Last updated
December 14, 2023

Geolocation Advertising: Strategies and Insights

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Shipton

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Ensuring that your ads make it to your target audience is one of the best ways to maximize the efficiency of your ad spend and see the best ROI (Return on Investment) on your ad campaigns. But how can you be sure that your carefully crafted messaging is making it to the right demographic?

In this article we’ll look at geolocation advertising strategies and how they can be used to improve your marketing efforts, effectively target customers, and improve the user experience of your app or website.

What is Geolocation Advertising?

Geotargeting (also known as location-based advertising) is a way for advertisers to tailor their campaigns and advertising strategies based on users’ physical locations. Geotargeting uses geolocation to determine a device’s physical location by looking at the IP address, GPS, cell phone towers, Wi-Fi access points, or a combination of these things.

Location targeting can be done in real-time or passively.

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Benefits of Geolocation Advertising

Once a user’s location has been determined, targeted ads can be served that contain relevant content for a specific location.

For example, knowing what country the user is in means you can serve ads or display web pages in the user’s native language and with the right currency.

Real-time geolocation marketing is used by companies like Uber and other location-based businesses that need to know user’s real-time location to connect potential customers with drivers, deliveries, drop-off locations, etc.

If your business has physical brick-and-mortar locations, you can use geolocation data to send marketing campaigns with information for the store nearest the user, or target users near a particular store when a sale or other event is happening.

Other in-store geolocation strategies include using beacons to direct customers to a particular section of the store or sending push notifications for deals available at the location.

Knowing your user’s geographical locations also allows you to target users around a particular national or regional holiday.

Finally, geolocation can also be used to prevent users from accessing certain content based on their geographical location. This is important for businesses that deal with intellectual property and copyright-protected material.

Geolocation Targeting Techniques

There are a few ways to use geolocation to serve location-specific content and improve the customer experience. The three primary ways to target consumers using geolocation technology are via geotargeting, geofencing, and beacons.


Geotargeting typically refers to choosing the country, region, or area you want your ads to be sent to. This is also called location-based marketing. For example, when setting up a Facebook ad campaign, you can choose to serve the ads to the United States, or to another country.

You can also use geotargeting to target a more precise location like a specific city or zip code. This type of geotargeting is usually done passively by collecting IP addresses.


Geofencing involves setting up a perimeter or radius within which you want your ads or content to be shown. When someone enters the radius, they should see your content, and when they are outside the perimeter, they should not.

Geofencing is frequently used by streaming countries to block certain content from certain countries. However, it can also be used on a smaller scale: a taxi company might set up a perimeter around an airport, for example, to serve ads to people getting off planes who are likely to need their services.


Beacons are small GPS devices that can be placed in targeted locations, such as a store, and track mobile devices when they move within the targeted range. Beacons rely on Bluetooth to target users’ smartphones.

Beacons can be used to drive foot traffic to a precise location, send push notifications with real-time deals for a nearby store, or connect potential customers with relevant ads.

Implementing Geolocation Ads: A Step-by-Step Guide with AbstractAPI

Let’s take a look at how to use a geolocation API to determine a device’s location so that targeted ads and content can be served to that user. The API we’ll be using is the AbstractAPI Free Geolocation API.

This tutorial will assume you have a web app or website with a front end written in JavaScript, and will be collecting the user data from a page on your front end.

Get Started With the API

Go to the API documentation page and click the “Start for Free” button. If you’ve never used AbstractAPI before, you’ll be asked to input your email and create a password. If you have used Abstract before, you may need to log in.

Once you’ve signed up or logged in, you’ll land on the API’s dashboard where you’ll see your API key.

Use the API Key to Send a Request to the API

We’ll use Axios to send a GET request to the AbstractAPI endpoint, so make sure you have that installed first.

$ npm install axios

Write a function called getUserLocationFromAPI to send the request to the API. This function should be called from the part of the app or site where you want to collect the user data.

const apiURL = ''
const apiKey = 'YOUR_API_KEY';


const getUserLocationFromAPI = () => {
try {
const response = await axios.get(apiUrl, {api_key: apiKey});
} catch (error) {
setError('Something went wrong getting Geolocation from API!')

For example, you could call this function inside the module that fires when the main app loads and the site is served (for example, the componentDidMount in the App.js file of your React app.)

Use the Geolocation Data

Take a look at the data that is logged to the console:

"ip_address": "200.68.143.XX", // IP redacted
"city": null,
"city_geoname_id": null,
"region": null,
"region_iso_code": null,
"region_geoname_id": null,
"postal_code": null,
"country": "",
"country_code": "",
"country_geoname_id": 39960XX,
"country_is_eu": false,
"continent": "North America",
"continent_code": "NA",
"continent_geoname_id": 62551XX,
"longitude": -XX.0111,
"latitude": XX.4371,
"security": {
"is_vpn": false
"timezone": {
"name": "America/XX",
"abbreviation": "XXX",
"gmt_offset": X,
"current_time": "XX:XX:XX",
"is_dst": true
"flag": {
"emoji": "XXX",
"unicode": "U+XXXX U+XXXX",
"png": "",
"svg": ""
"currency": {
"currency_name": "XX",
"currency_code": "XXX"
"connection": {
"autonomous_system_number": 284XX,
"autonomous_system_organization": "XXXX",
"connection_type": "Cellular",
"isp_name": "XXXX",
"organization_name": "XXXX"

AbstractAPI accepts an IP address and uses a geolocation database to look up geographical information for that IP. You can send an IP address string as an explicit second parameter - if no IP address is provided, AbstractAPI will default to the IP of the device that sent the request, which it pulls from the request header.

This information can now be used for whatever you need. For example, you might pull out the city name, postal code, and country and send them to the server to tell the server what language and currency to serve. You could also send them to a database to update our user data for future marketing campaigns.

Case Studies: Successful Geolocation Advertising Campaigns

There are many examples of companies using geotargeting to reach new customers, improve user experience, increase brand awareness, and improve conversion rates. Let’s take a look at a few of the most successful cases.


AT&T used geofencing and beacons to send messages, offers, rewards, or coupons to users’ mobile devices when they were near a store. The alerts had a nearly 100% open rate and 50% of consumers who opted in wanted more information. Some brands saw a 22% to 25% conversion rate on the offers.

Five Guys

The fast food company tracks a number of different location-specific hashtags on social media to react quickly to negative experiences at their restaurants and to reach out to those individuals.

Whole Foods

The grocery store set up geo-fences around several physical locations to push special offers to the smartphones of users who entered the stores. The marketing strategy resulted in a nearly 5% post-click conversion rate - more than 3x the industry average

Challenges and Solutions in Geolocation Advertising

Using geotargeting does come with some caveats. Keeping your users’ location data secure is of paramount importance, particularly with the advent of GDPR and other privacy measures. Users must consent to provide their location, and it can be difficult to get this consent unless you have already established a rapport with your customers.

Considering the pricing implications is also important. How many requests will you be sending to a geolocation API to update your users’ locations? You might consider open-source options to save on costs, but be aware that these solutions often come with lower-quality data.

Battery consumption is also something to consider if you will be tracking user location in real time on a mobile device. Geolocation services are power-hungry and can quickly drain your users’ batteries if not managed properly.

The Future of Geolocation Ads

Expect artificial intelligence to have a major impact on geotargeting in the coming years. Predictive AI algorithms use location data to identify patterns in customer movement, optimize store visits, and offer highly personalized recommendations.

Combining location data with predictive AI offers insights and optimizations that enable businesses to better analyze consumer behavior, optimize inventory, manage traffic, and do risk assessments.


Geotargeting is an effective mobile marketing strategy that can increase conversion rates and lead to a better return on investment for your marketing campaigns. There are a variety of targeting options, including geofencing, broad geotargeting, and in-store beacons.

Getting started with geolocation is easy with AbstractAPI’s Free Geolocation API. If you’ve never tried geotargeting to connect with your customers, consider giving it a try.


What is Geolocation Advertising and how can it benefit my marketing strategy?

Geolocation advertising involves targeting ads based on users' physical locations. It benefits your marketing strategy by ensuring ads are more relevant and engaging to the target demographic, thereby increasing conversion rates and ROI.

How does AbstractAPI's Free Geolocation API enhance ad targeting?

AbstractAPI's Free Geolocation API allows you to accurately determine a user's location using their IP address. This enables precise ad targeting, improving the relevance and effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

What are the key differences between geotargeting, geofencing, and beacons in geolocation advertising?

Geotargeting involves targeting ads to specific regions or countries. Geofencing creates a virtual perimeter for ad targeting, while beacons are physical devices that send ads to nearby mobile devices. Each method offers different levels of targeting precision.

How can I implement geolocation ads in my business using AbstractAPI?

Start by signing up for the free API, obtain your API key, and use it to collect geolocation data from your users. This data can then be used to tailor your advertising campaigns based on the users' physical locations.

What are some successful case studies of geolocation advertising?

Successful cases include AT&T's use of geofencing and beacons for targeted offers, Five Guys monitoring location-specific hashtags for customer feedback, and Whole Foods’ geo-fenced special offers, which significantly increased conversion rates.

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Shipton
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