Adtech is powered by data.

But despite the fact that Adtech companies rely on these insights to survive and thrive, GDPR and other regulations are gradually eliminating data sources.

The long and short of it is this: privacy concerns are changing the way organizations use data. And forward-looking Adtech companies - companies who need insights to target ideal customers, develop AI, or improve online personalization - are developing new ways to protect individuals’ information.

To complicate matters, though, IPs can also be considered personal identifiers. For instance, here’s what the California Consumer Privacy Act says about IP addresses.

(e) "Personal information" means any information that identifies, relates to, describes, or is capable of being associated with, a particular individual, including, but not limited to, his or her name, signature, social security number, physical characteristics or description, address, telephone number, passport number, driver's license or state identification card number, insurance policy number, education, employment, employment history, bank account number, credit card number, debit card number, or any other financial information, medical information, or health insurance information. "Personal information" does not include publicly available information that is lawfully made available to the general public from federal, state, or local government records. California Code, Civil Code - CIV § 1798.80

As IPinfo’s team has helped Adtech companies develop use cases, we’ve noticed some strategies that many use to address privacy concerns when it comes to IP data.

Here are some ways Adtech organizations can keep using IP data while anonymizing IPs.

Method 1: Last-digit IP anonymization

Last-digit IP anonymization using IPinfo’s API is one way Adtech companies protect the privacy of individuals. Without going into significant detail, here’s how this works.

How it works

An IP address typically looks something like this: For instance, at the time this article was written, if this IP address is entered on the IP to Geolocation API page, here’s what you’ll see.

Results for

Last-digit anonymization, however, zeroes out the last three numbers, rounding them to the nearest value. In the above example, the IP would resolve to Notice that in this case the city, country, and postal code stay accurate.

Results for

How anonymized IPs affect accuracy

That being said, using our API while hashing out the last digit of an IP does affect geolocation accuracy. In fact, our data team has gathered some metrics on anonymized IPs to show how much it affects data accuracy and reliable use cases.

Without going into all the details, here’s what we discovered: Adtech companies who need pinpointed use cases for geotargeting and online advertisements will experience coarsening of the data when using IP anonymization. This is especially true if they need city-level geolocation insights.

Adtech limitations when using hashed IPs

Additionally, some Adtech targeting strategies will not work with hashed IPs. Take IP to email matching, for instance. When an IP is anonymized, it’s automatically matched to a block of IPs.

Each of these addresses listed below belongs to one block - Plus, all these IPs are matched to different emails:

  • IP: –> email:
  • IP: –> email:
  • IP: -> email: ipinfo@works.well

For any given IP address, there could be one or more emails connected to it. But when the last digit is hashed out to zero, the block might contain so many email addresses that it’s no longer possible to target specific users.

In other words, when email stops being matched to an individual identifier, it’s no longer usable for targeting individuals. In much the same way, GPS-derived device location is nearly impossible when the last digits are hashed out.

In contrast to other use cases that only need general geolocation details, such as country code or broad regional insights, (which may still work), Adtech companies typically need more accuracy than last digit anonymization will allow. All this to say, this data privacy strategy can limit the reach of targeted offers, ads, and more.

Method 2: Accurate database downloads

There are a few significant concerns when it comes to data privacy, including these.

  • How to give individuals control and protection for their personal data
  • How to prevent data from making its way to 3rd parties
  • How to create personalized experiences while protecting data privacy

Several Adtech organizations have addressed these concerns without losing data accuracy using IPinfo’s Database Download.

How it works

Just like our API, the Database Download uses insights that are updated every 24 hours by our proprietary algorithms and data experts. Unlike hashing out IPs while using the API, using the downloadable database won’t affect the accuracy of IP insights, and here’s why.

For starters, data downloads don’t require that you share your customer or user information with IPinfo. Using the API, Adtech companies have to pass on specific IPs to IPinfo.

Additionally, all of IPinfo’s datasets work using ranges. This means that Adtech organizations can transfer any IPs visiting their site to IP ranges, eliminating personal identifiers along the way. These ranges will have the same value across all IPinfo’s datasets from Geolocation to Mobile insights.

In other words, Adtech companies can retain the accuracy that IPinfo is known for by simply using the Downloadable Database.

Implications for Adtech companies

For the reasons listed above, some of IPinfo’s Adtech and Sales Intel customers use downloads to protect the privacy of individuals.

For instance, we’ve seen our users analyze IPs for sales purposes, using this method. These users don’t capture any specific IP addresses. Instead, they gather IP ranges and then use IPinfo’s Carrier, Company, and Geolocation information to convert IP ranges into usable insights.

Here are some of the use cases we’ve helped Adtech users develop with database downloads:

  • Personalized and targeted ad campaigns
  • Separating true ad traffic from malicious users
  • Detailed competitor research
  • Customized website experiences
  • Data enrichment
  • Location-based offers and advertisements
  • Analyzing traffic trends

Adtech companies may be facing the death of some data sources, including the elimination of 3rd party cookies. But these same companies can privacy-proof their online targeting with the help of Database Downloads in their arsenal of data protection strategies.

IPinfo: A database that’s up-to-date with industry changes

It’s also important to note that IPinfo keeps our databases up-to-date with developments that impact online targeting, data privacy, and accuracy.

For example, Apple recently launched iCloud Private Relays (APR) which preserves the region and general city IP data. And within a short time, our team launched some features to help users and customers implement APR data effectively.

For the sake of our users in Adtech, Sales Intel, Fintech, and many other industries, IPinfo started distinguishing APR addresses from other masked identities, such as VPNs or tor users. The result is that our customers can detect Private Relays traffic while still using accurate geolocation details to improve targeted use cases.

This is just one example of the many ways IPinfo keeps our database current with trends that affect data accuracy.

And while Adtech companies are facing many unique data challenges, IPinfo regularly helps organizations develop the right use cases to stay ahead of unique challenges within each industry.

We’d love to help you use your IP data better! Talk with a data expert today!