What is Digital Advertising and How Does It Work?

November 17, 2021

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The first-ever record of evidence goes nearly 2,000 years back when clay tablets were used to set up advertisements for ointments and other products. The nature and discipline of advertising have continued to evolve since then, and just like all other forms of mass media and communications, advertising has also phased into the digital realm.

What is Digital Advertising?

Advertising is any piece of written, visual, or verbal content that aims to present a product to a specific audience in a way that the product seems to meet an unmet need or want of that audience. When done via digital streams, such as blogs, websites, social media, email, text messages, and other virtual methods, this becomes a niche of advertising which we refer to as digital advertising.

How is Digital Advertising Different from Traditional Advertising?

To understand the difference between the two, let’s start with the forms of advertising. There are three types of advertising: Above-the-line (ATL), below-the-line (BTL), and through-the-line (TTL).

Above-the-line advertisement is the one we see in most mainstream media in the form of one-way communications in primarily radio, newspapers, and television. Below-the-line advertisements are more intimate, two-way communication modes, such as emails. The third one, through the line, is where newer forms of mass media adopt mainstream advertising methods, such as blogs, vlogs, and social media posts, and can maintain discreet, personalized, two-way communications at the same time.

Simply put, digital advertising is the merger of both ATL, BTL to form a TTL mode of advertisements.

How Does Digital Advertising Work?

Digital advertising is done through the following steps:

1. Finding a Product to Advertise

The first step consists of several steps on its own, but to narrow those down, we can say that it’s about finding the product you want to advertise. The product can be a message, a tangible utility, an idea, a cause, or anything you have to convince people to invest in.

2. Explain the Purpose

The next step is to define your purpose for digital advertising. It can be a decent buyer-seller ad, which is how most laypeople define the term. Otherwise, the purpose of your digital ad can also be to inform and create awareness and caution, ask them to contribute to a cause, or educate your viewers.

3. Set a Target Audience

The third step is to define who your target audience is. There are all sorts of internet users, YouTube viewers, blog readers, and Instagram followers. But, who do you think is the ideal person for your product? From middle-aged Armenian men to Japanese disabled teens to Somali single parents, you’ll find all sorts of categories on the Internet. Of all these masses, you have to design your advertisement for a specific group of people. Identifying your target audience in the digital realm is highly important because it’ll help you pick the ideal ways of digital advertising as well.

4. Pick Your Media

The digital world can be as static as a pop-up advertisement, or as interactive as a gamified advert. Therefore, the mode you choose is totally your call. You can design your ads using a software you prefer, plan an audience engagement strategy (responding to comments, arranging questions and answers, planning giveaways, and so on), and then find the digital media streams that are the most compatible with your product. It can be YouTube, Facebook, digital TV, AR/VR, or any other format that you feel is the most beneficial and displays your product in a good light!

Another factor to consider here is the audience concentration. For example, is your audience a part of the ’60s-’80s era? Then they’re probably Facebook users, Tweeters, and epaper readers. On the other hand, if they belong to the ’90s-early 2000’s era, their preference may lean towards more complex and advanced streams, such as Snapchat, Instagram, or live gaming apps. Therefore, it’s pretty apparent you should pick a stream where most of your audience resides!

 5. Plan Your Advertisement

Finally, let’s face the mammoth task: plan out the actual ad. Your options in the digital advertising world are only as limited as your imagination. The more creative you are, the larger and better your avenues will be!

A pretty basic way of advertising would be to promote through a simple post with a single picturized advertisement and a few hashtags. This sounds quite simple, but if you’re a tad more innovative, you may ask your audience to share their endorsement of your product and repost it on their pages.

However, some advertisers bring the best of their originality to the whole game and suggest never-tried-before ideas! For instance, you can add a quiz or a questionnaire to your website where visitors guess the attributes of a new product. Then, once they get to the end of the game, you may have sufficiently built their excitement and engagement, so you may be able to get them to hit the purchase button located on the screen!

6. Paid Versus Free

Once your ad is made, you can either choose to spread it organically or through paid promotion. Organic exposure is when you solely rely on your followers, their reactions, comments, and shares to increase the reach and impact of your advertisement. You only invest in the ad and then leave it to your audience’s creative sense to pick the trail.

Paid or inorganic advertising is when you pay the platform to promote your advertisement so that it’s more visible to the audience. Then, you use the platform’s analytics and their free space to boost your content.

7. Engagement

This is the element that garners more traction for your brand much better than traditional media! You can get instant feedback on your advertisement, fix any minor communication issues, and engage with the public in real-time to increase their interest in your brand.


Digital advertising combines all the traditional and cutting-edge advertising practices to build an experience that thrills both advertisers and audiences alike. It’s vast, dynamic, and highly interactive, enabling advertisers to create a more lasting impact with real-time, valuable feedback!



Your Quick Guide to Paid Digital Advertising

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