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What is Digital Marketing | Digital Marketing for Dummies


 What is Digital Marketing | Digital Marketing for Dummies 


Digital Marketing as a search word brings up, not just very many of its definitions and descriptions, but blogs and articles that have explanations of strategies of digital marketing. Some courses on digital marketing also show up. Based on who is searching, all of it would mean simple, complex, or just plain ‘can’t get it’.

What then, to pick, to read? Well, since the choice has already been made for this time, it would not be a bad, next-level choice to read on, further.

Digital Marketing That Surrounds

Instead of starting off with a definition of Digital Marketing, let this one-on-one begin with Digital Marketing that is everyday flashes… digital marketing as it happens around.

        On a website, the annoying chat bots always looking to help

        Advertisement pop-ups of videos, banners or posters, on a site or an app that offer something more on top of what lead to it

        Emails of offers, surveys, notifications, or updates that may or may not have been subscribed to

        And SMSs screaming “You have been chosen to”, “Here is a special offer just for you” and so on…

        The Video Ads on Social Media, Apps, Blogs, News Articles, Streaming Services that can be skipped or not

        Then, of course, the obvious one, the TV-Ads ($$$ industry) that have turned out to be enjoyable, because of being more used to, creating multi-takers of people, at that

        Once, out in the air, if the phone can get a break, the bigger screens of hoardings, billboards can be seen doing the advertising

        Not to forget, the first form of mass communication, the invisible ads on the Radio, that takes the modern podcasts under its ambit

So, that’s Digital Marketing as it’s presented, and living up to its name.

Digital Marketing of the Background

There’s a more interesting, juicy side to Digital Marketing - What goes on in the background of Digital Marketing? How does it come to be? There is a lot to the concept of digital marketing and its ever-evolving methods, which might become easier in grasping with assumable situations.

So, emulating the way of Scenarios –

I.            A company of fashion (be it called ‘Fictional Fashions’), with a range of products, clothing to perfumes wants more consumers to buy its products. The first step would be to improve its visibility to its prospective customers  to even drive more traffic to its online website

Ensuring users came across the company’s website would require getting in the front row seat, which is figuring at the top of a search engine’s search result pages (SERPs) – the free and basic way of achieving this is through ‘SEO’ Search Engine Optimization. That’s one of the first concepts of digital Marketing

SEO could be defined as ‘Making content to be posted online ripe with words that are used most to search for things on the internet, in other words, the keywords, which when used, cause the search engines to throw such content each time at the top of the search results for queries’. For the sake of Fictional Fashions, it would mean something like “Women’s Ensemble”, “Women’s Dresses”, “Men’s Casuals”, “Mild Perfumes” etc.

Here, the Keywords SCREAM at the top of their voice and the search engines love it.

SEO is a passive technique of marketing, which is popularly known as Organic. It is also foundational for all of digital marketing.

Another interesting part of SEO is its technical side of things - the way search engines work. The SEO technique is based on how engines read, store and return information for viewing – the figure below shows the sequence.

What is digital marketing



What is Digital Marketing






Here, the KWs are Search Engines, Crawlers, Search Results Pages (SERPs), Search Results Ranking, “Keywords”, Indexing & SEO

Suitable Digital Marketing Courses: Digital Marketing Course by Henry Harvin, ‘Develop Your Marketing Skills’ on LinkedIn

II.            Going back to Fictional Fashions, if, by hook or crook, the business wanted to rank #1 in the search results of a search engine i.e. appear at the top of the search results’ first page, the hook is the payment to the search engine (Eg: Google - the company website with its short description becomes a Google ‘Ad’, which is a paid Ad) for featuring the website at the top, and the crook is the company itself

However, this idiomatic hook & crook is still disciplined and comes with a process called ‘SEM’ Search Engine Marketing.

SEM is used to beat the ever-growing competition of gaining customers - The Process begins with KNOWING YOUR KEYWORD, meaning the business has to research and find the most prevalent keywords (more than one) used by consumers to look for products it sells.

And, bid on those keywords or a group of keywords with a price, to get listed foremost in the search results whenever such a keyword is used to do a Google or a Bing search.

The scheme between Ads and Keywords is flexible in their pairing, is that one ad or a multiple could be used for 1 or more keywords. How to use the ad space is the strategy the businesses would work out as part of their SEM.

So much about ads and ad space to get to consumers, does not leave behind the quality the ads must be of. So, Ad Quality Score is a factor, besides Bidding Price that is counted towards winning an Ad Auction. Ad Quality tests relevance, content and presentation of the Ad.

The bidding price gets lodged as ‘PPC’ Pay-Per-Click, the amount the business is willing to pay to the search engine whenever a user clicks on its link.

How can bidding and pricing happen without an auction? – Yes, then, all this process happens as part of an auction for ad or ad space, where all companies that want to conquer are in an automated fight for it.

SEM is a dynamic process that begins when a user searches with a query.

PPC comes into picture with SEM, and can be considered a complete digital marketing strategy in itself. All the action the internet is made up of is clicks. Who and what makes it happen becomes entitled to an incentive of payment.

Precisely, PPC is a finer strategy of digital marketing that requires development and optimization with the input of several parameters.

Here, the KWs are SEM, Paid Advertising, Ad Auction, Ad Quality Score, Landing Pages, Pay-Per-Click, Tools for SEM and SEM-Analytics

Suitable Digital Marketing Courses: Digital Marketing Courses in India by Henry Harvin,Digital Marketing Masterclass’ on Udemy, ‘Search Engine Marketing’ at Great Learning Academy


III.            Fictional Fashions, now, wants to market its business through more avenues, more creatively – naturally, it needs to talk about the business more, kind of pushing it towards the customers and not wait until someone comes looking for the products it offers. The answer is to create Content about its offerings

An Example: Fictional Fashions can create a fashion blog about their fashion products, highlighting their specialties, such as, the materials could be sustainable, the ‘make’ of the products could be inspired by regional cultures, and the company could be promoting fair wages to workers and craftsmen.

With unlimited flexibility around creating it, Content can be a social media post (puts Social Media Marketing in the basket), a blog, a newsletter, an e-book, whitepapers, a video, a podcast -anything that is an ad-hoc means of connecting with consumers and can generate traffic to the main website of products or services for sales.

Form and Life of Digital Marketing is Content. Content can either be created or destroyed. The idea, here, however, stays with the creating part of it. Creative and interesting content can be made and deployed in different avenues to advertise about what exists out there for people to choose from. This brings out another digital marketing strategy called Content Marketing, which is the broadest of them all because ‘Content is King’ (with the permission of the Queen).

Here, the KWs are SEO (any readable content is to abide by the rule of search optimization and the keywords it should be using for it), Inbound Marketing, Content Strategy

Suitable Digital Marketing Courses: The digital marketing course by HH places right emphasis on creating content, ‘Content Marketing’ by HubSpot, ‘Fundamentals of Digital Marketing’ by Google Digital Garage, ‘Content Marketing for Professionals’ by Courseera


IV.            Fictional Fashions has increased its visibility from SEO, put itself at the top in a sure shot by SEM, took-up Content Marketing to reach more people through increased web presence. Now, it needs to reach more of the folks who are most likely to buy its product – how can customers be segregated?

Businesses to find categories of customers, in a good digital marketing terminology, what is called as Buyer’s Persona, enter the social media world. Around 2.5 billion users are active on Facebook every month. This brings the discussion to Social Media Marketing.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest are the top-most social media apps, but any other networking website with more than a few people connecting with each other could be used for Social Media Marketing. Reaching the most audience is the imperative.

Social Media has turned out to be like an open book about people, reflecting their personalities and personal choices, as well as professional. LinkedIn is an integral part of social media marketing, although it might not be evident at first, as it helps in gathering the most relevant details of demographics – gender, age, social status, earnings, location etc.

How do businesses market on Social Media?

For a small business, marketing on social media can be done, simply, with posts, or creating pages like that on Facebook or Instagram. For getting started, a business account is required. The account should identify the business, look and behave consistently across all social media sites it covers.

In advanced stages of marketing, social media ads can be used. Whole Ad-campaigns can be run by choosing when, where, how and who the ads are to be shown to, and on what budget. Taking the example of Facebook –

        Ad campaigns are created using Facebook Ad Manager

        Creation of Ad campaigns is based on lot of options that need to picked from – Ad Objective, Ad Budget, Ad Audience (Demographics), Ad Schedule, Ad Format, Ad Space or Placement

        Estimates of Conversion Rates, Consumer Traffic, # of Likes, and similar parameters are shown for the Ad Campaign while creating, predicting how it is going to fare

        Again, on FB too, like search engine ads with SEM, price for Ads depends on Ad Quality

        Ads can be made as a) videos, or b) just as rich text with graphics shown as slideshows, or by c) placing them in an user’s FB feed, in messenger chats, or on the sidelines

        There’s a special way an ad on Facebook can be displayed – it is the “Stories” format of the ad, where it is displayed full-screen vertically on mobiles for customers to shift their attention to nothing else. All-in-all it is a  ‘Very Very Ad World’

        An FB Ad can be chosen to be placed on multiple platforms, including Instagram, & Audience Network

Ways of Engaging Users

        Understanding people’s interests, choices, and limitations as related to what a business is offering – Analytics play a big role in this. No digital marketing will last long without taking user & marketing performance analytics into account

        Bringing together like-minded folks the form of Communities, & as followers of Pages

        Connecting with users on social site-specific chats like FB messenger chats, through online/offline Events to encourage probable customers to visit brick & mortar stores

        Business owners becoming Influencers – there are many Influencers on Social Media, marketing their work, ideas and business. Understanding them might bring some fresh and successful ideas to digital marketing strategies – some notable influencers on FB & picture-intensive Instagram are marketing gurus Vartika Kashyap, Kim Garst, Amanda Cerny, and a celebrity Cristiano Ronaldo

Social Media Marketing can be attached with as much glamour as can be. If Finances allow, businesses can use Influencers (celebrity status) in Social Media Marketing, or reach users with Influencer ads in myriad other ways. This puts Influencer Marketing, considered a distinct digital marketing strategy, into the basket.

What cannot be missed with marketing in social media?

        User Engagement, Feedback Loop, Connecting with followers, Reducing negative impact of spam

        CTA Call-to-Action sections in the post or account page that are slight prods to the user to take further action like registration, looking up new offers, giving feedback and suggestions, sharing their experience, providing reviews and such

        Clarity on where the “Explore More” like links, usually at the end of the posts, will take the user

Businesses allot separate teams for working with Social Media Marketing, which is turning out to be a sought-after skill and a beginning towards a career in digital marketing.

Here, the KWs are Social Media Ads, Call-To-Action (CTAs), Ad Analytics, Influencer Marketing, Buyer’s Persona

Suitable Digital Marketing Courses: Digital Marketing Course by Henry Harvin, ‘Digital Marketing Specialization’ by Courseera, ‘The Complete Digital Marketing Guide’ on Udemy.

Also Check Henry Harvin Other Courses:

      Content Writing Course

      Medical Writing Course

      Creative Writing Course


V.            As Digital Marketing is gone deeper and deeper into, it becomes focused on customers most suitable to a business, and reaching them impromptu. If Fictional Fashions is looking at finding customers in a specific geographic location or more personally reach its loyal customers , it would be time to consider adding Mobile Marketing to its list of digital marketing strategies

When mobiles are also devices in the network of the internet, what is unique to Mobile Marketing that it is treated as one digital marketing strategy? – Reaching people on-the-go, anytime, anywhere is what stands out about it.

Exclusivity of Mobile Marketing

 The SMS-way of reaching people has let businesses (figuratively) drive-up to their customers, kind of like digital-day delivery at door-step – Example: the facility of an empty text or a missed call from customers to a business, for service requests, while, say, watching a festive offer Ad for huge discount on services is an excellent way of keeping the customers in the loop in real-time. Same could go for product offerings, which when combined with targeting of customers based on geographical location, an advantage of mobile marketing, can increase physical visits of locals to the store – Fictional Fashions could call for quick responses from customers in the form of missed calls or replies to an automated text to sign-up for a trial of party make-over dresses, only available online, for the 1st 100 early birds.

That ought to encourage customers to have more faith in what is being bought by them online. If not for physical trials, Mobiles are optimized for augmented reality, which can be an integrated feature for customers to don attire without actually wearing it.

Mobile Marketing is also device-based digital marketing because the content and more importantly its format is to be optimized for display size, navigability, speed of loading the content from the web, and advanced features a mobile/smart phone can have, which also includes security. Smart mobiles are built on custom operating systems with capability of interfacing across multiple functions – linking between apps, scanning, generating codes. iPhones and Androids have constant updates for security, besides enhanced privacy. Marketing on mobiles, hereby, becomes increasingly customized.

Suitable Digital Marketing Courses: Digital Marketing Course by Henry Harvin, ‘PG Program in Strategic Digital Marketing’ at Great Learning Academy


VI.            Fictional Fashions, as of yet, has put in digital marketing efforts in first person for desired business returns. However, in the case that it has detected that it is still missing out on buyers, and also has an idea of expanding the scope of its business to include fashion from other independent businesses, Fictional Fashions can opt for a helping hand

The helping hand would be of a partner, also known in the title of ‘Affiliate’. Affiliates in marketing would be someone aiding in product or service promotion with the ultimate goal of a sale via the offering’s link on the Affiliate’s website, for which they earn a commission. And, that’s Affiliate Marketing – marketing through someone outside of the business. Any retailer with online presence can run an Affiliate Marketing Program.

Affiliate Marketing also has big names behind it. Amazon has its Affiliate Program. Take Shopify, which has a globally successful Partner and Affiliate Programs, where Affiliates are established content creators, educators in the field of ecommerce, digital marketing and other fields of business.

The way it works – Since Shopify is an ecommerce system, a hosting platform for businesses, educators or content creators promote Shopify to their client-businesses - if a business is new, and wanting to go online, it is encouraged to use Shopify as the platform.

Other examples of Affiliate Marketers, which would feel very familiar, are websites that review Electronics and Tech – AppleInsider.com is an affiliate partner of Gazelle, which is a reseller of used electronic devices. AppleInsider.com is also an affiliate of Amazon.

To start off being an Affiliate Marketer, one should have a niche, that is an interest, a skill and experience in a subject or a topic, based on which the marketer could own a business or just have a content website, like a blog, where the products or services that are of the category of the niche, can be promoted.

Some examples of businesses that have Affiliate Programs, considered good for anyone looking to becoming an Affiliate Marketer are

        Amazon – Amazon Associates, Business Type: eCommerce

        Shopify – Shopify Affiliate or Shopify Partner, Business Type: eCommerce platform, Web Design, Development and Hosting for businesses

        ShareASale – ShareASale Affiliate, Type: Affiliate Marketing Network (of Marketers and Merchants)

        Fiverr – Fiver Affiliates ‘Fiverr CPA’ & ‘Fiverr Hybrid’, Business Type: Freelance Services

        Coursera – Coursera Affiliate (through LinkShare network), Business Type: Online Education

 The average commission for affiliates has been between 5%-30%, but many businesses have lucrative schemes and higher amounts of commission.

As for Fictional Fashions, an avid world traveler with a blog or YouTube channel and a keen eye for couture, OR a stylist with clients can be promising affiliates and vice-versa. It is a two-way street.

Suitable Digital Marketing Courses: Digital Marketing Course by Henry Harvin, ‘Affiliate Marketing’ by Great Learning Academy


VII.            Fictional Fashions is far out on its journey of digital marketing, perhaps at a stage where the customers are well-educated about it. However, it needs to keep contact with consumers or existent customers, constantly and aim for retention – It perhaps needs to think about personalization, customer funneling and a higher ROI strategy

Why should businesses reach customers dearly? – Dearly meaning addressing a customer directly or personally, even when not face-to-face – simply because, the impact is said to be greater. Statistics show an increase of 10% in the number of people who buy from the business that reaches them with a personalized message.  Thus, Email Marketing comes into picture, which is one of the highest ROI Return-On-Investment strategies of digital marketing, as it is effective and can be done without having to invest in high-end marketing tools.

There are different stages of buying that customers can be at, which are a) knowing about a product, b) considering its purchase, and then, c) actually buying it. With this information, businesses can remarket their products to existing, or, familiar & hesitant customers with emails.

In Email Marketing, the bounce or undelivered rate for emails is to be kept a tab on. Otherwise, it is a strategy that provides a reliable insight into a consumer’s response to a business’s reaching attempt and also, implicitly their impression of that business.

Suitable Digital Marketing Courses: Digital Marketing Course by Henry Harvin, ‘Mega Digital Marketing Course’ on Udemy


Concepts of Digital Marketing

The digital marketing strategies/methods, discussed hereto, contain several underlying concepts that fructify them, and without which the understanding of digital marketing would be forgettable. Few of these concepts have been surmised, here.

Buyer’s Persona – ‘KNOW THY CUSTOMER’

It is the profile of a consumer, as recorded through their behavior on the web, and as gathered from the information available on them on the internet, as well as from registrations and sign-ups. It basically tells a business about the choices and preferences of the consumer, which helps in displaying suitable ads at appropriate times and following up with them for subsequent buying (Targeted Marketing).

*With detailed Buyer Personas, a business can get focused on its most valuable customers, creating brand advocates out of them.

CTR Click-through-Rate

Clicking through is clicking on an Ad when it gets displayed to a user, in whatever format. It could just be a link to a product’s website that appeared in Google search. The Click-through-Rate is the number of times the link or ad was clicked versus number of times it was displayed.

*CTR is a metric used to measure the performance of advertising (campaigns). 2-5% is considered a good CTR across all advertising and its platforms, like Facebook, Youtube, Blogs, or Organic Search Ads.

*CTR contributes to the quality score of an Ad.

CRO Conversion Rate Optimization

CRO is about making the most of a user’s visit to a business’s website. It doesn’t matter what kind of page or content. CRO is ultimately about converting a user or a consumer to a buyer, but it can be applied at any stage of a user’s experience or interaction, under various contexts.

Conversion happens whenever a user takes an action when called to, through a CTA Call-to-Action.

Examples: a) If a user is on a website of academia, a pop-up to download a research paper or an e-book is a CTA and if the user downloads it, it becomes a Conversion. b) A successful sign-up from a user is a Conversion. The sign-up form or its link is a CTA. c) Clicking on a link or a button to read more on product features is a Conversion, and the final one would be ‘Adding to Cart’ and making a purchase, converting a user to a Buyer.

Conversation Rate is a metric that is calculated based on number of visits to a site or a page, to, the number of conversions for those visits.

Consumer Funnel or Marketing Funnel

The funnel of marketing holds consumers at different stages of buying, to know how far a consumer is from being bottled-up as a customer (pun intended).

As referred to in Email Marketing, the 3 broad stages of buying are Awareness, Consideration and Purchase, depending on which, consumers or leads are subjected to relevant digital marketing strategies to convert to customers and retain them.

This funnel helps businesses know where to put their marketing efforts and achieve high ROI.

Those were the few customer-oriented digital marketing concepts. It needs to be pointed out that there are many more concepts that one might come across as a repeating terminology in digital marketing. Below are a few links, recommended for reading more on the never-ending concepts of digital marketing. Digital Marketing Courses, so many available as short ones, are the best source to take on some serious learning.



The intention of this article was to bring Digital Marketing in an open view of sunny skies for a brighter, simpler understanding of it, instead of opening a barrage for a flood of terminology that needs to be followed one after the other to get a consolidated idea of what must, even, be happening.

Hopefully, bringing this amount of content together will help get started with interested folks, looking at digital marketing as a subject, skill, profession or a means to market.

The ‘Good to Know More’ Questions

1.      What are Ad Impressions and Ad Attributions?

Ad Impressions are the number of times an Ad is displayed (to users or viewers) anywhere on the web. 

Ad Attributions are clicks on the Ad. If a user just sees an Ad and does not follow through with it by clicking it, it is only counted as an (Ad) Impression.

2.      What is AdSense?

Google has a marketing program called AdSense. There are 3 parties involved in AdSense - one is Google, acting as a mediator and moderator, the other is a business that is termed as an Advertiser, looking to advertise itself. The third is the Publisher to serve the purpose of publishing ads.

A Publisher can be any website owner with their own, established content. With AdSense, publishers just use an AdSense code to embed in their website that fetches ads from Google Network of Content. Google governs the display format, periodicity and content of the Ads.

This hosting of third party advertisements is monetized by the website owners/publishers, which is akin to Affiliate Marketing. AdSense is used by over 10 million websites.

3.      What are some good marketing tools (software)?

Marketing tools can be used for marketing analysis, marketing automation, creating digital marketing content, and more. Some that can be taken into consideration –

        Google Analytics – Free tool for marketing analysis

        MailChimp – Email Marketing, Automation, Creating Content, Analytics

        SEMrush – SEO

        Canva or Creepy – Graphics Creation for Marketing

        Hotjar – Analytics on user behavior

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