Digital Marketing Explained

Digital Marketing Explained

Digital Marketing ExplainedReading Time: 5 minutes

Digital marketing is a wide-ranging and fascinating area within marketing and in this article, I am going to offer some insights into the different areas within digital marketing and explain how they correlate, sometimes even overlapping with one another.

Broadly speaking, digital marketing can be broken down into two distinct areas – paid and non-paid advertising. This is exactly what it says – some advertising can be paid for, whilst other areas are not paid for.

In breaking this down further, it’s important to remember that there is a cross over between both, for example, its free to post on social media, however, if you want to boost a post on Facebook, this then becomes a paid service. This a very basic example but highlights the point made in the previous paragraph about there being a certain degree of cross over.

Paid Advertising

When looking to use paid advertising services within your digital marketing campaigns, Pay Per Click, or PPC as it often referred to will be one of the most popular forms of paid advertising. In its most basic form, PPC simply means that advertisers pay a certain amount (typically a bid-based amount) for their ads to show on search engines such as Google and Bing. They only pay when users click on these ads and the amount paid is set by the advertiser when the ads are created. In more recent times, a similar advertising model has also been adopted and used by social media sites such as Facebook. (To find out more about PPC on both Google and Facebook, read our blog title The PPC Game on Facebook and Google).

In addition to ads being shown on search engines such as Google and Bing, ads can also be shown on certain websites, providing they are part of the Google Display Network and have signed up to use Google Ad Sense. This form of advertising is known as display advertising and typically works well as a remarketing tool, however, this is not its only purpose. When ads are created in Google Ads, for example, you are given the option of where you would like the ads to show – so this could be solely on the search network (which means solely on Google search) or you can choose to show your ads on the display network (which means showing your ads on display network websites) or you can choose to show your ads on both the search and display networks. Choosing where to display your ads is an important choice as you will want to maximise your return on investment (ROI) and each option varies in this respect, depending upon sector, budget and how the ads are created.

Social Media Marketing Strategy Blog Cover Image

In more recent times, paid advertising has moved to social media and although as an advertiser you are still paying for your ads to show, there are a number of subtle differences between advertising on social media and advertising on search engines. The main one being that when you search on Google, for example, you are actively looking for something, whereas when you are scrolling through Facebook you are not really searching for a product. It all boils down to user intent – paid advertising on Google is more of an ‘’intent-based search’’ whereas Facebook advertising is more ‘’opportunistic based advertising’’. That’s not to say they are completely different as they both offer a number similar advertising options, such as remarketing for example.

As a basic guide, the top four search results on Google and Bing will generally be paid or sponsored ads and this will be identified by the words ‘’Ad’ next to each search result. This denotes that these are paid for ads – underneath these are the organic search results (more about organic search below). To identify paid ads on social media you will often see the text ‘’sponsored’’ in a lighter colour at the top of the ad as it appears in your news feed, messages or videos.

Paid advertising offers business a great way to showcase and sell products and services, to build brand awareness and increase sales. There are a number of fantastic tools available help to facilitate this, however, using paid adverting should always offer advertisers an ongoing ROI and this should be measured and reviewed regularly. For more information on using Google ads, be sure to read our ”Making Google Ads Work for You article” – this explains in detail some of the different advertising options available to advertisers on Google.

Free Advertising

As mentioned earlier in this article, social media is typically free to use and post on and as such, businesses should look to regularly post, share and engage with their customers and clients on these platforms. Depending upon the sector and industry you are in, you should choose what social media platform to utilise the most. For example, in fast-moving fashion, Instagram and Facebook would, in my opinion, be the place to grow your audience as these are both very visual platforms. Conversely, if you run a professional services business, such as digital marketing, it may be more beneficial to post regularly on LinkedIn and try to improve your websites SEO.

At its core SEO is free as the techniques that you use to improve your website are fairly straightforward and involve undertaking both on-site and off-site SEO work. As things become more advanced with SEO, you do require some essential paid tools -such as an SEM Rush account, however, generally speaking, you can improve your basic SEO quite a lot by doing some of your own basic research around the subject. The main point to consider with SEO is consistency – it needs to be regularly undertaken and it can be quite time consuming, hence why many businesses come to digital marketing agencies such as Herd Marketing to help them improve their organic ranking.

Content marketing can add real value to both your customers and also your website. Adding good quality, relevant content should also align well with your wider SEO strategy and can be used in a number of different ways. For example, when creating a piece of high-quality content on your website such as a blog or a how-to video, this can then be used to share on your social media pages – this point links up nicely with what I mentioned earlier about how digital marketing often overlaps.

I hope you have found some value in this short article and if you have any thoughts, comments or suggestions for future posts please do leave a comment in the box below.

If you are looking for further resources or need more advice on starting out with digital marketing, our Getting Started in Digital Marketing article offers further reading and an in-depth guide on this subject.

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