Digital marketing, also known as online marketing, internet marketing, or web marketing, is an intersection of marketing and technology.
It encompasses any form of marketing effort requiring electronic devices and the internet, making digital marketing more business-critical every day.
The History Of Digital Marketing
The term ‘digital marketing’ was coined in the 1990s, but its impact was not immediately felt among many traditional marketers until the early 2000s.
However, as technology advanced rapidly over the past two decades, digital media such as smartphones, laptop computers, and other intelligent gadgets became ubiquitous and powerful.
This rapid growth in technology soon turned into an opportunity for many traditional marketers as they discovered new ways of reaching their audiences. Unique marketing approaches started coming up, and as Google advanced, coupled with the introduction of social media platforms, digital marketing & SEO strategies became the talk of the industries. And since then, digital marketing spending has surpassed traditional marketing.
Challenges of Digital Marketing in Nigeria
The modern digital marketing method is better equipped to unify customer experiences across devices and channels. You can quickly develop a custom-centric strategy that will enable you to reach a wider audience and funnel them down to the bottom line. However, as data-driven it is, it’s still not perfect.
Although it is believed that marketers now have more ways to cross-promote products and services online, they still need sophisticated tools to track behaviours and attribute data.
The few years to come will be a bit challenging as the world moves to deploy cookie-less tracking. Digital marketers will have to find a way, to diversify technologies and strategies further than in the past years to make sense of data and apply it for the personalized experiences consumers expect.
Another major challenge in the digital marketing ecosystem, which must not be forgotten, is the global pandemic, affecting and reshaping consumers’ behaviours and shopping attitudes online. Many people now spend more time at home – working from home, more than half of the employees working in many large companies like Google, Facebook, etc., now work from home. It’s the new normal, which the digital marketing ecosystem has to adapt to even in the post-pandemic era.
Surprisingly enough, the new normal has now increased social media usage, but there has been a decline in spending in some areas of digital marketing, especially paid advertising.
Of course, this fluctuates from month to month, but these ebbs and flows are all part of the job as digital marketers.
The Future of Digital Marking in Nigeria, Africa and Rest of the World
It is essential to understand the digital landscape and the audience to achieve success going into the second half of 2021.
But this poses another challenge for most significantly new digital marketers as they will have to learn and adapt to the current reality in the industry and one facing the world entirely. The new variety of protocols, specifications, regulations, policies and interfaces across different digital media, devices, and countries are some of the things new digital marketers in Nigeria, Africa, and the rest of the world would have to consider.
This problem, however, can easily be overcome, thanks to technological advancement. Digital marketers now have access to many different tools at their disposal to monitor consumers’ behaviour across digital platforms. Today, digital marketers can measure in real-time — what is being read, for how long, and by how many people. And even beyond that, they can see how many people are actively engaging with their content, deduce why some are not engaging, and proffer solutions immediately by acting on the data collected, analyzing it to know what works and what doesn’t. This way, digital marketers can quickly adapt and improve.
Let’s look at what digital marketing is today; the benefits of starting a career in digital marketing, and what types of roles are available in the fast-growing field including various responsibility that comes with it.
The Digital Marketing Trifecta
The Digital Marketing Trifecta represents the three types of media essential for success in digital marketing:
Earned Media: Earn media is the recognition you get for free. This can be backlinks to your websites, mentions of your brands, or produces customer reviews and recommendations, which together helps strengthen your brand authority and your domain authority in search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, and Baidu.
Paid Media: This represent paid advertising that is primarily used to drive traffic and qualified leads to the sales page of your website (landing pages) to convert them in line with your business goals. Paid media includes paid search ads, social media promotions, and display ads.
Owned Media: This belongs to you; It’s the content you create online, and one in which you have total control over that creates and leads to the opportunity of driving earned media. Examples include:
- Your blogs and other website content.
- Social media feeds.
- Youtube videos.
- Mobile site and apps.
When the trifecta—earned, paid, and owned media overlap well to form a balanced strategy, digital marketers set the tone for excellent customer experiences. They do not only reach the target audience more accurately, but they also do so in relevant ways, preferred (not distracting) and perhaps most importantly — expected as part of the buyer journey.
Benefits of Digital Marketing in Nigeria to SMEs
Endless Opportunity: In Nigeria, the demand for digital marketing professionals has been on the rise, with new roles opening up all the time. Financial institutions are waking up to the reality that the old traditional method of marking is no longer effective in reaching the audience, getting qualified leads, and getting people to sign up for their services, such as opening an account. SMEs in Nigeria and Africa at large realize that the most cost-effective way to drive sales is through online marketing after seeing growth in their counterparts in other parts of the world, such as in the USA, Canada, the Uk, and other developed nations where a lot of IT recruitment agencies now recruit digital marketing professionals on daily basis to strengthen the IT departments of their clients’ companies.
In one of its recent surveys, LinkedIn lists Digital Marketing as the top in-demand job, including digital marketers with SEO, social media, and content marketing skills. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, Businesses have been increasing their digital marketing budgets drastically, creating endless opportunities for digital marketers of any skill type across different sectors including Law firms, Real estate etc.
Fast-Paced Landscape: The digital marketing industry constantly sees new disruptions from new technologies, platforms, and smart devices, so there is always something to learn and apply to your latest marketing strategies. As modern technology such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Augmented and virtual reality continue to mature, digital marketers will always open opportunities.
The Most Desirable Digital Marketing Skills in 2021
Creative, Critical Thinking
Today, Brands need a new digital marketing approach to stand and even edge out competitors.
Digital marketing requires critical thinking for product innovation, ideas, and problem-solving for business owners. Any Marketers who can balance creativity with critical thinking are highly valuable to the survival and growth of the company.
With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, Digital marketing professionals are taking on Freelancing roles and remote opportunities than ever before.
There’s a career change to digital marketing in most especially Nigeria. Many students now take digital marketing courses online to boost their professional skills and realize its new way to survive in the “new normal.”
Choosing the Right Career Path in Digital Marketing (How to Start Career in Digital Marketing)
1. Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is increasing traffic to a website by improving the ranking of its web pages on a search engine.
SEO is a dynamic field, and search engines like Google and Bing constantly make changes in terms of upgrades or updates. And even sometimes, they do retire a complete algorithm to allow for new and improved technology to take over. An example is PageRank, which was retired some years ago.
SEO, at its most basic, is about making websites show up on search engines. But, it can get complex at times, which is why you hear many technical terms used and still within the scope of SEO.
Making a website show up in Google involves enhancing the quality of content on the web page by ensuring enough relevant keywords. The page itself is organized well structured with subheads, bullet points, and clear hyperlinks.
It also means the site’s HTML code is optimized so that when search engines crawl the site, they can discover the individual pages on the website, index them and then display them on the search engines.
2. Search Engine Marketing
Closely related to SEO is SEM, which stands for Search Engine Marketing.
It employs SEO plus some marketing mechanisms, such as social media marketing and paid searches, to increase brand awareness, lead generation, and conversions.
There’s a relatively new field in Digital Marketing that overlaps SEO and social media marketing, and that’s SMO – Social Media Optimisation.
This was born out as the social media platforms themselves began turning into search engines.
Nowadays, Pinterest is more of an image search engine than just social media. Twitter’s search engine is also an excellent tool for marketers to find information and discover what matters most to their audiences.
The SEO industry has advanced by leaps and bounds. And the search engines gather information and use them to improve the search experience.
SEO Job Opportunities: Without any doubt, there is significant growth in the SEO job market, with the U.S. showing an 81 per cent increase in SEO job openings from 2018 to 2019. What’s even more promising is that a survey conducted by moz.com revealed 78% of marketers say SEO is part of their job description and that their job postings were not negatively impacted by covid-19. Instead, they have significantly increased during this time.
To become a successful digital marketing professional, you must know SEO best practices. Many organizations even prefer to hire SEO specialists than digital marketers because the return on investment is huge in SEO.
Experienced professionals must be ready to rethink existing strategies and align websites with Google webmaster guidelines. Search engines change how they deliver search results based on user intent, user experience, and buyer journeys. It’s a highly in-demand skill, and the salary range for SEO specialists is $35,000-$64,000, depending on experience.
3. Social Media Marketing
Marketers publish content on social media sites to promote their brand, sell products, and protect the brand’s online reputation, while still using social media as a means to drive traffic to the website. Brands frequently post their content on social media, employing social media managers to manage their online presence. Sometimes, they leverage influencers (micro or macro) to build trust and confidence in the brand from a reliable third party the audience believes in.
One of the recipes for marketers looking to excel online, especially on social media, is to have a deep understanding of the audience — including which platforms they spend their time on and which types of content appeal to them most — and that can drive engagement.
Nowadays, digital marketing professionals or business owners must establish an online castle because these platforms are where consumers spend their time, and the saying that you need to be where your customers are cannot be overemphasized.
Statistics have shown that mobile users in the U.S. spend an average of 53 minutes per day on social networking sites. That’s a whole lot of time and more reasons why brands need to use these channels to achieve their specific marketing goals.
Changes frequently happen on social media channels, just like the search engines, and do not forget that most of these channels have their inbuilt search engines. They also update regularly to better improve users’ experience. So, staying on top of industry news and trends is a best practice for social media marketing success.
Social media Marketing Job Opportunities: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows an 8% rate of job growth for social media marketing managers from 2018 to 2028.
This is attributable to the proliferation of influencer marketing, viral marketing, storytelling, chatbots, and live streaming and video. According to PayScale, the average salary for social media marketers is pegged around $50,363.
4. Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of the most effective forms of digital marketing. Content is the heartbeat of digital marketing success. And if you call it the king, you’re right! Content marketing delivers 3x more leads and costs 62 per cent less than traditional marketing.
Content marketing focuses on creating, distributing, and delivering high-quality content online, including long-form content such as white papers and ebooks, websites, blogs, paid ads, and audio and visual content. The goal is to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action without being salesy.
To succeed as a content marketer, you must possess good writing and editing skills, proficiency in tools used for content creation and management, project management, and an understanding of online audience growth.
Content Marketing Job Opportunities: Demands in content marketing specialists have shown no signs of slowing down. When asked in a survey, companies say they’re planning on increasing their budgets on content marketing by an average of 73% and a 42% increase in the next two years. Interestingly, as companies increase their spending on content marketing, they will also need content marketers who can help make most of their spending. In the U.S., the average salary for content marketing managers is $68,231.
5. Mobile Marketing
Mobile marketing has turned out to be one of the modern marketing strategies to reach a larger audience. This is so due to the growth in mobile devices’ usage among both old and young people; Mobile marketing provides marketers with time and location-sensitive information about the customers to promote goods, services, and ideas in a more personalized way.
Due to the rise of smartphones and smartwatches and fast internet connection speeds, it is essential to integrate mobile marketing strategy into an overall digital marketing strategy.
Mobile Marketing Job Opportunities: As consumers now spend more than four hours a day on their smartphones, plus the fact that half of all worldwide online traffic now comes from mobile phones, the demand for mobile marketers can only increase over time.
The average salary for mobile marketing managers is $74,874, according to PayScale.
6. Web Analytics
Web analytics is about tracking and analyzing users’ behaviours on your website or web application and mobile application.
With the volume of data available from different multichannel sources, marketers can better monitor the performance of their website and implement better marketing campaigns.
The Knowledge of Web Analytics helps you develop comprehensive expertise and find the right tools to assess visitor behaviour on your websites.
Job Opportunities: The availability of data means the need for more data analysts to analyze and interpret data and make an informed decision for organizational growth. Data collection can include user data on sales, purchase history, site interactions, social interactions, and search activities multiplies. Despite the high demand for web analysts, Moz.com reported a shortage of qualified analysts in the industry despite the increased demand.
7. Pay Per Click (PPC)
Pay-per-click (PPC) is an advertising model marketers use to display a more targeted message to their customers at the right time. When a marketer displays advertising of his products and a user clicks on them, the advertisers will be charged for that click. Every click on ads being run by marketers is charged once users who come across it clicked on it. This is why it’s called Pay Per Click.
PPC advertising is not limited to only displaying advertising on publishers’ networks; it also occurs on search engines and social media platforms. There is paid search where search engines display advertisers’ websites above the organic(free) listings. We have Facebook ads in which Facebook shows advertisers promoted posts above others to appear top of the customer’s news feed.
PPC advertising requires the knowledge of each advertising platform – Google, Facebook, etc. How to bid on ads, adjust spending for maximum conversions, lower the cost per acquisition, interpret data, and other essential metrics. PPC Specialists need to know how to analyze the market, set up campaigns and budgets to make the most advertising spend.
Pay-per-click (PPC) and cost-per-click (CPC) are the fastest ways brands can generate awareness, grow leads, and complete conversions. However, the process can be complicated, and so, to make the most out of the PPC advertising spend, brands must work with highly knowledgeable specialists who understand how to interpret data and use insights to make cost-effective decisions, and this is where the opportunity begins.
Job Opportunities: PPC is a lucrative niche for digital marketers, and according to a report, PPC specialist was the second-most sought after job profile across several online job boards with the average salary for a PPC expert put around $53,370,