Digital Marketing vs. Outdoor Marketing

July 31, 2023

Digital Marketing

Is digital marketing better than outdoor marketing? With the ever-changing aspect of technology, most brands have switched over to it from outdoor marketing. Everyone is now going digital and if you’re wondering why, then continue reading.

The term digital marketing was first used during the 1990s along with the release of the first ever search engine ‘Archie.’ Skipping over to 2003, the first social media platform MySpace was launched, then followed by Orkut and Facebook. Here we can see digital marketing truly shine as social media allowed for businesses to reach target audiences within mere minutes by a simple click and post.

It is important to note how digital marketing is used, as to why it is being used as an alternative to outdoor marketing.

How does Digital Marketing Work?

Online methods have made communication so much easier. Before we get into how digital marketing is better than outdoor marketing, let’s start off with what digital marketing is.

What is Digital Marketing?

Countless businesses use technology in promoting their brands by posting on social media, and online articles. Just scrolling through Facebook or Twitter will show a random advertisement every now and then. This is a sign of digital marketing use. When companies employ strategies that use these online platforms, or simply use the internet, it’s called digital marketing.

Almost 5 billion users are on the internet, so the use of digital strategies will always have good outcomes.

Everything on social media is public. Due to this, companies have easier times figuring out what their audience needs. This gives great opportunities for products to be released timely and effectively.

Moreover, people have the choice to use something called personalized ads. This is when users see ads that are more catered towards them. This however is more likely akin to inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is when advertisements relate to an audience or simply entertain them.

To avoid confusion, inbound marketing can be a branch of digital marketing, but digital marketing isn’t just inbound marketing.

These barely mark the tip of the iceberg when it comes to digital marketing. If you want to know more about strategies that marketing professionals use, then let’s see together.

What are the branches of Digital Marketing?

Search Engine Optimization

Today’s online world is a territorial battle of popularity and credibility. Having a solid SEO plan is crucial if a business wants to survive the online marketing competition.

It is rare that a person will go to a second page of results when searching something on Google.

Like so, SEO refers to optimizing content on a website to ensure that it pops up on Google. Search engines use complex processes and algorithms to ensure that it shows accurate and reliable links when keywords are entered. Keywords are words that are searched on Google about any topic. It can literally be about anything, and it is now up to the search engine to analyze the keywords so that links are generated. Keeping things simple, if a link shows up first on Google, it will receive majority of the attention and clicks.

Moving on, there exists terms called organic and paid search results. Paid advertising is pretty self-explanatory as it means paying for an advertisement or link to show up somewhere. SEO fits into what we call organic search results, as for one, it does not cost much money to invest into, and two, it has much more reliable and long-term outcomes for a business.

SEO improves a simple website’s visibility on search engines and increases organic traffic from target audiences, meaning that people searched for the website on their own, as opposed to having clicked on a paid advertisement by accident. Organic traffic is what businesses want and need since this does not cost any money or investment.


This aspect of digital marketing is quite the opposite from Search Engine Optimization. While the latter is mostly free and focuses on quality, pay-per-click is a type of strategy that relies on paying a platform whenever someone clicks on an advertisement or link. 

The most popular aspect of pay-per-click, or PPC, is search engine advertising. When searching a query on Google, the advertisements related to the searched keywords are really hard to miss. A simple search for a coffee shop will bring up advertisements from cafes near you. This is what we call PPC.

Whenever marketers create clickable advertisements, there must be a set of keywords related to it. If an advertisement related to gaming consoles is made, keywords must include gaming. As said before, search engines use complex algorithms to bring its users the best and most accurate results for a certain keyword, and marketers exploit this by paying them to show an advertisement along with the search.

Pay-per-click costs businesses money so it may not be suited for small businesses, but a number of large scale brands can be seen using this to their benefit. In the long run, PPC might not be very cost-effective for companies since, for one, it costs money to be running ads on search engines, especially Google. Coming from a consumer perspective, ads make us irritable, and almost always immediately exit after having clicked on an advertisement that was not meant to be visited in the first place.

Overall, PPC might not be the best branch of digital marketing to use if a business is just starting out and trying to gain exposure. There are much more ways to gain popularity for a brand other than using paid advertisements that are much healthier in the long run.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is already self-explanatory. It’s mainly focused on creating social media plans to engage with an audience. There’s a thing in social media where we like to call the Big 3: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These are the platforms that most netizens use to socialize with friends, family, and even to set-up online businesses. Meta, Facebook and Instagram’s company also released the newest platform Threads, which is also not a bad one to use for online marketing

Netizens mainly use social media to communicate. It is hard to look for someone who doesn’t use social media in today’s age. Despite not being online much, the use of social media for messaging and communication purposes is extremely popular for older audiences, so there is no real downside to using social media to reach larger audiences in a much quicker timespan.

Another reason marketers take to social media to promote products is because users can directly engage with each other on social media, making it easier for companies to hear feedback from their customers, and vice versa. Companies can also directly interact with their audience by posting, commenting, or whatever the platform offers for them. Moreover, brands can further their reputation through earned media, a term for exposure that was not earned by any paid means. 

Social Media Engagement

Once something goes viral on the internet, it will not take an easy amount of time before users forget about it. It will always be considered exposure whether or not the reason it became viral was good or bad, the Scrub Daddy sponge being a great example for this. Coming from a marketing angle, when a product reaches more engagement on social media from what was initially expected, then it is already considered viral.

Piling on, it is easy to see if a business got good engagement with a post. One look at the post’s likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc. one can already make a conclusion if a marketing tactic reached a target audience well enough. Views on the post can also be tracked, though this needs more work, as evidenced by Facebook’s need to go to the Insights part of a page to see this information, rather than having the likes and shares already shown on the post itself.

Although stocked with a good amount of upsides, it is very hard to build up a reputation on social media if a business is starting from scratch. Each platform has its own community and scenery, so marketers must study the way people communicate on each one to maximize engagement. For example, tweets on Twitter will be very different from posts on Facebook.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the act of maintaining an audience by creating relevant content that they can relate with. These can refer from videos and blogs, to posts and picture stories. This helps keep a brand relevant, up-to-date, and can raise awareness for campaigns. 

Content marketing can go hand in hand with SEO since SEO tactics can be used in releasing content. Blogs can take advantage of SEO by utilizing keywords that are written within it, which in turn increases online visibility. 

Loyalty from customers also increases with content marketing because when people find something to relate to, or simply just be entertained by, they cling to it. Brands often take advantage of basic day to day life’s problems to show that they are no different from their audience. A restaurant will often blog about weight-loss or weight-gain tips and tricks for their customers which will then lead to more exposure. 

Video Content

Another branch of this is creating entertaining videos for an audience. Using the restaurant example before, they can also release a video pertaining to how a weight-loss or weight-gain eating plan can be more effective than just a short-term diet. These videos can include procedures and guides or anything helpful that the audience will find useful. 

When the audience is then informed about their eating plans, they will then need an outlet to buy food from, and this is where the restaurant products come in. The business can boast healthy weekly meals, etc. for customers to buy, and all in all, it increased the reputation of the restaurant.

With the crucial parts of digital marketing discussed, we can see why it almost immediately took over the marketing scene. Despite this, marketers still tend to choose outdoor marketing strategies for their campaigns, but the question is: why?

Despite today’s technology, companies still use outdoor marketing strategies. Let’s take a look why.

What is Outdoor Marketing?

Outdoor marketing is any kind of marketing that is not done through any online or digital means. This includes billboards, posting flyers, or literally any physical form of advertisement. It groups up all the efforts of a business to promote itself outside the internet.

It is the classic approach to engage with an audience. Outdoor marketing serves as the fundamentals of what marketing is, and it is what most marketers started out with. Although it is the original approach, outdoor marketing is very pricey and does not suit smaller businesses.

Outdoor advertising is very straightforward. An ad is posted, people see it, a brand is popularized. Many large-scale corporations still do this, mainly product based businesses such as hygiene products, food, etc.

Lots of people still go outside for work or school, which are the main target of outdoor marketing. Large posters are not hard to miss given their size, but it is very pricey. Posters and billboards also have the problem of weather hazards that can destroy it.

Still, not everyone goes outside, so the target audiences of outdoor marketing is limited.

Despite this, outdoor marketing still serves as a very straightforward strategy and will still bear beneficial results for products.

What is better: digital or outdoor?

Soon, digital marketing will replace outdoor marketing. However, the charm of being straightforward and simple is still the center of outdoor marketing.

Both types are good and effective, but which businesses benefit from them? Large companies still use both types of marketing since they have the budget for it. They will still benefit from both digital and outdoor marketing.

On the other hand, digital marketing on the other hand is more suited for smaller scale businesses. They can use social media to easily reach their audience, as well as being a cheaper alternative.

Overall, digital marketing is better than outdoor marketing due to being more cost-effective and simpler to use.