As consumers spend more time online to perform everyday tasks from banking to shopping to streaming entertainment, an increasing amount of this internet traffic is being routed through proxies. Online users wanting to surf the web anonymously often use proxies that can provide them with a means to mask their IP address from the rest of the world―and thus their locations and all the contextual information that can be gleaned in order to make marketing messages more targeted and personalized.
By connecting to the internet through proxies, a device’s IP address will not be shown accurately, but rather the IP of the proxy server. Recent data indicates approximately 26 percent of global online users access the internet using a VPN or proxy server.
Despite some misconceptions to the contrary, not all consumers leverage proxies knowingly and/or for nefarious reasons. Regardless of how or why they are used, the very presence and type of proxy dictates how specific IP traffic is handled and adversely impacts Online Marketing efforts. By masking demographic and other contextual assumptions based on a consumer’s location, proxies ensure marketers lack the very information commonly used to optimize campaigns.
As a result, marketers are now incorporating proxy information into their data arsenals to improve the efficiency and performance of content and messages. In fact, in a recent Digital Data Exhaust survey, 25 percent of marketers showed a desire to use more proxy data to ensure they’re meaningfully engaging with “human” audiences―thereby reducing wasted impressions, decreasing ad fraud, and improving attribution and analytics.
Let’s look a little deeper into how IP-based proxy data addresses issues in each of these three areas.
1. Combating Wasted Impressions
Back in 2015, Red Crow Marketing reported Digital Marketing experts estimated consumers were bombarded with somewhere between 4,000-10,000 ads each day. At the time, some skeptics scoffed claiming those figures were exaggerated. However, when you consider the rise of digital ad spend coupled with even more social channels, that number doesn’t sound unreasonable today. That’s a lot of noise to break through when you have only seconds to capture someone’s attention, so it’s crucial that content is not only relevant but also delivered to the right target audience. The ability to identify if a user is connected through a proxy and what type of proxy it is enables marketers to bypass online users who are masking their locations and digital personas. All these actions result in an improvement in targeted campaigns with fewer wasted impressions on people who may not be the right fit for your marketing messages.
2. Fighting Click Fraud
Recent research suggests as much as 28 percent of website traffic has shown strong “non-human” signals. It’s safe to assume that when non-human traffic exists, there is an increased chance of fraud. In particular, click fraud―the clicking of Pay-per-Click (PPC) ads to generate fraudulent charges for online advertisers―has rocketed to new levels within the industry. Late last year, two of the largest digital ad-fraud operations ever were uncovered, costing advertisers $36 million. Masking their IP addresses and utilizing an assortment of automated programs, these fraudsters can produce millions of fraudulent clicks per day. However, companies utilizing hosted or PPC ads can leverage proxy data to combat malicious clicking that needlessly assesses charges to advertisers.
3. Enhancing Attribution and Analytics
Whether intentional or unintentional, proxies create a steady lane of non-human internet traffic, and they can significantly throw off any targeted Marketing campaign. To keep Online Marketing campaigns running at peak efficiency, proxy information can be incorporated into analytics to report on human versus non-human (i.e. invalid) ad traffic. For example, AppsFlyer, the global leader in Mobile Attribution and Marketing Analytics, proactively uses proxy data to give mobile marketers the clarity and confidence they need to optimize their campaigns and improve their overall performance by identifying responses from non-humans as well as uncovering uncertainties around their advertising traffic.
Developing and accurately delivering personalized campaigns that move target audiences from casual interest to action is key to succeeding in today’s uber-competitive marketplace. The internet and the interconnected world of mobile devices have enabled marketers to reach audiences previously unavailable to them. Conversely, the influx of proxies has made accurately targeting those customers and connecting with them in meaningful ways an uphill battle for marketers.
Fortunately, now, marketers can easily remove the albatross that’s been impeding the performance of their Digital Marketing campaigns with the addition of IP-based proxy datasets into their existing operations.