Geo-Targeting for Online Courses

Geo-Targeting for Online Courses

This Article has been revised, edited and added to, by Poulomi Chakraborty.

In the vast, bustling world of the internet, standing out can feel like trying to be heard at a rock concert. You’re there, you’re loud, but so is everyone else. That’s where the magic of geo-targeting swings in, especially for online courses. Imagine being able to whisper directly into the ear of your ideal student, amidst all that noise. That’s not just powerful; it’s game-changing. So, let’s dive into the art and science of geo-targeting for online courses, transforming the global classroom one student at a time.

Understanding Geo-Targeting: A World of Possibilities

At its core, geo-targeting is about location, location, location. It’s a strategy that tailors your content, offers, and advertisements based on the geographic location of your potential students. Why scatter your seeds to the winds when you can plant them in the most fertile ground?

At its core, geo-targeting is about location, location, location. It’s a strategy that tailors your content, offers, and advertisements based on the geographic location of your potential students. Why scatter your seeds to the winds when you can plant them in the most fertile ground?

The Local vs. Global Dilemma

To truly grasp the power of geo-targeting, let’s take a moment to compare targeting a local versus a global audience. This contrast will not only highlight the benefits but also shed light on why this strategy is becoming indispensable for online course creators.

Local Charm: Community and Connection

When you focus locally, you’re not just another faceless entity on the internet. You become a part of the community, understanding and integrating local nuances, holidays, and even humor into your offerings. This approach allows for a more personalized connection, making your courses feel like they were crafted just for them.

For example, if you’re offering a photography course, targeting locals might mean focusing on iconic landscapes, cityscapes, or even local wildlife. This not only piques interest but also adds a layer of relevance that global targeting can’t quite match.

Global Reach: Diversity and Scale

On the flip side, targeting a global audience opens the door to a classroom without borders. The diversity of your student base can enrich discussions, broaden perspectives, and, most importantly, significantly increase your potential market size.

However, with great reach comes the challenge of relevance. How do you make a course on digital marketing relevant to someone in New York as well as to someone in Nairobi? The answer lies in geo-targeting. By tailoring your content, advertisements, and even course materials to specific regions, you can speak directly to the unique needs, challenges, and interests of students around the world.

The Sweet Spot: Combining Local Insight with Global Appeal

The magic happens when you find the right balance between local insight and global appeal. This involves crafting your core course content to have universal relevance while using geo-targeting to adapt your marketing and supplemental materials to match local interests and needs.

For instance, your main course content on web development can remain consistent across the board, but your case studies, examples, and even assignment topics can be geo-targeted. A student in India might work on a project relevant to the e-commerce landscape in South Asia, while a student in Germany might focus on GDPR compliance.

This approach not only enhances the learning experience but also significantly increases engagement and enrollment rates. By acknowledging the diversity of your audience and adapting to it, you’re not just teaching; you’re connecting.

Geo-targeting for online courses isn’t just a strategy; it’s a bridge. It connects you to your students in a way that’s both personal and powerful, turning the global village into a classroom. Whether you lean towards the local charm or the allure of a global classroom, the key is in finding the right mix that resonates with your audience and your course objectives. With geo-targeting, the world isn’t just your oyster; it’s your classroom.

Crafting Geo-Targeted Content: A Closer Look

Creating content that resonates with different geographical locations is both an art and a science. It's about blending cultural insights with analytics to deliver a message that feels personally tailored to each student.

Creating content that resonates with different geographical locations is both an art and a science. It’s about blending cultural insights with analytics to deliver a message that feels personally tailored to each student.

Understanding Your Audience

Before you can target, you need to understand. This means diving into the demographics, interests, and behaviors of your potential students in different locations. Use analytics tools to gather data on where your website visitors are coming from, what content they engage with, and even when they’re most active online.

Tailoring Your Message

Once you have a clear picture of your audience segments, it’s time to tailor your message. This goes beyond translating content into different languages. It’s about adapting your examples, case studies, and even the problems your course promises to solve, to match the local context.

For instance, a course on entrepreneurship could highlight startup success stories from the specific region you’re targeting. This not only makes your course more relatable but also more inspirational for your students.

Stay updated with local events, holidays, and trends. Integrating these into your course promotions can significantly increase their relevance and appeal. For example, launching a discount or special module around a local holiday can create a sense of urgency and exclusivity.

Geo-Targeting Through Advertising

Advertising platforms like Google Ads and Facebook offer sophisticated geo-targeting options. You can target ads based on countries, cities, or even specific zip codes. But effective geo-targeted advertising goes beyond just setting a location.

The Art of Crafting Compelling Geo-Targeted Ads

Creating ads that resonate with a specific geographical audience requires more than just understanding their location. It’s about tapping into the cultural, economic, and social nuances that influence their decision-making process. Begin by researching the challenges and aspirations of your target demographic within each region. Use this insight to craft ad copy and visuals that speak directly to them, addressing their needs and how your course offers the solution they’ve been seeking. This level of specificity not only increases the relevance of your ads but also enhances the connection potential students feel with your brand.

Leveraging Localized Landing Pages

When potential students click on your geo-targeted ads, directing them to a generic landing page can diminish the personalized feel you’ve worked hard to create. Instead, develop localized landing pages that continue the narrative and personalization of the ad. These pages should reflect the same cultural and regional nuances, ensuring a seamless transition from ad to landing page. Include testimonials from students in the same region, highlight local success stories, and tailor the page’s language and imagery to match the local context. This strategy significantly improves conversion rates by offering a cohesive and personalized user journey.

Utilizing the Power of Social Proof

Incorporating social proof into your geo-targeted advertising strategy can significantly enhance its effectiveness. People are more likely to enroll in your course if they see that others from their region have succeeded or benefited from it. Feature testimonials, case studies, and reviews from students in specific locations. Highlighting these success stories not only builds credibility but also establishes a deeper emotional connection with prospective students, showing them that success is within their reach too.

Smart Budget Allocation

For startups, budget efficiency is key. Geo-targeting allows you to allocate your advertising budget more effectively by focusing on regions with the highest potential for conversion. Start by testing ads in a few targeted locations based on your market research. Monitor the performance closely, using metrics such as click-through rate, conversion rate, and cost per acquisition to assess the effectiveness of your ads in each region. Gradually, shift your budget towards the locations that yield the best results, ensuring you maximize the ROI on your advertising spend.

Continuous Optimization and Testing

Geo-targeted advertising is not a set-and-forget strategy. The digital landscape and user behaviors are constantly evolving, necessitating ongoing optimization and testing of your ads. Regularly experiment with different ad formats, copy, visuals, and landing page designs to see what resonates most with your target audience in each region. Use A/B testing to compare the performance of different ad variations, and apply the insights gained to refine your approach continuously.

In the competitive world of online courses, geo-targeting through advertising offers a strategic advantage, enabling startup founders to connect with their ideal students on a deeper level. By crafting compelling, culturally resonant ads, leveraging localized landing pages, utilizing social proof, allocating budgets smartly, and continuously optimizing their strategy, startups can significantly enhance their visibility, engagement, and enrollments across different regions. This approach not only fosters growth but also builds a strong, diverse, and engaged community of learners worldwide.

Engaging with Local Communities

Building relationships with local communities can significantly enhance your geo-targeting efforts. Engage with local online forums, social media groups, and even educational institutions. Partnering with local influencers or educators can also amplify your course’s visibility and credibility.

Building Relationships Through Local Platforms

The first step in engaging with local communities involves identifying and leveraging platforms where potential students gather. These could be online forums, social media groups specific to certain regions, or local educational platforms. Participation in these spaces should be genuine and aimed at providing value, rather than outright promotion. Share insights, answer questions, and become a helpful resource. Over time, this builds your reputation as a trusted authority in your field, laying the foundation for deeper engagement.

Collaborating with Local Institutions and Influencers

Partnerships with local educational institutions, community centers, and influencers can amplify your reach and lend credibility to your courses. Such collaborations can take various forms, from guest lectures and joint webinars to community events and workshops. When choosing partners, look for alignment in values and audience demographics to ensure the collaboration resonates with your target students. These partnerships not only increase visibility but also provide valuable feedback from a local perspective, enabling you to fine-tune your course offerings.

Tailoring Content and Offerings

Understanding the unique challenges, interests, and learning preferences of students in different regions is crucial. This insight allows you to adapt your courses, making them more relevant and engaging. Consider creating regional versions of your courses or offering localized case studies, examples, and resources. Additionally, acknowledging local holidays, events, and cultural nuances in your course schedule and content can further demonstrate your commitment to and respect for the local community.

Engaging in Meaningful Conversations

Active participation in the local community involves more than just listening; it requires engaging in meaningful conversations. Host live Q&A sessions, participate in panel discussions, or organize virtual meetups focused on topics of interest to the community. These interactions provide direct insight into the needs and preferences of your potential students, enabling you to tailor your marketing and course development efforts more effectively. Moreover, they help in building a sense of community among learners, making your courses more attractive.

Providing Value Beyond the Classroom

Your engagement with local communities should extend beyond course-related topics. Offer resources, guidance, and support that contribute to the overall well-being and development of the community. This could include providing scholarships for students from underrepresented areas, offering free workshops on career development, or creating content that addresses local challenges and opportunities. By providing value beyond the classroom, you establish your brand as one that truly cares about the success and growth of its students.

Engaging with local communities requires a strategic, thoughtful approach that prioritizes genuine connection and mutual benefit. For startup founders in the online course sector, this engagement is key to understanding and meeting the needs of diverse student populations. Through building relationships, collaborating with local influencers, tailoring content, actively participating in conversations, and providing value beyond education, startups can create courses that truly resonate with students, fostering loyalty, engagement, and, ultimately, success in the global online education market.

Monitoring and Adapting

Geo-targeting is not a set-it-and-forget-it strategy. It requires continuous monitoring, testing, and adaptation. Use analytics to track the performance of your geo-targeted campaigns, content, and engagement strategies. Be prepared to pivot based on what the data tells you about your audience’s preferences and behaviors.

Geo-targeting is not a set-it-and-forget-it strategy. It requires continuous monitoring, testing, and adaptation. Use analytics to track the performance of your geo-targeted campaigns, content, and engagement strategies. Be prepared to pivot based on what the data tells you about your audience’s preferences and behaviors.

Establishing a Robust Monitoring Framework

A robust monitoring framework is the cornerstone of effective adaptation. This involves setting up comprehensive analytics to track a wide array of metrics across different regions and platforms. Focus on both macro and micro-level indicators, from overall traffic and conversion rates to more granular data such as engagement metrics for specific pieces of content or ads within each targeted location. Utilize dashboards that integrate data from all your marketing channels, providing a holistic view of your performance. This continuous stream of data serves as the basis for informed decision-making, allowing you to identify trends, pinpoint issues, and uncover opportunities in real time.

Responsive Adaptation Strategies

With a solid monitoring framework in place, the next step is to develop responsive adaptation strategies that enable you to quickly respond to the insights gained. This involves creating a structured yet flexible approach to making changes in your course offerings, marketing messages, and overall geo-targeting tactics.

  • Rapid A/B Testing: Implement a culture of continuous A/B testing for your marketing campaigns, content, and landing pages. By systematically testing different approaches, you can quickly identify what resonates best with each geographic segment and refine your strategies accordingly.
  • Geo-Specific Content Adjustments: Be prepared to make swift adjustments to your content based on regional performance and feedback. This may involve tweaking your course content to better suit local needs, modifying marketing messages, or even altering course schedules to align with local time zones and holidays.
  • Budget Re-allocation: Based on performance data, be agile in reallocating your advertising and marketing budget to focus on the most promising regions. This dynamic approach ensures that your resources are always invested in areas with the highest return.

Cultivating a Feedback Loop with Your Audience

A vital component of monitoring and adapting your strategy is establishing a direct feedback loop with your audience. Encourage students and potential students to share their thoughts on how your courses and marketing efforts resonate with their local context. This can be achieved through surveys, social media interactions, and direct communication channels. The insights gained from this direct feedback are invaluable for making precise adjustments to your offerings and ensuring they meet the evolving needs of your target demographic.

Leveraging Competitive Intelligence

Keep an eye on your competitors and the broader market trends within each region you target. Use competitive intelligence tools to monitor their moves, understanding their strategies in different geographic areas. This knowledge can help you identify gaps in your own strategy, uncover untapped opportunities, and anticipate shifts in market dynamics. Adapt your approach based on these insights to stay ahead and differentiate your courses from the competition.

Fostering Organizational Agility

Finally, fostering an organizational culture that values agility, learning, and adaptation is key. Encourage your team to be proactive in suggesting improvements, experimenting with new ideas, and responding to data insights. By embedding these principles into your operational ethos, you can ensure that your startup remains adaptable, resilient, and poised for growth in the ever-changing landscape of online education.

Leveraging Data for Advanced Geo-Targeting

In the realm of online courses, leveraging data effectively can transform geo-targeting from a broad strategy to a precision tool, enabling startup founders to reach and engage their target audience with remarkable accuracy. This deep dive into data utilization offers a roadmap for harnessing the power of analytics, segmentation, and predictive modeling to refine your geo-targeting efforts and drive enrollment.

Harnessing Analytics for Geo-Insights

The foundation of any successful geo-targeting strategy lies in the comprehensive analysis of geographic data. Start by integrating advanced analytics tools into your website and marketing platforms. These tools can track the geographic location of your visitors, their behavior on your site, and their engagement with your content.

By examining patterns in this data, you can identify which regions show the highest interest in your courses, where your most engaged learners are located, and which geographic markets are untapped opportunities. This analysis should guide your content creation, marketing campaigns, and course development, ensuring that your efforts are focused where they will have the greatest impact.

Segmenting Your Audience for Tailored Strategies

With a wealth of geographic data at your fingertips, the next step is to segment your audience based on their location and related behaviors. This segmentation allows for highly tailored marketing strategies that resonate with specific audiences. For instance, learners in urban areas may have different learning preferences and availability compared to those in rural regions.

Similarly, cultural differences can influence course appeal and engagement strategies. By segmenting your audience, you can customize your messaging, course offerings, and engagement tactics to meet the unique needs and preferences of each group, significantly enhancing the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

Predictive Modeling for Future Success

Leveraging predictive analytics takes your geo-targeting strategy a step further. By analyzing past behaviors, engagement levels, and conversion rates across different geographic areas, predictive models can forecast future trends, demand for specific courses, and potential market shifts. This foresight enables you to proactively adjust your course content, marketing strategies, and resource allocation to stay ahead of the curve.

For example, if predictive analytics indicate a growing interest in data science courses in a specific region, you can increase marketing efforts there and develop additional content to meet the anticipated demand.

Dynamic Content Delivery Based on Geo-Data

Dynamic content delivery is a sophisticated application of geo-targeting that uses real-time data to personalize the user experience based on geographic location. Implement technology that adjusts the content, offers, and even the language of your website and ads according to the viewer’s location.

This level of personalization greatly enhances the user experience, making potential students feel understood and valued. It also increases the relevance of your offerings, directly impacting engagement and conversion rates.

Continuous Learning and Adaptation

The digital landscape and learner preferences are constantly evolving, making continuous learning and adaptation essential components of leveraging data for geo-targeting. Regularly review your data, test new strategies, and be prepared to pivot based on what you learn.

Engage with your audience through surveys and feedback mechanisms to gain insights directly from them. This iterative process ensures that your geo-targeting efforts remain effective and responsive to the needs of your global audience.

In the competitive online education market, data-driven geo-targeting offers startup founders a powerful way to connect with and engage their target audiences. By harnessing analytics, segmenting audiences, utilizing predictive modeling, delivering dynamic content, and continuously adapting based on insights, startups can create targeted, effective, and successful online courses that resonate with learners around the world.

Personalization at Scale

One of the ultimate goals of geo-targeting is to achieve personalization at scale. This means delivering personalized experiences to students across the globe, without losing the efficiency and scalability of your operations.

Dynamic Content

Implementing dynamic content on your website and in your marketing materials can significantly enhance personalization. Based on the visitor’s location, you can display tailored messages, offers, and even testimonials from students in their region. This level of personalization can dramatically improve engagement and conversion rates.

Automated Email Marketing

Email marketing remains one of the most effective tools for engaging with potential and current students. Use geo-targeting to segment your email list and send tailored content that resonates with each segment. You can automate this process using various email marketing tools, ensuring that the right message reaches the right audience at the right time.

Social Media Strategies

Social media platforms are a goldmine for geo-targeting, offering unparalleled opportunities to connect with potential students worldwide. For startup founders in the online education sector, crafting a social media strategy that leverages geo-targeting can significantly enhance course visibility, engagement, and enrollment. This section outlines a comprehensive approach to utilizing social media for geo-targeting, ensuring that your online courses resonate with diverse audiences across the globe.

Cultivating a Localized Social Media Presence

Creating a localized social media presence is essential for engaging with audiences in specific geographic regions. This goes beyond simply translating content into the local language; it involves understanding and integrating local cultural nuances, trends, and preferences into your social media content.

  • Localized Profiles: Consider creating social media profiles dedicated to major regions you are targeting. These profiles can share content tailored to the local audience, including success stories from students in the region, localized course information, and participation in local online events or discussions.
  • Cultural Adaptation: Ensure that your content reflects the cultural norms and interests of each target region. Use local holidays, events, and trends as opportunities to engage with your audience through relevant, timely posts and promotions.

Leveraging Geo-Targeted Advertising on Social Platforms

Social media platforms offer sophisticated tools for geo-targeted advertising, allowing you to deliver ads directly to potential students in specific locations.

  • Demographic and Interest Targeting: Use platform tools to refine your ad audience based on demographics, interests, and behaviors that align with your ideal student profile within each region. This ensures that your advertising budget is spent on reaching the most relevant audience.
  • Creative Localization: For each geographic target, customize your ad creatives to reflect local languages, cultural nuances, and region-specific benefits of your course. This increases the relatability and effectiveness of your ads.

Engaging with Local Communities and Influencers

Engaging with local communities and influencers on social media can significantly amplify your reach and credibility within specific geographic regions.

  • Community Participation: Actively participate in local social media groups and forums related to your course topic. Offer valuable insights and resources to establish your presence as a valuable member of the community, rather than just another advertiser.
  • Influencer Collaborations: Collaborate with local influencers who resonate with your target demographic. They can help promote your courses through authentic content that speaks directly to the local audience, leveraging their trust and influence to increase your visibility and appeal.

Monitoring and Responding to Social Engagement

To effectively leverage social media for geo-targeting, it’s crucial to monitor engagement and respond promptly to interactions on your posts and ads.

  • Engagement Analysis: Use social media analytics tools to track which types of content and which topics generate the most engagement in different regions. This data can guide your content strategy, helping you produce more of what works best for each target audience.
  • Responsive Interaction: Ensure that your team is prepared to respond quickly to comments, questions, and messages on your social media profiles. This level of interaction not only boosts engagement but also builds a sense of community and trust with your audience.

Continuous Optimization Based on Performance Data

The dynamic nature of social media requires continuous monitoring and optimization of your geo-targeting strategies.

  • Performance Review: Regularly review the performance of your social media content and ads across different regions. Look for patterns in engagement, conversion rates, and feedback that can inform adjustments to your strategy.
  • Iterative Learning: Treat each social media campaign as a learning opportunity. Experiment with different messages, formats, and targeting criteria to discover what resonates most strongly with your audience in each region. Apply these learnings to refine your approach over time.

In the digital age, social media stands as a powerful channel for reaching and engaging with potential students worldwide. By developing a strategic approach to social media geo-targeting, startup founders can enhance the visibility and appeal of their online courses, creating a strong, engaged global community of learners.

Continuous Learning and Adaptation

The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and so are the needs and behaviors of students around the world. To stay ahead, it’s crucial to embrace continuous learning and adaptation in your geo-targeting strategy.

Stay Informed

Keep abreast of global trends, technological advancements, and changes in online learning preferences. This will help you anticipate shifts in the market and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Experiment and Innovate

Don’t be afraid to experiment with new approaches to geo-targeting. A/B testing different tactics can reveal what works best for different segments of your audience, allowing you to refine your strategy over time.

Listen to Your Students

Feedback from your students is one of the most valuable resources for improving your courses and marketing efforts. Conduct surveys, host focus groups, or simply engage in conversations to gather insights and suggestions.

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Integrating Cultural Intelligence into Course Design

Cultural intelligence goes beyond mere translation of language or content adaptation. It involves embedding cultural nuances, learning preferences, and societal norms into the very fabric of your online course design.

Cultural Sensitivity in Content Creation

Ensure that your course content respects and reflects the cultural norms and values of your target audience. This might mean avoiding certain examples, phrases, or case studies that could be misunderstood or offensive in different cultural contexts. It also means highlighting universal principles through locally relevant examples.

Adapting Learning Materials

Consider the preferred learning styles and access to technology in different regions. Some cultures may favor visual and interactive learning materials, while others might lean towards text-based learning due to bandwidth limitations. Adapting your materials to fit these preferences can enhance the learning experience and accessibility of your courses.

Incorporating Local Experts

Involving local experts and educators in the creation or adaptation of your courses can lend authenticity and relevance. They can provide insights into local industry trends, challenges, and opportunities, making your course more applicable and valuable to students in specific regions.

Advanced Geo-Targeting Technologies

The use of advanced technologies can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your geo-targeting efforts. From location-based services to AI-driven content personalization, the possibilities are endless.

Location-Based Services (LBS)

Leveraging LBS technology can allow you to offer tailored content and notifications to students based on their real-time geographical location. For example, sending a study reminder when a student is near a location conducive to studying, such as a library or cafe.

AI and Machine Learning

AI and machine learning can analyze vast amounts of data to predict learning preferences, course relevancy, and even optimal study times for students in different locations. This technology can help personalize the learning experience at an individual level, even within the broader context of geo-targeting.

Blockchain for Secure, Personalized Learning Paths

Blockchain technology can facilitate secure, personalized learning paths that respect students’ privacy while offering customized course recommendations based on their geographical location and learning history. This not only enhances the personalization of learning experiences but also ensures the security of students’ data.

Creating a Global Learning Community

One of the most powerful aspects of online education is its ability to bring together students from across the globe. Creating a sense of community among your students, regardless of their geographical location, can enrich the learning experience and foster a network of global professionals.

One of the most powerful aspects of online education is its ability to bring together students from across the globe. Creating a sense of community among your students, regardless of their geographical location, can enrich the learning experience and foster a network of global professionals.

Virtual Exchange Programs

Facilitate virtual exchange programs or projects that encourage students from different regions to collaborate. This not only exposes students to diverse perspectives but also helps them develop valuable cross-cultural communication skills.

Global Discussion Forums

Create moderated global discussion forums where students can share their experiences, challenges, and insights related to the course content. This can help students feel part of a global community of learners, enhancing engagement and motivation.

Live Global Webinars

Hosting live webinars with guest speakers from around the world can provide students with a broad spectrum of insights and expertise. Recording these sessions ensures that students in all time zones can benefit from the shared knowledge.

Continuous Evolution and Responsiveness

The key to successful geo-targeting in online courses lies in continuous evolution and responsiveness to the changing global educational landscape.

Stay informed about global trends in education, technology, and your field of expertise. This ensures that your courses remain relevant, engaging, and ahead of the curve.

Responsive Course Updates

Regularly update your courses to reflect the latest developments, technologies, and learning methodologies. This responsiveness demonstrates your commitment to providing high-quality, cutting-edge education to students worldwide.

Soliciting and Acting on Feedback

Actively solicit feedback from your students and incorporate their suggestions into your course updates. This not only improves the quality of your courses but also shows students that you value their input and are committed to meeting their needs.


Diving into the vast potential of geo-targeting for online courses unveils a world where education transcends borders, adapting to the cultural, technological, and personal nuances of learners globally. By integrating cultural intelligence into course design, leveraging advanced technologies, and fostering a vibrant global learning community, educators can create deeply personalized, engaging, and effective online learning experiences.

This approach not only enriches the educational journey for students but also paves the way for a more interconnected, understanding world. As we continue to explore and refine these strategies, the future of online education looks promising, marked by boundless opportunities for innovation, connection, and global enlightenment. The key lies in our willingness to adapt, learn, and grow alongside our diverse global student body, ensuring that we not only reach across the map but also touch lives, one course at a time.

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Bhumi Khokhani
Bhumi Khokhani has more than 7 years of experience working as a content writer, graphic designer, and developer. She has a BE in Computer Science and is skilled at handling both technical and non-tech content, consistently producing engaging and high-quality work. Her graphic design expertise includes working with tools like Blender3D, Figma, Adobe Suite, and others. She is known for meeting deadlines without compromising quality and excels at multitasking and organization.
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