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What is an IP Database?‎

Geo-targeting is becoming an integral tool in online marketing, offering advertisers the ‎opportunity to target customers differently at country, region, and city level. The technology ‎behind geo-targeting software checks a user’s IP address in real time to confirm location, ‎before determining the content and ads which should be displayed. For the system to work ‎effectively it must be possible to accurately pinpoint any IP address automatically; and this ‎requires an extensive IP database.‎

A database contains IP address data collated from a number of sources which can be cross-‎referenced to determine geographical location. The primary source of information for most ‎databases is the regional internet registries, which distributes IP addresses to organisations ‎within each region. Other sources include data mining, information supplied by internet ‎service providers, and user-submitted location data. The data is collected and filtered to ‎provide a database with an accurate mapping of IP addresses globally. ‎

There are several free and subscription databases on the market, currently offering varied ‎levels of service at country, region and city level; but accuracy of the databases remains the ‎key issue for IP intelligence providers. An IP address may be categorised differently in ‎different databases, which can lead to discrepancies and inconsistencies in the correct ‎analysis of location, but the technology driving geo-location databases continues to become ‎more sophisticated, with some providers already claiming accuracy of 99% at country level, ‎and 95% and city level. ‎

The intelligent gathering of IP address data has also given advertisers the opportunity to ‎gather other information about their customers, to further streamline advertising ‎campaigns. Some databases can supply such information as the type and speed of the user’s ‎connection, the internet service provider, the user domain name, and whether the IP ‎address belongs to a home or business user. It is also possible to determine whether the ‎user is on a mobile or WiFi connection, the time zone and language, and even phone area ‎code and zip/post code. The ability to segregate the audience based on these other ‎parameters as well as location, allows advertisers to target specific demographics.‎

Online advertising has always been unique in its ability to target specific groups of users, ‎and geo-targeting brings that to a local level. IP databases are an essential tool of this ‎technology, and as they become more refined, the system will become more effective.‎