A VPN, or virtual private network, is a technology that helps you create a safe connection to another network over the internet. Numerous individuals and organizations are using VPNs to safeguard their browsing activity from snoopers available on public and WiFi networks.
Originally, VPN technology was invented to connect different business networks securely over the internet. However, nowadays, VPNs are popular for other reasons than they were initially created for.
In the recent past, VPNs have become a remarkably useful tool for online marketers for a variety of reasons. It’s important to get familiar with some unique ways digital marketers can use VPNs to improve their marketing efforts, but before that, let's start with the basics of how a VPN works.
How does a VPN work?
When you connect your desktop, smartphone, or tablet to a VPN network, your device starts acting as if it is on the same local network as the VPN.
A VPN routes your device’s internet connection through your chosen VPN’s private server instead of an internet service provider (ISP). Since your device behaves as if it is on the same network as your VPN, your network traffic is sent over a secure connection.
When you use a VPN software, it starts encrypting all your data. This process is so quick that even your ISP or WiFi provider can’t detect it. The encrypted data goes to the VPN server and then to its final destination.
A VPN ensures that until your data reaches its final destination, it will be indecipherable. It creates a secure tunnel from your desktop/mobile phone to the internet and hides your critical information such as files you download, websites you visit, interactions with standalone apps, and more.
Use of VPNs for different purposes
1. Improve social media marketing
According to some reports, the number of social media users worldwide is about 3.5 billion. That means that no matter what kind of business you are in, social media is an ideal platform to reach a target audience.
Today, businesses from almost every industry have started investing in social media marketing. And why not? It is one of the convenient ways to engage with potential customers and build stronger relationships with them.
Most online marketers don't realize, but a VPN can play a significant role in making their social media marketing safe and better. Wondering how? Let's find out!
Since social media platforms hold so much information about you and your clients, hackers might get access to your account and steal your personal information. Luckily, when you connect to a VPN, you get a higher level of security. As VPN features advanced encryption, hackers won't be able to steal your clients' critical information.
Apart from this, VPNs also help you reach the target market on social media. If your client wants you to target the audience in some other country, you can use a VPN service to connect to a server located in that region. It will help you know the interests and preferences of their potential audience and create social media marketing strategies accordingly.
2. Boost your local SEO
Similar to social media marketing, VPN technology can also help you with search engine optimization.
If your client's target audience is based in an entirely different location to the area they are operating in, a VPN service can play a significant role in helping you understand the requirements of their audience.
Let's understand it with an example. Suppose the business of your client is based in the United States, but they want to target the India market. How would you gain a better understanding of what their potential audience is expecting? Well, this is where a VPN comes into play.
Using a VPN, you can connect to a server situated in India and make Google believe that you're actually based in India. This way, you will be able to perform Google searches as a local person would.
Thus you will be able to adjust your marketing strategies according to the needs of your customers. Moreover, you can keep an eye on local competitors if you don’t have a platform that can measure that for you.
3. Make your remote working capabilities better
If you're an online marketer who has to work from home, cafes, libraries, or public places often, you must invest in a quality VPN service.
While remote working culture is bringing a lot of benefits for both employers and employees, it may cause some risks in terms of security.
In remote working, you might need to connect to unsecured public WiFi networks many times. These networks can be found on public transport, in hotel lobbies, cafes, and restaurants.
Some marketers don’t realize, but this convenience of being able to stay connected remotely may have some drawbacks.
In most cases, unsafe public Wi-Fi connections are the culprit for cybersecurity issues. Fortunately, by using a reliable VPN service you can interact with your clients and access your critical information without any fear of being hacked.
Today, most clients who want to build a superior remote marketing team ensure that their team is connected to them through a secure network.
4. Monitor your competitors’ activity
Tracking competitors is an ideal way to maximize your marketing results.
As an online marketer, you have to keep an eye on your client’s competitors’ activities. Not only does it help you get insight into their marketing strategies but also find backlink opportunities.
Moreover, when you monitor rivals, you get to know about unhappy customers right away.
VPNs allow you to monitor your client’s competitors secretly – they won't ever know that you're looking at their websites. You can appear to be connected to an internet protocol address that belongs to some other country in the world.
5. Anonymous downloading
The use of torrents has been quite popular. While they are often used to download copyright content, they have legal purposes as well. For example, you can use them to download open-source software such as LibreOffice, Audacity, Mozilla Firefox, GIMP, and more.
Digital marketers often need software and tools to cater to the needs of their clients. However, as torrent trackers monitor your downloads, they can gather your essential information. And in some cases, this crucial information could be sold to a third party.
One of the simplest and most effective solutions to prevent your crucial data falling into the wrong hands is using a torrent via a reputable VPN provider.
6. Access geo-restriction services and avoid censorship
As an online marketer, you have to work beyond geographic barriers sometimes.
Unfortunately, over the past few years, internet censorship has become more stringent in certain parts of the world. Thankfully, some VPNs beat the Netflix ban and help you access even the geo-restricted content.
With a reputable VPN, you can connect to a server located in a relevant country and then access restricted content.
7. Keep your private information protected
All across the globe, cybercrimes are on the rise. Due to unsecured WiFi or internet connections, hackers can get access to your network system quickly. It is arguably easier for cyber attackers to get their hands on your personal information nowadays.
A VPN is an ideal way to prevent your personal information from cybercriminals who use smart techniques such as military-grade encryption protocols and IP-address masking.
When you use the internet using VPN, it encrypts your entire web session so that all your data is unreadable to a cyber thief.
8. Avoid bandwidth and data throttling
Needless to say, a fast internet network is vital for online marketing. Have you ever wondered why your internet speed slows down at a specific time?
Well, in some cases, bandwidth throttling can be the culprit behind it. For those who don't know, bandwidth throttling is a slowing of available bandwidth, which is done deliberately.
Now you might be wondering who would benefit from bandwidth throttling? Well, companies between you and your web-based destination may gain benefits from it. For instance, your ISP may obstruct your internet speed during certain times of the day to minimize the congestion over their network.
This way, they will have to process less data at once, which means they won't need to buy additional equipment to handle traffic surges.
Nevertheless, a VPN can help you come out of this situation. When you choose a VPN, instead of going through a third party ISP, your traffic passes through a private network, which is less congested. And because your traffic passes through a less congested path, you don't face issues like bandwidth throttling.
Besides bandwidth-throttling, a VPN also helps you prevent data throttling. Since VPNs will encrypt your device's internet traffic, no one on the network will be able to see what you're doing. And when your activities are hidden over the internet, your internet service provider won't be able to learn when to slow down your internet speed.
Quick tips to choose a VPN provider
Now you know the various benefits of VPN, here are some tips to choose a reputable VPN provider:
Check with the logging policy of your potential VPN providers. It will help you know what kind of information your provider will store your internet activities
Know the level of encryption they offer. It will help you find out whether or not it will serve your purpose. Some providers provide 256-bit encryption while others offer 128-bit
Get to know the speed you will receive, and make sure it’s adequate for your needs
Find out how many servers they have, so that regular maintenance doesn’t mean you won’t have access
In addition to being beneficial for regular users who want to download things, which is what many people think of, VPNs are useful for a wide range of companies and tasks. From improving security to aiding in worldwide research for online marketing, there’s a lot that VPNs can offer.
However, it is essential to remember that not all VPNs are created equal. Therefore, you must do adequate research before you finalize a VPN provider. Go for the one that meets your requirements and fits your budget perfectly.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on socialbakers.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.