IP Targeting vs Retargeting: What’s the Difference?

Online advertising has a variety of ways to reach target consumers. For those interested in online advertising, this begs the question: Which method is the best one to reach the goals of my business?

Fortunately, there are two widely accepted and rapidly growing methods in the online advertising world that can help you succeed: IP targeting and retargeting. Now, both methods may share some similarities, but it’s important to know that they are vastly different from one another.

Understanding the difference between the two resources and their advantages and disadvantages will definitely help you reach a decision on which method fits your business needs.

How IP Targeting and Retargeting Works

One of the major differences between IP targeting and retargeting is the way each method works to connect with consumers. With IP targeting, for instance,  a company will use various services, like pings or reverse DNS lookup to learn a user’s IP address.

Once this information is obtained, advertisements and other marketing content is delivered to users based on where their location is set on their IP address.

Retargeting, also called remarketing, accomplishes similar goals but in a different style. Instead of a user’s geographical location and IP address, retargeting relies on using cookies. Whenever a user visits a company’s webpage, a code will tag a cookie on their browser.

This cookie will anonymously follow the user everywhere on their regular web browsing time and customize ads based on what they searched on a company’s website.

When IP targeting and Retargeting Works Best

While both IP targeting and retargeting are equally powerful methods for online advertisers to use, each require competent marketing strategies to work its best.

IP targeting, unlike retargeting, uses offline data, which means that it is less likely to have non-human bot traffic and thus, it’s able to match IP addresses with a user’s business and home addresses. Because of this, IP targeting works best under a one-on-one marketing strategy since it further enhances a company’s interactions with their consumers and, in turn, foster consumer loyalty and company returns.

Retargeting relies on online data, and so, it’s more limited in what it can and can’t do. Cookies, for instance, tends to implement lots of predictive data and once a user deletes it, a company has one less user for their ads and marketing content. As such, retargeting works best if used as part of a greater marketing strategy.

Retargeting, for instance, can be used alongside Google Ads and other content marketing platforms to drive traffic and increase conversion rates to a company’s website.

Advantages and Disadvantages

IP targeting and retargeting have their own upsides that make them valuable to the respective online advertiser. They also have their own downsides. Closely examining the pros and cons of each will help you better determine which one can lead you and your company to success.

Pros of IP targeting:

  • IP targeting uses offline data, which helps verify whether actual people (not bots!) are actually being delivered ads and other relevant content.
  • Since IP targeting relies on geographical location, ads are often localized and can reach many consumers living nearby. This helps a business, big or small, remain visible and relevant locally.
  • Because of today’s constant connection to the Internet, IP addresses, especially household ones, seldom change, even when these addresses are dynamic (randomly assigned and changeable).
  • IP targeting focuses on qualitative traffic over quantitative traffic. This allows for efficient personalized interactions with consumers that can lead consumer loyalty and company returns.

Cons of IP targeting:

  • Accuracy of a user’s geographical location depends entirely on the geographical service you decide to use.
  • Although a user’s personal information is not shared through either method, some may feel their privacy is being invaded.
  • There may be an issue regarding the people it reaches, especially in a household or area where everyone has a device. The likelihood of reaching a consumer of interest decreases, which results in an increase of wasted ad time.

Pros of Retargeting:

  • Retargeting can encourage interested consumers to return to your company’s website and purchase products or services.
  • Because this method uses cookies that follow a user on their regular browsing, retargeting allows you to customize ads based on their interests and browsing behavior.
  • More time is spent on delivering ads to people who are likely familiar with the business, its website and brand. This helps decrease wasted ad time as seeing ads of new products or services increases interest and consumer loyalty.

Cons of Retargeting:

  • Like IP targeting, some consumers may feel this is an invasion of privacy, especially if your ads are constantly being shown on websites they visit.
  • Consumers may also feel annoyed by seeing your ads in the websites they visit. This can turn them away from your business rather than encourage consumer loyalty.
  • Cookies can be deleted from their browsers. And once those are gone, you’ve lost a target consumer for your ads.
  • Like IP targeting, retargeting may also have the issue of multiple devices, especially since this method specifically targets devices, not people.

Both methods have their own little quirks and tricks that have helped online advertisers. Although each have their problems, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives in continuing their use.

As technology and marketing strategies continue to merge and evolve, those in the online advertising world will continue to find new ways to enhance the resources currently available and help companies reach their goals more efficiently.