Today, traditional advertising has taken a back seat to its more effective digital counterpart. While traditional advertising relies on a “spray and pray” approach, digital advertising gives you the capability to hit the bullseye every time. If you’re looking to reach your audience in a targeted, data-driven way, this post’s for you.

What is digital advertising?

Digital advertising, also called digital marketing or online marketing, is a holistic, data-driven approach to marketing that uses online channels such as websites, mobile apps, social media, email, and more to deliver promotional content to your audience. Unlike traditional advertising, it’s highly targeted, agile, and can appear at every stage of the sales funnel; from awareness to purchase. Digital advertising is an umbrella term encompassing many different forms of online marketing from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to email. Because the concept is so vast, it can’t be sufficiently covered in a short blog post. But, let’s scratch the surface and introduce some key elements of this marketing strategy.

Why is digital advertising important?

Online marketing is essential because online shopping is essential. The internet has completely revolutionized the retail experience for consumers and driven more and more brick-and-mortar stores to shutter in its wake. Two things that Americans love to do are shop and spend time on the internet. According to a survey conducted in 2017, “84% of Americans are shopping for something at any given time and in up to six different categories” (source: The evolving always-shopping consumer experience) and the average amount of time Americans are spending online has climbed to an average of 6.5 hours per day (source: More than six hours of our day is spent online – Digital 2019 reports). These two statistics alone make a pretty convincing case for why digital advertising is important. Always shopping, always online; and digital marketing helps put you in the middle of it all.

Digital advertising is also important because, as mentioned earlier, it gives you unparalleled ability to laser focus your marketing efforts resulting in more effective advertising and ultimately more money back in your pocket. Why spend the majority of your ad budget on traditional, stagnant advertising that doesn’t offer any insight when you could make those dollars go exponentially further with dynamic, sophisticated digital ads. Not only do digital ads offer an impressive ROI, but the insight you gain from each ad campaign will filter back into your marketing strategy and make your next campaign that much stronger.

What are some popular forms of digital advertising?

A Lead Generating Website

Your digital marketing strategy should start and end with a high-quality, professional website that prompts your customers into doing something – usually to call about or purchase a product or service. Your company’s website will serve as home base for all of your online marketing operations so it should be in tip top shape, including the latest security protections from hackers looking to steal your data or your customers’ data. What customers see when they first land on your page will leave a lasting first impression and may determine if they return to complete a purchase. Your website will either help you convert your digital ad leads into sales or be the weak link in the sales funnel. The biggest thing is to make sure your website looks good and is optimized for sales conversions.

Paid Advertising

Also known as retargeting or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising (display advertising, Google Adwords, and social media advertising), paid advertising can be an extremely effective marketing campaign because it is able to reach the masses, yet directly targets specific customer’s demographics (age, race, financial wealth, location, hobbies, etc). Search engine results are a common place to see these types of ads but they can appear on other platforms such as social media, other websites, and mobile apps.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

How do you ensure that your website or landing page on your website ranks in the top results of your customer’s search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.)? The first step is organic SEO, which is the action of increasing traffic to your website through search engine results that are not paid for by advertising.

Search engines try to connect users to relevant quality results that apply to your customer’s desired keywords. Those keywords are matched with everything from your title tags and meta descriptions to internal links. You can’t be all things to all people, instead you get traffic because you offer quality content for those looking for that specific product or service. The more quality the information, the more those genuinely interested in you are able to find you. Quality is rewarded with quantity, the more traffic the better, and traffic is then diverted to providing better page placement on the search engines.

For greater optimization in search, pair effective SEO with paid advertisement. Check out this post to learn even more about the power of SEO.

Content Marketing

Content marketing relies on helpful, relevant content to increase brand awareness, establish credibility with your audience, drive traffic to your website, and create brand loyalty. With the proper marketing campaign use of blogs, social media posts, podcasts, videos, infographics, case studies, and more, you can enhance your overall customer engagement.

If you want to learn more about content marketing and how to do it well, check out this post.

Social Media Marketing

Another important form of digital advertising is social media marketing. Social media is a natural platform to support your overall online marketing efforts because it’s free, easy to use, and reaches a huge audience. Promoting your content on social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter will boost brand awareness, generate organic leads, and humanize your brand in a way other forms of digital advertising can’t. Social media marketing typically isn’t a hard sell approach to advertising, but you can always take advantage of the paid post promotion feature to generate even more leads.

If you’re looking to add social media to your digital marketing arsenal or want to up your game, this post can help.

Email Marketing Campaigns

Start with a Stat (Sean has one) Email marketing gives you direct access to an audience that has already shown interest in your business and is looking for a reason to commit or repurchase. It keeps you relevant and top of mind.

Email marketing can and should be integrated with all of your digital advertising efforts if you want to get the most out of it. Introduce the option to sign up for emails on your website, send announcements about things that are happening over on your social channels, and use email as a platform for your content marketing.

To discover more about email marketing, head over to this post.

With so many options in the digital advertising world, it can be overwhelming to think about choosing the right ones for your business, but the following questions will help get you started:

Where does your audience exist?

Where you choose to focus your digital advertising efforts will depend heavily on who your target audience is and where they exist online. If your target demographic is millennials, spend most of your marketing energy on social media. If you are trying to reach an older demographic, email and content marketing might be your best bet.

Where does your biggest ROI exist?

To answer this question, you may need to participate in some trial and error. Where are you seeing the biggest return on your ad spend? Even if the channel is more expensive upfront, perfecting your efforts here will pay off big time in the long run.

What is your marketing budget?

Sometimes your marketing efforts will be 100% determined by your marketing budget and that’s okay. Even if you have next to nothing to work with in terms of budget, there are so many ways to make digital advertising work for you. Focus your attention on low cost, high reward forms of online marketing like SEO, content marketing, and social media.

Successful digital advertising comes from a balanced, integrated approach, lots of trial and error, and some patience. Are you ready to dive in?