What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is an umbrella term, encompassing all advertisement on electronic media. Mostly that means the internet. But the term also covers text message marketing, in-app ads, and digital television/ radio pushes. Digital marketing strategy is also an umbrella term that refers to using digital channels to effectively market a product or service.
The upside of digital marketing is more data. When Don Draper put up his latest billboard, he had no way of knowing who was looking at it and what they thought; today, marketers know how old their users are, what sex, what age, how they interacted with a product, where they came from, and where they went.
The downside of digital marketing is competition. Any company can put out a Facebook ad, submit a page to Google, or promote themselves on Twitter. The central challenge facing today's digital marketer is how to capture their audience's attention on crowded online channels.
How Digital Marketing Works
1) Don't ignore Google
Google is the internet's interface. If users can't find your product on Google, you're being ignored by the world's single biggest traffic driver. Efforts to improve visibility on Google (and other search engines) are referred to as Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. The savvy digital marketer knows enough SEO to clearly communicate to Google what their product does — and enough about Google Analytics to track the performance of search traffic coming to the site.
2) Become comfortable with acronyms
If you're new to the digital marketing world the first thing you'll notice are the acronyms. CPC, CPM, PPC, SEO, SEM: the list goes on. We won't subject you to a glossary, but here are the three biggest:
KPI — Key Performance Indicators are the metrics an advertiser uses to measure success
CPM — Cost Per Mille is how much an advertiser pays every time their ad is viewed 1,000 times
CPC — Cost Per Click is how much an advertiser pays every time someone clicks on their ad
3) Get social dummy
Facebook users will spend 35 minutes of a day on the platform; Snapchat nets 25; Instagram, 15. Social media allows digital marketers to intersperse promotions among content from friends and family, reducing ad blindness, and providing an ideal opportunity for chatty branding. Facebook also provides marketers with an advanced ad analytics platform, which companies can use to their advantage when organizing both free and paid promotions.
Why Digital Marketing Matters
1) It generates real-time data
In the bad-old-days an agency would put out their ad on TV, and only get a sense for the results a month later. Digital channels afford marketers feedback in real-time. Nowadays, when a digital agency puts out your latest Facebook ad, then can track views, clicks, shares, and any other engagement metric your heart desires. Immediate feedback means marketers can promote what's working and cut what's not — fast.
2) It's on all the time
According to Hubspot, browsers spend twice as much time online than they did 12 years ago. People surf the web when they're traveling to their job, procrastinating at said job, sitting on the toilet, bored at dinner, and lying in bed. Digital ads are TV commercials if the TV were always on. So love it or hate it, marketers can reach their audience anywhere, anytime.
3) Quality rises, crap sinks
In the pre-digital age, a good commercial got about as much attention as a bad one. Today, users who like a post or video from a brand are empowered to share it within their network. This creates the potential for viral spread, helps quality ads achieve previously unheard of levels of reach, and incentivizes marketers to create the type of content their audience is proud to share.