Digital Marketing

By: Jeremy Kurian

Digital marketing is an umbrella term for the targeted, measurable, and interactive marketing of products or services using digital technologies to reach and convert leads into customers. The key objectives are to promote brands, build preference and increase sales through various digital marketing techniques. It is embodied by an extensive selection of service, product and brand marketing tactics, which mainly use the Internet as a core promotional medium, in addition to mobile and traditional TV and radio. Digital marketing activities include search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) , content marketing, influencer marketing, content automation, e-commerce, social media marketing, social media optimization, e-mail direct marketing, display advertising, e–books, etc.

In simplistic terms, digital marketing is the promotion of products or brands through one or more forms of electronic media. Digital marketing differs from traditional marketing in that it involves the use of channels and methods that enable an organization to analyze marketing campaigns and understand what is working and what isn’t, typically in real time.

Why is Digital Marketing Important?

Digital media are so pervasive that consumers have access to information any time and any place they want it. Gone are the days when the messages people get about your products or services come from you and consist of only what you want them to know. Digital media are an ever-growing source of entertainment, news, shopping and social interaction, and consumers are now exposed not just to what your company says about your brand, but what the media, friends, relatives, peers, etc., are saying as well. And they are more likely to believe them than you. People want brands they can trust, companies that know them, communications that are personalized and relevant, and offers tailored to their needs and preferences.

What Does a Typical Digital Marketing Campaign Include?

It is common to see some digital marketing campaigns with:

  • Search engine marketing: Either through a content strategy and SEO or through paid search advertising.
  • Social media promotions: paid advertising on Facebook, as well as promotions on Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.
  • Mobile marketing promotions: development of native apps that are available via Google Play and iTunes
  • Email marketing: promotions of products or services through email marketing campaigns

Challenges Faced by Digital Marketers

  • A wide variety of platforms and behaviors. Consumers use multiple digital channels and a variety of devices that use different protocols, specifications and interfaces – and they interact with those devices in different ways and for different purposes.
  • Intense competition. Digital channels are relatively cheap, compared with traditional media, making them within reach of practically every business of every size. As a result, it’s becoming a lot harder to capture consumers’ attention.
  • Exploding data volumes. Consumers leave behind a huge trail of data in digital channels. It’s extremely difficult to get a handle on all that data, as well as find the right data within exploding data volumes that can help you make the right decisions. It’s not enough to just know your customers; you must know them better than anybody else so you can communicate with them where, when, and how they are most receptive to your message. To do that, you need a consolidated view of customer preferences and expectations across all channels – the web, social media, mobile, direct mail, point of sale, etc. Marketers can use this information to create and anticipate consistent, coordinated customer experiences that will move customers along in the buying cycle. The deeper your insight into customer behavior and preferences, the more likely you are to engage them in productive interactions.


It is important to know the differences between the different marketing theories so that you can select the most appropriate tools to use in your campaigns. Digital marketing is the future of marketing and will gradually gain more ground. Social media, on the other hand, is a new way to connect with other people. It is part of digital marketing and it’s here to change the way we find new customers and promote our products.


Is Mobile Advertising Dead?

By: Nick Pappalardo

With the introduction of Apple’s new iOS 9, there comes a new hidden feature. Apple’s newest update has software capable of blocking online mobile advertising content. This software is based off of Safari’s already existing content blocking capabilities on the Mac OSX operating system. This is not the first effort to block mobile advertisements though. Applications such as Crystal and Purify are available on the App Store, and offer the ability to block mobile advertisements. These apps also promise things such as decrease page load time as well as extended battery life, all from blocking mobile ads. However, this new software could significantly hurt mobile advertising revenue.

According to Google, there are now more searches on its browser using mobile devices and smartphones than on desktops. There is a convenience factor with mobile devices that allows users to look up a topic easily on the go rather than waiting to use a physical computer. However, desktops still account for 56% of all online sales. Smartphones produce three times more traffic than they do sales. This suggests that more people use smartphones to research products first, then use a desktop to purchase the actual item. All this increase in heavy mobile traffic has shifted advertisers to increase their mobile advertising spending. In 2015, mobile advertising spending will account for 49% of all advertising spending. This number is expected to increase in 2016 to well over 60%.

So why exactly do smartphone users hate mobile ads so much? According to research done at Dartmouth College, four out of ten mobile users say they don’t even notice mobile ads. 70% of people say they are “too busy” to even acknowledge mobile ads and do not retain any information they may provide. 54% of mobile users feel frustrated, while another 69% feel annoyed when a mobile ad disrupts their browsing. Mobile internet browsing seems to be based “on the go”. A study has shown that mobile browsing rarely exceeds 15 minutes, with most searches lasting only a few minutes.

So how do advertisers move traffic to their sites with this new trend of mobile ad-blocking? Many companies such as Eyeo, allow ads that align with their content to pass if they meet their “acceptable ad guidelines”. Other companies such as RevContent utilize a new form for advertising to drive traffic to advertisers’ websites. RevContent offers a “content recommendation widget” that provides products based on the content the user is viewing. This is a much less obtrusive way to advertise without disrupting the user’s browsing. Android also offers a unique way for users to see advertisements. If an Android user has the “Android Store” application downloaded, all Google searches will provide a button that says “Show In App,” which will then bring the user to the item in the store to allow for a faster shopping experience.

Apple is not 100% pure mobile ads though. Their “News” application will feature advertisements in it. However, these advertisements will be sold exclusively by Apple to advertisers that they deem to be acceptable. Although the future of mobile advertising is uncertain, it will be an uphill battle if companies follow Apple’s lead. Mobile advertising has become such a huge portion of advertising, and companies will need to find new, creative ways to drive traffic to sell their products.


Use of Consumers’ Browsing Data for Dynamic Retargeting

By: Bharat Mahajan

Thanks to the digital revolution, and companies like, Amazon, Kayak and Trip Adviser, a vast majority of customers are using the Internet to research and purchase their goods. On the one hand, this has made customers’ shopping easy; on the other hand, the advancement in technology has given companies all kind of tools to gather data about their targeted consumers. Today, data is gathered through a company’s website, as well as other websites. As the data overflows, it is very important for marketers  to understand and use it to have maximum impact.

Anja Lambrecht & Catheine Tucker, in their paper ‘When does Retargeting Work? Information Specificity in Online Advertising,’ discuss the marketing strategy of gathering consumers’ browsing data from a company’s website and using that data to show consumers personalized advertisements on external websites. This is also known as Dynamic Targeting. The general working principle of dynamic targeting is that when a consumer views a product on company’s website, the company sets a cookie on the consumer’s computer to collect data about consumer’s subsequent browsing behavior. If the consumer visits an external website where the company is advertising, the cookie would trigger an advertisement specific to that customer for the product he/she was browsing earlier.

Earlier work – by researchers like Hoffman, Novak, Criteo etc. – which is referenced in this paper, reports that the personalized retargeted ads are more effective than generic ads. However, Lambrecht & Tucker argue that the research so far could not determine if consumers are always receptive to these very specific advertisements, or if their response is based on their product related knowledge.

The field study conducted by Lambrecht and Tucker concentrated on a travel website, focused on beach vacations, and studied the effects of generic and dynamic retargeting. While the generic image showed a standard beach-type holiday, the dynamic retargeted ads displayed the hotel that was previously browsed by that custom on the firm’s website. Alongside, three similar hotels were recommended. The objective was to understand whether and when the data gathered from browsing history should be used for generating consumer specific advertisements.

The results showed that dynamic retargeting only worked when the consumers had a well-defined product preference and were actively researching the product. The generic advertisement got a better response when the consumer lacked well-defined product preference or if they were still evaluating the product alternatives, as it appealed broadly to their needs. To better understand whether or not the consumer had a well-defined product preference, Lambrecht and Tucker argued that if the consumer is reading the reviews the probability is high that he/she is actively researching the product (and, thus, dynamic retargeting might be a better option).

The research performed by Lambrecht and Tucker not only highlights the technological advances in consumer data collection that are available today but also emphasizes how that data can be stored, analyzed, and processed to get the best results. The results also show that the consumer data, if not used without better understanding the consumer, could cause ill effects on the targeted consumer, just like using dynamic retargeting without knowing if the consumer has a well-defined product preference, or not, could be detrimental to overall marketing efforts.

References: Anja Lambrecht and Catherine Tucker (2013) When Does Retargeting Work? Information Specificity in Online Advertising. Journal of Marketing Research: October 2013, Vol. 50, No. 5, pp. 561-576