Scaling Up

Digital Element Andy newThe days of searching for decent wi-fi connectivity are, thankfully, a thing of the past. Walk out of your house or your office and you’re likely to find good, usually free wi-fi in any number of cafes, bars, pubs, restaurants, hotels, shops, trains and train stations, airports and any number of other public spaces. So much so that some estimates suggest that as much as 80 per cent of mobile traffic is connected over wi-fi on a typical day.

This is good news for companies looking to advertise on mobile, as the more robust wi-fi connectivity allows them to serve up richer advertising content, including images, videos and even augmented reality content, safe in the knowledge that the experience of viewing it on a mobile device while out and about will be a good one. Not something that can always be said when dealing with cellular connectivity.

“Targeting mobile users over wi-fi connections enables us to help our clients reach those users at scale,” says Andy Ashley, marketing director Europe and APAC at Digital Element. The company pioneered IP geolocation and has been helping brands geo-target content and advertising for the past 17 years. It remains the only IP data supplier that is accredited by the Media Rating Council.

“There are a lot of other technologies that can give you accurate IP geolocation to within a few feet, but they usually need some sort of app, and require the user to opt in, something which a very small proportion of people choose to do. IP geolocation on the other hand enables the targeting of mobile users without the need for opt in, because we do not collect any personally identifiable information about the user.”

Location accuracy
The notion of accuracy is very important to the company’s offering, Ashley says. “We believe we are much more accurate than anyone else out there,” he says. “Our trace-routing technology maps out the world’s IP space and supplements it with data from partners. Most other platforms tend to repackage registry information data that is publicly available. The problem with this is that when an ISP (Internet Service Provider) allocates a block of IP addresses, it may or may not register the location of the IP address, and even if does, if often does not have to keep them up to date. A lot of our competitor’s data is therefore inherently inaccurate and has patchy global coverage.’’

‘’Our IP solution NetAcuity Pulse adds a whole new dimension to IP geotargeting. It builds on the previous iterations of our IP data solutions by incorporating data from mobile devices, billions of real-time data signals and wi-fi connection points. NetAcuity Pulse significantly expands the global coverage and reach for postcode level targeting within cities and neighbourhoods, offering more seen IPs at a hyperlocal level than any other supplier.’’

Brands use Digital Element’s accredited IP data for a variety of use cases, most of which, but not all, are marketing-focused, but all focus on delivering relevant content at the moment when it most matters.
NetAcuity is heavily used for advertising and analytics platforms. “Advertising technology companies, DMPs (Data Management Platforms) and analytics companies use our data in various ways,” says Ashley. “Ad tech companies use it for standalone geo-targeting and to develop targeting profiles to allow for instant bidding and the serving of highly relevant adverting. For platforms like, Crimtan,, Turn, Weborama, Webtrekk, Omniture, Adobe Analytics and WebTrends, it’s a fundamental part of their offering. Analytics companies use IP data to identify patterns of activity among their customers to identify other consumers with similar traits, for example.”

In the UK, programmatic ad firm Crimtan, one of Digital Element’s partners, uses the tech to target advertising more precisely for its clients. In one campaign, for example, Crimtan used Digital Element’s NetAcuity Edge platform to carry out a study of potential visitors for the owner of seven holiday parks situated in the south west of England. The results showed that users most likely to visit the company’s site were located south west of a line drawn from Chester to Canterbury, excluding greater London, as well as in Wales and North Wales. This new insight empowered the holiday parks to understand and target the specific areas that would benefit from local advertising, leading to greater efficiency and improved ROI.

Online clothes retailers use the Digital Elements IP geolocation solution, NetAcuity, to show very specific looks to customers in different regions. So for example a consumer in Paris could see an ad or website range that is specific to that city, compared to a different ad shown to someone in Marseilles, tapping into the prevailing mood and fashion trends within each city. As well as using location to serve content in the right language and price.

As mentioned earlier NetAcuity is the only IP solution provider that can provide true postcode targeting. Retailers often use the technology to automatically show stores in close proximity to the users. This not only removes the need for fiddly and unnecessary postcode checkers, it allows the targeting of local promotions, in real time. Increasing engagement and conversions.

Aligning real world events with IP geolocation data
IP geolocation can also be combined with other ‘’real world’’ events such as weather. For example, a clothing retailer can promote warmer clothing when a cold front moves into a certain area, aligning content and ad targeting to real-world events.

Away from the marketing arena, several well-known broadcasters, including CNN, Channel 5 and many other major OTT (Over The Top) service providers, use the platform to manage geographical rights. The solution enables the broadcasters to prevent users accessing their content from countries where they don’t have the rights to distribute it, even if the user is accessing via a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or some other proxy service.

Finally, IP intelligence can also be used to help detect and prevent online fraud. By identifying how visitors connect, through say a proxy or VPN, suspicious traffic can be identified and acted upon.
The good news is that this stuff works. saw a 700 per cent increase in localised advertising ROI in its first year of operation. Tapad has also seen big improvements in clickthrough rates (CTR) for its clients, across multiple devices, including an 11 per cent lift in CTR for geotargeted media in the desktop environment; an 8 per cent lift in CTR for geotargeted media in the mobile environment; and a 7 per cent lift in CTR for geotargeted media in the tablet environment.

So what does the future hold? “One of the key things for us will be cross-platform targeting, helping to deliver carefully crafted and contextually relevant customer journeys” says Ashley. ‘’We are likely to see a lot more mobile marketing across devices, with the ability to identify the same user across each device. This is still in its infancy, but with the advent of internet-connected TVs, we believe there will be a much bigger opportunity for cross-device targeting and a more joined-up customer journey. Brands want it, and I think when consumers see how it works, they will like it too.”

This sponsored article first appeared in the June 2016 print edition of Mobile Marketing. You can read the whole issue here.