What Is Digital Advertising And Why Do You Need It?

Originally Published: 19 November 2021
Last Updated: 8 November 2021
Written by: Nick Jolliffe

Reading Time: 5.325 minutes

Categories: Digital Marketing | SEO
What Is Digital Advertising And Why Do You Need It

Digital advertising. In theory, it should be like advertising, but online, right? Well, not quite.

You see, technology has changed a lot about our society, including the way we communicate, the kinds of messages we respond to, and how we relate to one another. It also changed how businesses need to behave in order to reach their customers – where they need to be, what they need to be saying, and how they go about saying it. Enter the age of digital advertising. But what is it, how is it different to traditional advertising, and is it something your business would benefit from?

What Is Digital Advertising?

Digital advertising is basically what it says on the tin. It’s a way for companies to advertise and promote their brand, products and services to prospects using online platforms. Anything done on the internet falls into this category, including social media, blog posts, apps, Google advertising and more. The popularity of digital advertising has been growing steadily after an initial explosion of interest around a decade ago, but it is now seeing another surge of growth. Digital advertising spend went up 12.2% during 2020 (despite the pandemic), and predictions by various experts predict it will continue to grow, bringing the total digital advertising spend to over $640 billion by the year 2040. And a big part of that is businesses like yours investing in digital advertising to get themselves seen by their target customers. 

How Is It Different From Traditional Advertising?

Traditional marketing is typically the term used for any form of advertising done offline. This includes TV ads, newspaper adverts or articles, billboards, radio and direct mail. Many organisations are rooted in traditional advertising, especially if they’ve been around for a long time. But from around 2011 the trends started to change, and businesses started to spend less on traditional advertising and more on digital. In fact, there are already companies out there who will rely solely on digital advertising and not do any traditional advertising at all, so we know that digital advertising can deliver a huge amount of value.

What About Digital Marketing?

This is where the waters get a bit muddy. Because while digital advertising and digital marketing might sound very similar, they are different, even though many marketing professionals will use them interchangeably. Here’s a simple set of definitions that should clear things up:

Digital advertising is an advert for a specific business, product or service posted on the internet.

Digital marketing is the umbrella term used for marketing using digital technology and the internet. It includes the 7 P’s of marketing, and uses techniques like SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, online advertising and online PR. Basically all forms of creating content, communicating with customers, or delivering and exchanging of offers or information that have value for customers, partners, suppliers or society in general, online.

So digital advertising is a form of digital marketing, but it is a very specific one. The easiest way to differentiate them is that digital marketing is a process, while digital advertising is an activity within that process. And when you’re creating a digital marketing strategy, digital advertising should be one of the channels you consider.

How Could Businesses Benefit From Digital Advertising?

At the end of the day, you have a limited budget for marketing your business. So you need to invest in the activities that are going to give you the greatest return and spread awareness farthest. Digital advertising is leagues ahead of traditional marketing in most cases, and using it as part of your overall marketing strategy can yield some great benefits, including:


One of the biggest advantages of digital over traditional advertising is the level of accuracy you can achieve. Because digital resources and tools can provide you with a wealth of information about your audience, you can use that knowledge to create content that can help them. Knowing your audience is a vital part of any marketing, and with online tools you can have a deeper understanding than ever before.


Digital advertising puts you in complete control of your advertising strategy. Traditional advertising relies on third parties for display, and a lot of things can go wrong in the process. With digital advertising you are in the driver’s seat, and you are able to make decisions and changes instantly based on hard, real-time data. 

ROI Measurement 

The challenge of traditional advertising has always been measuring its success. It’s almost impossible to tell how many people read your newspaper ad or watched your piece on TV. And so you could never really tell if you were spending money wisely, and ROI was largely guesswork. Digital advertising comes with hundreds of built-in analytics tools that let you see exactly who is viewing your ads and their behaviour – as well as comprehensive targeting tools to help you get your ad in front of the right audience. This means with digital advertising you know where your money is going and can measure your ROI incredibly accurately.


The viewership for traditional advertising, particularly TV, is dropping significantly in every major demographic between the ages of 2 and 49, according to Nielsen’s reports, the 49-65 age bracket dropping at a slightly steadier pace. Younger audiences are now almost exclusively online instead. So unless your audience is over the age of 65, then traditional advertising may not have much value for you.


Digital advertising gives you the ability to truly target your advertising in a way that just isn’t possible with traditional marketing. Each platform has its own set of tools that allow you to target specific demographics, audiences, traits, interests or browsing habits and display exactly the right content to only them. This means you can run highly targeted campaigns with a much higher chance of success simply because you can choose who you show them to. This level of segmentation is one of the reasons digital advertising can be so effective and yield great results. At Lion Spirit Media we are experts in digital advertising and broader digital marketing strategies. With our help you can gather all the information you need to create ROARsome digital advertising campaigns that can deliver real results. So what are you waiting for? Get in touch with the team today and make sure your ROAR is heard across the digital advertising space.

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