What are the Types of Digital Marketing?

Last updated


Daniel Wade


July 28, 2022

This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Digital marketing is a collective term for marketing activities conducted using an electronic device. As a result, the term is frequently used when referring to all marketing activities conducted over the Internet, which is entirely dependent on electronic devices. However, television and radio are still digital marketing mediums that don't necessarily rely on the internet.

Consider this: by 2023, an estimated 91 % of the U.S. population will be shopping exclusively online. That's roughly 300 million people. Reaching customers online has never been as important as it is today. As current events make the global population more reliant on contactless transactions, there's no question that digital marketing is more important now than it has ever been before.

To that end, we take an exhaustive look at the forms of digital marketing in practice today, plus we offer a few tips on how to make the most of them.


Table of contents


SEO is a set of marketing practices that draw relevant traffic to your website straight from organic search results. Without SEO, your business is invisible online. No one can find you if you haven't optimized your site to appear on search engine result pages (SERPs).

Previously, SEO was all about how high you can rank. Good page rankings are crucial, no doubt, at least as far as being visible is concerned. However, it is just as important to use SEO to attract relevant traffic, not just a lot of it.

Some of the things you can do to optimize your website are:

  • Build relevant backlinks (to other sites)
  • Keyword research
  • Content optimization
  • Optimizing page loading speed (to maximize user experience)

There's far more you can do with a dedicated team of digital marketers if your budget allows it. However, these days you can outsource digital marketing online and get world-class SEO marketing very affordably.


Social media platforms can and are frequently used for marketing. This should not be news to anyone by now. As a matter of fact, these social networking platforms have turned out to be extremely effective and far-reaching marketing tools that can be leveraged by anyone with an internet connection.

Concerning how various online business models (B2C, B2B, and SaaS) can benefit from this type of marketing, it appears most effective for business-to-business (B2B) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) models. Despite that, business-to-customer companies can still leverage social media marketing to sell real-world products made possible by e-commerce platforms like Amazon and eBay.

Social media gives you a unique platform to hear what your customers like and actually see their preferences. And if you establish yourself as an authority in your niche, these customers will turn to you, not just for sales but also for general niche-related advice. That means they've picked you over all your competitors-the ultimate display of customer loyalty.

Use social media as a platform to interact first and to advertise second. It is necessary that you don't project your company as all-business (unless that's what your clientele specifically requests) and create a human rapport with your audience. Personalized posts, humor, and current events can help you form a relationship with your online audience.

More importantly, it is vital that you post regularly-or even as frequently as possible-to stay relevant. The online landscape changes every day, so staying out of the loop for a minute could push your audience to a more available option.


The PPC advertising model is one of the oldest and most reliable forms of digital marketing, where marketers only pay for clicks (thus, pay-per-click). A marketer has to first choose a specific keyword or keywords to bid on, and if he wins the bid, his website will pop up every time a search contains those keywords.

Most marketers find this model more practical because they only pay when customers click through to their website, which often translates to a lead or a conversion. If you invest in the right keyword, you could drum up a lot of business by getting a first-page ad-spot on SERPs.


Marketing valuable, relevant, and informative content is one of the best ways to earn income online. Content refers to any blog post, video, podcast, case study, e-book, or infographic that helps consumers in any sales process stage. As such, content must be informative, engaging, and helpful for it to lead to a profitable outcome.

When they say that content is king, people interpret it to mean that it is the most valuable thing on your website, which is true. However, most people don't realize that it also features in nearly all of your other digital marketing practices.

Email marketing and social media marketing integrate extremely well with content marketing, and using SEO to optimize your content allows you to make it as visible as possible.

It will come up in almost all your other marketing forms, so the wise thing to do is to focus on creating high-quality content first before worrying about its distribution. Good content is far better than fast content-and it will earn you more money in the long run.


These days, anyone can earn a living online, presumably from the comfort of their home. That's a reality made possible by affiliate marketing, one of the most lucrative forms of online marketing in existence.

Affiliate marketing involves a partnership between an advertiser and a producer. The advertiser markets products and services from the producer in exchange for a commission. After a successful sale, the advertiser gets a percentage, the supplier wins a sale, and a consumer makes a purchase-a win-win for all involved.

For affiliate marketers, the commissions earned in this line of work-especially the recurrent ones-are enough to provide enough passive income to live on. For suppliers, affiliate marketing amplifies their presence online quite significantly. It's like having a super-dedicated team of marketers working relentlessly to sell as many of your products as possible.

The only thing you should remember about this digital marketing type is to insert your affiliate links naturally within your content. Don't make it too obvious that you're trying to get a sale.


SEM is the opposite of SEO. It refers to the process of gaining paid traffic (as well as free traffic) from organic searches. However, unlike SEO, you can pay for first-page rankings. These two slots appear above search engine results with the tag "Ad" placed at the beginning of each page's URL.

The main platform for SEM in 2020 and beyond is still Google AdWords. Combining SEO with SEM ultimately leads to a considerable boost in website traffic stemming from organic and paid marketing.


Instant messengers are the latest and greatest mediums of communication on the planet. They facilitate quick (instantaneous is more like it) communication between people that are miles away. And while that just sounds like every other modern form of communication, IMs are far more convenient, secure, and easy to use.

In fact, an estimated 1.5 billion people worldwide use WhatsApp, one of the largest IM platforms around, on a regular basis. That makes it a potentially untapped market with superb reach and a low entry bar for both businesses and audiences looking to make transactions.

Apart from WhatsApp, businesses recognize Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Telegram as powerful IMM tools. Marketing pros will tell you that this is where your audience is, which is true. People use these platforms regularly, so if you regularly advertise on them, you're bound to get some eyes on your content.

IMM works because of one thing: it is personal. People trust IM because they feel like it is more private and convenient as a communication medium (compared to social media and email).

And while you can use it for advertising, many established companies delegate IM for consumer queries and personal feedback. It makes the customer experience much more personalized, which can be the key to retaining your clients. You can also use it to post updates about your blog or run limited-time promotions. Just don't come off as too spammy-no one responds to that.


One of the most important things you can do to grow your business is to create an email list. You might think that getting new customers is the only way to scale up your operations when, in reality, most of your business will come from retargeting previous customers.

Therefore, list-building remains one of the most important forms of digital marketing online. If your website doesn't have any email collection forms, then you're missing out on a lot of potential (and recurrent) business from satisfied customers.

Email marketing is effective because you're promoting to people who have already bought your products and services. That doesn't mean you should wing it, though. However, it means that you already have a hunch that your prospects want from your brand, and if you create compelling messages, you can easily get their business again.

Email marketing is crucial to the long-term growth and sustainability of an online business. You won't be able to rely on new visitors to provide you with business forever. This form of marketing allows you to make the most out of the traffic that you've already got instead of focusing on attracting new visitors.

These days, several email-collection tools integrate with pre-existing websites to facilitate list building. They offer several formats to maximize conversion-some offer expiring deals, other downloadable content, and other exclusive content to long-time customers.


These days, even television is on the internet. Streaming devices have made that possible, and if you're shunning TV advertising because it is an older form of digital marketing, the chances are good that you're missing out on a lot of business.

Even with the internet dominating attention spans, the average person still spends over four hours and thirty minutes a day watching television. The vast majority still watch TV regularly, especially after work or during meal times.

By far, it is the most expensive type of digital marketing on our list, which is probably why small and medium-sized businesses shy away from it at first.

Still, it is as effective as ever, especially for advertising to local audiences and spreading brand awareness.

Some say that television is the fastest mode of digital advertising outside the internet. That much is true because even those without an internet connection can see TV ads frequently and remotely.

Lastly, as it is based on visual media, TV advertising is highly effective. Visual content is very engaging and has a low bar of comprehension, so most people will understand the message even if there's a language barrier present. This may be the only reason why it is still considered a valid avenue for digital marketing in 2020 and beyond.


Some might venture to call radio advertising "archaic" and "limited," even though it is still a relevant and effective digital marketing type. In fact, 7.8 percent of all media expenditures in the U.S. are on radio ads. It is still a successful medium of advertisement, especially for B2C customers. Having nationwide (or at least state-wide) reach is nothing to sniff at, so radio advertising should be in your digital marketing arsenal in the years to come.

Since it doesn't rely on visual media, radio advertising is relatively cheaper than TV advertising. It can still be a bit pricier than internet marketing, though. Nevertheless, it is affordable enough for most small and medium enterprises and is highly recommended for businesses trying to raise local or regional brand awareness.


Digital marketing is evolving every day, so there's bound to be new ways to advertise online each year. For instance, influencer marketing has taken off in recent years. It involves using a social media celebrity (called an influencer) like a musician, an actor, or a public figure to promote brand awareness and drum up business.

You don't want to be left behind when adopting some of these digital marketing strategies-that's how your competition will take over your niche. It is much wiser to hire a digital marketing agency to handle your online advertising if you're not sure you can do it yourself.

It doesn't require you to be extremely savvy, but you do have to learn the basics of controlling traffic and maximizing conversions. These are all things you can learn if you get the right people to teach you.

What is certain is that adopting the right digital marketing forms and using them appropriately is the key to unlimited business growth online.

What are the Types of Digital Marketing?


Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

After working for multiple digital advertising agencies and managing hundreds of client accounts and spending millions of dollars via Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Native Ads and Direct Media Buying, I took things out on my own and started SparrowBoost. Now, my tight-knit team and I continue to get smarter and more efficient at running our own campaigns and we share our knowledge with you.

Learn more about SparrowBoost