How To Find Your IP Address (And Those Of Others) In A Flash

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Richard Kershaw
Richard Kershaw creates websites for webmasters. He's the head honcho at Digital.com, and runs many other sites under the Quality Nonsense umbrella.

Your computer's IP address is...

Last Updated on August 5, 2020

 

3.231.167.166

 

IP Address Location

  • Location: Ashburn, United States
  • Continent: NA
  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Latitude: 39.0481
  • Longtitude: -77.4728

What Is An IP Address, Anyway?

An IP address – or Internet Protocol address to give it its full name – is a number assigned to every device connected to a computer network that uses the internet protocol.

Your IP address has two key jobs: ID for your host or network interface, and location addressing. IPv4 uses 32-bit numbers for your IP address. The latest new version of IP, IPv6, uses 128 bit.

How do small businesses use IP address information?

Here are some common ways that small business owners or webmasters use and benefit from IP address data.

Filter out internal traffic to your website

All small businesses should be using a web analytics tool. One of the most popular ones is Google Analytics which has a robust free version. We’ll use Google Analytics in this example below but you can use any analytics tool to do the same thing.

In Google Analytics, you can filter out all traffic to your website coming from internal sources. (Internal sources include staff, freelancers, and vendors.) This is done commonly by using individual IP addresses or by excluding a subnet of IP addresses. This type of filtering is considered a best practice to avoid skewing your traffic patterns via activity like internal testing on select pages. This type of filter is so common that Google Analytics has one pre-configured for you. You simply need to “flip a few switches”, so to speak. Before we go through the easy process of adding IP filters, let’s make sure your “views” are set up.

Google Analytics recommends that every property have at least 3 views. This is considered to be a best practice. These can be named any way you like, but commonly are named:

  1. Master
  2. Raw Data
  3. Test.

The Raw Data view has no filters or goals applied to it.

The Master view is the view that you’ll use to do most of your analysis. It will have filters configured to screen out internal traffic via IP address, and may contain other filters. Once you apply filters and other configurations those filters will change the data being collected and stored. This is why you always want to maintain a raw data view, and it’s why you should test new configurations via the Test view prior to implementing them in the Master view.

Here’s how to filter traffic by IP address.

First have employees and freelancers visit this page, use the IP address tool to discover and document their IP address, then email it to you. If they work in more than one location, make sure they identify all the IP addresses they are using (e.g. co-working space, home, Starbucks, library).

Log in to your Google Analytics account.

  1. Select “Admin”
  2. Select Master view, then select Filters
  3. Click the red “Add filter” button
  4. Name your filter (You could use the employee name)
  5. On the “Select filter type” dropdown, choose “Exclude”
  6. On “Select source or destination” drop-down, choose “traffic from the IP addresses”
  7. On “Select expression” drop-down, choose “that are equal to” and type in the employee’s IP address.

For more advanced filtering questions see Google’s help page.

You will want to periodically recheck employee IP addresses, since these will change when staff move or when they alter where they are doing telecommuting work from.

IP address use in marketing automation

Marketing automation software can do remarkable things by tracking IP addresses. Small business owners don’t need to know the granular details of how marketing automation works, but understanding the broad contours of what’s possible today is critical to building an effective digital strategy.

Current software on the market can affordably execute the following processes automatically, which begin with IP address tracking:

  • Track all website visitor behavior and assign an anonymous ID number to it (e.g. Anonymous #1432).
  • Once Anonymous #1432 converts by signing up for say, a free ebook, they go from an unknown to a known person. Their email address is enriched with other publicly available data like LinkedIn photo, employer, title, industry, number of employees in their company, city, state, personal website, and Twitter handle. This information populates an instantly created non-public visitor profile page.
  • Anonymous #1432 is now known by name. Let’s call him Mike Mackerel. All of Mike Mackerel’s previously anonymous browsing history on your website is now appended to his profile, in chronological order.
  • All of his interactions with your site going forward are recorded as well, including which pages he visits; what services, events, or products he signs up for; what he downloads; and how he interacts with your SMS, email, in-app messaging, pop-ups, on-demand print, coupons, and more.
  • Mr. Mackerel receives highly personalized interactive communications geared towards your brand staying top of mind with him. The communications are “interactive” in the sense that how he interacts with each message (opening, dismissing, clicking, ignoring, etc.) shapes the nature of the next communication he receives.
  • Automated lead scoring can be applied to Mike Mackerel’s on site behavior via parameters that you and your team set. Once that score reaches a threshold determined by you, he is a qualified, sales-ready lead. At that point, he may either receive a new communication series designed for his status, or be identified in your CRM as ready for a sales call.

Most websites don’t have a traffic problem. They have a conversion problem. You want to avoid being a boat in a sea of jumping mackerel that you cannot catch because you have forgotten to bring some nets. IP addresses are like a major rope strand in your marketing nets that can capture folks like Mr. Mackerel.

IP addresses can be the first link in transforming your anonymous website visitors into known and qualified leads and then into repeat sales and lifetime customers.

What are you doing with your anonymous website traffic?

Note: As a small business owner or webmaster you can implement marketing automation solutions without writing a line of code. You will likely need to copy and paste a few lines of pre-written code to your site, but this can be done easily via Google Tag Manager (GTM). If you have never used Google Tag Manager before or don’t have time to learn you can hire a freelancer online to set up GTM for you and drop in your code. You should be able to do all of that for less than the cost of a burger and a movie. And remember: the way that IP addresses are identified and used within marketing automation solutions is automatic and does not require input from you.

Further Reading…