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Can Revive Adserver do geotargeting?

One of the more common questions I receive is: Can Revive Adserver do geotargeting?

The short version of the answer is: Yes. For the more complete answer, first I’ll describe what geotargeting is and then I’ll explain how to enable and use geotargeting.

What is geotargeting?

Geotargeting is a technique that uses the IP address of the computer used by a visitor of your site to look up the geographic location of that visitor. This location can then be used to target ads. This means you can instruct your Revive Adserver to display an ad only to US visitors, for example, or to everyone except visitors from the US and Canada. So the word geotargeting is a combination of geographic and targeting.

How do I enable geotargeting in Revive Adserver?

The Revive Adserver software is capable of geotargeting out of the box, but the feature is disabled by default since many people don’t need it. Some might not even be aware that it exists.

To enable the geotargeting feature in a self-hosted installation of Revive Adserver, here is what you need to do:

Enabling geotargeting in Revive Adserver (click to enlarge)

  • Log in as an administrator user and switch to “Working as Administrator” if needed.
  • Click the “Configuration” tab at the top of the screen.
  • Click the “Geotargeting Settings” link in the menu on the left.
  • On the screen that’s displayed, switch the setting from “None” to “OpenX MaxMind (Flat file)”
  • Click the “Save Changes” button.

Following the steps above will enable the feature in Revive Adserver to do geotargeting by country. It’s also possible to target smaller, more specific areas, but to do that the geotargeting feature will have to be configured with more detailed settings.

How does geotargeting work?

When someone visits a web page and sends an ad request to Revive Adserver, that request will always contain the IP address of the visitor. In a massive look up table that’s created by companies like MaxMind, that IP address is then used to pin point the appropriate entry where the location information like country name, city name or DMA code can be found.

In Revive Adserver, a banner can be geotargeted, which means that the banner will only be displayed when the visitor is in a specific country or city, for instance.

How do I use geotargeting in Revive Adserver?

When you have a banner that you want to be displayed to visitors of a specific country, here are the steps to follow:

Geotargeting by country (click to enlarge)

  • Go to the banner you want to geotarget.
  • Click the “Delivery Options” tab of the banner.
  • Just below the preview of the banner, from the list called “Add delivery limitation:” select the entry called “Geo – Country” and click the “Add” button.

Geotargeting by country (click to enlarge)

  • Revive Adserver will now display the element where you can select in which country or countries the banner should be displayed.
  • Scroll through the list of countries and select the countries you want from the list by enabling the check box in front of the country names.
  • Don’t forget to click the “Save Changes” button when you’re ready.

For Revive Adserver before v5.0!

The rest of this article is purely for users of versions of Revive Adserver from before v5.0. Starting with Revive Adserver 5.0, there is a new Geotargeting plugin that supports the MaxMind GeoIP2 file sets, and that automatically downloads the required file(s) from MaxMind’s servers. I published an overview of the new plugin on the website of the Revive Adserver project.

Is geotargeting by state or city also possible?

The Revive Adserver that can be downloaded shipped with a copy of the free Country look up file produced by a company called MaxMind. This company also produces a free lookup file for geotargeting by city, but there are also more accurate and more detailed paid lookup files available from their website.

Once you’ve (bought and) downloaded such files from the MaxMind website, you need to decompress them and then upload them to a known location on the web server that is used to host your Revive Adserver system. Finally, here are the steps to configure the Revive Adserver software to use these files:

Specifying the folder and file name of the geotargeting files (click to enlarge)

  • Log in on Revive Adserver as an administrator and switch to “Working as administrator” if needed.
  • Click the “Plugins” tab at the top of the screen”.
  • In the list of plugins, find the “openXMaxMindGeoIP” plugin, and click the ‘Details’ link for this plugin.
  • In the screen that follows, click the “Settings” link on the right hand side of the screen.
  • You now see a screen where you can specify the path of the various geotargeting look up files.
  • You must enter the full path on the server, and you must make sure to use the same lower and upper case characters that are in the file and folder names.
  • Don’t forget to click the “Save Changes” button when you’re ready.

Once you’ve done this, the relevant new geographic options will be presented on the “Delivery Options” screen of any banner.

About the author

Erik Geurts

Erik Geurts

Independent Revive Adserver consultant

Erik Geurts is an independent Revive Adserver consultant with over 15 years of hands-on experience. He’s also one of the founders and Managing Director of Aqua Platform, a leading Revive Adserver hosting company.

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