Digital Marketing = Insta + Snapchat, right?

If I am being analogical, digital marketing is almost the ‘new kid’ on the block that has gained instant popularity and is surely a crowd pleaser. Today nearly every industry, right from real estate and insurance to hospitality and fashion, has embraced the world of digital marketing and accepted that it is here to stay.

About 40% of every marketing team today is made up of digital specialists. Conventional marketing elements such as brand communications, public relations and channels are now changing gears to encompass online mediums as core components of their portfolios, strategies, and budgets.


Back to basics

A good marketing plan offers 360-degree impact, with the aim to ensure that the target consumer is constantly seeing (billboards, television, social media), reading (newspaper/magazines, mobile apps) or listening (radio, podcasts) about a product or service.

While conventional marketing tactics such as full-page newspaper ads or billboards on highways continue to be pivotal to creating awareness, measuring their efficacy is still hazy. These aggressive marketing activities are money guzzlers and it is tedious, if not impossible, to allocate a certain ROI (return on investment) to them. For instance, how would a marketer calculate the number of consumers who bought a packet of chips seeing the advertisement on a certain billboard on a certain road on a certain day?


With the ever-growing need to create measurable marketing strategies, traditional mediums have become a luxury that only global giants and MNCs can continue to explore. They are often by-passed by startups and SMEs in pursuit of reaching a specific audience set in a cost-effective manner.

Perks of going digital

Having understood the essentials of traditional marketing, we can now learn more about why digital marketing is attracting more attention and focus every passing day.

  1. A 99% measurability rate for digital initiatives enables marketers to evaluate success metrics for every campaign and across multiple elements (content, placement, format).

  2. Marketers can identify a specific audience that is best suited for a specific product or service, enabling controlled spends and targeted reach.

  3. With platforms such as Google reviews, Facebook and Instagram, consumers have direct access to brands, enabling both parties to react, share and acknowledge feedback in real time.

  4. Big buzz does not mean big spends. Making noise via traditional marketing usually entails high ticket items such as front-page ads, television commercials, and billboards with price tags 2 to 3x that of digital options such as digital ads on apps, video ads on YouTube, and social media amplification with influencers.

While this list is not at all exhaustive, it gives you a good idea about how different this medium is when compared to the conventional methods of marketing.

Building block of digital marketing


The one thing that runs common across all mediums of marketing is content! Hands down, CONTENT is pivotal to the success of digital marketing.

As famously indicated, marketers have to invest in creating content is ‘thumb stopping’. Simply put, create blogs, posts, videos that make the viewer pause while scrolling on average almost 90 meters of content in a single day. Some quick points to remember when developing a content plan:

  1. Focus on creating vertical content, using the 9:16 ratio. Consumption is moving from horizontal desktops/screens to mobile devices – specially for people on the go.

  2. Develop stronger, more engaging content for Instagram Stories. Viewers spend more than 60% of their time on Instagram viewing stories versus their feed.

  3. Capture attention quickly. Viewers today expend fewer than three seconds to scan short form content (less than 60 seconds to read in full) and between seven and ten seconds for long form content (5 to 10 minutes to read in full).

  4. Create content that can be consumed on mute. Add subtitles / supers wherever required to help the consumer understand the context without audio.

Good content, however, does not have to mean fancy equipment or big production houses. What it actually requires is an intricate understanding of your audience, crisp communication, and smart collaborations.

Once you have defined your target group demographically and behaviorally (age, income, sex, interest, intent and so on), you are better equipped to curate content that connects with them. Follow this up with communication that is best suited for that group. A millennial audience is more likely to react to a 20% off or flat pricing offer while an audience group of CXOs will identify more with communication that is power and status led.

It is all about Instagram and Snapchat….or is it?

Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter are probably the first few names that pop into your head when you read “digital marketing”. And rightly so, as these companies have created the need for professionally crafted photos and videos, making digital marketing seem like a glamorous career.


While pretty pictures and funny videos on leading platforms do help define the aesthetic tonality of a brand, there is much more to digital marketing than just pointing and shooting. It is about analyzing the multitude of back-end metrics to understand the success of your Instagram posts. It is about knowing how to measure your Facebook campaigns and attach a certain ROI to these activities. It is about studying the traffic (i.e. number of visitors) on your website and capturing contact information to create a robust database of targeted users to which you can market new offerings in the future. In short, digital marketing has the same demands, expectations, and deliverables as any other specialization in the field of marketing.

Not the end…

Digital marketing is multi-faceted, requiring sustained effort and offering near immediate feedback every day. It is a far cry from traditional marketing where efforts and outcomes are disconnected by weeks, months or even quarters.

The more you explore this evolving and dynamic area of marketing, the more avenues you will attain to reach your consumer and grow your brand.

Follow this series to learn more about the nuances of different digital marketing tools and gain some key insights to deep dive into the strategy behind this medium.

Ridhi Ghelani contributed to this article.