16 Types of Digital Marketing Explained

Written by Karlyne Zovitsky

As a business or brand, there are many different types of digital marketing to consider. This variety can be overwhelming. It’s tempting to wing it, using only those types which you currently understand to market your brand or business online. If you do this, you’re potentially missing out on some of the most powerful forms of digital marketing for your brand!

The 16 Types of Digital Marketing


You really need to understand as many types of digital marketing techniques as possible so that your digital marketing strategy is based on optimising your efforts, rather than just implementing what you already know.

Here are 16 of the most powerful types of digital marketing around.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is a common and crucial type of digital marketing.

SEO is the art of ensuring that your webpages and articles feature as high as possible on relevant searches. SEO is organic advertising, meaning you don’t bid on positioning. Instead, you optimise your website, pages and articles, using various techniques to ensure that your website features as a top result when relevant keywords are searched.

For example, if you sell flowers online, you’ll might want to feature for searches such as ‘flower sales’ and ‘buy flowers.’ You’ll want to ensure that you have that text in the webpage you want to show for that search. Additionally, you might run a blog that talks about specific flowers, or which flowers are best for different occasions. You will want to ensure that you include phrases and words you want to feature for within these articles.

You will also want to name the images you use in these pages and articles so that they align with the keywords you want to rank on search engines for.

With all of this said, don’t go overboard. Forcing keywords into pages and articles purely for the sake of SEO can end up making your copy seem unnatural. Not only will search engines pick up on this, but whomever does find your pages and articles won’t enjoy consuming them as much, and will be less likely to interact with your business.

Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)

PPC is sort of like a paid version of SEO. Instead of optimising your site for search engine prioritisation, you actually bid for advertising space for certain keywords on search engines. The bidding process involves complex algorithms on the side of the search engine, but ultimately there are a few aspects that the advertiser should prioritise:

  • Bid amount
  • Quality of advert
  • Formats (including various extensions)
  • Expected clickthrough rate (CTR)

These combine to give advertisements an ‘Ad Rank.’ The Ad Rank is compared to competing advertisements to determine where the advertisement places if it places at all.

Extensions allow for those who see the advertisement to take specific actions. For example, a call extension allows the advertisement viewer to click a button and call your business.

Extensions are particularly useful because not only do they provide extra call-to-actions and personalised advertisements, but they also increase your chances of having your advertisement feature. This is because search engines see advertisements with extensions as being more intuitive and generally superior to those without.

To advertise on Google, you should sign up for a Google AdWords account here [https://adwords.google.com/home]. Google provides a fantastic AdWords certification at https://www.google.com/partners, which includes an in-depth tutorial on how to implement PPC advertising effectively.

types of digital marketing

Social Media Marketing

Social media is here to stay, and it’s so intrinsically entrenched in our daily lives that it makes sense to utilise it in your digital marketing campaign.

You can use various social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube to market your brand to an increasingly large audience. You can use these platforms for directly advertising your products or, more powerfully, for publishing content relevant to your brand that entertains, teaches, and drives interaction with your audience.

A fantastic example of the latter can be found on Red Bull’s Facebook Page. https://www.facebook.com/redbull. Here, they share various extreme sports achievements and videos, which interests their audience of people who drink energy drinks. This creates another level of relationship between Red Bull and their customers.

You don’t have to possess the resources of big brands like Red Bull to implement effective social media marketing. This type of digital marketing allows you to write simple blog posts focused on topics relevant to your market and then promote it on your social media platforms, or you can even share valuable content from other social media users.

You want your social media platforms to be portals that guide your audience to your website or to your offering.

If you want to set up your own Facebook business page, use this simple guide: https://www.pcworld.com/article/240258/how to make a facebook page for your small business.html

types of digital marketing

Influencer Marketing

A fantastic way to increase your audience is to get someone with a following to endorse your brand. This type of marketing has regularly been employed outside of digital circles, too – brands sponsoring sports stars, for example. If you can get a famous person to endorse your brand online, you will create a pathway between their audience and yours, encouraging their audience to investigate your product or service further.


For example, famous Brazilian soccer player Dani Alves is featured and tagged in this Replay Instagram post. This post encourages Alves’ fans to connect with the Replay brand. Social media provides a large and direct platform to use influencers’ reputations to sell your products in this way.

If you’re a smaller brand, you can still use influencers to your advantage. You don’t need influencers with millions of fans to market your products; an influencer with a few thousand loyal followers within a specific, relevant field can also be incredibly valuable. In fact, the more personal relationship between the influencer and their smaller fan base can be particularly beneficial, as it could make your click-through rate higher.

Public Relations Content

Again, this is not a marketing technique limited to digital platforms, but it is still a crucial type of digital marketing. Simply put, people are more convinced by others who complement your products or services than they are by your own advertising.

To tap into this digital marketing possibility, be sure to include in your marketing strategies relevant digital content platforms on which you could be featured. PR is particularly useful to smaller businesses and brands who are trying to build a reputation for themselves. For these entities, being endorsed by a respected source can power huge growth. However, all businesses and brands will enjoy the fruits provided by good PR.

A useful way to boost your PR strength is to ask people who convert to give your business a review on a platform like Facebook. You could even offer them some value in return for a review – such as a free sample of another product. It is crucial, however, to note that you cannot tell them that they have to give you a particular rating; only that they need to give an honest review in order to get the bonus you’re offering.

Email marketing

Snail mail is dead, and email has taken over its role in communications. Utilise the popularity of the email medium by using it to communicate with your customers and audience. A fantastic way to do this is through newsletters. Ensure that there is a clear and attractive newsletter sign-up form on your website for your visitors to fill in. Once they do this, you will have a direct and streamlined medium to keep them informed about your products and services, as well as any special deals you may be offering.


You should also consider offering a value exchange – you provide with something if they sign up to your newsletter. Free eBooks and downloadable guides are common examples of the sort of value offerings you can provide in exchange for their email address. The reason this technique is so valuable is that it incentivises the reader to give you their email address. After all, we’ve reached a point in the online world where people’s inboxes are being overloaded, so people are less likely to give their email address away for free.

The medium of email has some intuitive features, such as the ability to personalise messages and the option for recipients to stipulate that in which they are interested. These features ensure a communication portal that is streamlined to fit your customers’ individual needs. Almost everyone has an email address these days, so this is a form of marketing full of potential.

Ensure that you provide value within the newsletters you distribute; otherwise your messages will be ignored by your subscribers, and they might even unsubscribe. You should look to provide interesting content, imagery, and links to other interesting things within newsletters. Here at Conversion Advantage, we believe in a 70/30 split between valuable content and advertising your offerings.

Mobile Marketing


Mobile devices continue to be used prolifically. According to Adweek (http://www.adweek.com/digital/heres-why-people-choose-shop-or-not-shop-their-phones-169419/), 45% of all shopping involves mobile interaction.

Take advantage of this trend by creating mobile-specific marketing campaigns, ensuring a superior experience for your mobile customers, which in turn will stimulation more action. AdWords allows for mobile-specific marketing campaigns, which are likely to perform noticeably better than more general campaigns.

Apps are increasingly popular among mobile users and having an intuitive app can also drive extra sales.  Many enjoy the simplicity of an app over scrounging through mobile sites to find that for which one is looking.

Creating an app can be complex, so it is probably better to get someone who understands the process to make one for you. Once you have one, however, it can be a fantastic way to keep in contact with your customers and provide them special deals.

Brand Journalism


Consumers are increasingly conscious of when they’re being advertised to. Gimmicky catch-phrases and cheesy grins no longer work as they did in the past. Marketers must find other ways to convince consumers to buy their products and services.

Enter brand journalism. This type of digital marketing is gaining popularity – and for good reason. Brand journalism involves creating content that your audience finds interesting, with less aggressive calls-to-action supplementing this content. This process creates a mutual transaction between the parties – the consumer is provided with interesting content, while the business or brand gets to promote themselves.

Generally, the content is targeted at your business or brand’s target audience, covering their interests rather than just your products. For example, Red Bull https://www.redbull.com/za-en/ posts various articles on their website about outdoor activities, which interests their target market of physically-active people. Likewise, a sports shoe company could post content about running and dancing, or a computer-parts company could post content on video games and new software. The opportunities are endless.

Video Marketing

Video is the ultimate type of digital media. By combining words and imagery into an intuitive package, video catches the eye of online users. Utilising this form of media via video marketing is a powerful digital marketing technique.  You can do this by posting video content on your sites and social media accounts, or by advertising on video sharing sites such as YouTube.


According to kunocreative.com, 92% of people who consume mobile videos share them with other people. This trend provides an outstanding opportunity to get your brand out there to as many new prospective customers as possible. If you publish video content on your sites, ensure that it is captioned in such a way that makes people want to view the videos!

Audio Marketing

Audio media may not be as glitzy as video media, but it still holds a key role in the online ecosystem. The podcast phenomenon is taking over from traditional talk radio, and music streaming sites such as Spotify and Deezer are incredibly popular.

Audio advertisements on these platforms are an effective way to market your products and services. Since these podcasts usually feel more personal and relaxed than traditional radio, when the advertisements are played, they also feel more authentic – particularly when read out and endorsed by the host of the podcast.

The increasing popularity of podcasts provides another marketing opportunity. Hosting your own podcast relevant to your products or services is a creative form of brand journalism.

For example, if you’re a sports apparel distributor, you could host a podcast on the latest sports news. Podcasts are particularly useful for marketing because people often listen to them while doing other things, as opposed to text articles or video pieces, which people must be in front of a screen to consume.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a very clever type of digital marketing. Essentially, affiliate marketers sell other people’s products to their audience. If somebody purchases something from you after being linked from the affiliate’s site, the affiliate gets paid by you for the reference. This agreement is of mutual benefit – you’ve secured a sale, and the affiliate makes money.


Working with affiliates can help you to expand your reach substantially. Affiliates have access to large audiences, so getting on board with one is a fantastic opportunity. As previously mentioned with brand journalism, people don’t want to feel like they’re being advertised to, so affiliate marketers are a great way of making your marketing efforts feel more organic.

Native Advertising

Is there anything more annoying than pop-up advertisements? They intrude into your online experience, disrupting your activities and startling you when they include video or sound. Therefore, we have seen a rise in native advertising, and it is set to continue. Native advertising involves advertisements that are positioned organically within articles and websites, rather than distractingly in sidebars that pull attention away from the content of the webpage.

Customers are more likely to give your advertisements the time of day if they aren’t annoyed by them. This is why it’s highly recommended that any visual advertisements are positioned natively. Pop-up advertisements have become less and less acceptable as the internet has developed. They have a reputation for being fake or spammy, whereas native advertisements are seen to be more authentic.

Live Chat

People like to be reassured before spending their money. If they are confused by an aspect of your product or service, they might decide against making a purchase. Live chat functionality can help in these scenarios as an effective type of digital marketing to connect with your audience.

Live chat gives users an opportunity to talk in real time with knowledgeable people, who can allay any concerns they might have. Marketing is not only about getting people to your site; it is also about ensuring that a purchase takes place.


Live chat was a feature on many older sites but went out of fashion. However, as interactivity becomes a priority to consumers, live chat features are making a return.

Of course, live chat is only beneficial if you can respond to requests immediately. Depending on your resources, it is possible to create a live chatbot, which works out what is being asked and tries to answer it efficiently. However, if your chatbot is not efficient it can frustrate customers, so ensure that it is programmed well.

The alternative is creating a live chat platform that actually connects to a real human on your side. If this isn’t manned at all times, however, it can cause great frustration to the customer. As with the chatbot, if you’re going to implement this, make sure you do it well.

Augmented/Virtual Reality Marketing

AR and VR are some of the hottest developments in technological circles right now and make for powerful types of digital marketing. The ability to be so intrinsically immersed within the media you are consuming is a fascinating prospect, and it provides many opportunities for effective digital marketing.

IKEA has already dabbled with Augmented Reality, allowing consumers to see how different furniture looks in their homes. See more here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDNzTasuYEw

It will probably be a while until anyone but the biggest of brands can afford to use significant levels of augmented and virtual reality techniques in their marketing campaigns, but it is certainly an option on which you should keep an eye.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

People want access to quick, simple answers to their searches. FAQs are a great way to achieve this, while simultaneously getting people onto your site. The answer to people’s questions could well lead them to wanting your product, so help them along that path. If you can answer their questions, they are also more likely to trust your brand to serve their other needs, too.


Utilise SEO and PPC in conjunction with FAQs to ensure that your FAQs feature for relevant searches. For example, if you sell mosquito repellent, more people will probably search for “How do I get rid of mosquitos?” than for your specific brand.

Instant Messaging Marketing


People use instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger religiously. In South Africa, WhatsApp is incredibly popular. While advertising opportunities on WhatsApp are currently minimal, WhatsApp has already announced that it is developing and testing a product called WhatsApp Enterprise.

Through this service, businesses will be able to communicate information such as special deals and new products directly to their customers. The general understanding at this point is that users would have to opt-in to receive messages from these companies, much like a newsletter. A limited group of businesses currently form a testing group, but this is a resource that could become very powerful when it is released to the public.

Facebook Messenger can host advertisements on its mobile platform. To implement such advertisements, follow Facebook’s guide: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/348296675602862

Facebook Messenger can also be used in collaboration with Facebook advertising to interact with customers who wish to ask questions or learn more.

You can create a Facebook advertisement with a link that opens a messenger tab. From here, the customer can message you through Facebook Messenger. You can also set a message that is displayed to the customer when the Messenger tab opens. Learn how to implement this here: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/messenger-platform/discovery/ads.

Quick responses and thorough support can significantly raise the reputation of your company, suggesting that you care about your clients.

As society continues to increase its digital footprint, types of digital marketing also continue to become increasingly important. If you aren’t marketing yourself effectively on digital platforms, your business will be left behind. Use these tips to market your products or services effectively. If you would like to learn more about digital marketing, sign up to our newsletter or contact us for more info.

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