Is the frequent use of the terms digital marketing and digital advertising interchangeably adding to your confusion? The two are not the same! They are two different ways of publicizing your business. Understanding their mutual differences is vital to your marketing success. The following guide will help you brush up on the key points of Digital Advertising vs Digital Marketing and help you leverage the complete potential of the two for your brand's success. 

What Is Digital Advertising? 

Digital advertising is a subset of digital marketing. Alternatively, explaining it is a tactical application of marketing that reaches the users. It is the method that promotes users to engage, become aware and gain information about the company's services and products. Digital advertising is a digitalized mode of traditional advertising which involves the usage of offline modes like magazines and newspapers to spread the word. 

Generally, it utilizes commonly used platforms like social media, search engines, and video platforms. The different ads seen while browsing the internet are being digitally advertised. The common process of digital advertising includes Pay-per-click ads, Display ads and social ads. 

Features of Digital Advertising

Digital advertising is highly annoying to most users. For instance, the compulsory ads with the option to skip after five seconds or even unskippable ones annoy most of the users. Even users install ad-blocking software to get rid of them. Also, companies understand the fact. Yet, their expenditure on the ads that are unwanted and skipped by users is paid off well, which makes them continue to publish such ads. 

Typically digital advertising has the following features:

  • Creates concern: It makes the audience crave to know more by presenting the problems or suspense stories. 
  • Engages the audience: This engages the audience and is sometimes related to the problems they are currently facing, making them think about the product or service. 

What is Digital Marketing? 

Digital marketing refers to the utilization of digital technologies to market a product. It involves different aspects that can increase the outreach of a product and let companies understand the current problems and their solutions from the audience's perspectives. It includes planning through analysis of cost, requirements of customers and other relevant concerns. The process is followed by choosing the correct promotional activity which reaches users through digital advertising, whose success is eventually calculated based on the sales. 

Features of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a focused, narrowed and targeted method of reaching the audience, unlike digital advertising, which is broad. It focuses on specific problems faced by people and also incorporates competency for the company. It directly answers the queries and presents solutions to their issues, increasing the chances of increasing sales. 

The general features of Digital Marketing are:

  • Expansion: Digital marketing can be used as a solution for people residing in remote areas. It not only expands the organization's business but also brings accessibility to people deprived of resources. 
  • Flexibility: It provides numerous methods to choose from to market the product. With digitization, the opportunities to reach any part of the globe have become easy, providing flexible options for marketing.

Digital Advertising vs Digital Marketing: Differences Between the Two

When comparing digital advertising vs digital marketing, it is important to go through the distinctions between the two.

  • Digital marketing contributes to the development of a brand, while advertising lets people know about it.
  • Digital marketing is a process that involves market research, while digital advertising is an activity based on digital marketing.
  • Digital marketing requires an understanding of human behavior, while digital advertising focuses on sales.
  • Digital marketing is strategic with complex planning, while digital advertising is tactical.

Similarities Between Digital Advertising and Digital Marketing

The various similarities between digital marketing and advertising are as follows:

  • Both are interdependent
  • They help increase revenue.
  • Their goal is to increase awareness and sales.
  • Both require a strategy

When to Use Digital Advertising? 

Digital advertising is used for the following reasons:

  • To lift the brand by engraving it into the memory of viewers
  • To increases engagement and traffic to the website
  • To enhance effectiveness and Return on Investment (ROI)
  • To reach the audience directly
  • To foster brand awareness

When to Use Digital Marketing? 

Digital marketing is appropriate in situations when:

  • There is no clue on a strategy to increase sales.
  • There is a requirement to devise a strategy for business performance.
  • There is a need for communication.
  • To reduce marketing costs. 

Which One Do You Choose? 

The answer to the requirement completely depends on the stage of the company and the requirements of an organization. If a new service or product is being designed or launched, the company at that moment requires insights and customer psychology to understand the design and features to include in the project or program. Digital marketing is also utilized during the optimization of the product. 

Digital advertising is the stage after the development of a product or service. It is a stage when there is a requirement to reach the audience. It incorporates the problem statement of the job into consideration to bring it forward to the audience. The advertising presents the relation of the problem with the customer to present it as a solution. 

Understanding the Scope of Digital Marketing and Digital Advertising

The process of digital marketing is ongoing without a guaranteed conclusion. From the market research stage through the strategic planning, control, monitoring, and refining for improved marketing strategy and successful output, digital marketing includes the whole range and breadth of corporate activities.

Therefore, a company's online actions and content shared across various digital platforms are all components of its digital marketing plan. Every company website, social media profile, and mobile application are different strategic fronts of its digital marketing efforts.

On the contrary, digital advertising refers to the activity that is a part of the comprehensive digital marketing process. When you create a digital marketing strategy, digital advertising comes at a later stage, typically when a brand decides to publicize its services/products via ads. 

Requirements for Achieving Success and Growth Objectives

Unlike advertising, digital marketing does not focus solely on business conversion and driving sales. Although it shares the ultimate objective of maximizing revenue and generating sales, digital marketing emphasizes creating a sustainable brand image that stands strong and faces fierce competition in the upcoming years. That's why the success of digital marketing relies on thoroughly understanding the customers and the market. Effective research on the target audience and comprehensive knowledge of the product demand are the prerequisites of digital marketing.

From building buyer personas to handling market trends, digital marketing utilizes multiple facets of marketing, whereas digital advertising focuses on a specific market segment for promotion.


To summarize digital advertising vs digital marketing, there are distinct differences between the two. While digital advertising is a form of promotional messaging used to identify your organization across numerous internet channels, digital marketing is a broad term that encompasses many marketing initiatives that leverage electronic devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Digital advertising is when you use the internet for marketing your goods, services, brand, or business. Digital marketing is the process of organizing, promoting, and finally selling a product in the market. While digital marketing boosts sales over the long term, digital advertising boosts sales over the short term.

Boost your career with PG Program in Digital Marketing in collaboration with Meta Blueprint and Purdue University. Learn top digital marketing tools and gain valuable insights in Masterclasses from Meta and Purdue. It's time to match your pace with the fast-paced, tech-savvy environment!

Our Digital Marketing Courses Duration And Fees

Digital Marketing Courses typically range from a few weeks to several months, with fees varying based on program and institution.

Program NameDurationFees
Post Graduate Program in Digital Marketing

Cohort Starts: 2 May, 2024

8 Months$ 3,000
Digital Marketing Specialist

Cohort Starts: 6 Mar, 2024

8 Months$ 1,649