What’s the Difference between Digital and Social Media Marketing?

Difference between Digital and Social Media Marketing?

Marketing is a crucial factor in running a business – disregard this, and your company’s name won’t be out there. Marketing, however, has evolved greatly since its inception. The Internet has made paper ads borderline redundant and, meanwhile, a whole science of marketing strategies has evolved, making every entrepreneur study it, without exception. Although digital and social media marketing these are relatively of the same kin, there are many factors that set them apart.

What’s the Difference between Digital and Social Media Marketing? by leafcutter.com.auAren’t these the Same Thing?

Well, no they aren’t. Although both brands of marketing utilize the Internet as the means of getting a business’s name out there, social media marketing is actually just a subcategory of digital marketing. In other words, social media marketing is always digital, seeing as how social media websites are Internet-dependent throughout, but digital marketing doesn’t necessarily have to be ‘social’.

Getting Familiarized with Digital Marketing

The abovementioned term is of wide use, this is true, but do you really know what the term entails. Perhaps the easiest way to describe digital marketing would be: “Promoting a product or brand, by utilizing any digital channel available”.

Digital marketing has two major components:

  • Internet marketing – SEM (search engine marketing), web marketing, smartphone stores (Apple Store, Google Play), online banners, web marketing, as well as social media marketing.
  • Web-unrelated digital channels – This includes the ‘old ways’ of digital marketing, such as television, radio, SMS and digital billboards.

Digital marketing is, therefore, every means of getting a brand name out there, from social media and the general Web, to highway billboards and shop window screens.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing, as we’ve mentioned, is just a part of general digital marketing. Advertising on social media websites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter is all done digitally, but includes only Internet-related marketing. If a user isn’t online, they will never get to see a company’s Web ads.

Social media marketing, however, shouldn’t be regarded as trivial, however. The fact that it is only a subcategory of digital marketing doesn’t mean that an eye shouldn’t be kept on it. In fact, the by-far most popular brand of digital marketing nowadays is actually advertizing on social media – think about it. Almost everyone you know is on social media websites and uses YouTube and Facebook on a daily basis.

The Difference Overview

To sum it up, we’ve come up with a list of actual differences between the two types of marketing in question:

  • While digital marketing is a marketing strategy, social media marketing is only a part of the former and, therefore, not an actual form of a marketing strategy.
  • Digital marketing entails both online and offline means of advertising, while social media is web-dependent.
  • Digital marketing transcends social media platforms, using a variety of electronic channels, mentioned above.
  • There are no companies that specialize in social media marketing. A digital agency will likely cover both types of advertising in question. Keep in mind, however, that with a growing interest in social media this large, agencies that specialize in social media marketing may well start appearing all across the globe.
  • While digital marketing focuses on all target audiences, who respond in accordance to their level of interest, social media marketing’s target groups are people who share common interests and the actual audience is involved only through consent.


Digital marketing is the name of the game, when it comes to 21st century advertising – with the technology expanding this quickly, we are surrounded by digital devices on a daily basis. Social media, however, are picking up in pace and have been doing this for a while now, with no signs of stopping – this is why, while it is a subcategory of its parent brand of marketing, it plays a vital role in most businesses.

Written by Diana Smith

Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in topics related to business and technology.

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