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A Video Marketer’s Guide to Geotargeting

Like the bite of a radioactive spider, the internet conveys a superpower to marketers. Not the ability to share your content with the world instantly. Not the chance to retarget audiences (although that is pretty powerful). And certainly not the opportunity to compete with Tik-Tok videos, Quibi, and Netflix for viewer attention. No, the true superpower of digital marketing is targeting. 

You can target your audience based on what they buy, what they watch, and even their stage in life. Yet one of the most powerful, and dare-we-say underappreciated, targeting options is geotargeting. Thoughtful geotargeting can help you make the most of marketing budgets, reach the right audiences, and even protect your business from liability. 

What is Geotargeting? 

Geotargeting is a function of technology that enables marketers to show content based on the user’s physical location. It uses IP addresses, mobile location services, and even GPS to assess where a customer is. Then it serves up a relevant message based on that location. With geotargeting, you can deliver a video in the local language, showcase products available at nearby locations, or respond to cultural needs and concerns. All of this happens automatically based on your settings.

Geotargeting is often confused with geofencing. In reality, geofencing is technology that enables geotargeting. A geofence serves up messages when a user passes into or out of a defined area. While geofencing generally requires an app or some other opt-in from the customer, other forms of geotargeting have broader applications.

A small business with just one location can use geotargeting to spend marketing dollars where they’ll be most effective. That is, within reasonable travel distance. National, multinational, and global businesses can distribute videos that meet the needs and cultural expectations of customers in specific regions or countries.  

Ways to use geotargeting for video marketing

Here are three ways video marketers can, and should, use geotargeting to target valuable audiences, maximize ad budgets, and minimize business risk.

Block views outside of your ownership

It may seem counterintuitive, but preventing users from seeing your content can help your business. 

You own the videos you create for your business, but do you own every element within them? Take the background music, for example. If your music license does not include world rights and someone in Argentina watches your video, you’ve just violated the terms of your music license. 

Geotargeting can help you avoid unintentionally breaching the terms of a creative license. Depending on your industry, other legal issues may also crop up. In fields like law or healthcare, your videos could run afoul of laws in other countries. Avoid this problem by controlling where your videos appear. 

On YouTube, you can block videos from being shown in specific countries or outside certain areas. 

Here’s how to block views outside of your ownership on YouTube: 

  1. Open the video 
  2. Click on “Rights Management” 
  3. Select “Block outside of ownership”
  4. This opens a new page. Select “Block outside of my ownership”
  5. Press “Save”

That’s it. Your business is a little safer now. Similar geotargeting options can serve relevant videos to viewers in particular countries or regions. 

Show location-relevant products

Woman looks at cell phone while holding coffee

Picture a customer at a cafe around the corner from your business. They’re scrolling social media while they wait for the barista to froth up their mocha latte. A video about a sale at your location catches their eye. Coffee in hand, they drop by your store and make a purchase. How do you make this vision a reality? Geotarget your PPC ads. 

Most advertising platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, allow you to target advertising by location. When you show location-relevant products and messages, your ads seem more relevant and less obtrusive. Along the way, you save money by showing your ads only to people who have access to your product. 

Recall our Argentina example from above. If your company only ships to the United States, showing that ad to shoppers in Argentina is wasteful at best. At worst, you’ll end up with frustrated viewers. Similarly, if your business only serves the local metropolitan area, advertising to viewers outside that area does you little good. 

But what if you’re an international or global company? In that case, PPC geotargeting offers another advantage. You can serve content that meets the needs of consumers in each region. 

Pro Tip: Animation can help you reach a more diverse audience without the expense of multiple video shoots. Developing one video and then dubbing the animation with voiceovers in different languages makes your content instantly global. 

Many fast-food restaurants use this strategy. Since they offer different menu items in various countries, they create geo-targeted advertising for each region. The viewer only sees the products that are available in their area. 


Your geofence can be as big or as small as you want. Set it up around a city, a country, or even a single building. Many service providers offer geofencing, but they all operate on the same principles. 

How Geofencing works: 

  1. Define an area where you would like to target customers
  2. Track customers with GPS, RFID, Wi-Fi or cellular data
  3. Send a message via SMS or push notification when the customer crosses into (or out of) the geofence 

Facilitating this interaction requires special software, both to set up the geofence and to send some forms of communication. For example, push notifications can only reach users of your app. Whether they receive it also depends on their privacy settings. Users may opt-out of push notifications or refuse to receive SMS messages from your brand. 

Powerful as geofencing is, it works best to communicate with an already engaged audience. It’s ideal for businesses that already have an app or are developing one. 

If you don’t have an app, or want to grow your audience, other geotargeting technologies might be right for you.

Start with the right video

If you’ve made the effort to target users in a specific area, don’t show them a generic ad. Instead, customize the video to speak directly to their needs at that moment and in that place. 

Geotargeting works best when you make videos that speak to the specific needs of the target audience. You might create several ads to feature several different products or adjust an existing video to align with diverse cultural norms and expectations. This doesn’t mean you have to make a video for every location. Instead, you can create customized content for insertion into longer videos. The bulk of the video stays the same and only the custom parts get switched out.

IdeaRocket can help you create effective videos for geotargeting. Contact our animation and live-action video experts today to get started. 

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