What is the Difference Between Online Marketing and Digital Marketing?

The concept of marketing has changed a lot over the years. Back in the day, people would actually go out and meet with other businesses and stakeholders to ‘market’ a product or service. In 2018, marketing mostly takes place online. If you’re a business owner or manager, you no doubt use social media to market your brand. And that’s what makes up digital marketing.

The lines between online and digital marketing have blurred. What used to be regarded as traditional marketing can now take place entirely online. Think search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and social media marketing.

If you’re wondering what the difference is between these buzzwords, here’s an easy guide.


SEO stands for search engine optimization. Getting top rankings in search results for your keywords is the goal of every SEO campaign. SEO is most effective when applied to blog posts, web pages, and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

The bulk of your SEO efforts should go into ensuring that your website is a seamless flow of engaging content. Remember, your potential customers are researching products and services before buying, so you want to make sure that they have a good experience on your website. Make sure that every page is a standalone entity and that it contains relevant and high-quality content.

Content Marketing

As the name would suggest, content marketing is all about creating and distributing relevant and engaging content to potential customers. This content might be anything from an article to a video. The key is to provide value and make sure that your audience stays engaged.

The difference between content marketing and SEO is that you don’t necessarily need to have a website for content marketing to be effective. You can use platforms like YouTube to publish videos, while Buzzfeed and TikTok can be great places to publish shorter articles. Make sure to curate content from across platforms to have the most impact.

Social Media Marketing

If you run a social media account, you’ll be familiar with the term social media marketing. Like SEO and content marketing, social media marketing is all about getting people to interact with your content. The difference is that these platforms don’t just provide you with an audience, they also give you the tools to engage with your followers.

The most effective way to market on a social media platform is to use influencers and celebrities to help your brand gain credibility and build trust. Having an established following on social media allows you to quickly get your message across without having to go through the tedious process of having to build a base of regular readers.

The Evolution of Marketing

It’s quite interesting to look back at how marketing evolved over the years. Back in the 80s, marketing was largely about promoting brand awareness and getting people to talk about your product or service. To that end, print ads, radio interviews, and television commercials were the primary tools of the trade.

In the 90s, the web emerged as a marketing medium. Thanks to the growth of social networking sites like Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as digital map services like Google Maps, businesses started to see the potential of online marketing to reach their target audience. The introduction of SEO and content marketing further fueled this shift, as businesses started to recognize that a) providing valuable content, and b) getting that content to be found via search engine results were the key to getting customers.

In the next 10 years, we’ll see even more changes. With the rise of virtual reality and artificial intelligence, marketing will become even more personalized and relevant to potential customers. If you work for a business that promotes itself as being ‘data driven,’ you’ll undoubtedly be playing a key role in defining and executing effective marketing strategies.