While the Internet was intended to be the boundless infrastructure that connects content and people together all across the world — not to be limited by borders or any other defined boundaries — the fact is that the “World Wide Web” confines users based on geographical location or device, among other factors, and restricts access to the vast amounts of public information out there.
There are benefits to this geo-targeted approach, such as when you click on a website you will be able to view the web page in the language of your understanding, buy products in the currency of your holdings, or see specific deals and offers that are unique to your location.
But this also limits transparency, which essentially destroys the open market competition, restricts businesses’ access to vital information, limits the voice of the consumer and slows innovation down to a near standstill.
However, businesses will need to continue to operate within these undefined borders, especially large or growing businesses with an international clientele base.
If I am in New York and you are in London, for example, if we share a link for a specific product page and we click on it at the same time, we will get different sets of information.
Therefore, businesses need to be certain that their offerings are being presented to the consumer correctly all across the world.
What does the website look like? What prices do they receive? What content are they seeing? What advertisements are they exposed to? How do the ads appear? Where do they redirect you to? Does the website look the same, or act as intended, in China as it does in the United States?
Basically, this has created a complex new-formed combination of brand protection and marketing on steroids, which is a grand task made even more difficult by the geographical location restrictions placed on internet users around the world.
How is a company supposed to see how their website looks in the Philippines if they are based in the US? Do they hire an employee to sit in the Philippines to check the website periodically? No, that would be silly.
Even more so given that if you have an international following or customer base, typically you have websites in more than two countries.
Therefore businesses need to find a way to automate this quality website testing process, in order to successfully deal with all the limitations that remain on the freedom of movement and sharing of information across the Internet. A task that is becoming increasingly more difficult to do.
To counteract these restrictions, many companies are using web data to test how their offerings are presented to the public.
This offers them the ability to approach a website as if they are actual consumers themselves and gain an exact picture of what individuals see in real-time.
This helps businesses uncover any issues that compromise a user’s experience using real-time public data on their website’s performance. Using this approach, they can make sure that everything loads correctly, and that the right ads are being presented to customers.
The company can also see if its website’s intended design for different languages and cultures looks the way it was intended. And they can maintain website quality and reduce risks by testing for broken links, difficult navigation, web security, and other website problems without having to worry about geolocation restrictions.
As mentioned previously, the key to maintaining website quality and a company’s brand image is automation.
Through public web data collection, businesses can automatically run tests on a schedule to ensure all parts of the web interface are functioning as expected, allowing them to ensure quality at scale by detecting any underlying issues with website data that indicate functional discrepancies, and security breaches, or integration problems.
If you think this sounds pretty standard or unimportant, just think about how you react when you click on a sketchy website belonging to an unknown company, with broken links, out-of-date pages, and so on. You’re more likely to think this is a scam, and never visit that site again.
So, the main caveat for today’s discussion is that in today’s online landscape, user experience is everything. It’s what builds trust, keeps consumers coming back, and creates successful online offerings.
Businesses need to learn to compete within the defined boundaries and rules of the internet, and through the use of public web data strategies, full transparency is achievable despite the invisible borders standing in the way.
Article by Tamir Roter, VP EMEA & APAC, Bright Data
Speak directly with Tamir on LinkedIn and find out how your business can achieve success using web data collection.
For more information on how web data collection can help your business, please visit Bright Data