What Is IP Address Targeting?

IP address targeting software is designed to take a basic piece of information known about each device that connects to a server to tailor content to the user's location. Unsurprisingly, IP address ad targeting is one of the most common applications for this sort of system. However, IP address targeting tech can be configured to handle tasks like geoblocking and customer data collection. Regardless of your needs, it's a good idea to understand what IP targeting software is and what it can do.

What is an IP Address?

The vast majority of internet-connected devices are assigned an IP address. In the older IPv4 model, this is a series of four numbers that each range from 0 to 255. There is also the more modern IPv6 system that uses longer sequences.

How is IP Address Targeting Handled?

Blocks of IP addresses are sold to various companies. Major organizations, such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, and many governments, acquire these IP addresses for their own use. Internet service and cellphone providers, such as Comcast or Verizon, also acquire IP addresses that are then leased to their customers so they can connect to the internet. This unique numerical identifier allows data to be shipped to individual computers, phones, and other devices.

These blocks of addresses are usually geographically confined. For example, the block of IP addresses for Comcast users in the Pittsburgh area usually begin with 71, 74, 75, or 24. Similarly, leases for individual modems can sometimes follow users around for months or even years, especially if they're paying for static IP addresses.

Mixing with Other Data

More robust combinations of data make it fairly easy to spot individual users. IP address ad targeting tech, for example, might be combined with data from a user's cookies and the user-agent tags sent by their web browser. This can be refined with a fairly high level of certainty to determine that someone visiting a web page is User X and not User Y. If you're also gathering data from sources like Facebook and your site's account registrations, you may be able to build a pretty detailed profile of who is coming and going on your website.

Applications of IP Address Targeting Management Systems

Nearly any bit of data that you tie to users has an application. For example, a political campaign might use IP address information to blanket a region of the country with social media ads; coupon offers can be similarly targeted. Data can also be collected to see if different appeals work better in certain regions.

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