Virtual private networks (VPNs) have undergone something of a renaissance over the past several years. As general awareness of digital privacy and cybersecurity has increased, people increasingly use VPNs to stay safe online, protecting both their identity and their data whether on a home network or a public one. Others purchase them out of frustration, a desire to access region-locked content or to defeat location tracking.
Digital marketers should also consider purchasing a VPN.
What is a VPN, Exactly?
When you use the internet, your device is in direct contact with the servers of any application or website you’re accessing. In the absence of any other encryption technology, this allows details to be passed on with relative ease, including your location and – if you’re on an unsecured network – sensitive data like login details and browsing activity. A VPN shields you from this.
Rather than communicating directly with a webserver, a device using a VPN accesses it via a secure tunnel and a remote network node. What that means, in plain English, is that you can effectively ‘spoof’ your location and anonymize your traffic and in the process prevent anyone from eavesdropping on your private or proprietary data. . This has multiple applications from a marketing standpoint.
How a VPN Enriches Your Marketing Efforts
The first and most obvious benefit of a VPN involves the ability to access regional or region-locked content. Let’s say, for instance, you’re based in the United States, but you’re working on a newsletter for a client located in Canada. Your work requires you to access the Canadian version of their site in order to see the specific deals they’re offering.
Unfortunately, because of how they’ve designed their website, it automatically serves you with US pricing and content when you access it. A VPN allows you to get around this issue with ease. You can simply log in and connect to a Canadian server.
This also has some very real applications if you’re trying to create targeted, local content in a region other than your own. By connecting to a remote server located near your audience, you can get a better idea of what sort of content they’re seeking, as well as what search engine results they see. This applies in equal parts to search engines and social networks.
Finally, by using a VPN, you can work remotely from just about anywhere. Because your network traffic is encrypted, you don’t need to fear public Wi-Fi networks, nor do you have to worry if your ISP is throttling, or slowing, your internet connection. While that might not seem particularly relevant given current events, it can be a big draw for security-minded clients with whom you share privileged or sensitive assets.
Bottom Line: There are many reasons why a VPN is beneficial, not just for a digital marketing professional, but for just about anyone. Professional advantages aside, it gives you more control over your privacy and your browsing data. Particularly in this day and age, the value of that cannot be understated.