What is Digital Advertising and Why Does It Matter?
Updated: Mar 9
Digital advertising is the process of using internet technology to deliver promotional advertising to consumers. It encompasses promotional ads and messages that are delivered through social media, email, search engine ads, mobile banner ads, affiliate programs, and website display ads.
Digital advertising has surpassed traditional advertising
The increasing popularity of digital advertising and the shift away from the traditional advertising techniques (billboards, newspapers, radio, commercials, etc.) makes sense in this era of connectivity.
Types of Digital Advertising
Here are some of the most common forms of digital advertising (there are many more):
Ads that rely on social information, platforms, or networks to generate, target, and deliver advertising. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn are examples of social platforms with a wide network where businesses can target and deliver advertising.
Display Ads/Banner Ads
Ads (full banners, squares, buttons, and skyscrapers) that are served to users on a page when they are not necessarily searching for your product or service. These ads are shown whenever users are surfing online.
Paid Search / Search Engine Advertising
Advertising within the sponsored listings of a search engine site. You pay each time your ad is clicked or when your ad is displayed.
Using email to send advertisements to current contacts and prospective clients. This can include SPAM, which is not a recommended practice and there are several privacy laws to keep in mind prior to kicking off any campaigns.
Some email networks now offer in-email advertising. Gmail, for instance, uses sponsored, in-line ads directly above the email inbox lines.
Affiliate Programs / Ad Networks
Businesses reward affiliates for bringing them in visitors or customers as the result of the affiliates’ advertising and marketing efforts. These efforts can include a mix of digital and/or traditional advertising methods.
Mobile ads can be delivered as text ads via SMS, banner ads embedded in a mobile site, or ads that appear in mobile games or downloaded apps.
Relevant content distributed from a third party’s site. Information is targeted and valuable. Essentially, you’re renting someone else’s content distribution platform and offering helpful content rather than just plugging your product or service.
Benefits of Digital Advertising
Digital advertising has gained popularity for many reasons. Here are some of the main ones:
It is easier to prove ROI Clicks and cost can be tracked and more easily measured than a billboard, so it’s easier to gauge the effectiveness of the ads.
It is easier track performance Similar to the point prior, it is easier to track the performance and calculate metrics as the ads are in the digital space where it is easier to capture the data.
A business can adjust their ad budget more readily While certain ad methods like PPC involve a long-game method, in some aspects of digital advertising it is easy to shift and adjust bidding and budgets almost instantaneously.
It is more precise at reaching targeted audiences Due to the nature of online information and how information about users is stored online, ads can be targeted based on demographic information or on user behavior.
Digital advertising can enhance or complement other ad channels in the mix For businesses using an omni-channel marketing approach, a digital ad can complement a billboard or radio commercial. The more places a customer is reminded of a business, the more the business is kept top of mind.
Increases brand recall Similar to the point above, the more times a consumer sees a company’s ads or branding, the more they are likely to keep that business top of mind. With so many brands out there, it is important to stand out from the clutter and be a company that users remember.
Increases brand interaction A digital ad can lead users directly to a company’s website, to interact with a business on social media or to purchase a product online.
Digital ads can accompany users across the entire customer journey Digital ad methods can be displayed to users at any stage in the customer journey, from the research stage, to the purchase stage, and even further.
It is where attention spans are Last but not least, most people spend a majority of their time in the digital space. Display ads where people are looking, not where they aren’t.