A Guide to Demystifying Digital Marketing

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For the non-marketing specialist and even for those who do specialise in marketing, the world of digital marketing can be a confusing and complex environment. The umbrella term of digital marketing actually refers to a wide range of individual elements, each of which plays an important factor in the marketing strategy for many organisations.

According to a study by We Are Social the amount of time spent online is growing and growing and as you can see in the graph below, the average adult spends a significant amount of time each day connected to the Internet. Because of this, the digital world is no longer just an environment that marketers consider as part of their strategy but is now the core hub that defines how they will market out. This feature will explain some of the key concepts within digital marketing and help to explain the tactics and tools available to you and your organisation.

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What Does Digital Marketing Mean?

Digital marketing can be defined as an umbrella term for the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium. This can include a wide range of elements such as websites, advertising, search engines and search engine optimisation (SEO), web advertising, social media and anything else that’s available via a digital platform or technology.

Key Digital Marketing Terms and Tactics

CPC – Cost Per Click. This refers to the cost for an individual click onto a digital advert as a percentage of the amount of money spent to deliver the campaign. For example if an organisation paid £1000 for a campaign and received 10 clicks the CPC rate would be £100.

CPM – Cost paid per 1000 impressions of a single advert onto a webpage or website. For example if an organisation was charged £20 CPM you would be paying £3 for every 1000 times an advert appears on a webpage.

CTR – Click Through Rate. Another important acronym and one that refers to the engagement your audience has with a campaign they see. For example if they received and email and you had a CTA (see above) to encourage them to visit your website, if 100 people saw it and 2 people clicked to the website then you have a 2% CTR. This is also important in measuring email marketing.

Display Advertising – Think of this like a printed advert except on the Internet. Most websites you visit will have adverts display in certain areas of a webpage – these are called display adverts.

Ebook – An Ebook is quite simply a digital book or asset. They can often be more visual than a standard printed book and incorporate more graphics and so on, but form a powerful asset for marketing engagement by providing information on a subject through a digital file displayed like a book.

Email – Electronic Mail. Most of us are familiar with email these days as the defacto form of communication where you send an electronic message from one account to one recipient

HTML – Hyper Text Markup Language. Try not to be too overloaded as that may sound like it’s extremely complicated and in truth it is. From a marketers perspective all that truly needs be understood is that it refers to a computing language used to write and create web pages and a lot of emails are also built using it. If you hear someone refer to sending an HTML email it won’t be the sort of email you would send via something like Microsoft Outlook or Gmail, but think of it as the polished emails with embedded visuals etc you might get from someone like Amazon. They will form the core of how you send marketing emails for your organisation.

Impression – An impression in marketing terms refers to a single impression of a digital advert being displayed on a website. Each time a page is loaded or a visitor opens a web page they will generate impressions of content and advertising. In the context of a digital advertising campaign impressions are often a term used to measure the metrics of a campaigns duration and scale.

Landing Page – Typically this refers to a specific page who will use to drive traffic to from a campaign. For example if you’re promoting a free Ebook as part of your campaign, you might host this on a dedicated web page with a form to capture information – see gating – before providing access to the Ebook itself.

Microsite – A microsite is typically used to refer to a “smaller” website somewhere between a landing page and your main website. A microsite is often used for the promotion of a specific campaign, product or message. For example if you wanted to create a promotion on one element of your organisations offering, with distinctive or different branding where you would drive all of your traffic to, you might create a specific microsite for this purpose.

PPC – Pay Per Click. This is an online/ digital advertising method that is based upon setting a fixed amount of money into promoting search results of adverts. The cost is calculated based upon a fee each time someone clicks onto that link or advert and visits the website associated to it.

PPL – Pay Per Lead. Similar to CPL, this campaign is based upon paying a fixed amount of money for an agreed number of qualified leads.

Podcast – A podcast is an audio (and sometimes video) recording created as an asset for an audience to download. For example a radio station may record there early morning show and host it online as a podcast. The results of this mean that it can be used by a wider audience than just those available at the time of the live event.

Search Engine – The most notable examples of search engines are sites such as Google, Bing and Yahoo and are websites designed to assist with searching and navigating the Internet.

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation. A crucial component of the strategy behind a website and the process that determines it appears – and the rank in which it is listed – on search engine results. The process involves elements such as selecting and adding key words and phrases within a website/ web pages effectively to increase the rank in which they appear when searched for within a site such as Google.


Types of Digital Advertising

Within the world of digital marketing there are a few ways in which you can create and promote adverts to your audience to help you drive awareness or new business. Below we have listed a few of the less understood methods – some more complex than others:

  • Display advertising. Organisations can purchase digital adverts in a range of ways to promote their product or service on other websites or locations. Typically these are purchased on a CPM basis (see above) and can be chosen to either appear on specifically chose websites or via groups of websites appropriate to an audience.
  • Retargeting. Normally the % of visitors to a website that convert or click via a display advert the first time is very low and often a retargeting (can be thought of as remarketing) approach is taken. Organisations can purchase a campaign, again usually on a CPM basis, that will “follow” a user beyond just the first website they visit. Ever gone to Amazon and then noticed that Amazon adverts appeared on Facebook later that day when you went there? This is retargeting in action. It works by using cookie-based technology to anonymously follow or “re-target” a user to other websites they visit by embedding a very tiny piece of code. Retargeting comes in a number of formats and can be done by specifying variables such as the type of user to target, specific websites or pages or the journey they take beyond an initial website.
  • Pay Per Click or PPC. Defined above in essence, but PPC is a way in which an organisation will purchase the ability to force their website or advert to appear prominently in certain places to encourage user interaction. The campaign is charged based upon the cost of a user clicking on that advert or link. Whether it’s paying for adverts on specific terms/ keywords on search engines, on websites or social media, PPC can be a valuable way for organisations to actively set a specific budget and then deploy their message to a target audience.
  • Native Advertising. This is a type of advertising that has become more common in recent years as our use of technology grows and the amount of content and adverts saturates users more and more. Native advertising works by creating material in a website or publication which closely resembles the owners own content but is in fact paid for by an advertiser and intended to promote the product or service of that organisation. It works by seeming less of an obvious “sales pitch” or advert and blends into the originating website.

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