Digital marketing: it is a widely-used term, yet there are still some myths surrounding this concept. Rather than trying to explain digital marketing (can you ever fully do that?), I will demonstrate five things that digital marketing is not, so that you can cross those off your list. Hopefully, after reading this blog, you will understand the concept of digital marketing better and you will be up-to-date when it comes to digital marketing in 2016.

‘5 Things Digital Marketing Is NOT’ Digital marketing is a widely-used term, yet it is still surrounded by some myths. Rather than trying to explain digital marketing, I will demonstrate 5 things that digital marketing is not, so that you can cross those off your list. After reading this blog, you will understand the concept of digital marketing better and be up-to-date. Read the blog at

Digital marketing is NOT only focused on the online world, but it will be much, much more.

According to Neil Patel, digital marketing is “any form of marketing products or services, which involves electronic devices.” As electronics have been around forever, digital marketing has too, which is why it does not necessarily have to do with Google ads or retargeting. Digital marketing can be done both online and offline. Offline digital marketing includes, among others, radio marketing, television marketing, and phone marketing. Click his name to read more about these categories.

In 2015, hundreds of millions of dollars were on billboard advertising. Unfortunately, billboard advertising is dead, Patel says. In a world where 9% of all drivers are on the phone at any given moment during daylight hours, how can we think billboards have a future, he asks himself. After all, if not even the driver is looking at the road anymore, who is supposed to see those cardboard advertisements? That is not even considering self-driving cars, on which both Apple and Google are working. With Americans spending 11+ hours on electronic devices every single day, there is not much left until we (including those who are not Americans, I suppose) spend all our time in the digital world, he predicts.

Digital marketing is NOT done tackling the problem of ad blocking yet; it is just getting started.

eMarketer warns marketers about a challenge that is costing marketers billions: ad blocking. Focusing on the United States, eMarketer says that as of 2014, more than 15 percent of internet users were using ad-blocking software. In 2016, this number is expected to climb above 26 percent, and by 2017, almost a third of all internet users will be using some form of ad blocker.

eMarketer senior analyst Paul Verna calls ad blocking detrimental to the entire advertising ecosystem. It affects mostly publishers, but also marketers, agencies, and others whose businesses depend on ad revenue. He urges the industry to tackle this problem by delivering compelling ad experiences that consumers will not want to block.

Apparently, ad blocking is more common on desktops and laptops, because screen sizes are large enough to accommodate multiple ads. This includes videos that might be out of view but still audible, which users find highly annoying. In addition, ad blockers typically do not work on apps, where users spend most of their mobile internet time.

Digital marketing is NOT one definite practice

Digital marketing will always be evolving. New apps are launched every day and users will always want new experiences. Just last month, Anoop Gupta of Zeemo listed a few digital marketing trends of which you need to be aware in 2016, because, as he puts it, these “are set to revolutionize digital marketing as we know it, creating even more opportunities for consumers and marketers alike to engage.” Here are 4 of them:

  1. Snapchat

Snapchat has taken the social media world by storm. Users send thousands of photos, videos, and drawings each month. Very few brands are currently using Snapchat in marketing campaigns, but this is likely to change in 2016 as more is learned about the app. The fact that the content you create is only available for a few seconds adds a sense of exclusiveness to it.

  1. Live video streaming

As mobile connectivity and technology are constantly improving, video needs to be an integral part of your marketing campaign. Use apps like Meerkat and Periscope, which allows you to stream videos from your mobile to your Twitter community. You could host a live Q&A or give users a behind-the-scenes look at your brand.

  1. Instagram

Apps like Instagram feed our need to share our lives and experiences with the world. Instagram has recently started offering paid advertising opportunities, and this ability is likely to become available to everyone in 2016. You can create a carousel ad for multi-page ads or a three-second video.

  1. Pinterest

Pinterest has stepped up when it comes to digital marketing. It first launched buyable pins, but now there is Animated Cinematic pins. They allow brands to target a specific person based on their interests. Users are still in control: it is up to them whether they watch the video or not. This sounds more like the “compelling ad experience that consumers will not want to block.”

Digital marketing is NOT unaware of differences in cultures

At least, not if you are doing it well. To be effective, digital marketing aims to reach the target audience the proper way. A fun example of how to approach cultures differently is given by The Social Media Monthly; there, they learned that when it comes to swearing, Britain and America are rather different. If the subject header on an email contains a naughty word, Brits said that they would be 30% more likely to open it. America on the other hand is more likely to turn their noses up.

Brits did actually open more emails with a swear word in the header. 27% of Brits opened emails whereas only 17% of Americans did the same. Brits actually preferred some swear words. When old fashioned swear words, like “numpty,” were included, open rates increased by 26%. Americans, by contrast, were particularly prudish, even when it came to soft swear words in the header. They were associated with a 30% decrease in open rates.

Digital marketing is NOT successful without personas

You should build out detailed personas before starting a digital marketing campaign. If you do not know your target market and the key players within it intimately, you are not going to be successful. Personas require quite some prep time and energy to create, but they can make or break your overall campaign. The more time you spend on this single aspect of your campaign buildout, the more likely you are to succeed.

Marc Herschberger of Hubspot urges you to work with your sales team, senior marketing members, and anyone else with experience working with your industry’s customers to build out a detailed profile around their background, job roles, goals, and challenges. This way, you can better create content that will connect with them.

He offers 3 tips:

  1. Interview experts within your company.
    This will help you build a general idea of who you are targeting and how your product/service connects with them.
  2. Reach out to current customers for short, 30 minute interviews.
    Have a list of questions worked out beforehand and spend more time talking about them and their job/company vs. your product/service. This is where you will be able to build out a more well-rounded profile of a qualified persona and how your company can successfully win business.
  3. Reach out to prospects that your sales team recently lost (if possible).
    Run them through the same interview as above but try to focus a bit more of your time at the end of the interview collecting information on why they decided against your company. This will help you build out a better understanding of major objections your sales team faces.

Digital marketing in 2016

I hope you have enjoyed my list of five things digital marketing is not. If you want to read about more digital marketing trends in 2016, you can read my blog “31 Promising Digital Marketing Trends for 2016.” In it, I have researched what experts say about the digital marketing trends for 2016 for entrepreneurs and small business owners. I combine three blogs I have found; the experts of these blogs agree on a few trends, but also mention some that the others do not. The trends include tools, extensions on existing platforms and best practices.