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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The world clearly isn’t flat. I’d also argue that it’s not all that large either. In fact, when thinking about the internet, there are few international barriers. This is especially true when thinking about Internet marketing. Not only do I work with international partners on a regular basis, but often advertising on international websites as well.

One of the biggest problems that internet marketing professionals have is managing geo-targeted advertising and affiliate marketers globally. How do you know if your partner in the U.K. is following your advertising guidelines? What competitive ads are appearing for users in India? How does your ad render for someone sitting in the UK or Australia? These questions, and dozens like them, are important to consider when selling online. Getting the local perspective from a user in a particular country can dramatically improve your online advertising strategy and results.

How can you get a local view?

The problem of getting a local perspective is relatively new. It used to be that you would limit your ads to say, the United States or the U.S. and Canada. Now that we’re advertising in a global marketplace, limiting your ads to only the country you’re from is simply leaving money on the table. Personally I want to expose my products and services to as many people as possible, regardless of what country they’re from.

Enter products like GeoSurf. This tool is a heavily used browser toolbar that enables users to get a local perspective from more than 80 locations around the world. This tool shows you how your online advertising campaigns (especially with display advertising) renders for a browser in Spain, Israel, or London, England – all at the click of a button.
Users can get a free trial of GeoSurf on the website – you can try it for yourself for 5 days free and see how helpful it is for your own online marketing activities.

Who can benefit from a local view?

Seeing how web page and online ads render for local browsers can improve the effectiveness of your online marketing campaigns. Tools like the GeoSurf toolbar are used by online media professionals (buyers, campaign managers, sales, marketers, affiliates, and compliance teams) to view geo-targeted ads and web content. This way, they can easily validate and monitor campaigns, seeing precisely who is bidding on local ad placements. Having a local perspective also helps them to generate new sources of business and enhance current marketing activities.

The interface is a straight-forward toolbar which allows users to select the location they want to surf from and with a click of a button, they are surfing the internet in real-time as if they were actually located in that area. This creates a customized browsing experience that is truly local.

I know as a marketer, I’m often asked, “what do you see on your screen?” This is because the advertiser or partner is not able to view a geo-targeted ad for my region from his place of origin. GeoSurf takes this one step further by working globally, letting website browsers to view the same sites (or different ones) form more than 80 different locations.

How it Works

GeoSurf is basically a provider of proxy servers from around the world. What’s great about proxy servers is if you have a server in Rome, Italy, I could use that server to check local rankings for a search term there, or see how a certain site geo-targets to that area. The trouble with trying to manage this type of process on your own is that you’d need to collect dozens of your own proxy servers strategically located across the globe. Not an easy task! GeoSurf owns all the servers on their network and can therefore offer a simple, fast, reliable, and safe service.

In addition to the security of working with an entity that owns it's own servers, privately owned proxy servers are much faster.  The free/hacked proxies you find out on the Internet are usually are very slow.  And the more people use them, the slower they get.  When a lot of people use  a particular proxy server, their IP can get blocked by certain sites.
Whether you’re advertising internationally, tracking search engine results in various countries, or keeping an eye on your international affiliate partners, using a toolbar or proxy servers is the best way to get a local perspective. 
Take advantage of the free trial of GeoSurf – I think you can try it for 5 days free to see just how useful it is for your own online marketing activities.


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