There is little doubt the impact the web and technology have had on business over the last thirty or so years. However, while just being online with a website was previously enough, these days many firms struggle to stand out online.

In a world where there are more web pages than people, it is little wonder that company sites find it hard to attract attention. While well-crafted content and a professionally designed site will go a long way to improving the user experience, the challenge of driving traffic to a corporate site is getting harder by the day.

Most people are aware of the options for online promotion, ranging from Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and web marketing, but questions remain for many website owners as to which is better.

Advertising or marketing – or both?

In truth, if you are to have an all-around promotion strategy and the greatest chances of your campaign being a success, you should probably invest in both online advertising (including social media ads) and marketing. There is a reason the world’s biggest firms tend to spread themselves wide over both – although this approach might not be possible for smaller firms on a limited budget.

Regardless of which you choose (or even if you choose both), you should work with a specialized web promotion firm to get the best results. Companies that offer adtech and martech services and are experienced in the delivery of both will help build a bespoke campaign to meet your requirements.

The primary differences between advertising and marketing

The easiest way to ascertain the main difference between advertising and marketing is to think about how the different disciplines deliver their message.

Advertising: Digital advertising tends to be a disruptive form of media – often interrupting content or serving as a distraction. For example, think of the adverts that run at the start of YouTube videos with the small 5-second skip button. The vast majority of users click ‘skip now’ as soon as they are able so they can get to the content they want to view. Users sometimes see advertising as an annoyance as many ads are not aimed distinctly at them but rather at the widest demographic possible. Indeed, this strength of feeling against adverts has even led to some users installing ad-blocking software in their browser to stop ads appearing (particularly pop-up or pop-under ads). Nonetheless, online advertising remains a highly lucrative industry and can yield great results for firms that spend time monitoring their campaigns and tailoring their message.

Marketing: At the other end of the spectrum, digital marketing tends to be highly targeted, even down to individual users sorted by demographics – anything from age to location or interests. One of the fastest-growing areas of digital marketing in recent years has been content marketing which can be particularly effective for the promotion of smaller firms. Content marketing can be delivered in anything from a blog article to a video or social media post, but the overall point remains the same – to address a specific problem or query. With the increasing trend for users to ask Google questions rather than just make simple, short searches, successful digital marketing could see your firm’s website benefitting from significantly more traffic. This type of promotion is also a very good way to show your company’s knowledge and competency, in turn increasing trust.