One way of targeting users geographically is based on IP addresses. Every ad server works with a large database of IP addresses with corresponding locations to target ad campaigns based on locations.
In most cases, geo targeting works perfectly and is a valid way of engaging with your target audience, but it has technical limitations. There will always be cases where an ad is seen when you wouldn't expect to it to (you're in Melbourne but you know you only bought Sydney eyeballs) or where you don't see an ad when, based on your IP address, you would expect to see it (you booked Melbourne eyeballs, you are in Melbourne, but you don't see the ad).
There are many reasons why your campaign may not be appearing in that moment:
- make sure the campaign is active
- make sure you're looking at the right URL
- Have you seen the ad before in this spot before? That's good news. In that case it might have reached its momentary delivery goal or our ad server is trying reach as many unique visitors as possible rather than exposing you to the ad again. The ad server may be distributing a relatively low number of impressions over a long period of time.
- is there any other targeting that may prevent the ad from appearing? Like frequency capping, etc.
If you're still convinced you should see the ad, the reason why you're not seeing it may be related to the geo targeting (and these are common limitations of IP-based geo targeting):
- your computer is part of a larger network and the network IP is registered in a different location. A larger organisation would connect all users through their network; it is possible to have the physical location of Sydney but be connected through a server located in Melbourne. (All Carsales interstate employees for example have a Melbourne IP address. That's where we are headquartered and where our servers are.)
- Your computer may be connected to the internet through a proxy server or a VPN service, which have their own IP address. The user would then not access the internet with their own physical IP address.
- Internet Service Providers (ISPs) allocate IP addresses dynamically (one IP address is used for one account today and another tomorrow, rather than registering and allocation a fixed IP address. Fixed IP addresses are usually a premium service.)
- Registrants of IP addresses aren’t forced to keep their information current. The database information might be dated; previous Sydney IP has not been updated with Perth location.
- some ISP’s use a small number of servers on a server farm and all their users access the internet through a small number of IP addresses that do not reflect the actual location of the user.
Do you think your IP address is mapped to the wrong location?
You can verify this by taking the following steps:
1. Find out the location of your IP address based on WhatismyIP website (data generated through various sources)
Visit https://www.whatismyip.com and check the IP address in the box
2. Find out a location of your IP address based on our ad server
3. Send the new mapping to Carsales
If your public IP address and its location stored in our ad server differ, we may be able to update the allocation (unless you're part of a larger company network, etc.). We send your IP address and the corrected location to our ad serving provider and they will update their data base. This process can take up to a week unfortunately.
These are some articles that talk about the opportunities and limitation of geo targeting in general: