If you are talking to your friend on Facebook, there are 3 people who know about the conversation- you, your friend, and Mark Zuckerberg.
Yes, you laughed harder on this than you should have. (And if you didn’t, you’ll get the joke by the end).
The average screen-on time on my mobile showed 10 hours 11 minutes, a few days ago.
Yes, I spend nearly 42% of my day conversing with people, creating and consuming content on social media and what not.
But is this just me? No.
According to a recent collection of reports from We are Social and Hootsuite (https://wearesocial.com/blog/2019/01/digital-2019-global-internet-use-accelerates), an average internet user spends 6 hours and 42 minutes online each day. It’s not just about mobile phone, but all devices that exist in the digital space- televisions, radios, computers take up a reasonable fraction of our day.
Such strong usage of ‘Digital Media’ is seen by businesses as a golden opportunity to market the right products to the right customer in the right place at the right time. This is nothing but the essence of digital marketing.
Why Digital Marketing?
I won’t be answering this question since I’ll allow you to find the answer to this question yourself, which I am pretty sure you’ll be able to do by the end of this article.
For now, let’s have a brief look at the important components of Digital Marketing.
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
An interesting study by IDC research reveals that 4 out of 5 smartphone owners use their mobile within the first 15 minutes of waking up. I am sure that a similar ratio applies to the number of people reading this. This is one of the reasons that many businesses apprehend ‘Social Media Marketing’ to be very effective for lead generation. Some of the major social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest.
[1.1] Content on Social Media can be pushed forward to the users through 2 ways:
a) Organic Reach/Impressions: A business posts/shares content on its timeline/feed that reaches people without any form of paid advertising. The algorithms of the social media platform, kind of page audience and relevance of content play a crucial role here. However, thousands of other businesses are also publishing content on social media due to which not all of a business’ followers are able to see the content that it posts. For example:
Organic Reach on Facebook is generally 10%-15% of the number of followers on a page. This means that for every 20 of a business’ followers on Facebook, Only 2-3 people actually see the post.
However, there is a way around this which is paid advertising.
- b) Paid Reach/Impressions: A business has the option to create and run paid advertisements on its social media handles by allocating a total and daily budget. It also has a lot of advanced targeting metrics such as age, gender, region, interests, hobbies, purchase behaviour etc.
Social media advertising not only helps a business to reach a greater part of its target audience but also more relevant people by tracking the user behaviour on other websites, and internet through tracking pixels. In layman’s language, a tracking pixel is a tracking device (a snippet of code) that every business can include in their website. Let me run you through an example:
You want to buy shoes, so you go on different sites such as Amazon, Nike, Puma and say, Reebok. You might also use Google Search for the same. The Facebook pixel on these websites tracks and understands that you want to buy shoes. You expressed an intent to buy shoes. Now, while browsing through Facebook or Instagram later, you’d be shown ads not only from the sites that you visited but even other brands which are selling shoes and targeted people who are buying shoes online, including you.
[1.2] Another important feature of social media is that it provides a platform for consumers as well to get in touch with the businesses to share their feedback or grievances.
This is enough to understand the basics of SMM. You can read more on: https://neilpatel.com/what-is-social-media-marketing/
Now, it’s important to point out a common misconception among beginners that Digital Marketing is majorly Social Media Marketing. However, that is far from reality.
The actual ‘Search’ hasn’t even started yet. (Pun Intended)
2. Search Engine Marketing(SEM)
Marketing efforts made under SEM are dedicated towards increasing the visibility of a business on Search Engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.
Like SMM, SEM can also take up 2 routes:
[2.1] Search Engine Optimisation (SEO):
It is an unpaid route where businesses optimise their website with the ultimate aim of improving their visibility in search engines. This is done by making some technical changes in the code of the website as well as including relevant ‘keywords/keyphrases’ in the content; so that the Web Crawlers of the search engine can easily navigate through it, find relevant content and show their website in the search results.
Ah, too much to take, isn’t it? Let me break down in simpler words using an example:-
Business: Footwear Showroom located in Delhi
Target Audience: People who currently live in Delhi
SEO Strategy: The business undertakes a keyword research analysis where it finds out what kind of words/phrases are used by people on Search Engines (say, Google) when they are interested in knowing where to buy the shoes from. Let’s say one such keyphrase is ‘Buy Best Shoes in Delhi’. When a person enters this keyphrase on Google, Google’s Web Crawler, which is an internet bot will browse the World Wide Web and go through all the websites which have any or all of the words in the given keyphrase.
Now, I won’t talk about the technical part because it might get a bit overwhelming for a few readers. But the other thing that the business will do is including the keywords in its website content so that the Web Crawler considers it as a relevant result. This can be done very smartly by writing ‘If you are looking to buy the best pair of shoes in Delhi, do visit XYZ Business located at ABC’. The type of SEO where a business optimises its own website is called On-Site SEO.
There is another kind of SEO known as Off-Site SEO in which a business may request another website owner to include the relevant keyphrase/keywords in their own website and link back that particular portion of text to the business’s website. This is also known as backlinking.
[2.2] Paid Search Advertising(PSA):
In PSA, Businesses run ads on search engines to improve their search visibility. They basically pay the search engine to rank their website on the top. You might have often noticed that the first 3-4 results on Google search have ‘Ad’ written on them. Similar to social media advertising, Search Advertising gives you ample of targeting options and metrics. Such ads cost the advertiser a defined amount each time someone clicks on that result (generally). This amount is called Cost per Click (CPC). The objective of an advertiser is to optimise the campaign to lower the CPC and maximise the number of clicks. While creating a new paid search ad campaign, you have to enter the maximum amount that you want to spend per click (Max. CPC), and the maximum amount you’re willing to spend for the campaign (Total Budget).Google offers this service to businesses through a service known as Google Ads.
3. Display Advertising:
Display Advertising works on the same framework as Search Ads, the main difference being that Search Ads are just shown on search engines while display ads are displayed on other websites which have allocated some website space to earn revenue from ads. Such ads contain visual media and a ‘call to action’ (text/buttons meant to make the user perform a desired action) which redirect the user to a certain page on the business’s website known as the landing page.
Another difference between Display Ads and Search Ads is that Search Ads are shown on the basis of the keywords/keyphrase entered by the user whereas Display Ads are targeted to the potential consumers on the basis of different targeting parameters such as demographics, interests, purchase behaviour etc.
4. Video Advertising:
Video Advertisinh has a similar framework as Display Ads but with video ad formats, designed to encourage people to express interest and take action. You’ll generally come across these ads when you are watching a video on YouTube or over other platforms on web.
5. Content Marketing:
Content Marketing is that approach to marketing which focuses more on a pull strategy than a push strategy. In content marketing, rather than directly promoting their product or services, a business generally provides relevant content in the form of blogs, videos, creatives etc. One thing that enters the picture when you talk about content marketing is ‘Thought Leadership’. A ‘thought leader’ in an industry is a person who has an expertise in the given subject matter and is considered as a trusted source for any information related to the same. Thought Leadership activities allow a business to communicate with its target audience while aiding them in their quest to search for information, thus building credibility so that the business becomes a go-to place to purchase any product/service.
For example: Taking forward the previous example of the showroom, the business may write blogs on topics like ‘Which shoes to wear on which occasion?’ which answers questions that the target audience may have.
Just like Harvey Specter said in Suits, “It’s a win-win situation!”
6. Affiliate Marketing
Have you ever come across YouTubers putting Amazon links of all the equipment that they use to shoot their videos? They are members of the Amazon Affiliate Program in which they earn a commission for every purchase made using their links. That is one aspect of affiliate marketing but not the whole of it.
In Affiliate Marketing, a business ties up with ‘affiliates’ who basically redirect traffic from their own websites, blogs or applications to a business’s website through self-initiated digital marketing techniques and they receive a commission for every purchase which is a result of this affiliate relationship.
7. Email Marketing
It involves the use of email campaigns to urge the customers to perform a certain Call-to-action. It may sound simple, but on the contrary, Email Marketing offers a lot of opportunities for Customer Relationship Management, Customer Retargeting, Promotions, Personalised Experiences etc.
A business may include ‘Sign-up Forms’ on its website and social media handles, collect users’ email addresses and email them relevant stuff.
Every actiobn performed by an online user is tracked. What you talk about, what you browse, what you try to buy, everything! The availability of such detailed consumer insights to the businesses in the form of ‘Analytics’ allows them to measure the progress/success of their online campaigns and determine how well they have been doing in comparison with the objectives previously set. Once a business knows what works and what does not, and what kind of people are showing interest in its products, it can make relevant changes in its online marketing plan to maximise the return on investment. Analytics give online marketing a significant edge over traditional marketing.
Okay, so are we done with all the components of Digital Marketing yet?
For common use, the answer is yes.
But technically, no.
There is still one concept left, although some people may not agree with me, but I’ll present my case so you can decide for yourself. The last point is
9. Offline Marketing
You might be thinking, is he crazy? Or is this some kind of a joke? Actually, No. Some part of offline marketing exists in Digital Marketing as well. Digital, in literal sense, refers to any electronic device. So, I consider it fair enough to include non-internet electronic technologies such as SMS, MMS, radio and television in Digital Marketing. It’s just that technologies like Radio and Television are so big & cater to a mass audience without any specific targeting that they have come to be considered a whole other category, in general use.
All the aforementioned points are the major components of Digital Marketing. However, please note that all of the above points may not form an exhaustive list because digital world is ever-changing with technological advancements and discoveries being made with every passing second. Trying to sum up all of that in a few points would be an act of sheer disregard to the essence and beauty of the dynamic nature of technology.Having got a beginner-level insight into the world of Digital Marketing, I am sure you now understand the power it beholds.
Infinity Gauntlet, step aside!
Image Caption: Structure of Digital Marketing (for a beginner)
If you have any doubts, please feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn. (bit.ly/AtishayLI)