These days, the terms digital marketing and advertising are used interchangeably creating great confusion. But they are not the same and understanding their mutual differences is important for your marketing success. Marketing refers to a broader process involving several facets and activities including planning, promotion, and sales of products or services in the markets.

Advertising, on the other hand, is just a subset of this marketing process and it particularly deals with content promotion to facilitate sales and engagement. Unlike advertising, the importance of digital marketing for business doesn’t end with sales and business conversion.

So, marketing is basically a broad discipline overseeing a variety of functions including customer research and placements of products as well as services. In contrast, advertising is all about promotional activities coming under the broad category of marketing.

The Key Differences Between Digital Advertising and Digital Marketing

Between Digital Advertising and Digital Marketing

Now that the basic differences between marketing and advertising are explained, it is time to go one step ahead the differences between digital marketing and digital advertising. The real confusion actually happens in the digital platforms. The basic differences are here below.

  • Just as we explained earlier digital advertising is only a subset of digital marketing.
  • Digital marketing is basically a wide-ranging process while digital advertising refers to just a kind of promotional activity.
  • Digital marketing stays in complete control over digital advertising decisions and activities.
  • Digital ads look up to the marketing strategy and decisions for their advertisement planning and execution.
  • Email marketing can result in the highest ROI of Digital marketing channels.
  • Digital advertising is focused on garnering sales and business conversion through online and digital channels while digital marketing focuses on overall branding, market reach, customer engagement, improving sales and many others.
  • The failure and success of digital advertising don’t guarantee the success and failure of digital marketing, since the latter needs to perform on many fronts apart from ads and promotions.
  • Digital marketing is strategic in its core nature, while ads are only activities guided by marketing strategy.
  • Finally, digital marketing is a continuous process, while digital ads are just activities carried out in a specific time.
  • A company can put a stop to digital ads for an unspecified time, but it just cannot remove marketing from its scheme of things.

Understanding the Scopes of Digital Marketing and Digital Advertising

Digital Marketing and Digital Advertising

The digital marketing process is continuous without any certainty of meeting an end. Digital marketing covers the entire span and breadth of business activities starting from the phase of market research to the strategic planning, control, monitoring, and refining for better marketing strategy and effective output.

In that sense, everything a business does online or share across digital platforms is part of the digital marketing strategy and activities of a business. Every business website, social media page, mobile app are various strategic fronts of digital marketing activities.

Digital advertising in complete contrast refers to the activity pertaining to the comprehensive digital marketing process. In the digital marketing strategy, digital advertising mostly comes at a later stage when a brand decides to promote the products or services through ads.

Naturally, a digital advertiser requires guidance and inputs from the digital marketing services and marketing strategists in deciding the type of promotion, timing of promotion, advertising budget, etc. The advertising decisions are taken as per the gross marketing strategy and specific marketing objectives.

So, in the gross analysis, digital advertising is mainly tactical in nature in contrast to digital marketing which is actually strategic and more decisive for the business outcome.

Read More: Revealing The Secrets Of Fast-Paced Digital Transformation For Your Business

Requirements for Achieving Success and Growth Objectives

Achieving Success and Growth Objectives

The digital marketing vs advertising objectives differ from one another on several counts. Digital marketing because of its strategic nature, needs a carefully-crafted and orchestrated strategy to develop a brand image. In contrast, digital advertising plays a far less decisive role and it is mainly responsible for making a push to sales, business conversion or temporary brand awareness.

Digital marketing focuses on customer psychology and market trends to cater to the expectations and demands while digital advertising just tries to achieve sales targets through parrot-mouthing product benefits and promotional content.

In complete contrast to digital advertising, a digital marketing company not focuses solely on driving sales and business conversion. Apart from sharing the ultimate objective of generating sales and achieving maximum revenue for a brand, digital marketing focuses on creating a sustainable brand image that can withstand the competition for years.

This is why the success of digital marketing depends so much on knowing the customers and the market. Digital marketers carry out market research in order to understand their target audience and to have a comprehensive understanding of the product demand.

On the other hand, digital marketers often create original content that besides helping the website visitors establishes customer relationships. So, digital marketing addresses audience psychology through all its activities.

From creating buyer personas to addressing market trends, digital marketing needs to utilise multiple facets of marketing while digital advertising just focuses on a particular market segment to reach out and promote.

Hire Digital Marketing Agency

Making Revenue: Digital Marketing vs Digital Advertising

Finally, when it is about comparing marketing and advertising, we must ask which of them makes more revenue? Giving a straightforward answer to this will only confirm the confusion that we talked about so far. Actually, the question itself seems preposterous.

A great digital marketing strategy accommodates audience-specific and superbly articulated advertising campaigns on multiple platforms and mediums. The other facets of digital marketing starting from branding to planning to audience research only helps the ads to reap its full advantages through a carefully orchestrated groundwork.

So, as far as the revenue generation is concerned, you no longer can think in terms of marketing vs advertising. Instead, you need to think in terms of marketing and advertising.

While the marketing strategy and groundwork will give you decision making power and a complete view of the market, advertising as the foot soldier in the marketing scheme will only push sales.


The role of digital marketing is increasingly getting robust for business brands of all types across the niches. In this marketing landscape, digital advertising will only look up to the strategic power of marketing to ensure success.