Digital Marketing

Updated on March 19, 2024
Article byRutan Bhattacharyya
Edited byRutan Bhattacharyya
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing or online marketing involves utilizing the internet and other forms of digital communication to promote brands and connect with potential customers. Marketers use this concept to target a particular audience, define goals, and develop a plan to increase revenue and generate profits.

Digital Marketing

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Online marketing includes social media, email, and web-based advertising. Moreover, it also involves multimedia messages and texts as a marketing channel. Through this form of marketing, businesses can find people interested in their products or services, interact with them, and build brand trust. As a result, companies often use a combination of digital and traditional marketing strategies to achieve their objectives.

Key Takeaways

  • Digital marketing meaning refers to selling or promoting a brand, service, or product via digital channels like social media platforms to reach consumers. Objectives of online marketing include improving revenue, increasing the number of return visitors, generating more leads, etc.
  • There are different types of digital marketing channels. Content marketing, social media marketing, SEO, and email marketing are a few examples.
  • Online marketing comes with certain limitations. For example, businesses can fall prey to internet fraud.
  • There are various digital marketing benefits. For example, it helps organizations gain brand credibility and enables companies to target the correct audience.

Digital Marketing Strategy Explained

Digital marketing meaning refers to a type of marketing carried out by organizations to promote or sell their offerings on the internet. In other words, it is a group of activities performed by businesses online to create and strengthen customer relationships, attract business opportunities, and build a brand identity. Online marketing involves using search engines, social media, mobile-based applications, websites, or anything that integrates marketing with customer feedback.

Formulating and implementing a top online marketing strategy involves the following steps:

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#1 – Identify And Segment Audiences

Buyers expect a customized experience across all touchpoints. Hence, companies must understand their technographic, firmographic, and demographic attributes to fulfill their expectations. Moreover, businesses must know how to address buyers’ pain points and questions.

#2 – Set Goals And Measurement Strategy

Businesses must use audience-related information to identify personas and clearly understand their sales journey to set goals and establish a measurement strategy. Some crucial metrics are as follows:

  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Reach
  • Conversions
  • Engagement rate
  • Cost per lead (CPL)
  • Click-through rate

In addition, there are back-end metrics, for example, return on ad spend (ROAS), return on investment (ROI), etc.

#3 – Establish Adtech And Channels

Navigating advertisement technology can be time-consuming. Hence, one must ensure that the correct elements are in place before starting. Such elements are as follows:

  • Data management platforms
  • Ad exchanges
  • Supply-side platforms
  • Demand-side platforms

Marketers need to communicate the objectives and align their teams.

#4 – Implement And Optimize

Businesses can utilize online marketing to build customer loyalty and increase customer acquisition and retention. But, first, they must assess the metrics from time to time to know where they excel and what they must improve to become a leader in the high-demand and high-impact space.

Companies can make the process easier by defining their target metrics and audience.


Let us look at the objectives of online marketing:

  • Increasing sales or revenue
  • Improving the conversion rate
  • Increasing the percentage of return visitors
  • Reducing bounce rate
  • Boosting organic traffic volume
  • Generating more leads


Some popular types of digital marketing are as follows:

#1 – Website Marketing

Typically, all online marketing campaigns’ focal point is a website. Therefore, it must represent a company’s products, services, and brand best. In addition, businesses must ensure that the website is fast and mobile-friendly to improve the conversion rate.

#2 – Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization or SEO refers to optimizing a website for search engines. The main objective of SEO is to help websites rank higher in search results. This, in turn, generates organic traffic from search engines.

#3 – Content Marketing

Content marketing promotes a business’s product and services through high-quality content. First, businesses publish content on a website. Then, they promote it via SEO, email marketing, pay-per-click campaigns, etc. Some essential content marketing tools are newsletters, e-books, blog posts, etc.

#4 – Email Marketing

This enables businesses to connect with consumers and people interested in their business. Various online marketers utilize other digital marketing channels to add leads to their email lists. After that, they establish customer acquisition funnels via email marketing to convert the leads into customers.

#5 – Social Media Marketing

This type of online marketing deals with reaching consumers on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc., via paid ads, content marketing campaigns, or both. Businesses can use this o generate leads. Alternatively, they can utilize at is a sales or direct marketing channel. For example, in the case of Facebook, there are four sales funnel stages — awareness, discovery, consideration, and conversion.


Let us look at a few digital marketing examples to understand the concept better.

Example #1

On December 16, 2022, Busy Bee Media, a leading digital marketing services provider, announced a rebrand. This move would enable them to better align with their clients’ changing requirements. Moreover, Michael Parente, the company’s chief executive officer (CEO), believes that the new branding represents a renewed focus on providing innovative solutions to their clients.

As part of this rebranding, the company introduced an extensive range of services, including social media marketing, graphic design, SEO, and email marketing. The CEO believes the expanded offerings and new branding will position the company for long-term growth.

Example #2

Suppose ABC is a custom clothing company that sells its products at different outlets across the U.S. The company’s management team decides to sell its offerings via a website to increase its customer base and generate more revenue. Hence, the company invested a substantial amount in formulating and implementing an effective digital marketing strategy, which primarily focused on SEO, website, content, and social media marketing. This strategy increased the company’s sales by 70%.

Pros & Cons

Let us look at the advantages and disadvantages of online marketing.


  • Customer loyalty increases owing to frequent communications.
  • Irrespective of whether a business wants to promote its products domestically or internationally, online marketing offers cost-efficient solutions.
  • Businesses can target the right audience.
  • Organizations can gain brand credibility by implementing an effective online marketing strategy.
  • Another key digital marketing benefit is that It helps generate a consistent lead pipeline.


  • Promoting a brand via digital media channels can be time-consuming.
  • Although online marketing offers global reach, businesses cannot connect with people in all regions.
  • Online marketing completely relies on internet technology, modern gadgets, and technological devices. Hence, businesses must invest in these first to implement an online marketing strategy.
  • Contrary to traditional marketing, online marketing faces the risk of an immediate spread of a bad reputation.
  • Businesses are exposed to the risk of internet fraud.

Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing vs Social Media Marketing

Individuals new to the business world are often unfamiliar with digital, traditional, and social media marketing. Hence, these terms often confuse them. To eliminate this confusion, one must understand the critical differences between them. This table highlights their distinct characteristics. Let us look at them.

Digital MarketingTraditional MarketingSocial Media Marketing
This involves connecting with potential customers through digital media channels.It involves using conventional techniques promoting a brand, for example, outdoor marketing, print marketing, etc.Social media marketing involves promoting a company’s products or services on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. It is a part of online marketing.
Digital marketing is more cost-effective than traditional marketing.Traditional marketing costs more than online marketing.This is much more cost-efficient than traditional marketing.
It is easier to measure an online marketing strategy’s result. Measuring the results is difficult in this case.In this case, measuring the results is easier than conventional marketing.
Engagement lasts longer than conventional marketing.In this case, engagement with consumers is short-lived.Engagement lasts longer than traditional marketing.
Scaling advertisements is easyAdvertisements are difficult to scaleIn the case of social media marketing, advertisements are easier to scale than traditional marketing.

Digital Marketing vs Affiliate Marketing

The difference between online marketing and affiliate marketing are as follows:

  • Online marketing involves selling or promoting products or services through digital channels. On the other hand, affiliate marketing involves promoting other organizations’ offerings in exchange for a commission.
  • Affiliate marketing has three components — the customer, the affiliate marker (the one promoting the product), and the product or service’s owner. That said, the components of online marketing include email marketing, SEO, video marketing, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Does digital marketing require coding?

Some basic knowledge in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript can be useful for digital marketers who strive to be innovative and effective in their work. However, it is not a necessity for online marketing professionals to learn coding or programming languages.

2. How digital marketing helps small business?

Online marketing helps small organizations learn customers’ online habits to target the right audience. Since it is much more cost-effective than traditional marketing, it enables businesses to get more out of their resources while empowering consumers to deal with the brand on their terms.

3. Is digital marketing profitable?

Online marketing can be highly profitable if one implements the right strategy. With only a laptop and an internet connection, there is no limit on their earnings.

4. Does digital marketing work for all businesses?

Yes, online marketing can work for any business in any industry. That said, one must formulate an effective strategy based on the best practices.

This article has been a guide to what is Digital Marketing & its definition. Here, we explain its objectives, types, examples, pros & cons, and differences with affiliate marketing. You may also find some useful articles here –

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