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8 Types of Digital Marketing: Which Is Right For You?

WVU Online | Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Digital marketing is a rapidly growing field. With job opportunities at every turn and a constantly expanding industry, it can be difficult to pin down the types of digital marketing and where you fit into the industry. Simply put, finding your niche can be hard in an industry that is always evolving.

Some of the areas of digital marketing that are most popular are social media marketing, paid advertising, content marketing and influencer marketing. The ads that you see on websites and social media platforms are classic examples of digital marketing, but other forms of digital marketing are a brand’s social media account or the content you see from influencers on Instagram.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is one of the fastest-growing areas of marketing. As new technologies emerge, marketers have to be quick to respond to them. Digital marketing used to be just a component of the umbrella of marketing, but now, it has grown into its own industry with all kinds of terms and areas of expertise within it. There are campaigns run entirely through digital marketing and agencies dedicated to digital marketing solely.

Joe Gura profile image.

For Joe Gura, WVU instructor and Director of Global Partner Enablement and Customer Events at Microsoft, digital marketing is an exciting field because it allows him to do things he has always been interested in.

"I love being able to tell a story through data, through numbers, just through words and what are the different ways we can get it across the different mediums," he said. "If I can do that in my work, I'm a happy guy. Never be afraid to make something better, to look at something and go, Well, if it can be better, let's try it. Let's not be afraid to make a mistake. Let's not be afraid to learn something."

Digital marketing is a field that is constantly evolving and requires constant learning. As Joe said, it means you can’t be afraid to make a mistake in the pursuit of making something better.

The Importance of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is more important than ever. Some would even argue that digital marketing is more important than traditional marketing strategies. As people are spending more time online and on their phones, digital marketing becomes the best strategy to meet a target market where they are.

Digital marketing has become the go-to solution for many businesses and agencies due to its ease of access, quick turnaround time and budget. It helps a business with retaining its current customers as well acquiring new ones. Social media is one of the best tools for a company to retain their current customers and engage with them, and it also provides an opportunity for a business to reach new customers.

Digital marketing is vital to a business’ marketing mix as digital marketing is the space where potential consumers are able to interact directly with a business. It allows potential consumers to build a relationship with a brand. This usually creates a loyal customer that will buy from you again and again.

What Makes a Good Digital Marketer?

To be a good digital marketer, you need to be someone who is quick to respond to change and adopt new technologies, has a passion for social media and can work well under pressure and tight deadlines. Digital marketing is a field that combines creativity, strategy and technology.

Digital marketers are:

  • Adaptable
  • Problem Solvers
  • Curious
  • Leaders
  • Strategic
  • Creative
  • Tech savvy
  • Persistent

Digital marketers are passionate about social media and new technology. They are aware of trends on social media. They are also persistent in their efforts and have a love of learning. Digital marketing skills can be taught, but interest and passion are something you should already have.

8 Types of Digital Marketing

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is one of the most well-known areas of digital marketing, although they are not interchangeable terms. Social media marketing is a large foundation of digital marketing, and it focuses on the use of different social media platforms for a brand, company or business. While social media is something everyone is familiar with, digital marketers approach social media marketing through the lens of strategy.

Social media marketing and management is a prominent force on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest and Snapchat. Twitter, now known as X, used to be a popular platform for brands for social media marketing and paid advertisements, but many brands have left that platform due to a rise in hate speech on the platform.

Social media marketing intersects with other practice areas within digital marketing, and it requires a truly integrated approach to be effective. It blends creativity with strategy and data.

According to Forbes, the social media advertising market is set to soar to an astounding $207.10 billion in 2023 and ultimately to $247.30 billion by 2027. With growth like that, job opportunities will continue to grow for social media marketers.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is used to retain a current audience and attract new customers by creating and sharing relevant articles, videos, pictures and other media. Content marketing has overlaps with social media marketing.

In addition to the social media platforms with social media marketing, content marketing also uses a business’ website or other websites for blogs, podcast guest placements and other content on the internet.

Content marketing plays a major role in increasing the reach of new customers and boosting a brand. The industry is projected to grow globally by $584.02 billion by 2027, creating new opportunities for content marketers. With the emergence of new technologies and industries, this will continue to expand into new sectors.

Influencer/Affiliate Marketing

Influencer marketing, also known as affiliate marketing, is a field of digital marketing that is well-known due to the popularity of influencers. Influencer marketing is where a personality, usually a social media star or celebrity, promotes your product or service to their followers. Contracts guide influencer marketing as they detail what exactly is expected from the influencer and what is expected from the company in terms of payment.

Influencer marketing is growing as younger generations place more trust in influencers rather than more traditional marketing methods. Digital marketers who have expertise in influencer marketing are highly sought after due to the rapid growth of this newer industry.

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the influencer marketing industry is set to grow to approximately $21.1 Billion in 2023. Additionally, TikTok has become the most popular platform for influencer marketing, surpassing Instagram and Facebook.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is fairly self-explanatory, but a key skill that can be overlooked in these roles is creativity in copywriting. Email marketing can be difficult as a business and its message has to break through the clutter of other emails and marketing materials an individual receives in their inbox. One of the keys to effective email marketing is to optimize content for mobile viewing.

While previously thought to be a shrinking industry, email marketing has actually been on the rise as companies have reported increasing their email marketing budgets. Small businesses especially find great success and a high ROI on email marketing.

Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is a mix of marketing practices and channels that are unique to having a smartphone. SMS or text message marketing is a popular tactic that falls within mobile marketing, but other tactics can be overlooked as SMS marketing has become synonymous with mobile marketing. Mobile marketing also encompasses ads on mobile apps or push notifications.

In 2023, it was projected that mobile ad spend would surpass desktop ad spending for the first time in industry history. This shows a shift in the industry as focus hones in on mobile marketing — a place where target markets can be reached easiest.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is the practice of getting a business to appear higher in search result rankings. Traditionally, this has been on search engines like Google or Bing, but the shift of some social platforms means that SEO has to expand beyond its typical platforms.

Younger consumers are using social media platforms to find things rather than search engines.

TikTok specifically has seen a major increase in the use of its search feature for products rather than people, and it has invested in this feature as a search engine function.

With these kinds of changes happening in front of our eyes, the opportunity and potential in SEO roles are growing rapidly. Wouldn’t it be exciting to be one of the first people to crack these practices on a new platform or technology?

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is a route that is traditional marketing. What makes it digital marketing is its placements on websites, search engines and social media platforms. Think about some of the ads you have seen as you have scrolled on social media or browsed the internet. This is exactly the job of the paid digital advertiser.

In paid digital advertising, there are many skills that one needs. Creativity and strategic thinking are musts, and you must be quick on your feet to respond to changing algorithms and guidelines. Additionally, knowledge of media buying and placements is helpful for these roles.

Paid advertisers also must be team players and able to collaborate and communicate. Digital advertising often supports other marketing communications functions, so you must be able to work across teams and disciplines. In an integrated campaign, digital paid advertising serves to amplify a message that a company is already sharing using practices like social media marketing, influencer marketing and content marketing.

According to Investopedia, the growth in digital advertising continues to grow by double digits on an annual revenue basis, with total spending reaching $209.7 billion in 2022, a year-over-year increase of 10.8%. With no signs of slowing down, this area of digital marketing is a prime field for aspiring digital marketers.

Marketing/Data Analytics

Marketers often make the joke that they got into the industry because they never liked math or numbers. Don’t be fooled — data is vital to the success of any marketing campaign, no matter your media channels.

Marketing analytics is a growing field as the industry begins to shift toward data-driven campaigns rather than creative-driven campaigns. While creativity is still important, it means very little if it does not resonate with or reach the right audience or market. This is where marketing analytics comes in to help guide campaign development and assist in evaluation to help shape future campaigns.

In marketing analytics, you’ll learn to track things like:

  • How much time a customer spends on a webpage
  • How many times a customer clicks on a link
  • How many times a customer opens an email
  • Which sources a potential customer came from

As the desire for data-driven campaigns ramps up with businesses, the need for data-savvy and numbers-driven marketers is on the rise which creates more job opportunities for the industry.

Are You Interested In Starting a Career in Digital Marketing?

Now that you know the potential in different areas of digital marketing, you should know that WVU Online is here to help guide you through the process of learning about digital marketing and finding which area is best for you!

Learn the skills all digital marketers need, plus the knowledge and certifications that fit your specific interests in the field. If you’re ready to take the leap, don’t hesitate to explore everything WVU Online has to offer and how they can help you reach your career goals.

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