What is Digital Marketing?

Get ahead in today's highly digital world with the comprehensive field of digital marketing, a highly targeted and data-driven way to promote products and services online. Discover the vast range of tools and career paths available, from SEO and social media, to digital analysis and brand strategy.

Key Insights

  • Digital marketing has evolved significantly from traditional marketing methods, allowing for real-time adaptations, targeted ads and extensive analytics for measuring success and strategizing.
  • Tools for digital marketers range from free to subscription-based, including Google Analytics, Google Ads, SEMRush, Moz, and HootSuite, among others.
  • These tools assist in identifying target audiences, researching competitors, publishing content, and planning future strategies.
  • Potential careers in the field of digital marketing include roles as a Digital Marketer, Social Media Marketer, Web Optimization Specialist, Digital Strategist, Data Analytics Specialist, or Brand Marketer.
  • The average base salary for a Digital Marketer in the US is $58,500 annually, with a high demand for these roles in the job market.
  • Noble Desktop offers a variety of classes and resources for learning digital marketing, including their digital marketing courses with small class sizes and expert instructors, allowing for hands-on, interactive learning.

The internet is everywhere and along with it comes digital marketing. Whether it’s ads on social media, popups on free apps, or hyperlinks in a blog post, digital marketing touches everyone who goes online. In this overview, you’ll learn more about what digital marketing is, what it can do, who uses it, and how to learn it so you can add this skill to your professional toolbox.

What Can You Do with Digital Marketing?

Marketing has changed drastically since the advent of the internet. While early ways to promote a business included yellow page listings, print advertisements, and ads on buses and billboards, many marketing efforts have now moved online. With digital marketing, you can adapt and make changes in real-time to reflect your advertising. You can also create targeted ads to be sure your products and services reach an interested audience.

Digital marketing efforts are highly measurable. Using analytics, you can quickly tell how many people see your ads, how they react, and what action they take. Measuring your success (and where you need to improve) can help you develop your overall strategy. Plus, organic digital marketing levels the playing field, allowing businesses of any size to compete for clicks.

Additionally, there’s a low barrier to entry to advertise with digital marketing. You can start your paid digital marketing campaign for a minimum amount and build as your company grows. Digital marketing offers the unique chance to control where you spend those crucial advertising dollars.

How Do You Get Digital Marketing Tools? How Much Do They Cost?

Digital Marketers rely on powerful tools to collect data for planning digital marketing campaigns. These tools can help you identify a target audience, engage with customers, research competitors, publish content, and plan future strategies. Here are an array of digital marketing tools to check out.


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Search engine giant Google provides many tools for digital marketers to use in their work, and many are free. Google’s products and services website has information to help students get started.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics (GA) is the internet’s most widely used web analytics program. You can use GA to track website visitors, collect data on what they do there, and run numerous reports on users and their actions. GA also identifies problems with your web pages to improve your performance and sales. Google Analytics can be complicated to learn on your own, but it is free to use.

Google Ads

Google Ads is a paid online advertising platform that allows you to purchase targeted ads on Google’s search pages. These are Pay Per Click (PPC) ads, where a business sets a limit on how much they want to spend, and Google charges a small fee every time someone clicks on the ad. Many businesses focus more on attracting organic search activity than paid search marketing because they don’t have to pay for results. However, PPC is the fastest way to see digital marketing results. The Google Ads platform is free, but users must open an account and pay for the ads that they run.

Google Data Studio

Google Data Studio allows you to take the data from other Google tools and turn it into reports and data visualizations to help plan digital marketing strategies.

Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile is connected to Google Maps, a tool that provides street view photos and directions. Business owners can provide information on their bricks-and-mortar locations and create a free website. Your business will come up in searches for the business name or description. Google Business Profile is free.

SEO Tools


SEMRush is a powerful SEO tool to help you with content marketing, market research, advertising, and social media marketing. Digital marketing depends upon driving organic traffic to your website, and SEO helps you accomplish that. SEMRush offers a seven-day free trial, after which users can sign up for one of three paid subscription levels, currently ranging between $100 and $500 per month.


Moz is another SEO tool that does similar functions. Moz offers a less powerful free version and a paid pro version. After a 30-day free trial, you can subscribe to Moz at one of four different levels, currently ranging between $100 and $600 monthly. Users who pay upfront for the entire year receive a substantial discount.

Social Media Tools


HootSuite helps you plan content and schedule posts on social media. You can moderate and reply to comments and messages, promote organic content, manage paid ads, and collect data across all of your social media channels. After a 30-day free trial, HootSuite currently costs between $50 and $750 a month, depending on the subscription level.

Platform-Specific Tools

Each social media platform has its own built-in analytics tools. Twitter and TikTok each offer free analytics tools. Meta Analytics covers Facebook and Instagram, and users can monitor YouTube data through Google Analytics. It is free to post on social media, but you can buy ads on all of the platforms.

What Are the Benefits of Learning Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing can help you reach across the world to drive traffic to your website, increase sales, build a brand, or educate the public. Using the principles of Search engine optimization can help you determine your target audience, choose keywords to track content performance, engage with potential customers on social media, and gain organic search results. The best thing about digital marketing is that most of its tools are free.

Another benefit of digital marketing is that it can be the basis of a great career. You can work for other businesses as a Digital Marketer, Social Media Marketer, Web Optimization Specialist, Digital Strategist, Data Analytics Specialist, or Brand Marketer. Careers in marketing are in demand, and the average base salary for a Digital Marketer in the US is $58,500 annually.

Read more about why you should learn digital marketing.

Digital Marketing Careers

Besides demand and salary, one of the best things about a career as a Digital Marketer is the diversity of career paths available. You can choose from various specialties, such as social media, digital analysis, search engines, video, blogging, and email, or you can find a job that lets you use all of your talents. Here are some of the possible careers available in digital marketing.

Content Manager or Strategist

Content Managers provide content for web pages, blogs, apps, social media channels, and print publications. It’s about generating interest and providing consumers with information about products, services, and brands they need or want.

Digital Marketing Specialist or Manager

Digital Marketers use digital channels and tools like email marketing, social media marketing, paid and unpaid search marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) to promote products and services. Digital marketing has become essential to publicizing a business and helping it grow.

Social Media Manager

Social media marketing leverages social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and TikTok to connect with a target audience. They generate engagement, attract followers, and increase web traffic.

Digital Analyst

Digital Analysts use tools like Google Analytics to ​​assist companies with their marketing initiatives by providing analytical support, developing strategies, working on finding the right audiences, performing competitive analyses, and optimizing channels. The primary responsibilities of Data Analysts are researching trends, collecting data, analyzing statistics, developing marketing strategies based on the data collected, and presenting the results to clients and co-workers.

Email Marketing Specialist

Email Marketing Specialists connect with subscribers and develop deeper relationships with current and potential customers. Email marketing can increase sales quickly and reach a large number of people at once at a minimal cost. Email marketing is a fast and effective addition to any business’s digital marketing strategy.

Website Optimization/SEO Specialist

A Website Optimization/SEO Specialist works to increase a website’s visibility in search engines. In search marketing, the goal is for website or online content to appear at or near the top of search engine result pages (SERPs) when using specific keywords. Effective SEO improves a website’s quality and quantity of traffic, generating sales and improving business.

Brand Strategist

A Brand Strategist tracks how a brand performs online and develops strategies to build or improve that performance. They help companies or individuals create a clear message and put that out on the internet.

How to Learn Digital Marketing

How you choose to learn digital marketing is up to you. You can watch free video tutorials like Noble Desktop’s Pillars of Digital Marketing to get an introduction, but after that, the best plan is to sign up for a class. You can take live in-person classes or choose live online instruction. Some people prefer to attend brick-and-mortar sessions when learning new information, but that isn’t always available. Live online classes have a similar set-up to in-person classes with a real-time, remote instructor who can answer questions and take control of your monitor—with permission—to answer questions and demonstrate techniques. You can sign up for part or full-time classes on weekdays, weeknights, or weekends.

Some companies offer on-demand digital marketing classes that you can take according to your own schedule. You can watch the videos from work or home and move at your own pace. Udacity offers a class called Become a Digital Marketer, and Udemy offers VIP Digital Marketing Master. One advantage to asynchronous video classes is that you can go back and watch the material as many times as you need to if you are having trouble with a concept.

If a full class feels like too much right now, you can attend free online seminars. Noble Desktop offers Dominate Local Search with Google My Business and free digital marketing seminars are available on Hubspot Academy, CopyBlogger, Udemy, and Coursera. These free taster classes give you an idea of what digital marketing is like to help you decide whether you want to explore it further.

Read the full guide on how to learn digital marketing.

A Brief History of Digital Marketing

Like the internet, digital marketing was born in the early 1990s. The first clickable banner ad appeared in 1993, and in 1994 Yahoo!—first known as “Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web”—was born. Google and MSN came along a few years later, and websites began to look for ways to rank higher on search engine results pages.

Social media sites LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter came along in the 2000s, and companies saw how social media marketing could help them drive traffic to their websites. YouTube launched around the same time, and when TikTok came on the scene in 2016, videos became the new biggest thing in digital marketing.

Comparable Fields

A comparable field to digital marketing might be user experience/user interface design (UX/UI design). There are many areas of overlap between digital marketing and UX/UI design, such as collecting data on how users interact with websites, researching markets and competitors, and surveying users. Both Digital Marketers and UX/UI Designers focus on the product users by creating the best experience possible. Both fields are data-driven and rely heavily on user psychology.

Learn Digital Marketing with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop’s digital marketing courses teach skills that can help you start a career in the industry. Classes are small, with expert instructors, and you can retake a course for free up to a year after you take it. Those ready to dive into the field can attend in-person classes at Noble Desktop’s New York City location or attend live online digital marketing courses from anywhere in the world.

Noble Desktop also offers more detailed courses for those looking to hone their skills on specific channels. Students can take individual classes on Facebook Marketing, Email Marketing, Social Media Content Marketing: Blogs & Twitter, and Video Marketing: TikTok & YouTube. Students can also study for a Digital Marketing Certificate and learn a comprehensive set of tools and skills for digital marketing. Another Noble Desktop resource that can help prepare for a career in digital marketing includes its digital marketing blog, which has detailed articles about social media marketing, SEO, and other essential tools for digital marketers. Students can also watch Noble’s seminar on The Pillars of Digital Marketing Success, which is available on YouTube.

Key Insights

  • Digital marketing is a highly targeted, data-driven way to promote products, brands, or ideas on the internet.
  • Digital Marketers use an array of tools to collect data, schedule content, or engage on social media. Some are free, while others require paying for a subscription.
  • People who learn digital marketing can find careers in many different fields, including job titles such as Digital Marketing Specialist, Social Media Manager, and Digital Analyst.
  • Those interested in digital marketing from a user experience or design perspective might be interested in UX/UI Design.

How to Learn Digital Marketing

Master digital marketing with hands-on training. Digital marketing refers to marketing a service or product through online platforms such as social media, search engine websites, blogs, and email.

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