What is Digital Marketing?

Do you ever sit in a meeting or skim through articles online and see the word “Digital Marketing” over and over again? At least once a day I hear this term used but it’s really quite generic.

So just what do people mean when their talking about Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing is a broad term referring to any advertising that takes place online. The most recognized form of digital advertising is Pay-Per-Click or Search Engine Marketing (“SEM” like Google AdWords).

There are several different styles that fall under the category of Digital Marketing:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the process of optimizing your website and content to rank higher in search engine results, which drives higher rates of organic traffic to your website.

Paid Search (PPC/SEM)

Paid search goes by many names — like Search Engine Marketing and Pay-Per-Click. It’s a way of driving traffic to your website by paying a publisher (say Google AdWords) each time your advertisement is clicked.


If you’ve ever seen an ad “follow” you from site-to-site, that’s retargeting (aka remarketing). It’s a paid form of advertising that keeps your brand in front of a consumer based on their online behaviors.

TruView Video Ads

TruView advertisements are specifically video format ads that are on sites that offer video. The largest platform is YouTube. With TruView, advertisers can target consumers and video content.


Programmatic targets users based on demographics (household income, age, gender, home ownership, home value, etc.). Specifics ads are targeted to these consumers via the “address” of their computer and not on behaviors.


Contextual advertising displays ads to users based on the content of the webpage. An example would be reading an article about arthritis and seeing an advertisement for a local physical therapy office.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing reaches users with advertisements within a social platform (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.). This style of marketing allows you to not only reach clients where they spend a lot of time, but using Native Advertising (ads that look like “news”-style content) diminishes the feeling of a sales pitch from the advertisement.

Social Media Management

Social Media Management is the management of a brand’s social profile. Tasks include original posts, engaging with the online community, sharing content, etc. This is all done organically with no payment to the social platforms.


Email marketing is a campaign style which sends emails directly to consumers on the company’s behalf. This is most frequently done via a subscriber list, but specialized lists can be purchased to reach new users.

Each one of these tactics offers a slightly unique way to present your message to potential customers. As marketers, we make the educated, experienced decisions based on your marketing goals in deciding which tactics to use. Many factors are weighed when deciding on a digital marketing strategy, but the largest will be budget, manpower and existing digital assets (website, subscriber list, social media following, etc.)