Digital marketing refers to the use of digital channels for the purpose of marketing products and services to consumers. This involves the use of websites, mobile applications, social media, search engines, and other digital channels. With the advent of the internet in the 1990s, digital marketing became a big deal. Digital marketing has some of the same principles that traditional marketing has and is hence considered an additional tool to reach out to consumers. It helps companies understand consumers’ behaviour and interests. Companies often blend traditional and digital marketing techniques in their strategies. Like every coin has two sides, digital marketing comes with its share of challenges, including implicit bias.
How Digital Marketing Works
Businesses traditionally did marketing through print, television, and radio. Nevertheless, these options still exist, the advent of the internet brought a shift in the companies’ approach to consumers. That’s where digital marketing came into play. Digital marketing involves the use of websites, social media, search engines, and mobile apps that undertakes marketing with customer feedback. To put it simply, digital marketing works as a two-way interaction between the company and its customers. Studies show that people prefer using their smartphones to go online and purchase things these days. This shift in people is made advantageous by companies through digital marketing.
Sources and Receivers in Digital Marketing
Advertisers are commonly referred to as sources, while those who receive the targeted ads are the receivers. Sources frequently target specific potential receivers, as the business giant McDonald’s did with night shift workers and travellers. They used digital ads because they were aware that these people used digital devices. Accordingly, McDonald’s channelled its large segment of late-night businesses targeting these workers and encouraged them to download the Restaurant Finder app. They placed ads at ATMs, gas stations, and websites that their customers frequently visited.
Different Types of Digital Marketing Channels
Digital marketing channels kept on evolving according to the changing demands of the customers. The following are some of the most common digital marketing channels that companies can use to boost their marketing strategies. Multiple channels can be used at the same time for better reach.
A website is the central point of all digital marketing activities. It is powerful on its own, but it’s also the medium essential to execute different kinds of online marketing campaigns. A website should represent with clarity a brand, product, and service in the best way. It should be fast, mobile-friendly, and easy to use.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising helps marketers to reach internet users on several digital platforms through paid ads. Marketers can set up these kinds of campaigns on Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc and show their ads to people searching for terms related to their products or services. PPC campaigns can segment users depending on their demographic characteristics and even target their location or particular interests. The most used platforms for PPC are Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
Content marketing is to reach potential customers using content that interests them. Content is usually published on a website and then batched. Content batches are then promoted through social media, email marketing, search engine optimization, or even pay-per-click campaigns. Content marketing happens in the forms of blogs, ebooks, online courses, infographics, podcasts, webinars etc…
Email marketing is still one of the most effective digital marketing channels. This allows companies to approach potential customers and anyone who may be interested in their brand and products. Many digital marketers use email marketing to create customer acquisition funnels to turn the leads into customers.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing aims to build brand awareness and establish social trust. As you dive further into social media marketing, you can use it to obtain leads. Yes, it works as a direct marketing or sales channel. Promotional posts, stories and tweets are a few examples of social media marketing.
Affiliate marketing is actually one of the oldest forms of marketing, and now the internet has given it a new life. Through affiliate marketing, influencers promote other people’s products and charge commission every time a sale is made or a lead is in. Many reputed companies including Amazon run affiliate programs that pay out huge revenue per month to websites that sell their products.
YouTube is one of the most popular search engines in the world. Videos have a deeper impact and sense of trust than anything else. This is why a lot of internet users turn to YouTube before making a buying decision. Youtube is also widely used to learn something, read a review, or just relax. Marketers have several video platforms as marketing options including Facebook Videos, Instagram, and TikTok, to run a video marketing campaign. Companies reap major success with videos by integrating them with SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing campaigns.
Companies use text messages (SMS) to update customers about their latest promotions or give offers to attract new customers. Political candidates also use SMS campaigns to spread positive information about their works. With advanced technology, many text-to-give campaigns also enable customers to directly give or contribute via a simple text message.
What are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in Digital Marketing?
KPIs are defined as the quantifiable methods that companies can use to measure the long-term performance of their marketing and compare their efforts to their competition. Spheres of measurement include corporate strategies, financial goals and achievements, operational activities, and marketing campaigns. The following are the most common KPIs that marketers use to achieve their goals:
Marketers can use blog articles to figure out how many times a company publishes blog posts each month.
Companies can use it to figure out how many clicks take place for email distributions. This includes the number of people that open an email and click on a link to complete a sale.
This measures call-to-action promotional programs. These programs ask consumers to follow up with certain actions, such as buying a product or service before the end of a promotional period. Companies can determine the conversion rate by dividing successful engagements by the total number of requests made.
Traffic on Social Media:
This tracks how many people interact with social media profiles. It includes likes, follows, views, shares, and/or other measurable actions.
Marketers can use this to track how many people visit a company’s website. Marketing management can use this information to understand whether the site’s design and structure contribute to sales.
Digital Marketing Challenges
Digital marketing poses certain challenges. Digital marketers have to keep up with how digital channels work and how they’re used by receivers. Marketers need to channel them to effectively market their products or services. It’s becoming strenuous to get receivers’ attention because they’re increasingly flooded with competing ads. Digital marketers also find it difficult to analyse the heaps of data they capture and then divert this information into new marketing strategies. The challenge of gathering and utilising data effectively points out that digital marketing needs an approach to marketing based on a deep understanding of consumer behaviour.
Implicit Bias in Digital Marketing
Implicit bias refers to the indeliberate attitudes and stereotypes that occur automatically. Algorithms are significant foundational elements of digital marketing, and companies carefully curate them while crafting their marketing strategies. These algorithms are often developed with the intent to avoid bias. However, the intention doesn’t always get fulfilled with the output. Because algorithms are developed by various individuals, who come with their own implicit biases. This means they may develop programs, give input, and manipulate data in certain ways, without the intent to bring any bias.
The way people get influenced by digital media and consume ideas from it forces companies to digitise their marketing strategies. Digital marketing is hence very relevant, and widely practised perhaps more than traditional advertising and marketing.
Challenges may arise and grow even further, implicit biases may happenstance in digital marketing, just as they can elsewhere. But as technology continues to change, you can also see digital marketing evolving alongside and will remain here for quite some time as a successful marketing medium.