Welcome to Ads 101 where we explain both fundamental and complicated marketing topics. Today we’re answering the question: what’s Geo-Targeting? 

What Is Geo-Targeting

Geo-targeting is a marketing tactic used to deliver content to an individual based on their geographic location. Hence the “Geo”, as in geographic, and targeting because, well, you’re targeting an area. Some marketers also refer to it as “location targeting”. Marketers often use geo-targeting to ensure that people within a specific area see an ad, though there are some uses beyond advertising.

Example 1

If I’m marketing for a criminal defense attorney located in Philadelphia, I might want to geo-target ads around specific areas. Those areas are probably going to be courthouses, police departments, etc. I’ll may also geo-target the specific towns, cities, and counties where I practice.

Example 2

If it’s summertime and I’m an ice cream business, I might geo-target parks, swimming pools, and baseball fields. I’d target those spots because they’re physical locations where my target audience might be. In addition, my audience is likely doing an activity that might make them stop by to cool down afterwards.

The Many Uses of Location Targeting

By using geo-targeting, anyone in the areas above has a chance to see your ads when they’re on Facebook, searching on Google, or whichever platform you’re advertising on.

Sometimes geo-targeting can work for those interested in specific locations, too. For example, if someone living in New Jersey does a Google search using a specific location in mind, like “Philadelphia Divorce Attorneys”, they may see ads that are being geo-targeted for Philadelphia.

Google also allows you to geo-target a location and hit someone with an ad later-on after they’ve left the area. So if someone is within the radius for your geo-targeting because they’re at work, you can hit them later with an ad when they get home.

Geo-targeting can be done using a specific address, a general radius around an area, or by specific cities and states. You can also block out areas when geo-targeting to give yourself a more accurate audience.

So, if you’re advertising for a punk-rock show this weekend, you might want to geo-target around a cool venue without hitting the audience that’s going to the opera house across the street. Though a punk-rock opera sounds pretty cool!

In summary, geo-targeting is all about hitting a person with ads from a specific geographic area.

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