What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is the strategy and processes that connect advertisers with their audiences across digital channels. An advertisement itself is a piece of creative shared via digital inventory - the space a publisher makes available for advertisements on its platform.
Digital refers to a number of different channels, all used to uniquely engage audiences and tackle various goals of the conversion funnel. The digital channels include display, search, mobile, social, and video. Referred to as "Inbound Marketing" digital allows you to interact with advertisements and communicate back to advertisers.
Thanks to digital's vast amounts of targeting technology and capturing of personal data, marketers are able to reach both large audiences and more granular segments without compromising scale. This includes being able to target by specific attribute including demographic, behavioral, psychographic, and more. Not only can marketers target groups of people, they can also target specific devices and even individual users regardless ofwhat device they may be using.
Additionally, digital marketers are especially determined to measure success of campaigns. A number of user engagements can be tracked such as impressions, clicks, website hits, leads, and actual purchases. In as much, digital makes it easier than traditional media to track Return on Investment (ROI), helping marketers to see the efficacy of their campaigns and make better decisions for optimization and the future.
How does digital differ from traditional advertising?
Traditional refers to linear TV, print, radio, direct mail, and out-of-home (often known as billboard) advertising. A key differentiator of these medias is that the messaging is a one-way conversation. This defines traditional as "Outbound Marketing" in that it reaches out to consumers, but consumers do not communicate back.
Moreover, traditional's targeting is much broader as it is defined by only an estimate of viewership. If an advertiser wanted to execute more granular targeting by coupling different demographic and behavioral attributes, they would be unable to, as publisher audiences are more loosely defined with traditional media.
The final major difference - which is often times used as a point of argument among the two sides, is traditional’s lack of measurement methods. If a potential customer views an ad on linear TV and later buys that product in-store - it is impossible for marketers to precisely connect the action back to the advertisement. What marketers are able to do instead, is measure sales lift prior and post campaign. Another method is including a specific phone number or email address in advertisements whenever possible, so that conversions can be directly attributed.
Despite digital's advantages, traditional media channels are still largely popular for consumers and the two can be seen interacting as media convergence becomes more prevalent. Media convergence is the blending of media forms into one platform for purposes of delivering a dynamic experience.