Erik Geurts is one of the co-founders at Aqua Platform, a company specializing in technology and services for the online advertising industry. He plays a key role in the Revive Adserver project since September 2013, and before he was a prominent member of the OpenX Source community from 2003 to 2013.

New geotargeting plugin in Revive Adserver v5 – an overview

by | Oct 9, 2019 | Documentation, Featured, Tips and Tricks

Introducing: new Geotargeting plugin for MaxMind’s GeoIP2

Revive Adserver version 5.0 comes with a new, completely rebuilt geotargeting plugin, capable of using the new GeoIP2 datafiles produced by MaxMind.

In this blog post, we present an overview of the changes and improvements in the updated Geotargeting plugin that ships with Revive Adserver v5.0 and higher. Continue reading to find out what’s new, and how this will improves your ability to use geotargeting effectively.

Brief introduction of Geotargeting

In case you’re not familiar with the term ‘geotargeting’, it is a technical feature that enables you to target an ad to a specific geographic location or area, for example a country or even just a city. It works by taking the IP address of the person visiting the website, and looking up an estimation of the associated location in a large datafile.

What has changed? And why?

Revive Adserver – like its predecessors OpenX Source, and phpAdsNew – has always had a geotargeting feature. It relies on datafiles compiled by a third party, a company called MaxMind. These datasets are updated regularly, because there are frequent changes in the assignments of blocks of IP addresses to internet service providers and geographic locations. MaxMind had a file format they called GeoIP for years, but when they announced they were to stop supporting that file format and move on to the new GeoIP2 format, it prompted us to redevelop the geotargeting plugin.

Automatic installation and updates of MaxMind datafiles

In previous versions of Revive Adserver, we used to include a copy of the so-called ‘Geolite Country’ datafile. This file allowed for geotargeting at the continent and country level. A problem with this approach was that the file was only ever up to date for a few weeks after the release of a new version of Revive Adserver, whereas MaxMind updated their data files at least once per month. On top of that, MaxMind no longer permit this kind of distribution of their datafiles with software like ours. Fortunately, there is a much better alternative, which has been implemented in version 5.0.

While performing a new installation of Revive Adserver v5.0, or while upgrading an earlier version to v5.0, the installation wizard will automatically download the most up to date version of the GeoIP2 city datafile from the MaxMind servers and store it on the server that is being used for Revive Adserver. Even better, it will also check every night at midnight if a newer version of that GeoIP2 city data has been made available. If so, it will download that and use it to replace the outdated file.

As a result, not only will a Revive Adserver installation with version 5 or higher always use the most recent version of the MaxMind datafile, but it is now also by default the city datafile (instead of the country file shipping with our software in the past), allowing for much more precise geotargeting by continent, country, city, and various other geographic areas.

Update January 14th, 2020: Revive Adserver version 5.0.3 and higher now support the newly introduced requirement for a MaxMind license key to download GeoLite2 datafiles. Please refer to this blog post describing How to configure a MaxMind License key in Revive Adserver.

Renewed geographic structure

As part of the modernization of the data files, MaxMind have incorporated the most recent insights about the geographic structure of our planet. The Geotargeting plugin that ships with Revive Adserver 5.0 and higher now supports targeting at these levels:

  • Continent: target visitors that are located on an entire continent, like Africa, Europe, North America, South America, Asia, or even any combination of continents required. Revive Adserver will present a list of all known continents and users can simply select the one(s) they need.
  • Country: target visitors that are located in one or more countries on our globe, by selecting that country or set of countries from a comprehensive list.
  • City: after selecting a country, type the name of a specific city, or even a comma delimited set of city names, to target visitors from those locations. It is important to note that geotargeting is not an exact science, and the more granular the targeting becomes, the accuracy of it is lower.
  • Subdivisions: many countries have divided their areas in structured sub divisions, and the MaxMind datafiles now support this, as does the new geotargeting plugin. For example: at Subdivision level 1, the United States of America is made up by the 50 states. Some countries also have an additional Subdivision level 2.
  • Metro code and Postal code: for the United states, the geotargeting plugin supports targeting by US Metro code, and for the area comprised of the US and Canada, targeting by Postal code is also available.
  • Latitude/Longitude: the final geotargeting method supported by default in Revive Adserver v5 is by providing the coordinates of a ‘square’ area, simply by entering the starting and ending latitudes and longitudes.

Get Going

To benefit from this new Geotargeting functionality, get started by downloading the Revive Adserver v5.0 software today, and installing it on your own server. If you already have an older version of Revive Adserver installed, upgrade it to v5.0 today to take full advantage.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to spend any time on configuring a server and installing the software, we also have a Hosted edition that you can subscribe to. This is a Software-as-a-Service offering that uses the exact same software, and that will always be kept up to date with the most recent version. All you have to do is subscribe, log in and use it.