In this blog we will break down what IP addresses (Internet Protocol addresses) are into bite-size areas and explore IP lookup tools. By breaking these down, we hope to equip you with the knowledge you are looking for to add IP lookup to your marketing and sales strategy.
What is an IP Address?
An IP address is a unique numeric address that is assigned to a network-connected device, that could be on the internet or on a local network such as at home or in the office. You can think of this as akin to a home address and postcode in numeric form. Every network connected device in the world has an IP address and the assignment of these IP addresses are controlled in the EMEA region, by an organization called “RIPE”, and further over-seen by the global Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).
How are IP Addresses Assigned?
IP addresses may be assigned statically or dynamically. A static IP address is simply an IP address that does not change. What we mean by this is once a device is assigned an IP address, that IP address number will stay the same until the device is decommissioned or the IP address is reassigned to another device. Business broadband connections are often associated with a static IP address and this is how we can use IP address lookups to determine the business associated with an IP address.
On the other hand, a dynamic IP address, as the name suggests, can be changed. Residential broadband connections are typically dynamically assigned.
Are There Different Types of IP Addresses?
This is a complex question but, in essence, there are two main types of IP addresses currently; “IPv4” and “IPv6”. IPv4 is an older type of IP address that is still universally used, and looks like this example: 188.8.131.52. However, this type of IP address only allows for 4.29 billion IP addresses, which may sound like a lot, but not when you consider that every single mobile device, web server, and internet connected device requires a unique IP address. As a response to this shortage of IP addresses, IPv6 was invented that allows for 340 trillion IP addresses – which should keep us going for a while! Interestingly, devices can have both an IPv4 and an IPv6 address simultaneously – which allows both IP address types to co-exist and be used simultaneously.
How Do IP Lookup Tools Work?
IP lookup tools utilize a basic mechanism of the internet called DNS. DNS translates a website name (that humans understand), into an IP address (that computers understand), and vice versa. When a user visits a website running an IP lookup tool, the website logs the IP address of the visitor and checks this IP address to see if a business is registered against this IP address. For example, if a user at Concept Estimating browses a website, Concept Estimating’s office IP address would be logged and an IP lookup tool would reveal that it is registered to Concept Estimating. The IP lookup tool can then direct its users to contact Concept Estimating to see if this lead can be followed up in a sales or marketing funnel.
Are IP Lookup Tools Ethical / Lawful?
Again, this is a complicated question, but as long as a company has the correct privacy notices and other mechanisms in place, this can be a lawful mechanism for marketing data collection.
Effectively, this sort of tool is of no use for marketing to individuals, as IP addresses of home broadband connections cannot be traced directly to the individual’s name or home location without the use of a warrant or other legal mechanism to force disclosure of this data from the Internet Service Provider.
However, many businesses have their IP addresses traceable to their domain name and thus business name – thereby becoming traceable using IP lookup tools.
It is important to note that, while home user IP addresses are not directly traceable using IP lookup tools, they are considered personal information under data protection legislation, so they’re subject to the various protections provided for under these legal instruments and advice should be sought on their use.
The Value of IP Address Lookup Tools
In today’s world, IP lookups are an incredibly handy tool to be integrated into your marketing and sales teams’ arsenal, especially for B2B companies. By uncovering which companies are visiting your website through IP lookup you can identify, establish, and target new business leads and markets. This early detection of leads can allow your marketing team to jumpstart their work and begin the process of interpreting the data for the best approach forward. This can include creating personalized ads to be targeted to specific IP addresses to entice them back to your site, or to even offer them discounted rates. This approach is often used in the initial stages of lead identifying and nurturing.
At Concept Estimating, we have trained specialists who can carry out the integration of IP lookup tools. Our team of development experts will be able to install and set up dashboards, so your business can operate and gather actionable data. We also offer training sessions on how to interpret this data and how best to implement actions from key metrics. This can range from setting up re-targeting ad campaigns aimed at specific IPs, to nurturing the lead through account-based marketing strategies such as email marketing.
IP lookups offer many modern businesses the ability to be highly proactive and adaptive in today’s environment, from lead identification and nurturing to showing new opportunities and keywords.
Contact our experts today who will be able to talk you through our IP software service, and book a demo through our Digital Team.