Digital Marketing: What it is and its types?
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Digital Marketing: What it is and its types?


The buzz word of the decade, digital marketing.

Or probably just another word to use in your interviews, or if you are probably up in the hierarchy, in your board meeting maybe?

Or as many people believe, boosting ads on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, is considered as digital marketing?

Well this article (will just give you a remote control to the drone that) will let you hover through the main branches of digital marketing and give you a brief overview, without wasting much of your precious time. 

Digital Marketing: The Definition

Most people do a poor job of nailing down the definition of digital marketing. The term is less vague than you might imagine from the outset.

Some might be wondering, wait, I might know this one. It’s simply advertising through digital channels like social media, search engines, email, web apps or mobiles. Well, there’s one thing that’s common in all of them. And that will give rise to the most complete and apt definition of digital marketing, encompassing literally everything:

Digital Marketing are all marketing activities that make use of an electronic device.

Well, that was easy.

However, here is the thing, which might raise a few eyebrows, but it’s the most integral part to understand, that, digital marketing can be executed both Online and Offline.

What seriously? Bear with me for just a little more to figure out how!

First, we’ll deep dive into the first category of digital marketing and that is online marketing. 

Online marketing is when you are trying to promote your brand, product or service through the internet. Yes, emphasis on the word ‘internet’, since that’s what differentiates online from offline marketing. We can divide online marketing into 7 main sub-categories:

  1. Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  3. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  4. Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
  5. Content Marketing
  6. Email Marketing
  7. Affiliate Marketing 

I will deep dive into each one of these in separate articles, but let’s have a quick run to understand what each of these actually mean.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization are all activities in which you are trying to improve the search result rankings (SERPS) for your website on a particular keyword.

As marketers like to label, traffic that comes via SEO is often referred to as “organic search traffic” to differentiate it from the traffic coming directly from paid search.

As in October 2019, Google alone handles more than 2 trillion searches per year, with search engines like Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, and Yandex still not being accounted. To further mind-boggle you, just see the rate with which these searches are increasing as you are reading this blog!

*Insert Paid vs Organic SERP screenshot*

Who doesn’t want their content on the top of Google search results? Research shows that 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results hence those links receiving an increased click through rate (CTR), and more traffic.

Well, search engine giants like Google will never give away the exact algorithm they use to rank sites. That’ll be similar to your examiner handing you over the marking scheme before you even started preparing for it. No wonder Google makes over 500 changes in it’s algorithm every year!

Hey, stay put. We’ve got this. With still a pretty good understanding of some of the factors that impact search engine results page (SERP) rankings, there are 2 main categories within search engine optimisation, that you need to know:

  • Onsite factors
  • Offsite factors

On-site (or on-page) SEO involves all the techniques that you can use on your website to ensure that it gets higher in the search rankings. There are many aspects of a particular web page that can be improved when it comes to on-page SEO:

  • Keyword Research
  • Title Tags
  • Headings
  • Meta Description
  • URL Structure
  • Alt text for images
  • Internal linking – Building internal links between your pages, creating a sitemap and submitting your sitemap to search engines can both help improve your site’s crawlability and give your search engines a better understanding of your content.
  • Page performance

Site speed – Pages that take a long time to load or don’t render properly on mobile will rank lower in the search engine results pages (SERPs), as users will get frustrated, leave, and increase the bounce rate.

*Insert Image

Eliminating 404 errors, reducing redirects, minifying your CSS & Javascript files, optimizing the image sizes and improving the responsiveness of your site for mobile and desktops, are all steps which marketers need to be aware of since these are crucial factors that search engines account for while ranking their content.


But one thing that is very integral to understand here is that, Google, only cares about who is coming up with the best user experience for its users, and all the above mentioned factors are implicitly linked to providing the best possible user experience. 

Choosing the right keywords, placing it in a compelling manner in your title and meta-description, with on-point page optimizations and performances, will definitely be increasing your click through rates (CTRs) and average time on site. And that’s where you’ve hit the sweet spot! This much improved user experience will be rewarded by Google in the form of increased search results rankings for your website. Link to Google webmaster or page insights

Off-site (or off page) SEO involves all the techniques that you can use outside your website to ensure that it gets higher in the search rankings


Offsite SEO refers to activities carried outside of a website to improve organic visibility. This is often referred to as ‘link building’, which aims to increase the number of reputable links from other websites, as the search engines use them as a scoring as a vote of trust.

Links from websites and pages with more trust, popularity and relevancy will pass more value to another website, than an unknown, poor website that isn’t trusted by the search engines. So the quality of a link is the most important signal.

Content (‘Marketing’) – Reputable websites link to exceptional content. So creating amazing content will help attract links. This might include a how to guide, a story, a visualisation, news or research with compelling data.

Digital PR – PR provides reasons for other websites to talk and link to a website. This might be internal newsflow, writing for external publications, original research or studies, expert interviews, quotes, product placement and much more.

Outreach & Promotion – This involves communicating with key journalists, bloggers, influencers or webmasters about a brand, resource, content or PR to earn coverage and ultimately earn links to a website.


Social Media Marketing (SMM)

You know this one, right. So might be easy to do! Or is it?
It’s in fact quite easy and interesting at the same time, once you get a hold of it. 

SMM refers to the usage of social media platforms to attract maximum traffic and engagement for your brand, business or service etc.

Well, that’s something that you might have guessed yourself by just reading the term SMM. However, the point which requires the most emphasis is that social media marketing is all about producing and presenting the right content on the right social media platform in front of the right audience

**Insert user infographic on social media platforms**

Whether it’s facebook, instagram, twitter, snapchat, linkedin, pinterest, tumblr, reddit, quora, medium or the rapidly growing Google+, it’s imperative to respect the platform and it’s audience.

You may or may not have heard the phrase in regards to social media marketing that ‘Content is King, but Context is God’, and this is key in social media marketing. Along with producing the on-point content in order to attract your audience you also need to match the context of your respective platform. I am sure you don’t open quora with the same mindset with which you browse on facebook or even linkedin. Let’s look at this way: If content pulls your target audience into your funnel, then context pulls them through the funnel to the point of purchase. 

To ensure that the experience of the user is not ruined you always need to be dead updated with the changes in the trend of each social media platform. Did imagine the organic users of facebook to dwindle at this rate: 

**Insert FB organic decrease users stat image**


Stay Tuned for digitalpedia’s step-by-step guides for each social media platform!




Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM refers to increasing the visibility of your website on search engines (like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc) by using paid methods. The model through which you pay these search engines can vary according to your own needs like you can pay on models such as cost per purchase or cost per impression or even cost per call! The leading search engines in the world right now are primarily Google and Bing, where advertisers bid and try to win the auction inorder get on the top of search results.

*Insert Google SERP image example*

Keywords lay the core foundations of any SEM strategy. Firstly you need to identify the keywords that are relevant to your business’s products or services and then match them to the keywords your perspective customers might search for as query. Since the intent of the customer here is quite high, the cost of particular keywords vary a lot depending on the type of business you are in and it’s competitiveness. Obviously you don’t have to blindly pick your keywords since there are renowned tools such as Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush where you will be able to find out the search volume, competitiveness and estimated costs of the keywords you might be looking to target.

The most fruitful thing about this form of marketing is by setting up conversion goals inside of your campaign, you can track exactly who made a purchase from your ads, and you’ll know exactly how much money you spend and how much you made at any time.


Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)

PPC is an advertising model to drive traffic onto your platform where you as an advertiser have to pay every time a user clicks on your advertisement, regardless of the outcome. Now you must be wondering pay who?  

Sounds similar to SEM? That’s because yes there is a slight overlap. PPC is the umbrella term below which lies SEM and it just uses the PPC advertising model. When it comes to PPC advertising there are various platforms, other than search engines, where marketing activities are carried out. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin are all such examples. 

Let’s take Linkedin for an example. You can display your ads to an audience in the age bracket of 29 – 41 females living in Massachusetts, Boston with a degree in Journalism with a 5+ years job experience in News Journalism with a certain level of seniority such as Manager and that also under certain skill sets defined under her belt. Well that’s how specific you can opt to be.

Or just take your “most favourite” social media platform facebook.  It’s way easier than you think to target someone on facebook who let’s say is a 21-29 aged male residing in NY interested in fitness related activities and has liked the Nike page attended the Adidas Fitness and Wellness event last week looking to buy gym clothes recently and uses his/her mobile mostly to carry out such activities. Well that’s the level of granularity you can go upto. 

Once you are through this and have selected the audience you want to show your ads to, no matter how broad and narrow that is, you’re good to go.


Email Marketing

Let’s introduce you to the fifth branch of online marketing. Yes, you guessed right. It’s simply sending out targeted messages to promote your products or services and it might be appalling but it is still one of the most successful digital marketing strategies to reach our target audience. 

*Insert image of how important email marketing is in 2019* (make your own diagram using the numbers)


93% of B2B marketers use email to distribute content with 40% of them saying that email marketing is the reason of success in their content marketing strategy. [100] When it comes to B2C marketing 59% of them say that email marketing gives the highest ROI. It’s no surprise when it has been proven via case studies that for every $1 spent it gives a return of roughly $44. [101]

*insert image in this link for best ROI*

But why do you think it’s so fruitful or if it’s that easy why isn’t everyone reaping huge profits from it. Well that’s only the case if it’s done right and that is, following the steps below:

  1. Build you e-marketing contact list

The easiest way to get a good opt-in email subscriber base is to offer visitors something of value, such as a content download like an infographic, webinar or a discount on a product or service in exchange for their email information.

  1. Segmenting your contact list
  1. Nurture your campaigns in order to personalise them. With the aim to build a relationship with customer
  2. Auto respondents




Affiliate Marketing

When we talk about affiliate marketing, think of it as hiring a salesperson for your product/service. For each sale the salesperson brings he/she receives a commission, the terms for which is decided by you, with no upfront cost incurred. In simple words, affiliate marketing is when you partner up with an affiliate in order to drive business for your product/service and offer commission accordingly. This form of digital marketing is growing in popularity at a very rapid rate and there is no surprise as to why!

**Insert Google Trends for term affiliate marketing**

The most popular and successful examples of affiliate programs out there are the Amazon Associates and Flipkart Affiliate Program where you can get a link of any product listed on their platform which you wish to promote and in return you can receive a commission every time someone makes a purchase using your link.

You as an affiliate can be an influencer on a social media platform who is leveraging his/her huge fan base.

**insert image of youtube channel**

Or you can be blogger who builds trust amongst his visitors by writing on relevant topics to keep his visitors engaged. 

**insert a blog e.g image**

Or you can be just an aggregator listing and reviewing products of various sellers out there, on one single platform, without keeping any inventory, and just earn some bucks every time a visitor purchases by clicking through your platform.

**insert MoneySuperMarket example**


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