Digital marketing is the use of the internet, mobile devices, social media and other digital channels to serve advertisements and reach consumers. Forms of digital marketing include social media marketing, email marketing, websites etc. The most significant advantage it has over other forms of marketing is the massive and instantaneous reach of billions of users at virtually zero marginal cost. Internet marketing is a subset of digital marketing which exclusively utilises the internet and its applications such as search engines and social media.

Advertising through Social Media

Organisations are taking advantage of the networks built through social media to advertise their brands and products. Social media marketing allows the formation of closer relationships with consumers, engage with them directly which can foster goodwill if handled properly. A more direct approach to social media marketing is to purchase ad slots from social media providers who strategically place them based on each user’s browsing habits and other collected data. Social media marketing dominates marketing activity taking place through the internet with most brands having a social media presence on almost every major social media platform. The reach obtained in this way is unrivalled by any other medium of communication. However, this also makes companies susceptible to social ethical pressure through their social media handles which can result in damage to the brand if poorly managed.

Advertising through Search Engines

Search engines are used by those who browse internet to quickly find pages relevant to their searches. Most search engines earn an income by allowing advertisers’ results to appear with a higher ranking on relevant searches. This is an effective way to increase overall traffic but may be significantly more expensive.

Internet advertising companies

There are companies which specialise in serving advertisements over the internet. This market position is largely owed to the large amounts of user data harvested through from users who use their other products. Prominent companies engaged in this behaviour include Google and Facebook, which uses data gained from their search engines, social media platforms, video sharing platforms and instant messaging services to serve targeted advertisements to users. Businesses can make use of this by purchasing their services to have their advertisements appear to those who are most likely to click on them and obtain a significant boost in engagement relatively easily. More information about advertising in this way can be found at Google Ads Torquay.

Criticism and Social Responsibility

Internet activists and privacy advocates heavily criticise digital marketing due to its intrusive nature and the amount of data collected to serve advertisements effectively. This is also exacerbated by the fact that the advertisement industry is effectively an oligopoly with almost no chance for new entrants. Most users make liberal use of ad blocking software and actively avoid websites that do not respect their privacy. Therefore, companies hold a responsibility to not misuse or disclose to third parties the data collected and to ensure that their advertising is not harmful to the user experience or used to bring harm to society such as through the spread of misinformation.