What is the difference between Digital Marketing vs. Digital Advertising?

digital marketing vs digital advertising guide

You probably know that you should use digital advertising and digital marketing to get your product or service into the public’s eye. Digital marketing and digital advertising, although very similar, are two different ways of publicizing your business.

Digital advertising tends to be broadly targetted and disruptive. Digital marketing, which includes content marketing, is more focused towards specific customers. Digital marketing also aims to attract potential customers instead of disrupting them.

Digital advertising and digital marketing both play valuable roles in how companies attract new customers on the Internet. Let’s look at some key features of both as we learn how best to use them to attract fresh leads.

What is the difference between Digital Advertising and Digital Marketing?

Features of Digital Advertising

Digital advertising is very much related to digital marketing. A big point of difference is that digital advertising is a disruptive form of marketing communication. If you’re watching Youtube and a pre-roll advertisement comes, most people press the “skip ad” button as soon as the 5 second “no skip” window finishes.

The digital advertisement is disrupting you from watching your video. Another way to see how disruptive advertising can be is to observe how people use their home DVRs.

If they’ve recorded a program, they’ll likely fast forward through the advertising content to get back to their show. They don’t want to view the advertisements since those ads are disrupting their TV time.

A challenge facing advertisers in the digital age is that people don’t want people don’t want to be distracted by advertising. Many people have even resorted to installing ad blocking software to prevent ads from showing in the first place.

Digital advertising remains an annoying form of communication because it’s not designed to talk to a single person. Digital advertising is broadcast to a wide swath of people in hopes that it reaches a few interested viewers.

Companies that employ online advertising understand that it’s an inefficient tool, but will continue to use it as long as the results justify their ad spend.

Features of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is designed to be highly focused and highly targeted. A form of digital marketing that has gained momentum online is content marketing. Content gives marketers flexibility in the manner that their marketing message takes.

A content marketing piece could be in the form of a powerpoint presentation, a blog post, a video, a podcast, a social media post or a white paper. When content marketing is done right, the marketing message is tailored to one specific person.

Digital marketing ideally provides a company’s solution to someone with a very specific problem. When digital marketing becomes too broad and loses its focus, it ends up becoming another form of digital advertising. Messages that are targeted at the masses are too broadly pitched for audiences to know what to do with them.

These general messages become no different than advertising. As such, people will tend to dismiss over-generalized advertising and seek out more specific content that addresses their concerns.

Digital marketing is also ideally used by companies and individuals to establish competency. You can demonstrate competency by solving particular problems for potential customers in need of solutions. The people who are looking for answers on Google will hopefully find your content on your website.

They will also be more likely to buy from you if they feel that you can relate to the predicament they’re in. Doing business with customers is still about making connections with them first. Blogging and social media remain excellent channels for making connections with your potential customers.

Targeting differences between Digital Advertising and Digital Marketing

Digital advertising is not something that’s laser targeted. Digital advertising uses more of a shotgun approach to getting your message out. If you’re buying CPM banner advertising on a website, you’re showing your advertising message to whoever comes to your site.

Your only recourse for targeting is to use an intelligence tool like Alexa or Similarweb to find a website that matches your demographic target. Some websites will also offer geo-targeting options.

Digital advertising involves putting your message out there without caring too much about who sees it. As long as someone sees it, your advertising is performing its function. If you pay $100 for a $10 CPM ad slot, you’re happy as long as you get your 10,000 impressions shown.

It’s like putting up a billboard on a busy highway: a large percentage of people will ignore it, but the few who are receptive to your billboard message might make it worth the cost.

Cost is always going to be a major concern when you’re managing advertising campaigns. Digital advertising requires that you spend a lot of money to put your message out into the Internet.

Sometimes you’ll get a good return on your investment, but it’s also true that there will be times where you will not be able to justify your ad spend. An exception to digital advertising ROI calculations is when placements are purchased for branding purposes.

Digital advertising remains a very effective form of branding that allows you to put your business name out there. Brand advertisers are happy as long as they get lots of eyeballs looking at their ads.

Companies who use branding as a digital advertising strategy are happy when as many people as possible know about their company. This allows them to get people thinking about their company and what it stands for.

Television advertising remains a very popular platform for brand advertising, and brand advertisers often tie-in their TV ads with online campaigns.

Digital marketing tends to be much more specifically targeted. Digital marketing involves pinpointing your audience down to a very specific demographic. These demographics could include age, gender religion, income, browsing habits as well as many other factors.

The main advantage of digital marketing is that it allows you to shrink your audience down to a smaller size. Since these audiences are more tightly niched, marketing generates a greater return on investment compared to advertising.

You may be wondering why companies spend money on digital advertising when digital marketing has a higher ROI. The answer to that question basically boils down to this: there’s way more advertising inventory available online compared to more niched inventory that digital marketers would be interested in.

With the huge supply of digital advertising inventory available, websites and other online properties price their advertising inventory cheap enough to entice companies to purchase it.

If some of this inventory is able to be more finely targeted, then that could allow for better ROI. Part of the challenge of digital marketing is knowing exactly who your target market is.

When you market specifically to a target person, then you have a greater chance of converting that person into a lead or a sale. Pinpointing exactly who your target market is will allow them to identify better with your branding.

Digital marketing allows you to target down to the personal level

Digital advertising tends to talk solely about a company’s own service. Digital advertising is all about showcasing what a company can do for the customer. This includes what they offer, what their features are and what price they’re charging.

A company has to get out their message as quickly as possible since they only have the duration of their ad slot (usually only 15-30 seconds) to get people’s attention. Digital advertising typically shouts out a quick sales message because they need people to buy what they’re offering.

Advertising has nothing to do with building relationships or showing potential customers your competency. Advertising also tends to be expensive because you’re talking to everybody in hopes of reaching just a few good leads.

Mass marketing advertising channels like newspapers, magazines, radio or TV tend to be very expensive. But mass marketing forms of advertising don’t work that well on the Internet.

Companies generally do better by using content marketing to demonstrate their core competencies. Once you demonstrate your knowledge, people are more likely to trust you. Digital marketing starts by talking to the one person with a specific problem and a specific need.

When you start to attract the right audience with proper digital marketing, you’ll find people who are willing to buy from you faster than if you just used digital advertising. Most companies try to use advertising and marketing synergistically in the digital realm.

Digital advertising, while not offering the same ROI, allows companies to probe different advertising platforms. They can then use digital marketing strategies to drill down once they find a few promising web properties.

Should you use pop-ups on your website?

Many people who browse content online hate pop-ups. You’re probably familiar with the type of pop-up that’s become the bane of readers everywhere. This is the type of pop-up that says “hey, I know I’m interrupting you while you’re reading, but please join my email newsletter!”

Most people close these type of pop-ups and go right back to reading the content. It should be a privilege for you to have people reading content on your site. This scenario gives you an excellent opportunity to establish your competency. When you hit them with a “join my newsletter” pop-up, you are interrupting your content marketing strategy with a non-targeted digital advertising message.

Why would you employ a form of mass marketing that’s interrupting your content marketing strategy? These pop-ups will ultimately detract from your competency-building efforts. In the worst case scenario, user frustration causes your visitor to hit the back button even before they’re finished reading.

Instead of relying on newsletter pop-ups, offer your readers content that will give them a reason to subscribe to your email newsletter. Once your content is speaking to their needs, they’ll be more likely to join your list and seek more value from you. Discreet opt-in boxes in the sidebar or at the end of your content are considered less intrusive ways of asking your readers to join your list.

You’ll also want to keep an eye on your bounce rates to ensure people aren’t prematurely leaving your site. If your analytics show a high bounce rate, you may have to make your email opt-ins and other distractions less intrusive.

Digital advertising and digital marketing are both essential for businesses. If you’re not doing either of the two, you will be losing sales revenue to your competitors. Digital marketing tends to return companies better ROI because the message is more targeted. But digital advertising still has its place in your overall lead generation strategy. Sometimes you just have to blast some advertising out there to see what works best.