How the IP Address is Becoming More Relevant to Location

IP addresses, as we know them today, have been around since the 1990s. However, in a world where audience data is more readily available than ever before, the IP address remains one of the most effective forms of data for digital advertisers. We spoke to some industry experts to help us examine the multi-faceted use of the IP address. 

In the past, local and hyper-local marketing was seen to be a waste of advertising budget, due to lack of volume and reach. However, according to Maciej Szlachta, CTO, Codewise, feels that today’s consumer technology and culture has driven the need for more location data. He says:

“In today’s fast-paced, connected world, it is essential to be able to reach consumers on-the-move and at home or in the office. Digital Element’s IP and geolocation technology provide the high levels of accuracy required for this, and enables us to give advertisers improved targeting capabilities and enhanced visibility of real-time campaign performance. At Codewise, our VoluumTRK platform is tracking 25% more campaigns, compared to this time last year, which means a scalable solution is essential.”

In addition, the rise of ad blocking means it is more important than ever for advertisers to make ads relevant by personalising creative. Tailoring ads based on location data is one method advertisers are using today.

Points of presence

Given the rising popularity of location, there are a number of techniques to acquiring and using this data, making it hard for advertisers to know where to begin. Points of presence are one way to collect location data. A point of presence is placed at a specific point within a region, and track when a user is within a particular catchment area.

However, data collected by this method has its limitations, Charlie Johnson, Vice President, UK & Ireland at Digital Element explained. Points of presence cannot pinpoint users based on their data collection, instead only being able to place them in the wider area. For example, BT only has 12 of points of presence in the UK. Consumers in these areas could be hundreds of miles apart, and what is a relevant ad for one, will be irrelevant for another.

This is where the IP address comes in. While these used to be subject to the same limitations as points of presence, over the last couple of years, new IP addresses have cropped up. This reduces the area covered by a single address. With more detailed location data, national businesses can now add an extra degree of personalisation to their ads for consumers throughout the country.

IP addresses are particularly useful for SMEs and local businesses. In the past, location data from IP addresses was impractical for local companies, simply because of the amount of wastage they would incur due to the large catchment areas. Now, they can develop hyper-local creative.


If you’re running a CPC campaign, and see high click rates, without conversions, you might be experiencing click fraud. The IP address behind these clicks can be prevented from accessing your page, advised Johnson.

Similarly, IP addresses can be used to detect and block false proxies that are being used to access content in a country as a native device, even if the user is outside the country.

With the prominence of mobile, which doesn’t allow cookies, new ways of monitoring location to help with both location tracking and anti-fraud practices will be needed, and the importance of the IP address will increase.

Data collaboration

Despite the uses of the IP address, advertisers looking to optimise their creative using location data, need to take an inclusive approach. Media professionals require more data than just location and should look to encompass data derived from SDK, wi-fi, and GPS, with the IP address data.

More niche sources, for example data collected through take-away restaurants, should also be used alongside customer information gathered by publishers, Johnson continued. The insights gleaned from these sources combined will ensure adverts are based not only on location, but data such as previous clicks, purchases, and what time of day consumers are most likely to buy.

While this may sound like data overload, DMPs are adapting to the need for an amalgamation of data types. By taking DMP technology, and combining it with geolocation and mobile data from different providers and proprietary sources, advertisers can piece all this data together to create a new audience platform, designed specifically for personalisation.

IP addresses are a great way to prevent fraud and accurately track location. However, to stand out when all your competitors are personalising creative, you must leverage as much data as possible.