What is Digital Marketing? Objectives, Terms, Components, Process

  • Post last modified:10 August 2023
  • Reading time:40 mins read
  • Post category:Digital Marketing
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What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing refers to the practice of promoting products, services or brands using digital technologies. This can include a variety of channels such as websites, search engines, social media, email, and mobile apps. The goal of digital marketing is to reach and engage with potential customers in order to drive traffic, generate leads, and ultimately, increase sales.

Digital Marketing Objectives

Nowadays, Internet as a dynamic commercial platform offers different ways to promote products and services. Digital marketing is complex and challenging but it has become quintessential for all businesses as it helps in creating Web presence of businesses on the Internet in order to transform traffic into conversions.

It helps businesses to explore new markets, and, hence most organisations nowadays have their dedicated marketing channels involved in digital marketing as it provides a fruitful result in the long run. There is a paradigm shift from brand awareness to lead generation because of digital marketing.

The following are the main objectives of digital marketing:

Value Creation

Every profit-making organisation requires value creation from the online marketing efforts. With the collaboration of various online marketing strategies, such as SEO, E-mail-marketing, and Google Ads, additional value is created for a brand by fostering visibility, which brings traffic to the organisation’s website, blogs, landing page, etc.


When visitors perform some activities on the website, it is termed as engagement. Engagement is making the visitors navigate through the website so that they spend more time on the website. Creative quality content can attract potential consumers to spend time on the website.

Lead Generation

The main aim of any online marketing practice, Google Ads, SEO, brand engagement, etc., is to get a genuine lead that turns into a conversion. Understanding the behaviour of traffic is essential in order to fulfil this objective.

Online Presence

Today, everyone is online and organisations are creating their Web presence in order to keep up with the pace. Digital marketing is a core driver of marketing strategies in organisations as it promotes brands, products and services with the help of various modes of electronic media, such as websites, social media platforms, blogs, Google Ads, banner ads and mobile applications.

The emergence of digital revolution and user-friendly Web services at an affordable cost has increased the usage of digital media. The main components of digital marketing are SEO, paid ads, E-mail marketing, content marketing and a well-optimised website.

Digital marketing is the usage of innovation and technology for marketing purpose. It is the new trend that every business needs to follow in order to keep up with the pace.

Today, it is impossible to commence businesses without the Internet. With improved communication, collaboration, work flexibility and Web-based application, businesses are entirely connected to the world and can easily advertise their products and services.

When compared to traditional marketing, digital marketing focusses on niche audiences. With the advent of digital marketing, it is now possible to communicate individually to the audiences on the basis of demographic factors, interest and online behaviour.

Digital Marketing Ecosystem

Digital marketing comprises various sets of digital channels such as social media, search engines and E-mail. A digital marketer can opt for paid advertisement and SEO for gaining a good number of consumers.

However, the amalgamation of both SEO and paid advertisement is good for customer acquisition, but SEO catches the intent of users as it is more of a pull marketing medium, where people are genuinely interested in knowing about the product and have the intention to buy.

This is the reason that SEO gets the highest conversion and click-through rates. Search engines such as Yahoo, Google and YouTube, are good for brand development. Search engines have a huge reach and millions of users, and these search engines help in placing banner ads on such platforms, hence, fostering awareness, visibility and engagement.

Social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc., are pertinent to consumer engagement. It aids in developing social bonds with members. Social media is more of an engaging platform, rather than sales or conversion. It is important to understand the aspect of each digital marketing channel as each marketing medium possesses its exclusive strengths and weaknesses.

Hence, it is important to align marketing objectives to each medium’s exclusive characteristics. For example, Twitter is apt for distributing information speedily. With the advent of digital marketing, huge data have been collected, which is good for measurability. There are a good number of digital analytics and metrics available which can help in improving digital marketing strategy that indirectly impacts the ROI positively.

Various tools such as Google Analytics and Google Webmaster can be used to measure and optimise digital campaigns.

POEM Framework

POEM framework is a customer acquisition model wherein strategies and tactics to acquire, nurture and retain customers online are offered. This framework is utilised by experts to formulate digital marketing strategy. POEM stands for paid, owned and earned media.

There are different marketing platforms and strategies that can help an organisation promote its products and services across the world. Some are paid, owned and earned media.

Let us discuss these in detail:

These are the sponsored advertisements available on different digital marketing channels, such as websites, search engines, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

It also includes campaigns run through various platforms, such as Google Ads, campaign manager of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Also, there are different ad networks or Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) that run ad campaigns.


These platforms are considered as the assets of the organisation, e.g., an organisation’s website, microsite, Facebook page, LinkedIn page, YouTube and Twitter handle, etc. An organisation possesses ownership of such platforms.

It also starts investing in mobile application, as a mobile plays the role of a key digital media nowadays. Creating original and unique content, such as infographics, videos, stories, blogs and posts can add value to owned media.


Earned platforms such as social media engagement in terms of comments, likes, shares, etc., lead to publicity. This publicity is produced through the word of mouth or recommendations. It is the most valuable and credible platform for an organisation as it is fostered by users. Earned media is organic and unpaid, and it possesses the dominance to gain exponential reach. Engaging, creative and unique content are beneficial for earned media.

The best digital marketing strategy is the perfect mix of owned, earned and paid media. It is important to balance the combination of these three media platforms. It is important to focus on all media platforms. Running isolated advertising only can be a risky proposition nowadays.

For example, depending upon organic traffic only and practising SEO cannot offer the desired result if the organisation does not invest in paid media because SEO takes a longer time to show the result only after continuous efforts, while paid media helps in increasing the reach and impressions in the short term.

It guarantees some sort of engagement, impressions and reach. Budget allocation should be done appropriately for all media platforms. A marketer generally divides the budget equally between paid and unpaid media. It is the most opted and safe strategy of digital marketing which helps in attaining long-term objectives.

One more important digital marketing strategic area is Online Reputation Management (ORM). It fosters engagement between organisations and their consumers or potential prospects. An organisation can understand its consumers’ intent, sentiments and feedback.

It can proactively mould the brand attitude by fostering fast response time, accepting feedback and respond with the required action. The key role of digital marketing platforms is helping in delivering the desired results and strategies.

Basic Definitions and Terminology

Let us now study the basic definitions related to digital marketing which can help us understand the application of digital marketing:

  • A/B testing: The process of comparing two versions of a landing page, home page or any other Web page, E-mail, etc., with one varying element. It helps in analysing which element of digital marketing efforts is the best and can offer better reach and traffic.

  • Bounce rate: A metric that delineates the percentage of people who land on the website and leave without performing any other activity on the Web page. A visitor who leaves the website without clicking it is also known as a single visitor.

  • Landing page: It is a page on the website on which the visitor lands, which has been created for marketing or advertising campaign from Google Ads or similar other pages. This Web page has been specifically created to convert visitors of your website into potential leads. It is designed for a brand’s advertising or marketing.

  • Impressions: It is defined as the number of views of the ads. It is not action- based, but a mere showcase of ads on the user’s screen.

  • Banner ads: It is a form of creative visual content advertisement usually found on a website or mobile application.

  • Pay-per-Click (PPC): It is an advertising system in which the advertisers need to pay for each click produced for their websites.

  • Click-through Rate (CTR): It is the ratio of people who click on a specific link to the number of times people are exposed or have a view of that link.

  • Conversions: These are the desired actions marketers want from the visitors on their websites.

  • Cost-per-Click (CPC): It is the sum of money required to pay to produce each click on a digital advertisement.

  • Hypertext Markup Language (HTML): It is a language that is used to create a website by Web developers.

  • Keyword: It is a word or phrase that is used by the audience on search engines that can be used by businesses in their marketing campaign or in content marketing

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): It refers to improving the visibility of search engine results by making modifications in content and Web pages.

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM): It is a type of advertisement that allows an advertiser to bid for the keywords that people are typing in search engines. It helps show the search results that are typed by people on search engines.

  • Search Engines Result Page (SERP): It is a list of search results that appear on a search engine in response to a user’s search query.

  • Session: A number of interactions during a website visit within a given timeframe.

Components of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is an umbrella term that comprises various sets of digital media platforms to foster brand awareness.

Let us understand these components briefly:


It is one of the vital components of digital marketing. Optimising a website with creative and unique content facilitates a smooth experience to users on websites, microsites, blogs, etc. It helps in driving more visitors and leads through factors, such as creating positive impressions on visitors.


Search engine optimisation is a major component of digital marketing. It is the foundation of a good digital marketing strategy which works on pull marketing. Marketers use SEO to drive targeted traffic to their websites. Marketers optimise their websites, landing pages or blogs by inserting keywords which users or target audiences type in search engines.

It is a widely-adopted strategy to appear in the first-few pages of search engine results. It is used by marketers to drive inorganic traffic to their websites, landing pages and other online marketing assortments. These are paid advertisements over the Web through Google Ads, display banner ads, etc., in order to foster visibility and engagement.

E-mail Marketing

Sending personalised mails to the targeted audience is a lead-nurturing strategy adopted by organisations. E-mail marketing is an important component to maintain a longterm relationship with consumers. Organisations nowadays send follow-up mails, special discount offers over mails and specially customised mail on festivals to their potential leads.

Social Media Marketing

These days more than 2.3 million people are on various social media sites or mobile apps, which make social media a vital digital marketing tool. It helps in connecting with more and more potential consumers. It delineates the behaviour of potential consumers, their interest and key trends in the market.

Content Marketing

Quality content is important for digital marketing. Content that addresses the keywords that your audience types on search engines is pivotal for the success of the digital marketing strategy. Content marketing involves adding Call to Action (CTA) button, recycling past content, getting backlinks, etc., so as to navigate the website at the top of search results on the search engines.

Digital Marketing Process

Digital marketing process consists of various steps that help in understanding the working procedure of online marketing campaigns in the promotion of products and services on the Internet.

The process starts with attracting or enticing the potential customers in order to capture their attention and foster engagement which leads to successful conversions.

Let us understand these steps in detail:


The first phase of digital marketing is to create the visibility of the business, products or services. Visibility means reaching out to potential customers and letting them know about the organisation, products or services.

This can be done by optimising a website, microsite or a blog. Banner ads and display banners can also play a vital role in creating visibility on the Internet for business.


Getting traffic or potential consumers or client worldwide on the marketer’s website, landing page or blog is the second step in the digital marketing process. It needs various digital media platforms. Both inbound and outbound marketing can be used to get potential traffic.


Engagement strategies, such as online marketing campaign for the promotion of a website or creating offers or discount coupons on the website are performed at this stage in order to interact with prospects. Engagement involves performance of some of the activities on the website by the visitors.


This stage refers to the creation of leads which further transform into conversions. There are two types of conversions, one is micro and other is macro. Micro conversions are those leads where a visitor clicks on the ad or downloads the information bulletin to know about the business.

Such visitors might be interested in buying your products or services later. Macro conversions are those leads where a visitor’s action shows his genuine interest in buying the product or service.


It refers to the metrics to calculate ROI for the digital marketing campaign. In this stage, the marketer measures the performance of the marketing campaign. There are certain metrics available, such as Google Webmaster, to check the performance of SEO or Google Analytics to keep a track of Google Ads.

Therefore, performing these steps is necessary while promoting any business, product or service on the Internet.

Digital Marketing V/S Traditional Marketing

As you are now aware, digital marketing targets a specific audience which seems to have some sort of interest in the products or services. On the other hand, traditional marketing spreads a message among various groups and audiences in order to gain the attention of potential buyers from the market.

While traditional marketing targets the masses using media, digital marketing is all about a targeted audience. Digital marketing provides ample performance metrics and analytics that can help in improving the ROI. With the help of A/B testing, an organisation can optimise effective messages, contents, ads, layouts, images, etc.

The cost of digital marketing is based on an auction where the advertisers bid. Therefore, prices are fixed based on the quality score and bid, whereas the pricing of mass media advertising is based on fixedrate cards of advertisement space on print media or timeframe of commercial ads.

Digital marketing is quite impartial as it does not differentiate for small or large businesses because electronic media rates are the same for every business. The budget required for a digital marketing may vary, but an organisation with limited budget can plan a digital marketing campaign easily as there is no entry barrier in terms of cost.

Some major differences are presented in Table:

BasisTraditional MarketingDigital Marketing
Marketing typeIt is mass media advertising with clear and structured advertising campaigns.It is more of a targeted, interactive and measurable advertising.
StrategiesIt uses direct selling, radio, commercial ads, and print media such as billboards, newspaper ads, catalogues, brochure, etc.It uses advertisement on electronic media channels, such as Google Ads, ads on social networking sites, SEO, mobile marketing, etc.
CommunicationThe communication direction is one to many. The organisation spreads the information to many groups. Here, consumers only listen to the message of the organisation.The communication path is both ways, i.e., both the organisation and the consumers are involved in creating content as it is more interactive in nature
Easy to MeasureIt is not easy to measure the result of traditional marketing as no tracking and monitoring are possible in mass media advertising.With tools like Google Analytics, it is easy to measure the traffic and conversion rate on the websites, behaviour of traffic and other aspects that help in measuring the effectiveness of digital marketing efforts.
Response timeTraditional marketing is performed during working hours only. Therefore, response time is longer.Response time is fast as instant response can be possible for consumers’ negative feedback or review and proper follow up on consumers’ request can be possible (24×7).
LanguageThe language used in the content is formal or official and it should be legally safe.The language used can be direct, and genuine with short answers and personal responses.
Differences Between Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing

Multichannel Marketing

Nowadays, businesses are looking out for more and more channels or mediums to connect with users or prospects so as to get more visibility over the Internet. Be it Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Google search engine or any other channel, businesses are trying their best to create Web’s presence on almost all the platforms.

Digital marketing is treated as multichannel marketing as it refers to communicating with consumers or prospects using various combinations of direct or indirect channels or media such as website, social media, direct mail and mobile, etc.

The key focus of multichannel marketing is letting the consumer opt for the medium of communication. Whichever medium the consumer chooses, the organisation should offer information and persuade him to buy the product on that platform.

Multichannel marketing helps in gaining a competitive advantage as consumers have their own terms of communication from whichever medium they want to. Hence, consumers feel valued. Multichannel marketing also helps in gaining larger market access by placing focus on consumers’ preference. Therefore, it is important to have an integrated approach for multichannel marketing in order to manage all the channels effectively.

Running an isolated marketing strategy does not produce the desired results. Therefore, an organisation should follow an integrated approach of running a multichannel marketing approach in order to gain more reach and visibility.

Advantages of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is the new trend that every business needs to follow in order to keep up with the pace as it is the need of the hour to promote any product, service, idea or concept on the Internet.

Various advantages of digital marketing are as follows:

Easy Access to Information

Consumers can get rationalised access to information on websites. Also, they have access to the updated information, reviews and product comparisons. They can afford to provide feedback as it really helps a business to communicate with the consumers effectively.

Reduced Cost

As economic investment is much lesser than traditional marketing, digital marketing allows businesses to save money. Digital channel prices are the same for every type of business.

24 x 7 Availability

There is no time constraint as consumers can buy products any time with an access to the Internet. Instant purchase anytime, anywhere is possible with digital marketing.

Brand Development

Digital marketing helps in building a reputation over the Internet by fostering visibility. Also, with the help of ORM, businesses can facilitate a good brand image in the market.

Level Playing Field

For all marketers, digital marketing creates a level playing field as big budgets are not required to start digital marketing. Small and medium businesses can also use it to promote their goods and services.

Disadvantages of Digital Marketing

With too much dependability on the Internet and various security and privacy issues, digital marketing also involves various disadvantages which are discussed as follows:

Increased Competition

Because of easy access to the Internet and reduced cost of digital marketing channels, every business tries to promote its products and services over the Internet, which increases competition. Therefore, in order to be effective in the process, digital marketing strategies should be creative and unique.

Limited Conversions

With Google Ads, PPC, etc., every organisation desires to get a good number of leads, but it is a challenging task to gain potential leads that can result in successful conversions. It is important to observe the behaviour of online traffic so as to identify potential consumers.

Security Issues

Going online has a severe disadvantage of revealing private information to the unidentified person which might be used unethically. It is one of the major threats in digital marketing. However, there are various security precautions practiced by the organisation for a safe web experience for users.

Strategies can be Copied

Digital marketing fosters transparency in prices, products and strategies. Competitors can easily track the moves of its rival organisation by mapping its website traffic and content. Therefore, more chances of imitation of the content, strategies and pricing are possible.

Digital Consumers and Communities Online

India is the second most populated country in the world. Therefore, it possesses a huge number of Internet users. Such high number of Internet users are a huge potential to be converted into digital consumers. Hence, In India, there is a huge upside potential for digital marketing because of cheaper smart phones, creative content, cheaper mobile data and more security practices. The scale of e-commerce, online transaction, e-banking, online shopping, etc., are increasing and it will continue to grow in the upcoming years.

Another key aspect of digital marketing involves online communities. These are groups of people or social communities over the Internet that have similar nature of interest and intent in order to communicate, work together and pursue their interests over time.

In businesses, such communities help in creating productive and lasting relationships. Brand promotions and behaviour tracking of the target audience and competitors are much easier on online communities.

For example, LinkedIn is a platform where groups of people with professional interests have formed a social community to interact. Online communities are formed on websites, discussion boards, instant messaging apps or over e-mails.

Let us discuss the classification of online communities:

Social Media Communities

These communities are on social network sites, like Facebook, Twitter, etc., and are primarily used for communication, networking, and media sharing. For businesses, such platforms are used for broadcasting information, brand awareness, reaching out to a greater audience, advertising for a campaign, etc. Social communities are one of the most common type in all types of online communities.

Support Communities

Mobile applications like Uber, Zomato, etc., are the support communities where collaborations establish for sharing of products and services. Also, websites that provide tips and comparisons are known as support communities. These communities foster conversations related to products and services in a more structured way.

Advocate Communities

These communities are formed to foster the positive word of mouth. The basic activities of advocate community involves writing reviews, rank products or services, rewarding members to write a testimonial, etc.

Insight Communities

These communities are made up by a group of stakeholders which are generally consumers who are recruited in an online business environment to participate in research-related activities on a regular basis. A long-term relationship is established between a brand and consumers. High-quality consumers’ feedback is used to make productive decisions.

Action Communities

These communities run campaign to bring a social change. The members attain unity from the shared value. The challenge faced in such community is maintaining the interest when the change needs to come slowly.

Communities on the Basis of Circumstance

These communities address a particular cause or gather people together sharing same ideas and life phases like motherhood, addiction to drugs etc. The members look out for different types of information and they feel motivated by contributing and publishing bunch of the content of their own.

Professional Communities

These communities involve individuals sharing similar work experience and advice. Such communities ensure that members is advanced enough to awaken interest in the experienced professionals.

Interest Communities

These communities focus on a particular passion, hobby or brand. Such communities publish content that is engaging and entertains the members. Videos play pivotal role in creating such community as one can publish their own video and motivate others to upload video as well.

Digital Marketing Plan

Digital marketing plan is a document that shares how to implement digital marketing campaigns effectively. It is a roadmap of all the planning details of digital marketing actions that need to be taken. It delineates the objectives, target audiences, content marketing strategy, target audience demographics, channel strategy, budget and measurement for digital marketing.

Let us discuss these stages of creating a digital marketing plan in detail.

Setting Objectives

This is the initial step where the marketer identifies the objectives of digital marketing. Objectives could be brand awareness, consumer engagement, lead generation or performance measurement. It is important to decide performance metrics along with setting objectives. For example, if the objective is lead generation, then the metrics would be CTR (Click-through Rate), conversion rates and CPA (Cost per Acquisition).

Defining Buyers’ Persona

A digital marketing campaign targets various sets of potential buyers on the basis of past sales records and the best customer database. Consumers are not homogeneous. They are categorised under various heads. Therefore, it is important to identify and define multiple buyers’ persona. Buyers’ persona comprises demographic factors, such as age, gender, job title, location and education.

There are various factors that need to be identified, such as what are the goals of your consumers, their interest areas and what all touch-points are available to create visibility and engagement, identifying their needs of having the marketer’s products or services so as to create Unique Selling Proposition (USP) accordingly.

Creating Content Strategy

Content strategy must be developed by considering what worked in the past. Analysing each content type performance, such as blogs, videos, images, infographics, eBooks, games and webinars, creating unique content and disseminating it with trendy ideas can do wonders in digital marketing.

Deciding the Channels of Communication

The channels that a digital marketer can invest in range from the paid to earned or owned. It is important to opt for those channels where the target audience is present and also assess the cost involved in those channels.

Fixing the Timelines

It is important to create schedules to record which activities need to be performed and at what time and time intervals. Generally, a marketer prefers a week-wise content strategy and channel strategy to start with, which can further be delineated monthly.

Setting the Budget

It is important to decide how much budget or money will be invested in digital marketing. To determine the budget, marketers need to assess the role of digital marketing in the marketing communication mix. It is important for an organisation to know whether its products’ users are available online or not.

For businesses, like clothing, e-commerce, financial services and education sector, digital platforms are quintessential and they incur high cost in digital marketing. The cost incurredin creating a website, content creation and for paid campaigns across different media needs to be fixed at this stage.

Deciding Metrics

These metrics will be decided at the first stage only as they are dependent on the objectives. The measurement timeline and who will perform these performance measurements need to be decided at this stage. There are various key metrics like CTR, CPM which help the digital marketer to assess the digital marketing practices.

Article Source
  • Gupta, S. (2019). Digital Marketing (1st ed.). Mc Graw Hill Education.

  • Chaffey, D., Ellis-Chadwick, F., Isaac, H., Mercanti-Guérin, M., &Volle, P. (2017).

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