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AOP urges online publishers to explore geo-targeting

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AOP is calling for web publishers to make more of the benefits of targeting content based on location following an AOP briefing to address the applications of geo-targeting on 16 March.

As online measurement and targeting technologies develop, so do the opportunities for delivering content and advertisements tailored to where a website user is geographically located.

The AOP geo-targeting briefing was held in response to calls from members and geo-targeting companies for publishers to better understand the opportunities offered by geo-targeting, and the ways it can help online publishers target online quality, branded content and advertising.

mike seery
Mike Seery, chief information officer for The Economist and chair of AOP's technical working group, introduced and moderated the session. He said: "There are many uses of geo-targeting systems for publishers, but perhaps the most prescient is to be able to deliver the most relevant content to our customers, whether that content is our own editorial content or from clients who wish to reach our audience."

Seery added: "We can exploit geo-targeting technology to deliver advertising that is more relevant to our audience and therefore command premium rates from our clients. Whether publishers choose to explore this, and the degree of accuracy (and therefore scale of cost) they need, will depend on their business model. This AOP briefing was a good way for publishers to jump-start their thoughts in this area."

Geo-targeting companies such as Quova and Digital Envoy now claim 99 per cent accuracy for targeting to other countries, and at least 95 per cent for targeting to UK cities.

Steve Sawyer, business development director for geo-targeting specialist firm Quova UK, claims that geo-targeting should be the focus for online publishers. Sawyer said: "It's no longer good enough for media owners to offer the same products, ads and promotions in the same language, messaging and currency to everyone, everywhere."

Sawyer joined Seery, Ramesh Kannan of DoubleClick, Stephen Betts of BBC News Online, Tor Gisvold of Centrecore and Andy Flint of ABC ELECTRONIC (ABCE) at the AOP briefing, which was attended by 50 representatives from media owners and agencies.

Sawyer continued: "In the bricks-and-mortar world, virtually every marketing decision is based at least partly on geography. Advertising, promotion, merchandising and distribution all require knowing where the customer is located and how that location impacts the customer's buying decisions. In the online world publishers must target their advertising content and promotional ideas to a local, regional or national customer base for maximum effectiveness."

andy flint
At the briefing, Flint also announced that the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS), which agrees the standards by which ABCE carries out online audits, has approved the certification of page impressions, ad impressions and unique users by country.

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