The Difference Between Digital Marketing and Online Marketing

digital marketing vs online marketing

For the past several years, marketing on the Internet has widely been referred to as “online marketing,” but recently, a new term has surfaced and is growing in popularity: “digital marketing.” So… what’s the difference between the two? And are the terms interchangeable?

Digital marketing refers to marketing through channels that are considered “digital.” These include things like social media, paid search, websites, podcasts, email, infographics, content, video, and television. If the tool you’re using to market is digital, it falls under digital marketing.

Online marketing is simply a subset of digital marketing, which means many of the digital channels that are used for marketing are also considered online channels. For example: paid search, social media, email, blogs, and websites are all things that you can only find online, and can therefore fall under online marketing.

While online marketing is digital marketing, digital marketing isn’t always online marketing. (Think, all Kleenex are tissues but not all tissues are Kleenex.) Digital marketing can also include methods that aren’t strictly online, like television, videos, podcasts, banners, billboards, mobile, and more. Each digital marketing channel can be successful, but there are some that are more successful than others. For example: according to eMarketer, email marketing was the most effective digital marketing channel for customer retention in 2014. (Just note that no matter which channel you use, you should have a sufficient analytics program to go with it.)

It’s easy to mix up digital marketing and online marketing, but the question you need to ask yourself before you refer to one or the other is this: Is the marketing channel online? If not, you can probably file it under “digital marketing.” If so, you can probably call it “online marketing.”

On another note, we found this fantastic compilation of digital marketing stats put together by HubSpot, and just had to share: The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics

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