Online marketing is the practice of leveraging web-based channels to spread a message about a company’s brand, products, or services to its potential customers. The methods and techniques used for online marketing include email, social media, display advertising, search engine optimization, and more. The objective of marketing is to reach potential customers through the channels where they spend time reading, searching, shopping, or socializing online.

Widespread adoption of the Internet for business and personal use has generated many new channels for advertising and marketing engagement, including those mentioned above. There are also many benefits and challenges inherent with online marketing, which uses primarily digital mediums to attract, engage, and convert virtual visitors to customers.

Online marketing differs from traditional marketing, which has historically included mediums like print, billboard, television and radio advertisements.

Before online marketing channels emerged, the cost to market products or services was often prohibitively expensive, and traditionally difficult to measure. Think of national television ad campaigns, which are measured through consumer focus groups to determine levels of brand awareness. These methods are also not well-suited to controlled experimentation. Today, anyone with an online business (as well as most offline businesses) can participate in online marketing by creating a website and building customer acquisition campaigns at little to no cost. Those marketing products and services also have the ability to experiment with optimization to fine-tune their campaigns’ efficiency and ROI.