What is Internet marketing? Definition and examples

Internet Marketing refers to marketing that occurs only online. In other words, marketing efforts that businesses do solely over the Internet. Internet marketing involves several methods to drive traffic to the advertiser’s website. It also includes marketing efforts to drive traffic to websites where consumers can purchase the advertiser’s products. Digital marketing is similar, but also includes some non-Internet electronic marketing.

Marketing over the Internet is a rapidly growing business. It is growing fast because more people use the Internet daily. It is also expanding rapidly because more people are purchasing goods and services online, i.e., online shopping is booming.

Email lists, banner ads, PPC (pay per click), and social media marketing are examples of methods used in Internet marketing. It is a rapidly growing business.

Shopify.com has the following definition of the term:

“Internet marketing—digital marketing, web marketing, or online marketing—is an umbrella term for all marketing that takes place on the internet.”

“This includes, but is not limited to, social media, email, content marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO), a process that makes it easier for search engines to find your website.”

Although the aims of traditional marketing and online marketing are the same, marketers’ actions are quite different. Before the advent of the Internet, marketing moved at a much slower pace than it does today.

Internet marketing – SEO

SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, is the process of getting more internet traffic. Specifically, getting more traffic because a website is good rather than paying for it. With a successful SEO strategy, your website’s ranking with search engines will improve.

Google, Yahoo, and Bing, for example, are search engines. They have primary search results, where web-pages and other content are ranked according to what they consider most relevant to users. Other content includes videos or local listings.

SEO comes under the field of internet marketing. In this case, it involves improving a website rather than selling more products.

Moz.com has the following definition of search engine optimization:

“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”

Internet Marketing - definition and examples
According to Webopedia: “Internet marketing, or online marketing, refers to advertising and marketing efforts that use the Web and email to drive direct sales via electronic commerce, in addition to sales leads from websites or emails.”

Internet marketing – online advertising

Online advertising has been around ever since the 1990s when the Internet began to become popular globally. It forms part of Internet marketing and refers to using websites and other online venues as an advertising medium. In other words, online advertising means adverts on the Internet.

Advertisers place promotional messages on the screens of smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and televisions. We refer to televisions with internet access as ‘smart TVs.’ As more people buy new smart TVs and get rid of their old ‘dumb’ ones, the term will probably die away. In a few years time, the word ‘television’ will mean ‘smart TVs.’

We also use the terms web advertising, digital advertising, online marketing, and Internet advertising with the same meaning as online advertising. Many people would understand ‘Internet marketing’ as meaning ‘online advertising.’

The word ‘online,’ in this context, refers to the Internet. In other words, connected to the Internet.

Techopedia.com makes the following comment about online advertising:

“A major advantage of online advertising is the quick promotion of product information without geographical boundary limits.”

“A major challenge is the evolving field of interactive advertising, which poses new challenges for online advertisers.”

Internet marketing more sophisticated than traditional marketing

Internet marketing is significantly more sophisticated than traditional marketing. It is more sophisticated because of the technology we use today. This technology, thirty years ago, did not exist.

When marketing online, promoters can display their ads and other promotional material in software, videos, and websites.

The adverts may also appear in mobile apps, i.e., apps people have in their smartphones. There are, in fact, countless types of online ads and channels.

Advertising channels, in this context, refers to venues where adverts may appear. Below are a few of them:

  • Text ads

A text ad consists of some written text with a hyperlink. If you click on the hyperlink (link), it takes you to a specific website. We call this website or web-page the advertiser’s ‘landing page.’

Text ads typically appear within the texts of blog posts. Online news articles, for example, may have text ads.

A text ad may also appear on its own, i.e., as a stand-alone piece of text.

  • Display ads

Display ads appear next to online content. They may, for example, appear next to a news article. This ‘Financial Glossary’ article has display ads.

Display ads are common in web-pages, apps, and emails.

  • Banner ads

Banner ads appear prominently on web-pages. In the early days of Internet marketing, they were extremely popular. They are less common today, but we can still see them on apps and web-pages.

Advertisers overused banner ads. They used them so much that they created what we call ‘banner blindness.’ In other words, banner ads lost much of their effectiveness because advertisers overused them.

Internet marketing vs traditional marketing
The Internet has changed the way we work, learn, interact with others, shop, and have fun. It has also changed the way marketing people work.
  • Native ads

Native ads are subtle pieces of writing that look like part of the online text. They may look like, for example, part of a news article. However, they are paid ads that the advertiser places.

The native ad aims to promote a good or service. The word good‘ in this context means ‘product.’

On most blogs, the native ad has an indication that it is an ad. Next to the text, for example, you may see the phrase ‘Sponsor’s Message.’

  • Affiliate links

Affiliate links are specific URLs that have the affiliate’s username or ID. An advertiser typically uses affiliate links to record traffic from promotional campaigns. They are part of ‘affiliate programs.’

In affiliate marketing, advertisers recruit affiliates to sell their products or services online. They also recruit affiliates to send leads to them. ‘Leads’ means potential buyers.

If you want to be an affiliate, you place a specific ad on your website. When visitors click on that ad, they go to the advertiser’s website.

Affiliates may get commission on total sales that their website generated. Alternatively, they may get money according to how many referrals they generated. Referral arrangements do not depend on consumers buying anything.

  • In-app ads

These are adverts that appear in software apps. They may appear in the form of display ads, text ads, or native ads. Advertisers may also use a combination.

Over the past six years, this type of Internet marketing approach has become increasingly more popular.

  • Video ads

Before you watch video footage online, you may have to sit through a five- or ten-second ad. Some of them last up to thirty seconds.

Online video ads are more useful than TV ads for advertisers because they can monitor their effectiveness more easily.

When somebody has watched a TV ad, for example, the advertiser does not know what that person does next. With online video ads, on the other hand, the advertiser knows whether the viewer has clicked on it.

If the person has clicked on the ad, the advertiser knows whether they bought anything. The advertiser also knows how long the viewer remained on the landing page.

Having more data about consumer behavior is one of the main differences between Internet marketing and traditional marketing. With Internet marketing, you have much more data.

  • Email ads

An email ad may appear either as a display ad, native ad, or text ad.

For the promoter of the product, having a direct line of communication with specific individuals is great. That is why, in the world of Internet marketing, email advertising is the most effective form of advertising there is.

Video – What is Internet Marketing?

This educational video, from our sister channel on YouTube – Marketing Business Network, explains what ‘Internet Marketing’ means using simple and easy-to-understand language and examples.