Users of the Internet will have come across IP address geolocation in one way or another. They might not be aware that they have IP geolocation to thank for their ease of browsing on the Internet. Websites use geolocation technology for a variety of purposes. For example, it is commonly used to provide localized contents or advertisements on the Internet.
IP Geolocation: how does it work?
Website visitors are identifiable on websites by their IP address. Everyone on the Internet is assigned an IP address to enable communication between their computer and other online machines such as web servers. Using that IP address, websites can query geolocation database or API to get info such as the visitor’s country, region, city, latitude, longitude and so much more.
Why do you need IP Geolocation?
Online businesses find that IP-based geolocation is vital because they can customize webpage contents for visitors from certain countries or regions. For example, news websites use the visitor’s geolocation to show their local news, thus making their website relevant for the user.
In addition to webpage contents, ads are also tuned to cater to the needs of regional visitors. Website users are more likely to click on ads for their local businesses.
Meanwhile, most e-commerce sites use geolocation information as part of their fraud prevention strategies. Online merchants can easily detect fraudsters when the IP geolocation country does not match the billing country.
Lastly, marketing departments can gain insights from web visitors’ geolocation data to optimize their marketing efforts. This is particularly effective for determining which are the hottest selling products for a specific region.
Pros & cons
- Optimizes marketing efforts by targeting specific regions based on ROI.
- Shows customized contents to users from a particular location for better user engagement.
- Helps with fraud prevention on online stores.
- Reduces ad expenditure by targeting selected countries or regions.
- Less invasive privacy-wise due to city-level accuracy.
- Less accurate vs. GPS-based geolocation.
- Regular database update is required to maintain accuracy of geolocation.
- Geolocation API may suffer outages, rendering them useless.
Curious about what your IP address geolocation looks like?
IP2Location.com is one of the geolocation providers available. You can go to the demo page via the URL below and see what your geolocation info is like.
IP Geolocation API
The easiest way to get geolocation data is via an API such as the IP2Location Web Service. Interested developers can sign up for a trial API key at the below URL to use the web service.
It’s a REST-based API which can be easily integrated into any programming languages. Best of all, the data is always up to date.
Modern websites need IP address geolocation to remain relevant to the needs of the web visitors. It improves customer engagement and provides a better sales conversion as websites owners can segment their e-commerce audience based on their location.