For an online marketer, an essential part of running an effective geo-targeted advertising campaign is the ability to check, monitor, and test the appearance of ads in all relevant geographical locations. Proxy and VPN (Virtual Private Network) services both provide the opportunity to view content as it would appear in various global locations, but what are the key differences and benefits of the two technologies?
A proxy server acts as an intermediary between the user’s web browser and the internet so that the browser’s IP address appears to originate from the location of the proxy server. A VPN connection is data-encrypted, and changes the user’s entire computer IP address in line with the location of the server. Online marketers use both technologies in tandem to perform QA on geo-targeted campaigns across a number of different platforms and devices.
A reliable, secure proxy service will use a network of servers worldwide, and allow users to quickly switch between servers to view online ads and content as they would appear in each geographical location. This enables advertisers to maintain a successful campaign by ensuring the right content appears in the right locations, and by highlighting issues which can be dealt with quickly and effectively.
A user’s request to open a website is first received by the proxy, where it is treated with filters before being sent on to the site’s host server. The response from the host server follows the same route, sending information back to the proxy server where it is again treated with filters then passed back to the user.
By rerouting the entire computer through a secure connection, a VPN service allows users to monitor advertising campaigns as they appear in each geographical location on a variety of desktop and non-browser applications, such as casino apps and IM clients. This service is essential for marketers running geo-targeted campaigns which go beyond online advertising; such as those placing ads inside applications.
Mobile proxy services are quickly becoming another vital tool for online marketers, with services available for iOS and Android platforms. Mobile proxy services allow advertisers to view webpages and check on geo-targeted ads within mobile apps, as they would appear to a smartphone user in each geographical location. Mobile proxy also gives marketers the opportunity to check on app rankings as if they were using their smartphone in any given location.