Geolocation accuracy is a loaded concept. It’s somewhat like shooting an arrow at a moving target. Accuracy means constantly adjusting with every new change. But in the case of IP addresses, the data is constantly in motion, changing with every second.
When it comes to geolocation providers such as IPinfo, data is our superpower. It's how we help other industries advance faster than ever before.
But as IP address providers continue to multiply, buyers are often faced with option shock and no way to narrow down their choices. That’s why users may want to consider what kind of data quality their provider offers.
Here’s why all of this matters. If a provider’s data is only correct, say, fifty percent of the time, then this directly affects ROI in the long run. Customers could waste time on personalized experiences that may or may not reach their ideal buyer due to poor IP information.
In other words, to protect your investment, whether it be a website, user experience, or personalized advertising, geolocation accuracy is very important.
Where’s the target?
Before we get into the benefits of geolocation data, though, it’s vital to talk about the factors that influence quality.
First of all, some IP addresses are dynamic, meaning this data can change every few days. The result is that individual users can’t necessarily be traced from place to place.
And while IP addresses can sometimes be followed to physical locations (such as office buildings) they can’t regularly be tracked down to specific home addresses.
In addition, ISPs are always activating new static IP addresses, meaning that more and more data is available nearly every day. Geolocation information, therefore, is constantly evolving even as you read.
To complicate matters, when a geolocation provider pulls from other databases, they may or may not be able to verify the accuracy of that information.
For example, many providers use MaxMind’s GeoLite2 Database to gather IP addresses. But in reality MaxMind doesn’t provide support for this source. The data, therefore, may or may not be accurate.
But we haven’t even talked about mobile yet. Cellular devices by nature are constantly changing location. That being said, mobile phones are tied to one carrier. This means that if providers know how to verify data, there’s enough information available to geo-target with confidence.
Despite all these moving targets, geolocation isn’t a lost cause. Quite the opposite. It’s fueling more and more tech advancements every day.
What geolocation data can and can’t do
But let’s just get this out there right away: the goal of geolocation data isn’t to track specific people in real-time. All the factors listed above prevent such tracing (not to mention that monitoring the specific location of individuals comes with a whole slew of privacy concerns).
That being said, one of IPinfo’s customers recently shared a funny story about how they used our data to locate their stolen phone. We chalk that up to a series of very fortunate coincidences. But we mention it, in part, to emphasize that our data is very reliable.
While IP addresses can’t be used to track individuals, they’re very accurate when it comes to identifying countries, regions (such as states), cities, or postal codes. As you might expect, broader areas, such as countries, are easier to identify than specific cities.
That being said, whether broad or narrow, this data is very useful for business purposes such as marketing, customer experiences, and website security to name a few.
On a very basic level, knowing a country or region, can make the difference between someone seeing a website in French or Swedish. But postal codes can also impact successful targeted outreach, whether you’re talking about online content offers or accurate streaming services.
For instance, when it comes to IPinfo, we’re above market standards for accuracy. We attribute this to our dedicated team of data experts who constantly monitor and update our database.
The backstory behind our data
To give you some background, when IPinfo first started, we relied heavily on sources such as MaxMind. But along the way we realized our customers need more than that. That’s why over the last few years we’ve developed our own proprietary data.
Research and testing
We value data so much that we have full-time staff who dedicate their time to improving accuracy nearly every day. Because we take accuracy so seriously, we’re conducting exhaustive tests and research to verify the quality we already have.
And while we’re not ready to showcase our results just yet, we’re excited about what we’re discovering. Just to give you taste of the exciting findings, IPinfo is always, without fail, one of the top three market leaders for IP address accuracy.
But it gets better. Depending on the region, IPinfo jumps to first or second place for accurate geolocation data. The point is this: we take accuracy very seriously. That’s because we know that your success often hinges on the quality of our information.
And now, since IPinfo is one of the largest IP address data providers, ISPs see value in sharing their information with us with the help of geofeeds. In short, when prefixes change, our team is notified and can update our data quicker than ever before.
We’ve also found that the most efficient way to pinpoint inaccurate information is to compare our data with geofeeds, using them as ground truth. This is just one tool we use to improve our algorithms and keep up with the constant changes happening in the IP address world.
(On a side note, if you’re interested in starting a geofeed to speed up this process, check out our guide here.)
So regardless of what geolocation provider you choose to rely on, here’s what we want you to know - we’ve got your back when it comes to data quality.
Scenarios: What data quality means for IP address users
Ultimately, IP address information is only as valuable as it is useful.
At IPinfo, we love helping businesses use this data to leverage more leads, prevent fraud, gather insights about site traffic, and much more. Since 2013, we’ve been helping millions of users take advantage of IP addresses to improve website personalization.
But regardless of your geolocation provider, with accurate data, you can make the best impression for first-time site visitors and continue to personalize experiences for past users. This is why IP information quality matters.
Personalization depends on quality IP data. For instance, by displaying location-based offers - offers your customers actually qualify for - you can improve conversion rates and trust among buyers. But if the IP address data leads you astray, they may never have this great experience.
One tricky aspect for marketers and site developers is proving that the initial investment is worth it. By looking at mobile carrier and geolocation information, however, teams can assess site traffic in light of other campaigns.
For instance, if a brand launches localized advertisements or buying incentives, using IP data they can compare site traffic based on geolocation to verify the investment.
But if you’re unsure of IP data accuracy, these assessments won’t be as effective at proving ROI to brand stakeholders and others.
As you probably already know, malicious bots run rampant these days. Over 20 percent of traffic is due to these site disruptors. Preventing these visitors from stealing or accessing sensitive data depends on regularly updating IP data that can outpace these bots.
All of these reasons and many more are why geolocation providers need to direct so much time and effort improving data. More than anything,
IP information should get your brand where you need to go faster than ever. But if that’s not happening, take a look at how much your provider invests in accurate data.
Want to learn more about how IPinfo can help you personalize customer experiences? Let’s talk!