Digital advertising vs Digital Marketing: The major differences between them

Digital advertising transformed the way brands connect with their target audience and consumers in general.

A few years ago, companies were limited to offline media, such as brochures, business cards, outdoors, and – for those who had capital – advertisements on television, radio and print.

However, today the Internet opens the doors of advertising so that any business can find its audience, spread its brand and make online sales. Banners, sponsored links, social networks, Email Marketing … there are infinities of channels and formats that you can take advantage of!

Difference between digital advertising and Digital Marketing

Now the question arises:

  • Is it worth investing in it?
  • What are the types of such digital advertising?
  • How to obtain results in effective ways?

What is digital advertising?

Digital advertising is all the ways of promoting a brand and its products or services through digital devices or channels.

In addition, beyond promoting, it allows you to connect with the target audience and create a relationship with consumers.

Changing consumer behavior and the evolution of technology were the drivers of digital advertising. People started using the Internet for everything from solving a simple question on Google to buying a refrigerator from an electronic store.

For this reason, in recent years the Internet has become a place where companies have to be yes or yes. If the public is on Google, social networks and blogs, they mark them, they must mark their presence in these spaces.

Also, different ways in which brands connect with consumers through the Internet have emerged. Consequently, in recent years digital advertising has become increasingly complex and powerful.

The diversification of formats, forms of payment and public segmentation options have made the platforms more robust and full of possibilities for companies.

Do you still think that digital advertising and Digital Marketing is the same thing?

Nothing happens, most people and professionals in the area treat them the same. But, there is a subtle difference between the two and we want you to know that.

Marketing, in a simple way, deals with the 4 P’s of marketing : Price, Product, Place and Promotion.

This concept made up of 4 pillars determines how a brand is presented in the market. Logically, when it comes to Digital Marketing, these factors are thought of in the online environment.

The advertising , then, is a marketing tool because it is within P’s: Promotion. It is one of the ways in which companies promote their brands and products to the public, and digital advertising is the tool to do so in online media.

You can already understand that digital advertising is a tool of Digital Marketing.

Therefore, in practice, many people see them as synonyms.

What are the benefits of digital advertising?
It is no accident that so many brands embraced digital advertising. And there are multiple benefits to doing so, especially for small businesses.

Here we present the most relevant advantages:


The Internet has no borders. You can talk via instant messaging with your friends in the neighborhood or with one who has moved to the other side of the planet. It is also important to note that: everyone is on the Internet!

That means that digital advertising is capable of increasing the reach of a company, not only to promote its brand, but also to sell its products in an e-commerce.

Segmentation capability

Have you heard of Big Data ? This refers to a huge amount of data that is stored on the Internet and its advantages include analyzing and providing an infinity of information about consumers.

They can be used, then, to segment your audience and design your promotions for a specific audience.

Charging for results

Paid media on the Internet have a great advantage over offline channels: you don’t pay in advance.

On the Internet, it is only charged when the desired result is obtained (clicks, visits to a website, conversion, etc.). Then the following forms of payment arise:

cost per click (CPC);
cost per thousand impressions (CPM);
cost per acquisition (CPA).


Another great advantage, thanks to Big Data, is the ability to quantify and qualify the results of digital advertising.

You can know exactly how many people viewed an ad, how many clicked and how many sales were made in this way.

In this way, it is possible to more accurately measure ROI (Return on Investment) or return on investment, one of the main strategic indicators.

Multiple formats

Forget limiting yourself to 30-second images, audios, and videos. Digital advertising allows the use of simple texts in sponsored links to a web series with several chapters on YouTube.

Creativity is the one who limits the possibilities of formats to promote a brand.

What types of digital advertising can be used?

Now, we are going to talk about the main types of digital advertising and divide them into paid and organic.

However, it is not a definitive list: there are many formats and, at any time, new options may emerge. In digital advertising, it is important to be up to date with the news that may appear.

Paid media

They are those carried out through platforms that require a charge for their services. The main channels are:

Sponsored links : text ads that appear at the top of search engine SERPs (Google, for example).

Media display : visual ads (images, animations) that appear in content for web pages.
Social Ads : ads for social networks, with various formats. Facebook Ads , Instagram Ads , LinkedIn Ads , Sponsored Twitter Tweets and YouTube Ads are the most used.

Mobile Ads : any form of targeted advertising for web pages and applications for mobile devices (phones, tablets).
Google Shopping – Product ads that appear in search results with information about price, brand, and place to buy.
Organic media

They are those in which the trademark is disclosed without the need to pay to register or link it.

This does not mean that there are no indirect costs, such as hiring, training or third-party service tools. So, now we show you the main organic advertising strategies:

SEO (Seach Engine Optimization) : optimization of the pages on a website so that they appear well positioned in the organic results of search engines.
Social Networks : advertising through post and interaction with the audience through social platforms.

Email Marketing : sending emails (usually automated) to disseminate offers and strengthen the relationship with the target audience.

Blog : publication of articles about the area that the company is dedicated to with the intention of attracting users and improving search engine positioning.

Guest Post: Guest posts on a brand partner’s blog to attract a new target audience and drive more visitor traffic.

5 tips to boost the results of digital advertising
Digital advertising became popular. Today, any business can use digital channels and, therefore, digital competitiveness has also increased.

Whoever wants to win the attention of consumers needs to differentiate themselves, adopting good practices in digital advertising. Next we will give you 5 tips so that you can obtain positive results.

1. Keep the focus on the brand experience
The consumer is no longer looking for companies or products. This needs good experiences with brands, which convey confidence, offer solutions and provide positive emotions.

Digital advertising, then, is within this context. Among the tasks to be done in the digital environment, the customer experience must come first.

How does this publication create value for the consumer? This is the first thing to think about!

One of the digital advertising resources that have prioritized the user experience the most is interactive ads .

By allowing the active participation of the consumer in the advertising content, this type of promotional piece generates much more engagement and tends to be shared by the user, also increasing its reach.

An extremely interesting example of interactive advertising is the one that Gatorade brings in a campaign that had the symbolic presence of Serena Williams , the world tennis star.

Gatorade created an interactive ad on Snapchat that consisted of a tennis game, in which the user could control the character of Serena while interacting with the logo and brand communication.

If you want to know more about the power of interactive content to give your brand more strength , be sure to download our complete ebook on the subject!

interactive content guide
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2. Focus on a segment of the audience
This is one of the higher value spreads, so don’t waste it!

First, it is necessary to know the buyer person well and define the objectives of the strategy. With this information, the ads are made based on the ideal audience, to make it more precise.

3. Trial and error
Will the ad convert? Is the title of the email good? Don’t stop just in case: run tests and adjust if necessary.

In digital advertising, evaluations can be carried out with a small test of the audience with a version of the page, email, post or advertisement. So before you get frustrated with negative results, first understand what works and what doesn’t.

4. Invest in Remarketing
Remarketing is the action of again impacting a user who made an interaction with a site, to read a blog post or make a purchase. It can be through email, sponsored links, media display or Social Ads.

It is one of the most effective strategies in digital advertising, since consumers have shown interest in a brand and they just need to be won back!

5. Look at the practical results for your company
Did your post get a lot of likes? Was your article read by multiple users? Great!

What matters most is whether this has served the business and achieved the objectives of your marketing strategy.

Don’t waste time with vanity metrics. The focus should be on the key performance indicators, which show the real results of digital advertising for your business.

In short, digital advertising is an excellent way to connect with your audience. In addition, it takes advantage of marketing strategies and research to attract the attention of the consumer in the channels they use the most in their day to day life.

Do not forget that due to the great diversity of platforms, formats, channels and segmentation possibilities, you currently have an arsenal of resources to enhance your marketing strategy and, also, one of its fundamental aspects: digital advertising.

Now, in our Definitive Guide to Digital Marketing you can guide yourself on how to develop a strategy with powerful tools. Good reading!


Professional writer with more than 7 years of experience. Joseph has worked as a content creator and editor on different web pages. He has been coordinator and content manager in various editorial teams. He also has extensive experience in SEO and digital marketing.