In the early days, there were billboards in the street, then came the small advertisements in the first newspapers at the end of the 19th century, and then, with the financial boom, TV commercials. The world of advertising has branched out in line with technological evolution and, currently, this fundamental tool for companies has developed into a further, more intangible, and less material form: namely, digital advertising.
The term ‘advertising’ usually refers to any paid form of promotion and non-personal presentation of goods and services through the media, such as television, magazines, and printed newspapers. When the mass media agree to give space to a certain sponsor, one can call it advertising.
By adding the adjective ‘digital’ to the term ‘advertising’, we are therefore talking about advertising activities that are exclusively presented in an online context: according to this, they have certain characteristics that profoundly differentiate them from more classical advertising. Let’s discover to what extent.
Digital advertising: its characteristics
Apart from the medium it uses, i.e. the Internet, digital advertising differs from traditional marketing in that it is much more selective: online, it is possible to segment the customer base to which the message will be targeted, thus addressing a given promotion in a more customized way.
The second key feature is its higher level of interactivity. By means of so-called ‘calls-to-action‘, the user receiving the message can interact with the sponsored content. For example, he/she can take part in a survey, click on a banner, or perform other specific actions to achieve a certain objective.
Finally, digital advertising is quantifiable: there actually a series of metrics (Benchmark Metrics and Vanity Metrics) that make it possible to assess the impact on customers of a certain type of sponsorship. Consider, for example, the possibility of calculating how many users have clicked on a banner, or how many have performed the action sought by the brand.
The tools of digital advertising
Advertisers have at their disposal different types of tools that enable them to turn a website or a certain online page (including on social media) into an advertising space.
As far as websites are concerned, the most common elements that are integrated into a digital advertising strategy are banners and pop-ups. However, a company can also advertise itself by sending targeted e-mails to customers (e.g. newsletters) or by positioning itself as high up in Google search results as possible (thus, taking care of its SEO) and, finally, by focusing on content marketing, i.e. the production of high-quality content that serves as a showcase for the company’s products and services (in this case, setting up a blog is essential).
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