An overview of Digital Marketing : Its types, challenges, and the skills needed to succeed

An overview of Digital Marketing : Its types, challenges, and the skills needed to succeed

  • Digital Marketing is the practice of using digital channels such as websites, mobile devices, social media, search engines, and other similar platforms to promote and sell products or services to consumers.
  • It emerged in the 1990s with the widespread use of the internet and has since become an increasingly popular approach to marketing.
  • While digital marketing shares some similarities with traditional marketing and it offers unique ways for companies to engage with consumers and understand their behavior.
  • To create effective marketing strategies, companies often integrate both traditional and digital marketing techniques. However, digital marketing also poses challenges such as implicit bias.
  • The promotion of goods or services that reach customers via various digital channels, including mobile phones, websites, and social media platforms which is referred to as digital marketing.
  • Unlike internet marketing, which is limited to website-based promotion, digital marketing encompasses a much wider range of strategies.
  • These may include email marketing, content marketing, search engine marketing and social media marketing.

How Digital Marketing actually works:

Marketing involves promoting a company’s products and services to improve its market share, and it typically involves advertising, sales, and delivering goods to end-users. Marketers, either internal or external, handle these tasks.

Traditional marketing strategies focused on print, television, and radio advertising, but the internet led to the emergence of digital marketing. Digital marketing utilizes websites, social media, search engines, apps, and other channels that enable customer feedback and interaction between the company and its customers.

As technology advanced, marketing strategies evolved. Email marketing became popular, and search engines like Netscape allowed businesses to use tagging and keyword stuffing to improve their visibility. The rise of social media platforms like Facebook enabled companies to track data and cater to consumer trends. Today, smartphones and other digital devices make it easier for companies to market their products and services to consumers.

Sources and Receivers:

  • In the realm of advertising, the parties involved are often classified as sources and receivers. Advertisers are typically considered sources, while the individuals who are intended to receive the ads are referred to as receivers.
  •  To reach these receivers, McDonald’s utilized digital ads and placed them strategically at various locations such as ATMs, gas stations, and websites that its customers commonly visited. McDonald’s also encouraged these individuals to download its Restaurant Finder app.

In the past, marketing was mainly done through print and broadcast ads, such as newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio.

However, with the advent of digital marketing, companies now have access to a variety of new channels to boost their marketing efforts.

Here are eight of the most common digital marketing channels:

Website Marketing:

A website is a crucial element of all digital marketing activities. It is the centerpiece and the medium needed to execute online marketing campaigns. Websites should represent the brand, product, and services in a clear, memorable, fast, mobile-friendly, and user-friendly way.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising:

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising enables marketers to distribute paid advertisements to internet users on a variety of digital networks. PPC campaigns can be set up on Google, Bing, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook, targeting users searching for terms related to products or services.

Content Marketing:

Content marketing aims to reach potential customers using content. Usually, content is published on a website and distributed through social media, email marketing, search engine optimization, or even PPC ads. Blogs, e books, online classes, infographics, podcasts, and webinars are examples of content marketing tools.

Email Marketing:

Email marketing is still one of the most successful forms of digital marketing. It enables companies to connect with potential customers and anyone interested in their brands. To build client acquisition funnels through email marketing, marketers first add leads to their email lists through other digital marketing platforms.

Social Media Marketing:

Social media marketing campaigns aim to raise brand awareness and establish social trust. They may also be used as a straight marketing or sales channel, or even to gather leads. Social media marketing includes things like sponsored tweets and messages.

Affiliate Marketing:

Influencers who use affiliate marketing to advertise the products of third parties are compensated each time a lead or transaction is produced. Millions of dollars are paid monthly to websites that sell products by affiliate programmes run by numerous well-known businesses like Amazon.

Video Marketing:

Companies can run video marketing campaigns on several platforms, including YouTube, Facebook Videos, Instagram, and even TikTok. The most effective video marketing strategies incorporate SEO, content marketing, and more extensive social media marketing campaigns.

SMS Messaging:

Businesses and nonprofit organizations also use SMS or text messages to inform customers about their most recent promotions or provide them with opportunities. Customers can contribute directly to campaigns using SMS messages to pay or make payments. SMS message campaigns are another tactic used by candidates for political office to promote their own agendas.

KPIs in Digital Marketing:

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are essential in digital marketing as they help companies measure the success of their marketing efforts. KPIs are quantifiable ways to measure long-term performance by comparing it to the competition. They provide a clear indication of how well the company is achieving its goals and objectives.

In digital marketing, KPIs are used to evaluate various aspects of a company’s performance, including corporate strategies. By measuring these areas, digital marketers can determine whether their efforts are effective and how they can improve their strategy moving forward.

Some of the most common KPIs used in digital marketing include blog article frequency, clickthrough rates, conversion rates, social media traffic, and website traffic.

Blog article frequency measures how often a company publishes blog posts each month. This KPI can help marketers determine how effective their content strategy is and whether they need to make changes.

Clickthrough rates measure how many people click on links in email distributions. This includes the number of people who open an email and complete a sale. This KPI can help companies determine the effectiveness of their email marketing campaigns.

Conversion rate measures the success of call-to-action promotional programs.These initiatives compel customers to take specific actions, like making a purchase of a good or service before an offer expires. By dividing successful interactions by the total number of requests made so businesses can calculate the conversion rate.

Social media traffic tracks how many people interact with corporate social media profiles, including likes, follows, views, shares, and other measurable actions. This KPI can help companies determine the effectiveness of their social media marketing efforts.

Website traffic measures how many people visit a company’s website. This information can help corporate management understand whether the site’s design and structure contribute to sales. By analyzing website traffic, marketers can determine how effective their digital marketing strategy.

Digital Marketing Challenges:

  • The field of digital marketing presents unique obstacles for those involved in it. With the rapid proliferation of digital channels, marketers must stay up-to-date on how these channels operate, how they are used by their target audience.
  • One major hurdle is capturing the attention of potential customers, who are inundated with a growing number of competing ads. Additionally, digital marketers face the challenge of analyzing vast amounts of data they gather, and then using this information to create effective marketing strategies.
  • To overcome these challenges, digital marketing requires a thorough understanding of consumer behavior. This may involve analyzing new forms of behavior such as using website heatmaps to better understand the customer journey.

Implicit Bias in Digital Marketing:

  • Despite marketers’ best efforts to prevent it, implicit bias can seep into digital marketing practices. Implicit bias refers to unconscious attitudes and stereotypes towards certain groups of people.
  • Algorithms play a significant role in digital marketing and are designed to be unbiased. However, they are created by a team of individuals, including developers, engineers and data scientists. This can lead to unintentional bias when programming, inputting, and manipulating data.
  • Even simple actions, such as selecting stock photos or videos for a campaign, can introduce implicit bias. For example, companies may unknowingly choose images and videos that feature heterosexual White individuals and exclude people of color, different body types, and abilities.


In today’s landscape, digital marketing is just as, if not more, important than traditional advertising methods. Algorithms play a key role in digital marketing, and if used correctly, they can help prevent implicit bias. As technology continues to evolve, it’s important to keep in mind that digital marketing will also continue to change and evolve.

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