Are you talking about a VPN? This mainly concerns what consumers can do with it: anonymous browsing, safe use of public Wi-Fi networks, and watching American Netflix. But if we dig a little deeper, we see that VPNs also play a role for digital marketers.
How does VPN work?
First, a brief explanation of what a Virtual Private Network does again. From your own device, you can create an encrypted connection with a secure VPN server. This server sends your data securely to its destination. This destination (for example, a website) can only see the VPN server’s IP address and location. The encryption also ensures that, if your data is intercepted, it is unreadable for the person concerned (read: hacker, internet provider, government).
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Excellent that the consumer is en masse behind a VPN, but what negative result does this have on your attempts to acquire customers, score conversions, and indicate visitors?
Advertising: sharp shot or hail?
We like to provide targeted advertisements to users. After all, there is information about which search terms they have used before and which websites they have visited. VPN use is a significant blow here. Although individual VPN users can be tracked just as well within a single browser session, cookies are, of course, much less effective if they cannot be linked to a longer browsing and search history. Besides, some VPNs act as an ad blocker.
As an online sniper, you will increasingly have to take the rifle with hail from the stable to reach your target group with SEA and display ads. But let’s be honest: this has been the case for a long time with the advent of ad blockers.
Tracking: can you still recognize disguised visitors?
A central tool in the marketer’s arsenal is Google Analytics. Is this still helpful if everyone visits your site anonymously with a VPN?
Obviously, it is difficult to trace where your visitors come from in a geographical sense. Take the increased traffic from abroad with a good grain of salt. However, a visitor remains a visitor. His further actions and behavior on your site remain visible and can be analyzed.
Page Speed: All the more reason to optimize
Because of VPNs’ connections, the data often has to cross continents to reach its final destination. This could mean that the speed at which a user is browsing is slowing. Therefore, your site and pages must load quickly to prevent your bounce rate from increasing through no fault of your own.
Again, VPN use is a catalyst to address this aspect of your site. Especially if you care about the organic rankings of your pages. After all, Google has announced that page speed and user-friendliness will be central to the search algorithm from 2021.
Google has announced that page speed and user-friendliness will be central to the search algorithm from 2021.
The acid of VPN use is therefore not too bad, but it does call for action. On the other hand, there is plenty of sweetness. How can you reap the benefits of a VPN’s possibilities and use it effectively as a digital marketer?
Objective search engine research
When you do SEO, you do well to keep an eye on your search engines’ rankings. Of course, some tools can do this for you, but it’s also important to take a look at the SERPs for yourself every now and then. Problem: because of your search history and location, you will be presented with completely different results than your potential customer.
With a VPN, you transform yourself into an anonymous, tracker, and search history free user. Also useful: you can play with the location by choosing a VPN server in another country. Curious how a German user finds the path from the search engine to your website and what he finds there? A VPN can help you.
Linked to the above, VPN technology is very useful for researching new markets. Let’s follow the German example. Do you also want to offer your product or service to the eastern neighbors? Then it is useful to know what a German user sees when he sets up an online search. This will give you a much better idea of the market than if you were to do this research from your own location.
As a marketer, you keep a close eye on the competition. Which products do they promote, which blog posts do they add, how do they approach the market? However, can your IP address be found suspiciously on a website? Your competitor can then just decide to block your connection, and it is more difficult to follow him closely. A VPN bypasses these restrictions with ease.
Access to a free internet
Many digital professionals work remotely, but even when you are at the office, there is the possibility that you may occasionally travel to work. There are countries where access to the free internet has been restricted to such an extent that it becomes a challenge to keep your social media up-to-date, let alone to keep it up and running as an acquisition or sales channel.
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A VPN offers a solution in countries where the government is not so concerned with digital freedoms. And we are really not only talking about North Korea or Cuba. China is a well-known example, but Turkey is also known for making it particularly difficult for internet users. With a VPN, blocked websites and online services are a thing of the past.
You see, the existence of the VPN is not that bad for daily activities. As a digital marketer using a VPN for your own digital security and privacy? Very well. Using a VPN to become an even more complete online professional? Even better!