what is digital advertising?

What is digital advertising?

Digital marketing, online marketing, internet advertising…whatever you call it, marketing your company online is a big deal these days. After all, internet usage has more than doubled over the past decade and this shift has massively affected how people purchase products and interact with businesses.

So, what is digital marketing? Digital marketing is like any other type of marketing—it’s a way to connect with and influence your potential customers. The real difference is, you connect with and influence those customers online.

Digital Advertising vs Traditional Advertising

Digital marketing keeps on evolving as long as technology goes forward with time. Digital marketing includes things like websites, social media mentions, YouTube videos, and banner ads and many more. It’s almost as similar to traditional advertising, but using digital devices & platforms. Nevertheless, digital marketing is regarded as a form of inbound marketing and its aim is for people to find you. The ads can be in form of texts, images or videos however the target audience can be individuals who are looking for such content or solutions, and not anyone who is on the current digital channel. This is very different then traditional channels that carpet bomb the entire audience that it on its channel. Refined targeting combined with the power of user tracking and analytics makes digital marketing the most wanted method for today’s CMOs.

Traditional Advertising

  • Loose audience definition based on people who are accessible by the advertising medium and the content served by them.
  • Limited to the geography where the medium operates.
  • Carpet bombing of audience that is currently viewing the medium.
  • Return on investments through wide reach and top of mind recall.
  • Audience engagement is indirect,
  • Website traffic is not directly possible. Traditional mediums can provide a stimulus and hope the audience reacts by visiting the website. This cannot be measured too.
  • Local targeting with limited geographic reach is not possible. The advertisement gets carpet bombed to the entire audience of the particular advertising medium or publisher.
  • Sales cannot be achieved instantly for impulsive buys.
  • Behavior can’t be tracked
  • Tends to require a higher budget for proper execution.
  • Data and results require a post campaign survey to establish ROI.
  • Both are not possible instantly, require additional hooks for such responses.
  • Referrals are by word of mouth and tend to be on the lower side. There is no possibility of measuring this with traditional mediums.
  • KPI is largely limited to viewership and reach and measurement of ROI is not very accurate, tends to rely on post campaign surveys.
  • App Installs can be achieved through the stimulus – reaction route and can be measured too with marketing innovation, but the budgets involved are considerably higher.

Digital Advertising

  • Precise target audience definition based on age, gender, location, demographics, behaviors, interest and place of work.
  • No Geographical boundaries.
  • Campaigns are viewed only by the audiences defined.
  • Return on Investment through instant actions, wide reach and top of mind recall.
  • Direct audience engagement through social media can be enabled with the new phenomena of likes, follows, comments and reviews.
  • Website traffic can be achieved through digital campaigns thereby increasing visits to your web properties. This again another key metric that can be accurately measured.
  • Local targeting only to one’s limited geographic reach is possible, e.g. a store in a particular area can reach out to audience residing near by.
  • Local targeting only to one’s limited geographic reach is possible, e.g. a store in a particular area can reach out to audience residing near by.
  • Audience behavior can be tracked
  • Budget agnostic, can also be done with small scale budgets
  • Data & results can be recorded easily through toolsets, instantly.
  • Lead generation and data capture is possible simultaneously with the advertisement
  • Social media allows the target audience to refer the marketing message to friends and contacts through social sharing, which can be measured and is a key metric.
  • Return on Investment can be measured instantly with multiple KPIs and tends to be largely accurate.
  • App Installs, another phenomenon can be achieved instantly, with precise targeting and detailed analytics and with customized budgets which may not be necessarily high.

Types of digital advertising

  1. SEM

SEM or Search Engine Marketing is generally considered to cover both PPC and SEO work. Bringing in traffic to your website via search engines is no easy task, that’s why SEO and PPC work to look into bringing said traffic in through both paid and unpaid means. PPC paid advertising, and SEO, which works on bringing in organic traffic.

  1. SEO

We’ll start with SEO, which stands for search engine optimisation. SEO works to make your business optimised for search engines, like Google and Bing. It’s all about moving you up the search engine results page rankings to have better visibility for users searching for your website. Many people don’t bother scrolling to page 2 of search engines, so SEO is essential to work if you want to generate more business from online searches. By no means is SEO a quick fix, when our clients sign up for SEO, we always inform them that the process will take time to yield results

  1. PPC

PPC, or Pay-per-click, is a form of advertising on search engines, like Google and Bing. It’s a way of moving to the top of search engine results pages by paid means. It’s called PPC because your ad account is charged every time one of your adverts is clicked. The cost of each ad, or CPC (cost per click), depends on the quality score of your website and the selected keyword’s competition. PPC campaigns can be a short-term solution, and many use it to shift products or seasonal deals, as a way to boost revenue. There are around 4 spots for Ads on Google, so getting your website in the for a selected keyword can be challenging. SEO work is about your ranking being ‘earned’, but PPC your ranking on the first page is bought.

  1. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the process of working on marketing through, you guessed it, social media. With social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (to name a few) ever growing, businesses online need to invest in social media marketing in order to grow their following and reach a whole new pool of potential customers. Dependent on your business type, there’s a social network out there for you. All businesses would do well to be on Facebook, but if you specialise in B2B, LinkedIn is the one for you. If you’re a ‘visual business’, then Instagram is the ideal. We could go on and on, but you get the point.

  1. Content Marketing

This style of marketing is a little different than the previous ones we’ve mentioned. It’s not so much about directly marketing products and services to customers, but rather creating enriching and valuable content that enhances customer experience. Some of the biggest brands in the world will actively post blogs, images and videos relating to their business that are entertaining and informative too. It’s what establishes your business as a brand and essentially what makes your customers like you more. It’s like promoting your brand without the aim to an incentive to sell anything behind your posts – simply providing information that is both enriching and engaging.

  1. Email Marketing

Another form of marketing is email marketing, and you’ve guessed it, it involves email. It’s a form of direct marketing which sends information, offers, blogs etc. directly to your mailing list’s inboxes. Through a sea of emails, your marketing email will appear, but the trick is getting it read. Yes, it may emerge alongside 100s emails, and if you can’t create an email that’s eye-catching, then it will be lost. Luckily there are email marketing tools and agencies (like us), that can assist you. Email marketing is a great way of reaching your customers, interacting with them after purchases or even sending them a newsletter. Be warned, sending unsolicited emails will land you a place in the spam box. So, make sure you’ve gathered your mailing list by your own means and not from a third-party company. They need to be your customers or have opted into receiving your mail.

  1. Mobile Advertising

Mobile advertising is something that spans across all forms of digital marketing we’ve mentioned above. Whether it’s mobile social ads, mobile search ads or even mobile TV and radio ads, every form of digital marketing we’ve mentioned can be transferred to mobile. Businesses all over the world are shifting more of their advertising budget into mobile because consumers spend more time on their mobile devices more than any other device.

What are the reasons to use digital marketing?

The group of potential customers that are found online is a much larger group of people than you are likely to be able to attract locally. Using digital marketing, you can reach an enormous audience in a way that is both cost-effective and measurable.

Other benefits of online marketing include:

  • The ability to interact with your prospects and learn exactly what they are looking for
  • The ability to reach a global marketplace
  • You can save money and reach more customers for less money than traditional marketing methods
  • Get to know your audience and allow them to know you personally which can help to create brand loyalty
  • You can track responses to your marketing efforts immediately

How does digital advertising work?

The four most common bidding models in digital advertising include:

  1. Cost-per-click (CPC)

With CPC, your business pays every time someone clicks on your ad. For marketers, CPC is a go-to choice because you’re paying someone to interact, rather than view your ad. A click also brings users to your site (or another dedicated landing page), which can motivate them to convert.

A variety of advertising platforms use CPC, including:

  • Google Ads
  • Bing Ads
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • And more

These platforms also offer additional bidding models, which you can learn more about below.

  1. Cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM)

With CPM, your company pays when your ad earns 1000 impressions or views. While CPM is excellent for building brand awareness for well-known brands, like Coca-Cola or Pepsi, it’s not cost-effective for small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs). A view doesn’t translate to the kind of actions you want, like purchases.

Like CPC, CPM is available on several advertising platforms, including:

  • Google Ads
  • Bing Ads
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • And more

Whether you’re advertising on social media or search engines, you can use CPM.

  1. Cost-per-lead (CPL)

With CPL, your business pays every time your ad generates a new lead. If you’re a business-to-business (B2B) company, this bidding option can work well. It’s essential, however, to develop an ad that targets high-quality users as you don’t want to pay for low-quality leads.

A few examples of advertising platforms that offer CPL include Google Ads and Facebook.

  1. Cost-per-action (CPA)

With CPA, your company pays when a user completes a desired action. This action includes a variety of conversions, from signing up for an email newsletter to purchasing a specific product. Companies often use this bidding option on social media but can take advantage of it on other channels, like search.

A couple common advertising platforms for CPA include Facebook and Instagram.


How much does digital advertising cost?

Some of the most widely used ad channels include Google, YouTube, Facebook, and other social media, so let’s start with exploring online advertising rates within these platforms.

Note: There are lots of bidding models used to calculate the ad price, such as CPC, PPC, CPM, CPI, CPA, and CPL. Among these, the two most commonly used models include cost-per-mille (cost per thousand impressions CPM advertising) and cost per click (CPC).

Google Ads

for example, offer different cost per click (CPC) and CPM depending on your business vertical and types of ads. Average CPC on Search Network range from $1 (for Ecommerce) to $6 (Legal services) and are generally more expensive compared to Display Network with $0.4 for Travel & Hospitality and almost $1.5 for Dating & Personals business categories. While there is no universal solution for every business, some estimates show that the average monthly budget for Google ad network can go up to $10,000.

Facebook Ads

also depend on the business vertical, but their minimum daily budget is $1 for impressions, $5 for clicks, views, and likes, and $40 for app installs and offer claims. The average cost is slightly higher though, with average CPM being $7.19 and average CPC – $0.97. Even more spending can be expected for Instagram ads where average CPM is $7.91 and CPC – $3.56. Monthly ad spend for Instagram and Facebook advertisers can vary from $200 to $1500, and the additional costs can be taken by campaign management.

Youtube Ads

has a minimum budget of $10 per day, other costs are also slightly higher for this platform. An average CPM is $9.68 and the average CPC is $3.21. Another important metric for Youtube specifically is CPV – cost-per-view, which is calculated for every time a user watches an ad for 30 seconds or until the end. An average CPV for Youtube varies from $0.1 to $0.3 per view. Monthly ads cost can also get as high as $1500, so it is important to note that such an investment will be only worth it if you have high-quality videos to promote your products or services.

How to create a successful digital advertising campaign

Define Your Goals

To some people, this advice seems so glaringly obvious that you might wonder why we would include it at all. The reason is that, while for many marketers defining their goals at the very beginning is second nature. However, there are many people who are so eager to get into the nuts and bolts of their campaign that they don’t do the planning beforehand that is necessary for a focused approach.

Identify Your Target Market

Knowing exactly who it is that you are trying to sell your products to is hugely important if you want to be able to use your resources more efficiently. No matter what your budget is, the more you know about the demographics that you are trying to reach, the more finely you can craft your marketing materials to appeal to them. This is a much more efficient approach than simply throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks

Define Personas

A persona is a detailed description of your ideal customer. This includes information such as their age, their occupation, their wealth and class status, their family situation, and any other variable that will determine how they are likely to spend their money. Whereas your target demographics are fairly broad, your persona should be defined in as much detail as possible. This often includes information about their hobbies, interests, and personal lives. This kind of information is often omitted when considering broad target demographics.

Realistically Assess Your budget

This is another very important step that is often overlooked or not given the consideration it warrants. Setting yourself a realistic budget is important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, your budget will serve as the primary restriction on what you can do with your marketing campaign and will also dictate how you allocate your resources. The good news is that digital marketing is cheaper than conventional marketing, meaning that the same resources will go further when you are using them in the digital space.

Take Advantage of Social Media

Social media is the most important marketing platform in the world today. The success or failure of your digital campaign may well ultimately hinge on how effectively you are able to utilize social media. Not only is social media a very important marketing platform in its own right, it also serves as a support for many other aspects of digital marketing, creating a powerful synergy. For example, SEO and social media marketing go hand in hand with one another.

Need some help with online digital advertising?

Even though digital advertising offers immense opportunity, it’s not easy to launch and maintain a successful campaign. It’s time-consuming too. That’s why businesses partner with agencies that specialize in online digital advertising, like Optimum DMA.

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Optimum DMA is meant to simplify your digital marketing efforts

Take the next step in growing your business using digital marketing. Connect with one of our expert digital strategists to learn how Optimum DMA can help you reach your business goals.