What Is Digital Marketing And How Does It Work Today?

What is Digital Marketing

When I am asked the question, “What Is Digital Marketing?” I usually think about a multitude of online platforms that serve many purposes digitally that can be explained in so many ways.  

A simple definition of “What Is Digital Marketing?” is online advertising that occurs through digital platforms or channels.  Also it’s when products or services are advertised via electronic devices then you have your answer very easily explained.

To get a better understanding of how this form of marketing works in today’s environment then you have to follow what worked before and what’s still effective at the present time. 

What is Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing

What is Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing

Luckily traditional marketing is still around and in a lot of ways can complement its digital counterpart.  Both are ingenious if you have a budget for both but they are very different but still effective.  

Marketing teams will always go back and forth with different opinions about both especially if their data supports one over the other.  But just to give a breakdown of both mediums, we will do so for contextual purposes below.

Types of Traditional Marketing

1. TV

2. Radio

3. Newspapers

4. Print Magazines

5. Billboards And Posters

6. Direct Mail

Some Digital Marketing Types

1. Social Media Marketing

2. Content Marketing 

3. Blogging

4. Search Engine Optimization

5. Search Engine Marketing

6. Email Marketing

7. Pay Per Click or PPC

8. Video Creation

9. Audio Creation or Podcasting

10.Affiliate Marketing

Most Common Types Of Traditional Marketing

Common Types of Traditional Marketing Compared To Digital Marketing

1. TV

Many of us watch television in some capacity and have been glued to it since we can remember.  The commercials are the advertising that is most familiar to us when we think about TV marketing.  In the U.S., many of us watch the Super Bowl to see the latest commercials and of course use a digital form (social media) to discuss them.

2. Radio

Another form of traditional marketing occurs while listening to the radio.  You’ve heard the on radio personalities plenty of times refer to “paying the bills” while on air.  That’s how the radio station pays its bills when they go to a commercial break.  The station’s sales team offers time slots to advertisers who want exposure for their products and services.

3. Newspapers

Newspapers also exist because they sell space in their papers for businesses, etc. who want to get in front of their readers to present their offerings.  It’s one of the oldest forms of traditional marketing around. Though newspapers still are around, many have turned to digital marketing to leverage their current platforms.

4. Print Magazines

Another “old school” or traditional marketing method is print magazines because of the readership very similar to newspapers.  This medium has been one of the earliest advertising platforms as well.  Ad space is sold to advertisers throughout the magazine but an emphasis in the rear of it.

5. Billboards And Posters

Probably the oldest form of print media is billboards and posters.  As early as late 15th century Europe, flyposting (referred to as wild posting or billposting) is a guerilla marketing method where posters were put up.  A low budget method that is still used to capture the attention of prospects and customers.

6. Direct Mail

As described here, direct mail marketing occurs when businesses send letters, postcards, or other promotional materials to past, current or potential customers, or clients.  It’s so widely used, yet it can be expensive for businesses that are on a budget or fixed advertising costs.  There are numerous companies who offer the service covering many industries as well.

What Are Some Common Types Of Digital Marketing?

What Are Some Common Types Of Digital Marketing

1. Social Media Marketing

It’s the ability to use social media platforms to connect with your audience in the hopes to drive online traffic to build a brand and/or increase sales.  This is done on some of the most popular social media sites in the world such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and many more.  

Social media marketing can be a great tool for growing your personal brand or business.  In fact, an internet trend report shows that  55% of people buy online after finding it on social media.

2. Content Marketing

A marketing technique created to distribute valuable, relevant and consistent content to publish in either written, audio or video form.  Though content marketing can occur offline, we’re going to focus online for contextual purposes.  It’s a digital strategy in which brands can create transparent or educational pieces of art to reach a target audience anywhere in the world with efficiency.

3. Blogging

Blogging is a form of digital marketing when used strategically to bring awareness to a business or brand.  It’s a form of written content for a website of consistent posts or articles surrounded by a value add theme.  Known as a journal where the writer is providing helpful information to an audience to keep them coming back to the website or just simply solving a problem.  

4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Known in the online space by its acronym SEO, search engine optimization is the actions to constitute higher rankings via the search engines.  There are three types to be aware of:  on page seo, off page seo and technical seo.  I could write an entire blog post about each one but I think you’re smart enough to do more research if needed.

5. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search engine marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves the promotion of web content by increasing the visibility in the search results for maximum exposure.  Using paid advertising such as Google Adwords and Bing Ads makes the process of search engine marketing much simpler.  It is even more important to have high quality scores for ad rank formulas to get lower costs for ad sets.  But did you know that for every $1 spent on Adword that businesses typically double their money?

6. Email Marketing

According to Wikipedia, email marketing is the act of sending a commercial message to a group of people using email. It’s a highly effective digital marketing strategy of sending content, advertisements, etc. to prospects and customers.  You can segment into different lists based on preferences of highly personalized content to drive engagement with a possible offer.

7. PPC Marketing

Pay per click or PPC is a paid advertising model and a subset of search engine marketing.  Advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked to drive traffic to a website quickly to convert the visitor.  This type of digital marketing strategy can be highly targeted to find the prospects for your offers.

8. Video Creation

Creating videos are essential for digital marketing and they are easier than ever to make.  Do you have a smartphone?  Making videos with it is better than ever because the quality gets better often. Filming educational, comedic or even cat videos are possible and of course uploading them to YouTube or any other social media platform can be very effective.  

Study:  82% of internet traffic will come from video by 2022.

9. Audio Creation or Podcasting


What a game-changer audio creation or podcasting has become in the last few years.  It’s basically an internet radio show that is an episodic series of spoken words in digital audio files that can be downloaded using one of many directories such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, etc. to consume.  Podcasts are huge opportunities to build a community for your personal brand or business and can be heard around the world.

10 Powerful Podcast Statistics You Need To Know in 2020 [Infographic]

podcast statistics 2020

10. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a performance based type of marketing that is the process by which an individual or company (affiliate) earns a commission for advertising another merchant’s product or service.  Earning a commission for referral business is a form of revenue sharing in its simplest form.  There are so many ways affiliate marketing programs that rely heavily on affiliates to showcase their products and services to new prospects and customers.

FACTS:  Affiliate revenues have been increasing by 10% and is expected to continue to do so beyond 2021.

Source:  Statista

How Can Digital Marketing Work For Me?

How Can Digital Marketing Work For Me

There are a few things to consider when using digital marketing to grow your business or personal brand for it to work:

  • Identify Your Target Market for ideal customer or prospect
  • Always know your Wants, Needs And Goals Of Your Target Market
  • Three very important areas to determine your target market:

-Demographics (Age, Gender, Income and Occupation)

-Geographics (City, State and Country)

-Psychographics (Interests and Habits)

  • Magnify Your Brand Message by using the proper digital marketing channels that will give the broadest exposure to be more effective and to communicate your message

Why Is Digital Marketing So Effective?

Why Is Digital Marketing So Effective

There are so many more people on the internet than ever before and it will continue to increase for the foreseeable future.

Targeting is laser-focused to find the group of people that marketers want on all platforms.  Consumer trends are crucial in shaping digital content consumption to provide answers to many questions.

Digital marketing is so data driven and extremely fast.  Doesn’t take long to get data back to analyze a subset of targeted prospects.  You can make an ad and put it out in less than an hour to see how it performs.

Recap of What Is Digital Marketing and types…

Types of Traditional Marketing

1. TV

2. Radio

3. Newspapers

4. Print Magazines

5. Billboards And Posters

6. Direct Mail

Types of Digital Marketing

1. Social Media Marketing

2. Content Marketing 

3. Blogging

4. Search Engine Optimization

5. Search Engine Marketing

6. Email Marketing

7. Pay Per Click or PPC

8. Video Creation

9. Audio Creation or Podcasting

10.Affiliate Marketing

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What Is Digital Marketing?

Online advertising that occurs through digital platforms or channels.

What Are Some Examples Of Digital Marketing?

Social media marketing, video marketing, blogging, podcasting, etc.

What Skills Do You Need For Digital Marketing?

Understand data science, content strategy, storytelling, etc.

Which Type Of Digital Marketing Is The Best?

When your using a combination of written, video and audio

About The Author

Andre L. Vaughn

Andre L. Vaughn is a digital marketing success consultant and author of "Social Media Simple Marketing" who helps creators and entrepreneurs magnify their brand message to generate leads that convert to sales. He's also a contributor at Addicted2Success, The Good MenProject & Thrive Global, and a graduate at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (B.S. Information Systems & B.S. Business Administration).