Digital Marketing

It's more than hashtags and filters...

Digital marketing is an exciting and fast-growing industry that requires creative flare but also a keen analytical eye. Mastering your personal Instagram or Snapchat account is a start, but there’s a range of skills required when the aims are commercial.

To understand digital marketing, we must first understand what went before. For much of the 20th century, people got their news from newspapers, their entertainment from television and theirgift ideas from billboards. When we speak about ‘traditional’ marketing we’re generally referring to:

  • Print (think newspapers, magazines)
  • Broadcast (think tv, radio)
  • Direct mail (think fliers, catalogues)
  • Outdoor (think billboards, tube advertising, hoarding in football stadia)

This sort of marketing is still around and we’re all exposed to it daily. But our attentions and eyeballs are increasingly drawn elsewhere. People are spending twice as much time online as they did ten years ago and the figure jumps to almost triple for young people, almost 27 hours a week. Digital marketing is the practice of marketing on the internet or using digital technologies.

The sites where we spend our time online are also the major players in digital marketing; Facebook, YouTube, Amazon and Google. These websites, or ‘publishers’, host ads in much the same way a TV channel or newspaper does. The types of ads include text ads, banner ads, video ads and more. How they sell this advertising space also varies. Therefore making a digital media plan can be a complex operation, and this is before we consider entirely new digital marketing disciplines like:

  • Search Engine Optimisation/SEO: techniques that help boost the visibility of websites to search engines like Google
  • Email marketing: the promotion of businesses via emails to current or potential customers
  • Content marketing: writing articles, creating video, publishing social media posts (all fall under the umbrella ‘content’) in a strategic way to attract traffic
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.” John Wanamaker

One of the main differences between traditional marketing and digital marketing is the ability to track it. Drafting awesome ad copy or creating striking imagery is still vital. However, a successful digital marketer also needs good analytical skills. No longer is a print ad distributed in the Sunday Papers and everybody crosses their fingers. A digital ad in an online newspaper is trackable from the first time somebody sees it (an impression), to the moment they click it, to their behaviour on the website, to their eventual purchases. Because of this, digital marketers need to be able to crunch the numbers and act based on the findings. What image worked best on Facebook? What line drove the most traffic from Google? What blog posts got shared the most often? These are just some of the questions a digital marketer will face day-to-day.

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