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what is digital marketing ?

Digital marketing is the use of websites, apps, mobile devices, social media, search engines, and other digital means to promote and sell products and services.

Digital marketing involves many of the same principles as traditional marketing and is often considered an additional way for companies to approach consumers and understand their behavior. Companies often combine traditional and digital marketing techniques in their strategies. But digital marketing also comes with its own set of challenges. Digital marketing started to become popular with the widespread adoption of the internet in the 1990s.


  • Digital marketing promotes products and services through channels such as websites, mobile devices, and social media platforms.
  • Digital marketers have a number of tools to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.
  • One of the biggest challenges digital marketers face is how to set themselves apart in a world that is oversaturated with digital ads and other distractions.

How Digital Marketing Works

Marketing encompasses a wide range of techniques and media that companies can use to promote their products and services to potential consumers and improve their market share. To be successful, it requires a combination of advertising and sales savvy. Professional marketers take on these tasks either internally at individual companies or externally at marketing firms that may serve many different clients.

Companies once focused on marketing through print, television, and radio because that was all they had. Although those options still exist, the internet gave companies another way to reach consumers and gave rise to digital marketing.

The new technologies and trends forced companies to change their marketing strategies and rethink their budgets. Email became a popular marketing tool in the early days of digital marketing. Then the focus shifted to search engines like Netscape, which allowed businesses to tag and keyword items to get themselves noticed. The development of social platforms like Facebook made it possible for companies to track user data and deliver their messages to very specific audiences.

Smartphones and other portable devices now make it easier for companies to market their products and services to consumers wherever those consumers happen to be. A 2022 Pew Research Center study found that 76% of American adults had made online purchases using their phones.1

Digital marketing can be interactive, unlike traditional print or television advertising.

Types of Digital Marketing Channels

Digital marketing channels have evolved since the 1990s and continue to do so. Here are eight of the most common channels in use today.

Website Marketing

Companies often use their own website as the centerpiece of their digital marketing activities. The most effective websites represent the brand and its products and services in a clear and memorable way. A website today must be fast-loading, mobile-friendly, and easy to navigate.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising enables marketers to reach audiences on news and other websites and digital platforms through paid ads. Marketers can set up PPC campaigns on Google, Bing, LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), Pinterest, and Facebook and show their ads to people searching terms related to their products or services.

These campaigns can segment users based on their demographic characteristics (such as age or gender), or their particular interests or location. The most widely used services for PPC are Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

Content Marketing

The goal of content marketing is to reach potential customers through the use of written, visual, or video content that interests them. That content is usually published on a website and then promoted through social media, email marketing, search engine optimization, or even pay-per-click campaigns. Content marketing attempts to be more subtle than advertising, and the product or service the sponsor is attempting to market may or may not be conspicuously highlighted.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is still one of the most effective digital marketing channels, though many people associate it with spam and treat such messages accordingly. Many digital marketers use their other digital marketing channels to collect names for their email lists. Then, through email marketing, they try to turn those leads into customers.

Social Media Marketing

The primary goals of a social media marketing campaign are to build brand awareness and establish trust. As you go deeper into social media marketing, you can use it to obtain leads and as a direct marketing or sales channel. Promoted posts and tweets are two examples of social media marketing.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the oldest forms of marketing, and the digital world has given it new life. In affiliate marketing, companies and individual “influencers” promote another company’s products and get a commission every time a sale is made or a fresh lead is added to their list. Many well-known companies, including Amazon, have affiliate programs that pay out millions of dollars to affiliates that help sell their products.

Video Marketing

A lot of internet users turn to sites like YouTube before making a buying decision, to learn how to do something, to read a review, or just to relax. Marketers can use any of several video marketing platforms, including Facebook Videos, Instagram, and TikTok, to run a video marketing campaign. Companies find the most success with video by integrating it with SEO, content marketing, and broader social media marketing campaigns.

Text Messaging

Companies also use text messages (formally known as SMS, or short message service) to send information about their latest products and promotions. Nonprofit organizations and political candidates also use texting to promote themselves and solicit donations. Today many marketing campaigns make it possible for consumers to make a payment or donation via a simple text message.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in Digital Marketing

Digital marketers use key performance indicators (KPIs) just like traditional marketers. KPIs let them measure the long-term performance of their marketing initiatives and compare those to their competitors’ efforts.

The following are some of the most common KPIs that marketers can use to gauge how well they’re doing:

  • Click-through rate: This KPI is commonly used to measure the effectiveness of online advertising, by counting the number of people who clicked on a particular ad as a percentage of all the people who might have seen it.
  • Conversion rate:  The conversion rate goes even further than the click-through rate to compare the percentage of people who took some desired action, such as making a purchase, to the total audience that a particular ad or promotion reached.
  • Social media traffic: This tracks how many people interact with a company’s social media profiles. It includes likes, follows, views, shares, and/or other measurable actions.
  • Website traffic: This metric tracks how many people visit a company’s website during a given time period. Among other uses, it can help companies judge how effective their marketing efforts are at driving consumers to their site.

Digital Marketing Challenges

The digital world poses special challenges for marketers. For example, digital channels proliferate rapidly, and marketers have to keep up on them and figure out how to use them effectively. Marketers can also find it challenging to analyze and make productive use of the huge amount of data they can capture through these platforms.

Perhaps most important, consumers are increasingly inundated with digital ads and other distractions, making it more and more difficult to capture their attention.

What Is a Digital Marketing Agency?

A digital marketing agency is a company that deals exclusively in marketing to consumers or businesses through digital channels. This includes creating and launching campaigns for clients through social media, pay-per-click advertising, videos, and custom websites, among other means.

What Is SEO in Digital Marketing?

Search engine optimization (SEO) describes a variety of techniques that companies use in an effort to increase traffic to their website and raise its position in search results. The higher a site appears on the search results page, the more likely consumers are to see it and potentially click to visit it.

What Is Internet Marketing?

Technically, internet marketing is marketing that takes place solely on the internet. As such, it is a subset of digital marketing, which can use many different kinds of digital platforms, including the internet, to reach its desired audience.

How Can You Become a Digital Marketer?

Digital marketers need strong writing and social media skills, along with a good understanding of data analytics. A bachelor’s degree is required for most digital marketing positions. You might also want to take digital marketing courses or participate in a digital “boot camp.” In addition, completing an internship while in school can be useful.2 A master’s degree in digital marketing may be useful but is not considered essential.

What Skills Are Needed in Digital Marketing?

Strong communication skills are essential if a marketer is going to be successful in telling a company or product’s story to potential customers. Data analytics skills are also important for understanding how well a marketing campaign is performing and where it might be improved. Finally, social media skills are another must.

What Is Implicit Bias in Digital Marketing?

Implicit bias, also known as unconscious bias, refers to messages that unintentionally convey negative stereotypes or derogatory attitudes toward certain groups. In recent years it has come in for particular notice in the fields of advertising and marketing. In digital marketing it may manifest itself in something as simple as the choice of stock photos for a marketing campaign. For instance, without even thinking about it, companies may use images of only heterosexual White individuals while excluding Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, along with those of different body types and abilities. While digital marketers often use supposedly unbiased algorithms to help craft their campaigns, those algorithms are created by human beings who may bring their own unconscious biases to them

Advantages and disadvantages of digital marketing


Digital marketing benefits businesses of all sizes by giving access to the mass market at an affordable price. Unlike TV or print advertising, it allows truly personalised marketing. Digital marketing also comes with a number of challenges you should be aware of.

Advantages of digital marketing

The main advantage of digital marketing is that a targeted audience can be reached cost-effectively and measurably. Other digital marketing advantages include increasing brand loyalty and driving online sales.

The benefits of digital marketing include:

Global reach

A website allows you to find new markets and trade globally for only a small investment.

Lower cost

A properly planned and well-targeted digital marketing campaign can reach the right customers at a much lower cost than traditional marketing methods.

Trackable, measurable results

Measuring your online marketing with web analytics and other online metric tools makes it easier to establish how effective your campaign has been. You can obtain detailed information about how customers use your website or respond to your advertising.


If your customer database is linked to your website, then whenever someone visits the site, you can greet them with targeted offers. The more they buy from you, the more you can refine your customer profile and market effectively to them.


By getting involved with social media and managing it carefully, you can build customer loyalty and create a reputation for being easy to engage with.

Social currency

Digital marketing lets you create engaging campaigns using content marketing tactics. This content (images, videos, articles) can gain social currency – being passed from user to user and becoming viral.

Improved conversion rates

If you have a website, then your customers are only ever a few clicks away from making a purchase. Unlike other media which require people to get up and make a phone call, or go to a shop, digital marketing can be seamless and immediate.

Together, all these aspects of digital marketing have the potential to add up to more sales.

Disadvantages of digital marketing

Some of the downsides and challenges of digital marketing you should be aware of include:

Skills and training

You will need to ensure that your staff have the right knowledge and expertise to carry out digital marketing with success. Tools, platforms and trends change rapidly and you must keep up-to-date.

Time consuming

Tasks such as optimising online advertising campaigns and creating marketing content can take up a lot of time. It’s important to measure your results to ensure a return-on-investment.

High competition

While you can reach a global audience with digital marketing, you are also up against global competition. It can be a challenge to stand out against competitors and to grab attention among the many messages aimed at consumers online.

Complaints and feedback

Any negative feedback or criticism of your brand is can be visible to your audience through social media and review websites. Carrying out effective customer service online can be challenging. Negative comments or failure to respond effectively can damage your brand reputation.

Security and privacy issues

There are a number of legal considerations around collecting and using customer data for digital marketing purposes. Take care to comply with the rules regarding privacy and data protection.

Why is digital marketing important?

The importance of digital marketing lies in its ability to reach target audiences, drive sales, and increase revenue. By using tactics like social media marketing, content marketing, SEO, and PPC, businesses can use digital marketing to engage, convert, and retain their target audience.

8 reasons why digital marketing is important

As you look for ways to market your business, you may hear people tell you about the importance of digital marketing. You may also hear some digital marketing myths, which we debunk in the video below.

Digital marketing is a valuable asset to your business’s growth and helps you establish an authoritative online presence.

In fact, 89 percent of marketers say methods like SEO services are successful.

Additionally, methods like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising increase brand awareness by as much as 80 percent.

So, why is digital marketing important? By investing in digital, you will help your business grow.

In this post, we’ll cover eight reasons digital marketing is important to your business:

  1. You reach people where they spend their time
  2. Your competitors are already doing it
  3. You can compete with larger corporations
  4. You can target your ideal audience
  5. You can choose from a variety of strategies
  6. You can spread brand awareness
  7. You can monitor your campaigns and optimize them for better results
  8. You get an impressive return on investment (ROI)

Keep reading to learn more about the importance of Internet marketing and why it’s time for your business to adopt an online marketing strategy!

1. You reach people where they spend their time

With the growth of the Internet, more people are spending their time online.

Over 7.7 billion people use the Internet across the globe. It’s become an integral part of everyday life to conduct searches, check social media, and purchase products online.

Your customers are online, which highlights the importance of digital marketing. They’re browsing the web looking for your products or services.

If they can’t find them because you don’t have an online presence, you risk losing those leads to your competitors.

To drive the best results for your business, you need to build your online presence. You will reach more leads that want your products or services. This is one of the main reasons why Internet marketing is important.

2. Your competitors are already doing it

Another reason why digital marketing is important is that your competitors are already using it. Many of your competitors have already taken advantage of all digital marketing has to offer.

They’ve created social profiles, adapted their website for SEO, and run paid advertisements to reach new leads. If you want your business to compete with those competitors, you have to do everything that they’re doing and more.

Your competitors are gaining traffic that could be yours because you’re not investing in digital marketing.

They won’t know that your business is an option and will automatically choose a competitor. You must invest in digital marketing to put your hat in the ring and get leads to consider your business as an option.

3. You can compete with larger corporations

Competition is the hardest part of running a business. When you’re in a market with bigger corporations like Walmart, Target, and Amazon, it’s hard to compete with them. Those companies are all well-established brands, which automatically leads people to trust them.

With digital marketing, though, you have a fighting chance against those bigger corporations.

Your business can reach interested leads with the same methods as those larger companies do. Methods like SEO and PPC level the playing field.

With SEO, your site ranks in the search results based on relevancy. A corporation can’t buy their way to the top of the ranks.

They have to optimize their pages just the same as a small mom-and-pop shop.

When you use PPC, Google ranks ads based on relevancy, too. Even if a corporation bids twice as much as you for the same keyword, it doesn’t guarantee them the top spot. They can’t buy a top-ranking ad spot because, again, the rank is based on the relevancy of your ad.

This creates the opportunity for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to compete with bigger corporations.

If you can create content that is more relevant to the selected keywords than your corporate competitors, no amount of money will enable them to outrank you.

In short, digital marketing is a great opportunity for your business to compete with bigger companies to obtain more relevant leads.

4. You can target your ideal audience

The ability to target your audience better is one of the most obvious reasons why digital marketing is important. Imagine being able to market directly to people who have an interest in your products or services.

With digital marketing, you have the capability to directly reach leads interested in your business.

You don’t have to hope that people will see your traditional marketing efforts and contact your business. With digital marketing, you can target your audience more precisely than you can with traditional methods.

You can input important information about your audience and use that information to shape your digital marketing campaigns.

Let’s say your ideal customers are single men between 23 and 35 years old who make at least $35,000 a year. You’re trying to reach this type of ideal customer on social media to get them to follow your business.

If you wanted to precisely target those characteristics, you could easily set those parameters for your social media ad campaign. This would ensure that only the people specified would see your ad.

You can segment your audience, too.

Let’s say you also wanted to target women with the same characteristics. You could segment these two groups to deliver a customized ad experience that is relevant to them.

When you can better target people in your audience, you drive better results with your campaign. It’s critical for your business to recognize the importance of Internet marketing so you’ll reach more leads that are interested in your products or services.

5. You can choose from a variety of strategies

Another great thing about digital marketing is how many options it gives you. There are a lot of different ways to market to people online, each with their own advantages. You might focus on creating website content to rank in search results, or you might send out emails.

You might even market to people on social media.

Of course, there’s no reason you should limit yourself to one strategy. You can use multiple strategies together to help you reach a wider audience and drive more conversions.

Some of the strategies you can use include:

6. You can spread brand awareness

Not all of your marketing will lead directly to a sale. But that’s okay. Digital marketing is also a great tool for spreading brand awareness — that is, helping a wider range of people become familiar with your business and what you sell.

The more people become aware of your business, the easier it will be to drive revenue.

For example, let’s say you offer pest control services. Someone might see one of your online ads, but maybe they don’t need your services, so they don’t convert. However, now they’re aware of your brand.

Months later, that same individual finds themselves struggling with pests in their home.

Suddenly, they remember your brand because of that ad they saw months ago, and they give you a call.

That’s one of the biggest benefits of digital marketing for businesses like yours, no matter your industry.

7. You can monitor your campaigns and optimize them for better results

Another contributor to the importance of digital marketing is that you can easily track and monitor your campaigns.

When you invest time and money into your campaigns, you want to know that they are working. Digital marketing makes it easy for you to track your campaigns, which allows you to adapt and drive better results.

When you use traditional methods, it’s challenging to know the results of your campaign. If you run a TV ad, you may have to ask every person that comes into the store about what brought them to your business.

It would be a very time-consuming effort that could annoy people who visit your business.

With digital marketing, you don’t need to worry about bothering your audience.

Every campaign you run is trackable. You can easily track a campaign’s ROI and other indicators to see if it is driving valuable results for your business. You can see metrics such as impressions, clicks, likes, shares, comments, conversions, and more.

The type of metrics will depend upon the medium and what you want to measure.

You can easily set up your tracking system to monitor specific metrics for your campaigns. When you can track your campaign’s performance, it’s easier to fix it and adapt to changes.

Whenever you run a traditional advertising campaign, you typically can’t make changes until the campaign is over. It only benefits the next campaign you run, which can make it feel like you wasted money on the previous campaign.

With digital marketing, you monitor your campaigns as you go.

You can see if they are successful or need improvement. If your campaigns need improvement, you can make immediate changes and implement them at any point during your campaign.

Being able to save money when you can make immediate changes is why Internet marketing is important for your business. It allows you to get more out of your campaign and spend your budget more wisely.

8. You get an impressive return on investment (ROI)

If you really want to know the importance of digital media, look at the results it drives for businesses.

Online marketing strategies have an awesome return on investment (ROI). When you invest in these methods, you’ll get more out of them. Email marketing has one of the highest ROIs out of all methods.

For every $1 spent, you have the potential to earn up to $44 in return — an ROI of 4400%!

This is a great opportunity for you to grow and earn a profit from your marketing efforts. So, why is there so much room for a great ROI with these methods? The answer is that it’s very cost-effective to use online marketing methods.

That leaves room for a great ROI, because you don’t have to spend much money to run a campaign.

It doesn’t cost much to run a PPC campaign or social media ad campaign (at least, compared to some traditional methods). That allows your business to have an opportunity to grow.

Key Components of Digital Marketing:

  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
    • The process of optimizing a website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) to increase organic traffic.
  2. Content Marketing:
    • Creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and engage a target audience. This can include blog posts, videos, infographics, and more.
  3. Social Media Marketing:
    • Using social media platforms to promote products or services, engage with the audience, and build brand awareness. Popular platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok.
  4. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising:
    • A model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Google Ads is a common platform for PPC campaigns.
  5. Email Marketing:
    • Sending targeted emails to a group of subscribers to promote products, share news, or provide valuable information.
  6. Affiliate Marketing:
    • A performance-based marketing strategy where businesses reward affiliates for bringing in customers through the affiliate’s marketing efforts.
  7. Influencer Marketing:
    • Collaborating with influencers who have a significant following on social media to promote products or services.
  8. Analytics and Data Analysis:
    • Using tools like Google Analytics to track and analyze the performance of digital marketing campaigns, allowing for data-driven decision making.

Trends in Digital Marketing:

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning:
    • AI is being used to analyze consumer behavior and search patterns, and to automate tasks like ad targeting and chatbots.
  2. Voice Search Optimization:
    • With the rise of smart speakers and voice assistants, optimizing content for voice search is becoming increasingly important.
  3. Video Marketing:
    • Video content, including live streaming, is highly engaging and has become a crucial part of digital marketing strategies.
  4. Personalization:
    • Tailoring marketing messages to individual users based on their behavior, preferences, and past interactions to improve engagement and conversion rates.
  5. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR):
    • AR and VR are being used to create immersive experiences that can enhance product visualization and customer engagement.
  6. Interactive Content:
    • Content like quizzes, polls, and interactive infographics engage users more actively and can lead to higher levels of interaction and sharing.
  7. Sustainability and Social Responsibility:
    • Consumers are increasingly valuing brands that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and social issues, influencing their purchasing decisions.
  8. Omnichannel Marketing:
    • Creating a seamless customer experience across multiple channels, both online and offline, to ensure a cohesive brand message and better customer satisfaction.

Digital marketing continues to evolve rapidly, driven by technological advancements and changing consumer behaviors. Staying updated with the latest trends and best practices is crucial for businesses to remain competitive in the digital landscape.



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