Pitfalls of Geotargeting

Articles from advertising industry online trade publications like ClickZ Network describe the benefits of geotargeting, that is targeting ads to user based on their location. To do this, the geolocation technology, as it’s called frequently by those in the business, primarily uses the user’s IP address, looks up the country of the IP address in a central database, and then serves ads targeted by location. Thus, you get the term “geotargeting”.

Well, as you can clearly see by the image above, when you have a country like Canada with two official languages, geotargeting doesn’t work so well. The geolocation technology at DoubleClick, who served that ad, must’ve thought it was genius serving a French language ad on an English language Web site because French people live in Canada. There is the problem. French people primarily live in the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick. Since IP address location is determined by the Internet service provider to which it was allocated, and since most ISPs in Canada operate nationally, there is no way of (easily) targeting an ad to a specific province in Canada so you end up with funny incongruities such as this.

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