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What Is The Difference Between Digital And Online Marketing?

What Is The Difference Between Digital And Online Marketing?

“Digital” and “online” marketing sound almost synonymous, but are they really? Not quite. One is actually part of the other. However, they both work together to create a rich and multifaceted marketing world.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a term for marketing on platforms and devices that don’t need the internet. For instance, an ad playing on a gas station pump is digital marketing. It’s in video format, but the gas pump isn’t using the internet to show it to you. Television commercials, then, are digital marketing too. They show you an advertisement, but from the channel you’re watching.

Online Marketing

Online marketing is actually under the digital marketing umbrella, as it uses digital platforms to promote or transmit information about products and services. However, online marketing uses the internet to show its information. Think about the last time you used YouTube on your phone. Was there an ad before, or in the middle of, the video? That ad counts as online marketing, since you had to be on the internet to see it. Another example is sponsored posts on social media. They may look like any other post while scrolling past, but when you take a closer look, they’re really just ads.

To put it simply, all online marketing is digital marketing, but not all digital marketing is online marketing.

What are some forms of Digital and Online Marketing?

Digital and online marketing take many forms, known as “channels.” No one channel is more universally effective than another; it’s all about combining them in the best way for your particular business.

Digital Channels

Video Production Marketing

  • You can use videos to advertise your business.
  • Consumers share videos often, especially ones they feel strongly about.
  • Can gain viral status, if enough consumers enjoy and share it.


SMS (Text Message) Marketing

  • Builds a database to increase customer loyalty.
  • Opt-in text messaging sends consumers promotional messages.
  • As easy as writing a short email.


TV Advertising

  • A classic way to promote a business.
  • Reaches a large audience, especially if timed right.
  • Commercials during big events, like the Super Bowl, are proven to spur large increases in revenue.


Video Games

  • A truly interactive medium.
  • More people play video games than ever before.
  • Consumers remember what they have fun with.

Online Channels

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

  • Helping search engines find your content with keywords.
  • Moves you towards the top of lists like Google and Bing.
  • Don’t have to pay for it, making it different than Search Engine Advertising.


Email Marketing

  • A classic type of online marketing, has been around almost as long as the internet.
  • Builds a loyal customer database, much like SMS.
  • Customers get promotions, discounts, and news to keep them interested and returning.


Content Marketing

  • Can be either digital or online.
  • Multipurpose, can raise awareness, promote product, grow site traffic, or retain current customers.
  • Takes many forms: Blog post, podcast, video, etc.


Social Media Marketing

  • Marketing on social media: Facebook Ads, Twitter, etc.
  • These sites are popular, so a lot of people will see your business.


Website Marketing

  • The other forms of marketing can draw traffic here
  • Good web design gets attention and retains customers
  • Mobile-friendly design is important for customers on their phones.

Why is Digital Marketing so Important?

In today’s world, almost everything is digital, from the newspaper to the time. Marketing and advertisements should naturally follow, so the consumers see the businesses.

What are some types best for?

Some types of digital marketing have different strengths:

Smartphone Marketing

  • Reaching more people, in a more personal-seeming way. It’s easy to take a video and post it to TikTok, or another app, and have many consumers see it. You could take that same video, send it to one or two consumers, and have them believe your relationship is more personal. This makes them think more positively of your business.
  • A recent study showed that smartphone users consumed more digital minutes than desktop users.

Email Marketing

  • Tried and true; one of the oldest types of digital marketing.
  • Between newsletters, promotions, and confirmation emails, they build a personal relationship between brands and consumers.
  • A report from Campaign Monitor shows that 82% of B2B and B2C companies use email marketing.

Social Media Marketing

  • Best for building relationships. If you’re on a site where people connect with friends, they’ll associate your brand with friends and positive emotions.
  • Tailor your social media presence to target audiences; i.e. TikTok for younger audiences, LinkedIn for established professionals, etc.
  • Add social media share buttons to your website and blog to boost traffic.

Blogs, Website, and SEO

  • They all work together to put your business towards the top of search engines.
  • A local site leads to more local customers, especially if it’s mobile-friendly.
  • Improving SEO is a high priority for many businesses today.

Video Marketing

  • A video on a website’s homepage gets attention, and attention gets customers.
  • Videos are shared more often than written content.
  • A short, positive video will make your brand stick out in customers’ minds.

Making it Work for You!

Every type of marketing is different, and you can’t just rely on one. You have to mix and match, learn the best combination for you. For instance, a snack food company marketing to teenagers would do best with SMS, Social Media and Video marketing, especially aimed at apps like TikTok or Snapchat. Hungry teens aren’t often looking for blogs, after all. On the other hand, a business software would have better luck with emails, blogs, organic SEO and social media aimed at Facebook and LinkedIn.

In Conclusion

Both forms of marketing fall under the Digital Marketing umbrella. There are many channels of both, and each one has its own pros and cons. There’s no “one size fits all” approach to digital marketing, merely a lot of mixing and matching; trial and error. You may find that your business has a rather unexpected blend of successful channels, but if it works, then it’s not wrong. Try to find your perfect mix!

There are a lot of digital guides and tools that can help your business move from A to B. However, if you need help you can reach out to a digital agency.

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Faith Leah Lim
Faith Leah Lim

Marketing & Communications Manager

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