Yash Chawlani

Digital Marketing 101: All You Need To Know

Digital Marketing 101: All You Need To Know

Yash Chawlani

It’s 2021, two decades have passed since the turn of the millennium when most processes had just started going digital. VR, AI, AR, Machine Learning, Block Chain, etc. aren’t science fiction anymore. As technology and internet penetration have significantly increased in the past decade, so have the ways of our lives and how the world functions.

Easy access to the internet, smartphones and connected devices has resulted in more screen time for us. Traditional mediums of entertainment and information such as Newspapers, Magazines, Radio and Television have fallen far behind their digital counterparts.

Owing to this shift in human preferences, the Marketing Industry had to adapt and go Digital. This is how the era of Digital Marketing began.

Defining Digital Marketing

‘Digital marketing is the use of digital or social channels to promote a brand or reach consumers. This kind of marketing can be executed on the internet, social media, search engines, mobile devices, and other channels. It requires new ways of marketing to consumers and understanding the impact of their behavior.’

American Marketing Association

‘Digital marketing is the use of the Internet, mobile devices, social media, search engines, and other channels to reach consumers. Some marketing experts consider digital marketing to be an entirely new endeavor that requires a new way of approaching customers and new ways of understanding how customers behave compared to traditional marketing.’

Investopedia

‘Digital marketing is the marketing of goods and services via digital technologies. The Internet, for example, is a type of digital technology. However, it is not the only one. Digital marketing also includes marketing services and products using display advertising, mobile phones, and other digital media.’

Market Business News

A few things are made clear through these definitions:

  1. Distribution of Marketing Content needs to happen via a Digital Channel. The Internet is just one of them.
  2. Marketing / Advertisement Content is targeted.
  3. Extensive use of technology is made from creation to distribution of Marketing Content.
  4. A good understanding of technology and consumers is necessary in order to succeed.

How it all began...

It was in 1990 that Web 1.0 platform came into widespread use, ushering in the age of the internet and a connected world. Marketers worldwide were not confident in the Internet as a marketing platform at first and it took a decade for Digital Marketing to gain strong momentum.


The first clickable banner went live in 1993 and was subsequently bought by HotWired.com for advertisements. The first commercial Digital Advertisement was purchased by AT&T and went online in 1994. The advertisement was viewed by a total of 44 users and everyone clicked on it and was redirected to AT&T.

A small clickable banner ad on the internet set off a chain reaction that was to forever change the world of marketing in the coming years.

Banner ads caught on like wildfire with Yahoo.com introducing their own primitive banner ads in 1995. By 1997, banner ads were still mostly about the tech industry, the majority of them were advertisements for discounts on PCs and data centre hardware.

The growth seemed steady until the Dot.Com bubble burst in early 2000s causing a major setback to the Industry. Things were moving forward steadily again but it took a few more years for other businesses to show confidence in Online Marketing. The first positive milestone for the Online Marketing Industry came at the end of 2004 when the combined revenue of the industry raked in revenue to the tune of $2.9 Billion in the USA alone.

From that point onwards, the Digital Marketing Industry kept growing at a steady pace. As technology progressed, many new tools became available to marketers to make digital marketing operations even more effective. Cookie, Location logs, Active location of users and other personal information collected during sign up process helped Marketers target ads towards potential consumers.

As of Q1 2021, the Online Marketing Industry  was valued at around $340 Billion and is expected to breach the $500 Billion mark by 2024.

Significance of Digital Marketing and Online Space

As years have passed, technology, internet and being connected have kept occupying larger and larger portions of our life. So significant has the use of Internet become in the present times that access to the internet has been declared as a basic human right in the majority of the world.

Higher ground level penetration of Internet also led to increasing online presence of the general population.

The Digital 2021 Report by WeAreSocial and Hootsuite concluded that the Global Average Time spent using the internet was 6 hours and 54 minutes.

Statista reports that users were spending an average of 2 hours and 35 minutes on Social Media sites. If we consider the graph above the time using social media via smartphones has increased five folds in a decade.

Social media users have almost doubled in a considerably short span of 5 years. With more people accessing the internet and smartphones, this number is only going to increase.

Businesses, small or big, have also been utilizing social media platforms for various business activities. Be it B2B marketing or B2C marketing, good social media strategies have helped businesses effectively boost their sales.

Global Technological Initiatives such as Starlink by Visionary Elon Musk, access to high speed, reliable and affordable satellite internet will have a huge impact on the world and human society. Regions and populations who were once offline due to lack of communication infrastructure will make their way onto various online platforms as consumers and creators in the coming decade.

The online space will keep growing strongly with its importance in our daily life becoming even more significant. We’re not far from the day when almost everything will be online. With Augmented Reality making progress, we might even live in complete simulations in the coming centuries.

As the Online Space keeps growing it will keep becoming an important frontier for the Marketing Industry. Digital Marketing is not a new concept but it has gained mainstream worldwide adoption only in the recent decade. With its widespread adaptation came innovations and developments in the field thanks to which Digital Marketing stood out as a better and more effective alternative to other traditional forms of marketing.

Advantages of opting for Digital Marketing:

  1. Extensive and effective outreach: Your Advertisements and Marketing Contents are fruitful only when they reach the right people at the right time. A good Digital Marketing Strategy will enable you to reach the right people effectively. Add in the global reach of various online platforms and you have access to all the consumers in the online space.

    Your products, services and Online Marketing Strategy will become the parameters that will determine your sales figures in coming decades.

  2. Low Cost of Entry: Compared to traditional mediums of Marketing, Digital Marketing enables users to advertise their products and services at very affordable prices. Digital Marketing services are readily available these days and owing to the growing competition in the sector the cost of these services are very affordable. Moreover, one can even perform these Digital Marketing activities themselves by learning and implementing various Digital Marketing Strategies.

  3. Fair competition in the Online Space: Unlike offline marketing where the best advertisement spots have to be paid for, the Online space relies on your digital ranking which determines how much screen time you end up with. There are plenty of examples of small business and service providers having better ranking when compared to Industry Giants. A good SEO strategy can enable any small business to outrank big name brands.

  4. Targeted Approach: Every product and service is targeted towards a specific demographic and making sure you reach them is necessary. A good digital marketing strategy will help one reach the target audience more effectively using various methods to filter out the designated target audience from the online pool.

  5. Segmentation: Creating a sense of connection and belongingness towards a brand is considered important when converting audiences into customers. Every age group has grown up differently and relates to different things which in terms means that one marketing strategy will not work for a broad set of audience. Digital Marketing enables one to create segments among its pool of audience and undertake a targeted approach with appropriate content towards each segment.

  6. Automation: Just as there exists Prime Time on Television Channels, there is a Prime Time for the online space too. A specific time frame in which your audiences are mostly likely to pay attention to your adverts and interact with them. However, owing to the global reach of Online Space, this Prime Time is different for different time zones, regions, and age groups. Automation enables us to schedule at what time, region and in which segment the relevant adverts are published. This way the marketing efforts are less cumbersome and effective. B2B marketing activities benefit hugely due to automation.

  7. Advanced Analytics: It is easy to keep a track of all your online activities and interactions. Data generated after publishing an advert can be analysed instantly to check whether the advert is performing as expected or not. Changes can be made instantly to enhance performance of adverts in the Online space which is unlike traditional offline Marketing that had long lead times. Effective interpretation of various performance parameters can help improve the overall effectiveness of one’s Digital Marketing Strategy.

  8. Unparalleled returns on investment: Owing to the very Digital nature of Online Space, Digital Marketing does away with the various media and barrier entry costs incurred in traditional types of Digital Marketing. Moreover, considering how effective and personalised Digital Marketing Strategies can be, a lot less resources are required to generate significant sales.

Components of Digital Marketing

Components of Digital Marketing
  1. Social Media Marketing: Social Media Marketing (SMM) involves using various Social media platforms as your main marketing medium to distribute / publish your adverts. Using influencers with a large base of followers to introduce and promote your products and services has also become a part of Social Media Strategies of many Industry regulars..

  2. Content Marketing: Publishing and distributing text, audio or visual media to online audiences is considered as Content Marketing.    Blogs,Vlogs, Podcasts etc. are various ways in which firms can incorporate Content Marketing in their Digital Marketing Strategy.

  3. Email Marketing: Automated emails sent to existing or potential customers, informing them about new products, services, special discounts, events, etc. is considered as email marketing. Some Digital Marketing Strategies even utilise email marketing as a medium of staying connected with existing customers to promote brand loyalty among its customers.

  4. Mobile Marketing: Any and all activities publishing adverts promoting products and services on mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, etc. are considered as Mobile Marketing. Having access to user information such as location and social credentials helps businesses customise the marketing content each individual gets exposure to.

  5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The process of improving your overall website to secure a higher ranking with various search engines is known as Search Engine Optimization. Having a higher ranking translates to having your website displayed at the top of the results when users search for products and services related to your business. A good SEO Strategy is imperative for increasing the overall visibility of your website within the online space.

  6. Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Paid online advertisements to gain visibility for your website among Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) is known as Search Engine Marketing. Using SEM in conjunction with SEO can help a website generate large amounts of traffic in a very short time period.

Future of Digital Marketing

The Digital Marketing Industry is a very dynamic one as it relies on technology at its core and Technology keeps evolving and getting better every year. There are plenty of new technologies always coming up and it is difficult to assess which of those will catch on and will be relevant to the Digital Marketing Industry.

  • Rise in Voice Searches: Connected Speakers and Home Media hubs that come equipped with AI-driven digital assistants have become quite common in 2021. Be it Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa, or other Digital assistants, Voice recognition and processing algorithms have become very effective and accurate. Communicating and interacting via speech gets a natural preference by humans over other forms of inputs and information exchanges. This has become clearly evident by the rise in Voice Searches. The Digital Marketing Industry will need to adapt to this trend to make sure they capitalize on the changing landscape of the Online World.

Source – Voice Search SEO

  • AI-driven Marketing: Every interaction made online generates data that is collected by Marketers at various levels to be analyzed and used for marketing purposes. However, the amount of data produced is too large for every bit of it to be considered while designing a Digital Marketing Strategy. In order to make the information more manageable so that it can be interpreted, aggregate values are used. Though aggregates make the information manageable, they have an inherent flaw where they aren’t an actual representation of the data and have plenty of distortion.AI will bring in a drastic change wherein it can easily analyze and understand all the collected data to its smallest bit and draft a Digital Marketing Strategy based on the things it learned from the processed data.

 

  • AR Marketing: Augmented Reality is rapidly developing and is touted to become a part of our daily lives in the coming few years. Many of the flagship smartphones on the market have been AR capable for quite a few years. Some industries already have been using AR extensively in selling their products. Lenskart.com lets users try various glasses and spectacles onto their faces from the comforts of their homes using AR. There are many retailers in the furniture industry that use AR to enable users to check how a piece of furniture would look in their homes before making a purchase. Development in the smart glasses segment has been happening for quite a while and in the coming future, smartglasses are touted to be an evolutionary replacement for smartphones. Once smartglasses become as mainstream as smartphones, VR and AR will become a part of our everyday lives and the Marketing Industry players will have to innovate in order to stay relevant.

Source – Augmented Reality Marketing in 2020

  • Online Offline Integration: AR, AI, and VR are expected to revolutionize human lives in the coming years. A trickle-down effect of these technological advances will be online and offline integration of our lives. We might be just a decade away from each individual seeing different targeted ads on the same hoarding by use of smart glasses. Geo markers and location tags may trigger pop-up ads on our smart glasses. Seeing a product offline and finding information about it along with a shopping link and reviews would happen in an instant due to this integration.

Wrapping it Up 

Digital Marketing has grown from a single banner ad in 1993 to a global industry turning out hundreds of billions in 2021. As technology advances, Digital marketing will keep evolving and changing the ways of our lives. It will either become a seamless part of our lives or we’ll have pop-up ads waiting to ambush us at every step. Either way, our lives are set to be completely changed.

Author –  Yash Chawlani

Yash Chawlani is a Freelance Content Marketing Strategist who is known by his personal brand Merlin. He specializes in SEO and Social Media and helps B2B and SaaS companies out there with his top-notch content strategies. In his spare time, you can either find him in the gym or on the football field. Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn.