Digital Marketing: Expectations vs. Reality


We cannot overstate the great opportunities that digital marketing has brought to advertisers. The internet and the popularity of social media platforms have created faster and more targeted ways to build brand awareness, generate leads, and grow your bottom-line.

However, experienced marketers know that, despite its many advantages, there are certain marketing myths that need to be refuted. There are our top 5 expectations vs. reality examples:

Everyone is a marketer

If you need surgery, do you tell the surgeon that you “can just do it yourself?” Of course not. Same with marketing. It is one of those things that everyone believes they can do until they’ve thrown thousands of dollars down the drain.

Digital marketing experts know the very specific processes that need to be performed at a very high level to see positive ROI. You can write copy – but can you write copy that sells? Or target the right people? Or know when to change your strategy? There’s more to it than the eye can see.

More traffic means more conversions

Traffic is an important element to generate leads and grow your revenue. Intuitively, it makes sense: the more visitors your site gets, the more conversions you’ll have. But is this really true?

Not really. First of all, you don’t want traffic. You want relevant traffic. What’s the difference? Well, if you sell chairs, you want people interested in furniture, not in basketball.

And don’t forget about your conversion rate. You can bring millions of viewers to your website, but if it’s ugly and slow, you won’t see a dollar back.

Further reading: 7 Crucial Metrics Every Digital Marketer Should Be Measuring

Paid ads will be very profitable right away

Paid ads give you a better chance to turn a profit because it is a cheaper and more targeted way to promote your business. But everyone who guarantees positive ROI is lying.

You need to make sure you are creating ads that convert AND showing them to the right people. You should always be testing different ad versions and retargeting those that have interacted with them.

Further reading: How to Find and Learn From Your Competitor’s Ads

Have a universal message for all platforms

There are many different social media platforms, and all of them have different demographics. When you have a presence in more than one, you have to respect the platforms.

What does that mean?

Make sure you know what the audience in each platform wants. Snapchat’s 14 to 23-year-old users want a more juvenile and visual message than Twitter’s older and written-based audience. And they are all different from Facebook’s, or Instagram’s, or Pinterest’s, etc.

Further reading: 5 Reasons To Focus On Content Marketing

Digital marketing is “set it and forget it.”

Facebook/Instagram and PPC ads require constant monitoring of its campaigns. Audiences can get exhausted and make your Cost Per Mile rise. Frequency, the number of times someone has seen your ad, can also increase. Maybe the ad that was working great last week stops performing.

Make sure you keep an eye on all your campaigns. You should periodically change your ad’s creative design and written copy. You can also try new ad ideas or even scale up the ones that are working.

These are the five main expectations vs. reality disconnects in digital marketing. Can you think of others?

Marti writes about digital marketing and entrepreneurship. Find him with coffee and a laptop while traveling back and forth between Barcelona and Charlotte. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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