The internet has changed numerous industries, including the digital marketing sector. It has introduced several technologies, systems, and tools that have become necessities for digital marketing companies.
One of these tools is proxy servers. A proxy server is significantly valuable and helpful for every digital marketer out there, specifically in getting access to a rich pool of data that you can use to boost your clients’ digital marketing efforts. But it’s so much more than that.
Continue reading and learn more about the basics of a proxy server, its common types, and why every digital marketing agency should leverage this tool.
Understanding A Proxy Server
Proxy servers serve as a gateway between a user and the internet. Think of it as a middleman that separates the end-users from the websites they visit. A proxy server can provide varying security levels, privacy, and functionality, depending on the type, needs, and your company’s use case.
So, how does it work?
When surfing the web, instead of directly accessing the site, internet traffic flows via the proxy server first and is the one to access the address you requested. Then, the request will come back through the same proxy server and receive the data from the website, which it then forwards to you.
That said, modern proxy servers do so much more than just forwarding web requests. It can act as a web filter and firewall, cache data to speed up common requests, and provide high-level data security and privacy.
Common Types Of Proxy Servers
There are numerous types of proxy servers. However, the most common ones include:
Residential proxy servers are the most commonly preferred proxy type for individuals and businesses alike. Unlike most types thereof, a residential proxy allows you to borrow an IP address that belongs to a physical device from real people. All requests are channeled through that device.
It makes residential proxies more trustworthy than other types. However, it does cost more money to use.
Rotating proxies assign a different IP address to every user connecting to it. When one connects, they’re given a unique IP address from the device that connected before them. This type of proxy is most suitable for marketers dealing with high-volume data and continuous web scraping.
That said, be careful when you buy rotating proxies. Some of these proxy services may contain shared or public proxies that could expose your data.
Transparent proxies offer users an experience similar to what they would have if they use their home computer. In this way, it’s ‘transparent.’ However, this proxy can also be ‘forced’ on end-users, which means they’re connected without knowing it.
It’s well-suited for marketing agencies who want to use proxies without their employees knowing they’re using one. However, this type of proxy is more at risk of particular security attacks.
SOCKS5 is just one type of proxy that uses sockets to represent and monitor individual connections. This type of proxy routes your traffic via a third-party server known as SOCKS using TCP protocol. When the traffic goes through this server, you automatically get a new IP address.
SOCKS5 is the latest version of the SOCKS server protocol. Its improved and powerful authentication allows for faster processing and downloading, such as streaming and torrenting.
Five Benefits Of A Proxy Server For Your Digital Marketing Business
Now that you have a better understanding of what proxy server is and the common types, here are several reasons why you should use them for your digital marketing agency.
Competitor And Market Research
Any digital marketing agency knows the genuine value of data and information. That is why they spend so many resources on market research in the first place. Marketing efforts–either for their agency or a client’s–tend to be more successful when marketers understand their audience, products, services, and competition.
Unfortunately, users can sometimes be blocked, making market research more difficult than it should be. Other sites may even have sophisticated tactics that hide or feed you the wrong data. Most sites block web crawlers as well as users outside their targeted location. It makes sense. After all, their digital marketing campaign and web content result from their analysis and research. So, they don’t want any marketing information made readily available to competitors.
It is where proxy servers come in.
Depending on the type of proxy you use, you can make web requests to make it look like it’s sent by a person or allow you to bypass geolocation restrictions. Since you appear as a regular visitor wanting to know more about the website’s products or services, you don’t have to worry about getting blocked or getting missing or wrong data.
Such anonymity allows marketers to gain better insights into the industry and competitors and stay ahead of their marketing game.
Improving Marketing Campaigns
Campaign testing helps digital marketers to maximize their marketing’s ROI. Proxy servers, specifically residential proxies, can be valuable in this case.
A proxy server is most beneficial in terms of SEO. It helps assess the impact of SEO efforts–whether you want to determine how a webpage ranking changes over time or if a site hits the top rankings for a particular keyword.
Like your competitors, search engines don’t like it when someone is checking out and collecting their data. For this reason, search engines like Google have developed anti-bot systems that make it challenging to obtain data directly from a search result.
But with a proxy server, your digital marketing agency can send multiple search requests without being flagged as a bot by the search engine.
Once again, a proxy server also eliminates geo-location restrictions, allowing you to easily access restricted sites to gather the necessary data for your marketing and SEO efforts. Also, a proxy server helps you see how a specific digital ad looks in search results for an audience from a particular location.
Optimize Business Security
Every business today is worried about cybercriminals and hackers. After all, a security breach is costly–both in terms of reputation and monetary loss.
Cybersecurity threats kept growing, with hackers only becoming wiser and more sophisticated each year. Statistics revealed that 2021 had seen 50% more cyber-attacks on business networks than 2020. This number only tells the vulnerability of the business sector in the online world from highly-skilled cybercriminals amid businesses continuing to integrate their IT systems.
Since digital marketing agencies work in the digital world, you’ll need to identify the areas of your business’s security that need improvement. With the increased reliance on the internet, you’re exposing your IP address and your business vulnerable to attacks. Fortunately, a proxy server can help reduce the risk of a breach–both for your business and clients.
A proxy server adds a layer of security between your business servers and the outside web traffic. Proxy servers shield your IP address. They are the ones that face the internet traffic and relaying requests from your computers, acting as buffers. So, while hackers may gain access to your proxy server, they’ll have trouble reaching your server running the software where your business data is stored.
While a proxy server alone may not entirely keep sophisticated hackers out, it would make you much less vulnerable. So, you need to implement more sophisticated security measures to ensure that your digital marketing agency and its clients are protected.
As a digital marketing agency, you rely on fast internet to run different marketing campaigns for your clients. Not only does it ensure a seamless marketing process, but it also keeps your clients satisfied and happy.
While you can always upgrade your internet plan, a proxy server can provide a significant ‘oomph’ to your network.
Most people think that proxy servers slow down internet speed because of the extra work it creates in the background. But this isn’t always true.
Proxy servers can help increase internet speed and save bandwidth on your network by caching web pages and files accessed by several users, compressing traffic, and removing ads from sites. As a result, it frees up precious bandwidth on busy networks, allowing your digital marketing team to access the internet hassle-free.
Boosting Team Productivity
A productive team makes a progressive company. However, a distracted team can reduce the efficiency of your digital marketing agency.
With office internet, employees often get distracted. No agency wants its employees to access inappropriate or unsecured websites on company networks. A proxy server helps in controlling employee internet usage.
When a company network is accessed through a proxy, administrators can control which devices have access to it and limit the sites that those devices can visit. You can block any content or website you don’t want your employees using or accessing on company time.
Not only that, but network admins can also record what content or website was accessed and when. Most security officers use this to monitor security breaches or potentially illegal activity.
Proxy servers have become a must-have solution for common internet woes of digital marketing agencies. It’s valuable not only for enhancing digital marketing services but also for keeping their brand and business safe and secure as they work online. In short, a proxy server makes things a lot easier and more secure for you as a digital marketing agency.