Digital marketers all over the world are faced with the problem of continuously having to innovate their digital marketing strategies and develop new techniques to stay abreast with the continually changing tides. Life has become more heavily dependent on the digital world, with even more people spending a lot of time with it than without.
Therefore, it becomes more necessary, now more than ever, for businesses to appeal to the online audience. Digital marketers need to always be on the lookout for the next most-useful technique and tools. It’s crucial to utilize these weapons to reach that broader audience and improve conversion rates. And as the year comes to a close, that new weapon might be VPN.
What is a VPN?
VPN stands for “virtual private network.” It predominantly exists as a means of protection for many internet-savvy users. VPNs effectively redirect the traffic from an existing network through a different one, thereby changing the source “identity” of the computer that is initially requesting data.
The virtual network is created on top of the existing system made through the use of special software. By using a virtual channel, the devices connected to it are safe from the parent network as the latter can’t define the information that goes through it and into the virtual channel. VPNs have different IP addresses, often originating from multiple countries all around the world. They’re popular as workarounds for a global audience trying to reach geo-blocked content and as a means to circumvent IP tracing.
The Art of Wielding VPN as a Digital Marketing Weapon
While it seems unlikely, VPN may break new ground in social media strategy for digital marketers all over the globe. As it stands, most of the digital marketing strategies around the world make heavy usage of search engine optimization. That’s not a surprise: approximately three and a half billion searches are made through Google alone, not counting other search engines in the market. When it comes to traffic, search engines remain at the forefront of a massive internet population that is always looking for answers to questions and problems.
A vast majority of businesses large and small rely on this form of digital marketing. But not a lot of them have even seemed to notice VPN one of the essential online marketing tools. What does VPN do?
VPN is no longer just a tool to hide your IP address or guarantee secure browsing through the web. Usage of VPN can vastly improve how digital marketers handle their search engine optimization strategies, all while keeping data safe. Marketers also get the opportunity to study their competition or the field in their target market. This factor is especially vital if the targets are location-based. Above all, it gives digital marketing specialists an edge over a competitor that doesn’t utilize VPN.
Everything from changing locations and improving privacy during searches, to building links and working remotely: these are just some of the incredible things that VPN can do for a social media strategy.
Jack of All Trades: 10 Ways VPN Can Be Used for Digital Marketing
1. Improved security in all processes
The primary uses of any VPN are for security and privacy. These two factors often get overlooked in the search for the ideal digital marketing plan. Many digital marketing specialists work with highly sensitive data. This data could refer to company assets or customer information—all of them aim to give digital marketers all the tools necessary to create a targeted battle plan. However, access to this kind of data could be at risk online. VPNs will heighten the security of work done online through the use of encryption algorithms. This way, all the individuals working on the marketing strategy will be well-protected as they browse online, knowing that they won’t be under the prying eyes of the ISP or competitors.
Another thing to consider is that the tech world is well aware that digital movement can be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Now more than ever, it’s essential for anyone that does work online to make use of VPNs for protection. The assault on Cambridge Analytica had such a widespread security fallout that it caused a substantial drop in Facebook shares and valuation. This unpleasant situation is what every business online is trying to avoid, especially now.
2. Improve organic ranking
By adding a VPN to a digital marketer’s roster of online tools, they will have access to better organic ranking. If a business makes use of SEO as part of their strategy, they must develop organic search rankings, especially for their selected region. That’s where VPN comes in.
Effective strategies are developed through knowing the appropriate rankings for the target region. A business needs to know the most effective keywords in the area, along with strategies used. By using a VPN, keeping data secure, and searching anonymously, a company will be able to “spoof” their location and get organic search engine page results for the area. Hence, they gain valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t for their competitors. The business can then adjust strategies and keywords accordingly and thus improve the conversion rate. And on that note…
3. Match competitors, meeting them head-to-head
As the saying goes, “Know your enemy.” Whether it is in competition or marketing, you have to know what other businesses in the same area and the same field are doing so you can adequately go head-to-head against them as needed. To stay on top, you need to outmaneuver the competition.
VPN helps by keeping your browsing and searches private or innocuous. The competition will also be tracking the activity on their pages and their sites. They will likely become suspicious if they see hits or searches originating from where the competing business is. By using a VPN while also using your top web accessibility resources and tools, your research will look like any other customer just browsing along with a page.
4. Improve search engine marketing strategies
A big part of the digital marketing landscape is the use of search engine marketing strategies. These involve paying money for Google Ads to get higher on the results pages. According to studies, businesses can approximately double what they spend on Google Ads. Naturally, with sponsored results appearing above organic results on the pages, there are more click-throughs on the former rather than the latter.
However, spending money thoughtlessly on Google Ads won’t help companies improve conversion rates. It’s still important to know which ads do work in attracting customers, appearing on the Google searches of relevant keywords for specific areas and niches. Using a VPN can help digital marketers determine which keywords are best suited for ad placement and whether those keywords are popular around particular areas.
5. Build links quickly and organically
Link building is another weapon in the digital marketer’s arsenal. Building authority links is essential in making sure you’re driving organic traffic to a business’ homepage, especially small businesses looking for traction. Also, more authority links will further propel the homepage upward in the search results. However, link building can be quite a tricky task. Several websites restrict people from using multiple links. This area is another field where the VPN can be more useful than most online marketing tools.
VPNs allow you to virtually change your computer’s IP address and its identity online. Through the use of VPNs, a digital marketer can visit a website multiple times to add links to it. You can visit anonymously as many times as needed to continue adding links.
6. Better advertising on Youtube
Youtube is one platform that is best known for geo-locked content. It’s become a popular joke on social media sites that some Youtube videos have the most arbitrary geographic blocks, blocking the USA, the UK, Australia, and more for seemingly no reason. VPNs have become popular as a method to circumvent geo-blocking, as it allows people to simulate that their IP comes from a non-restricted country.
For digital marketers, social media strategy dictates that a VPN is used for similar purposes. If the competition has videos geo-blocked, there might be a reason as to why. You can use the VPN to understand what videos work for that particular region and why they have been geo-restricted to that area. Also, through the use of VPNs, they can see what ads are working in that specific area. Companies looking to buy Youtube ads can get great insight on where and what kind of ads work on particular locations.
7. Protect your social media accounts
Social media accounts, particularly business ones with large followings, are particularly tempting as targets for hackers. At no point should a business’ social media channels be left unprotected against malicious attacks. After enabling multiple authentication protocols, hack-safe social media strategy dictates that anyone who does have access to the sites should make use of VPNs.
Employees who have the passwords and access to the social media account should only access them under the protection of VPNs. There needs to be a secure method even on their business phones and computers. There should also be VPNs used for communication apps to make double sure that everything stays safe.
8. Work remotely, safely
The same principle in the previous point applies to remote workers. Whether employees are working in an office or remotely, they need to have VPN equipped on their computers and phones.
Remote work has become quite popular in the last couple of years. Many digital marketers can work on a remote basis since their work happens online, and they don’t need to be present in the office at all times. Nevertheless, in the interest of protecting sensitive company and customer data, they need to have a VPN when using company accounts.
9. Specializing for specific industries
Since VPNs are so rarely part of business’ online marketing tools in general, it’s likely that more niche markets don’t even make use of them just yet. Digital marketers trying to employ a social media strategy with the use of VPNs for these markets immediately have a notable advantage.
For services and online shops, VPNs might make another big difference: they help people save money. Some airlines, for example, will increase prices depending on what you search for on their website. Using a VPN will help marketers determine what the lowest prices are for a product or service.
10. VPNs make you aware of limitations
VPNs won’t be the end-all-be-all of your problems. They have the possibility of bogging down traffic, slowing the work. The service can even be logging what you’re doing. And if the data goes through the VPN, then the VPN itself has your sensitive data in its system.
It’s crucial, therefore, to know and understand VPNs a little better by doing careful research on what services can be trusted. Before going crazy on using the services for your online marketing tools, research and discover which particular VPNs can give you the performance you want.
In the end, are VPNs the answer to the next significant innovation in digital marketing? While they may not be able to solve all the problems, they can give a company the edge it needs to beat the competition. When used correctly, VPNs can provide a lot of insight and security. And in the tight race of the digital marketing field, an advantage like this may get you the win.
Vincent Sevilla is a professional graphic designer and inbound strategist for Grit.ph. His goal? To innovate ideas, create good music, and to travel to all the best places in the Philippines.