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Branding Queries: What is Online Marketing?

We received a mail from one of Rachael, a marketing manager for a retail store in NY. She asks,

Hi. Belonging to the marketing horizon of a traditional retail store I am obviously a novice to the Internet. As a part of my skills building I am asked to look into Online Marketing and learn more about Internet. Forgive me for asking a basic question but it would be great if you could let me know about what Online Marketing is after all.

We reverted,

Online Marketing is also known as,
•    Internet Marketing
•    Web Marketing
•    E-Marketing
•    Internet Advertising
•    Electronic Marketing

What is Online Marketing?

Online Marketing is a business activity, carried out on the Internet, executed to attract an audience for the purpose of selling products, services and information (DirectTraffic.org, 2007). It is considered as another type of marketing which typically involves reaching the consumers via Internet. Premier usage of Internet as a target of this activity ensures an access to a larger yet targeted set of audience for any entrepreneurial firm with an eye on International markets. Online Marketing engages in basic marketing activities like advertising and selling, specifically on the Internet. Typical Online Marketing activities may include,

Search Engine Marketing (Paid-for listings): Search Engine Marketing widely addressed as ‘SEM’ within this global industry, involves advertising on Search Engine Listings in an attempt to reach every consumer who is looking for information, irrespective of his/her geographical location, related to a particular product or service. These listings usually appear on Search engine listings as short textual advertisements that are displayed either on the Top or Right-side of the Search results (Congentis, n.d.) [See Figure above]. This type of marketing is generally carried out on the Internet, on what is popularly known as, PPC (Pay per Click) basis. Advertisers are required to bid the price they would be willing to pay per each click of their advertisements, which also enables advertisers to select which geographical area would they want their ads to be displayed. The higher the bid, the higher is the advertisement placed in the Search engine Listing (Congentis, n.d.) SEM accounted for 57.6% on total Online Advertising in the year of 2007 (Internet Advertising Bureau, 2007).

Search Engine Optimisation: Search Engine Optimisation widely addressed as ‘SEO’ within the Industry, shares more or less similar effectiveness to that of SEM. It involves an optimized building of Web Pages of any particular website in a manner which enables the website to rank high in the ‘algorithmically’ determined search rankings. SEO results are regarded as more advantageous than Search Engine Marketing (SEM) results for two core reasons, a) Free of cost and b) Longer time standing listings. The core difference lies in the areas of Search Listings occupied. Figure 1, above gives an idea of the difference spots occupied by websites employing SEO and SEM.

Please Check the Figure above to get an idea of the difference between SEO and SEM. (Note: The areas marked in ‘Red’ colour are the results of Search Engine Marketing (SEM). While the one marked in ‘Green’ colour is the actual listing which may be the result of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)).

Display Advertising: Display advertising involves directly advertising graphical oriented logos, banners or animations on third party web sites, across the internet, to attract attention of visitors who could be potential consumers. They are regarded for being extremely effective to grasp direct responses of the target consumers. The IAB recommends Display Advertisements to be the key component of any Internet Marketing Strategy (Internet Advertising Bureau, 2008). This type of advertising accounted for 21% of the total online advertising during the year 2007 (Internet Advertising Bureau, 2007).

Email Marketing: Email Marketing is the advertising of a product, service or brand sent to a list of electronic mails [emails] (Wise Geek, n.d.). In order to execute this activity an entrepreneur must have an access to the email addresses of potential customers. There are a few ways to access email addresses, namely, purchasing the email database from an email broker, using an email subscription service on the company’s own website or rely on referrals gained from existing customers (Wise Geek, n.d.).


Congentis. (n.d.). Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization Explained. Retrieved August 17, 2008, from http://www.cogentis.com.au/search-engine-marketing-explained.html

DirectTraffic.org. (2007, June 18). Internet Marketing. Retrieved August 16, 2008, from http://www.directtraffic.org/OnlineNews/Internet_marketing_20075115473.html

Internet Advertising Bureau. (2007). Fact Sheet: Online Adspend 2007. Retrieved August 17, 2008, from http://www.iabuk.net/media/images/iabonlineadspendfactsheeth220072_2720.pdf

Internet Advertising Bureau. (2008, August 10). Display Advertising. Retrieved August 17, 2008, from

Wise Geek. (n.d.). What is Email Marketing? Retrieved August 17, 2008, from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-email-marketing.htm

4 Responses to Branding Queries: What is Online Marketing?

  1. Rachael Reply

    September 16, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Thanks Meheer,

    I only expected to get a mere 2 – 3 sentence explanation, but you have been more than generous in explaning the entire concept. I am sure this would be helpful to many other novice like me.

    I hope am not asking for too much but is it possible for you to point out how Online Marketing, acc to you, is different from Traditional Marketing?

  2. Meheer Reply

    September 16, 2009 at 10:35 pm


    You want to have a good look at our Communications(blog). I posted about the advantages of Online marketing against traditional marketing only yesterday. This may help…

  3. Rachael Reply

    September 16, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    ooops…. Ma bad!!

  4. Jannet Reply

    December 26, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Hi Meheer,

    This article is good to replace the one at Wikipedia. Online Marketing can be confusing for 1st month newbies. In such a scenario, mentioning related alternatives like,

    Online Marketing is also known as,
    • Internet Marketing
    • Web Marketing
    • E-Marketing
    • Internet Advertising
    • Electronic Marketing

    … truly helps. Thanks again.. Your answers to Rachael’s query has truly defied my beginner knowledge on Online Marketing and its advantages. I now have a clear concise know-how on this feild which consequents into a better job security (truly as intriguing as it sounds).

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