hall N1 Stand N1.B130.