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Understanding Digital Marketing—Basics and Actions


Abstract and Figures

This chapter provides a technical outline of the basics of online marketing. The outline includes an introduction to digital marketing and strategic planning and development. Our contribution offers theoretical and practical insights relative to this growing marketing area, with information on the main areas for which online marketing is particularly suited: (1) the E-commerce section explores different business models and what techniques are used for their development; (2) Web Search Marketing focuses on SEO and SEM, as well as in keyword selection for optimisation; (3) E-mail Marketing offers interesting content to develop a successful newsletter; and (4) Social Media Marketing addresses planning and the most important tools used to maximise communication through social media. In a nutshell, this chapter offers an overview of digital marketing and its strategies for an active and effective Web presence.
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Part I Speaking About Marketing
Marketing in CrisesIts Nature and Perspectives for Managers ...... 3
Jochen Schellinger and Kim Oliver Tokarski
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics and Actions . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Teresa Piñeiro-Otero and Xabier Martínez-Rolán
Part II Speaking About Human Resource Management
Human Resource Management: An Operational Perspective . . . . . . . . . 77
Carolina Feliciana Machado
Training and Development
in Organizations: Start at the Beginning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Ana Paula Vieira Gomes Ferreira
Part III Speaking About Accounting and Finance
Accounting as an Information System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
Ana Alexandra Caria, Anabela Martins Silva, Delna Rosa Rocha Gomes
and Lídia Cristina Alves Morais Oliveira
Introduction to Corporate Finance............................ 157
Leoni Eleni Oikonomikou
Index ................................................. 189
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics
and Actions
Teresa Piñeiro-Otero and Xabier Martínez-Rolán
Abstract This chapter provides a technical outline of the basics of online mar-
keting. The outline includes an introduction to digital marketing and strategic
planning and development. Our contribution offers theoretical and practical insights
relative to this growing marketing area, with information on the main areas for
which online marketing is particularly suited: (1) the E-commerce section explores
different business models and what techniques are used for their development;
(2) Web Search Marketing focuses on SEO and SEM, as well as in keyword
selection for optimisation; (3) E-mail Marketing offers interesting content to
develop a successful newsletter; and (4) Social Media Marketing addresses plan-
ning and the most important tools used to maximise communication through social
media. In a nutshell, this chapter offers an overview of digital marketing and its
strategies for an active and effective Web presence.
1 Introduction
In The Third Wave, Tofer [1] predicted the demarketisation of postindustrial
societies. Three decades later, the end of marketing is still not in sight, even though,
as Kotler [2] already suggested, marketing had to rethink its foundations to adapt to
Third Wave societies and individuals.
In 1999, Schutz and Holbrook [3] referred to the tragedy of the commons to
stress the low efciency of market strategies due to overuse and reiteration of
strategies and tools. In the last decade of the twentieth century, organisations were
T. Piñeiro-Otero (&)
Faculty of Communication Sciencies, University of A Coruña, Campus de Elviña
s/n, 15071 A Coruña, Spain
X. Martínez-Rolán
Faculty of Communication and Social Sciences, University of Vigo, Campus de
Pontevedra s/n, 36005 Vigo, Spain
©Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016
C. Machado and J.P. Davim (eds.), MBA,
Management and Industrial Engineering, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-28281-7_2
forced to use more resources to reach dwindling audiences. Consumer resistance to
marketing actions highlighted a deep crisis.
This context of communicational saturation in which an increasing number of
brands compete for the attention and loyalty of audiences forced traditional mar-
keting perspectives and concepts to change. During this process, the most relevant
change was the power shift from marketers to consumers.
The consumer perspective has been present in the denition of marketing since
the 1960s [4] even if it was only in recent decades that it took centre stage in any
marketing strategy. This approach has led to the incorporation of aspects such as
consumer satisfaction, market orientation or consumer value in marketing man-
agement [5].
However, many marketers still think in terms of product, place, promotion and
price, McCarthys variables or 4Ps model [6], which does not leave any role to
consumers. This production-focused marketing paradigm was later challenged by
Lauterborns user-centred models [7]. The 4Ps of the marketing mix yield to the
4Cs that turn product into customer solution, price into cost to the customer, place
into convenience and promotion into communication. This is a new perspective for
operational marketing that will be of special relevance for the online world.
In recent years, further steps have been takenmarketing does not only focus
exclusively on consumers but also tries to bring different audiences to organisa-
tions. This new approach was dened by the American Marketing Association as an
activity, set of institutions and processes for creating, communicating, delivering
and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners and
society at large [8].
The Internet boom for organisations and the daily life of different audiences
brought about a deep transformation of marketing, its tools and strategies [9].
Although initially organisations understood the Internet as a new channel to
increase their presence, they soon started looking for ways to maximise its different
platforms and services. At present, online marketing communications are an
essential part of operational marketing from the point of view of becoming, in
themselves, a specic marketing line: digital marketing.
2 What Is Digital Marketing?
The rst approaches to digital marketing dened it as a projection of conventional
marketing, its tools and strategies, on Internet. However, the particularities of the
digital world and its appropriation for marketing have fostered the development of
channels, formats and languages that have led to tools and strategies that are
unthinkable ofine.
Today, rather than a subtype of conventional marketing, digital marketing has
become a new phenomenon that brings together customisation and mass distribu-
tion to accomplish marketing goals. Technological convergence and the multipli-
cation of devices have led to an opening up of the ways in which we thinking about
38 T. Piñeiro-Otero and X. Martínez-Rolán
marketing in Internet and have pushed the boundaries towards a new concept of
digital marketinguser-centred, more measurable, ubiquitous and interactive.
The development digital marketing strategies offer much potential for brands and
organisations. Some of them are as follows:
Branding. Platforms and 2.0 services are a great opportunity to build a brand
image on the Web due to their scope, presence and constant updates.
Completeness. The possibilities to disseminate information through links offer
consumers the chance to approach the organisation in a wider and customised
Usabilityfunctionality. Web 2.0 offers simple and user-friendly platforms for
all in order to improve user experience and allow for their activities.
Interactivity. In the context in which organisations try to forge long-term
relationships with their audiences, Internet offers the possibility of having a
conversation and therefore of generating a positive experience with the brand.
Such interactivity can be basic, as product assessment, or become an
all-encompassing experience.
Visual communication. In line with visual thinking, digital marketing offers
marketers different image- and video-based tools. This is an attractive way of
reaching audiences that can lead to greater engagement.
Relevant advertising. Easy segmentation and customisation of advertising in
Internet maximise the output. Besides, free from the limitations of other media,
this environment has allowed for more attractive advertising.
Community connections. Internet is a unique opportunity to connect organisa-
tions with their audiences and users among themselves. This connectivity can
improve their experience and enhance the relationship with the product, brand or
Virality. The essence of Internet as a Web of interconnected nodes makes
exponential expansion of any content possible. Taking the model of WOM
(word of mouth) communication, viral communication becomes more relevant
due to connectivity, instantness and shareability of online platforms that
enhance the dissemination of content.
Measuring output. Online platforms rank rst in the availability of follow-up
options and the possibility to assess output.
In any case, to make the best of all these possibilities, organisations must ensure
that their Internet presence or their presence on their different 2.0 channels follows a
strategy with concrete goals, in line with their brand or organisational image. Being
on the Web without proper planning can not only mean a lost opportunity in terms
of resources and potential, but also it can indeed have a negative impact on the
organisation, as the audience, their needs and perceptions regarding the organisa-
tion are unknown.
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics and Actions 39
3 Digital Marketing Plan
A digital marketing plan is a strategic document that takes the current situation of a
particular organisation to set some midterm goals and to determine the strategy and
means to accomplish them. This document also describes the responsibilities, the
time frame and control tools for monitoring.
The aims of a digital marketing plan include discussing organisations and their
environment. Likewise, it needs to be a roadmap of how to manage the organisa-
tions marketing strategy, so that resources are properly allocated. The plan also
helps control and evaluate output and tackle any potential deviation from the
organisations expected outcomes. In this line, a marketing plan becomes a exible
document that must be adapted to the situation of the company and that must feed
into the results obtained by each of the actions developed, especially in the digital
The development of an online marketing plan is similar to a conventional one in
its structure, but it also includes some variations at an operational level. In fact, this
means not only that some specic strategies and tools are to be developed, but also
that the volubility of the digital media and its capacity for immediate measurement
force organisations to develop a strategy that can be revised in the short term, as
well as the iterative process between action and control.
An online marketing plan is a document in line with the companys strategic
plan that sets goals of an activity in the digital environment, as well as the what,
how, when, who and why (6 Ws) of Web presence.
There are different options regarding the structure of a marketing plan. We
advocate for a four-phase structure as this is simple and clear to plan for any
actions strategy (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1 Marketing plan. Source Prepared by the authors
40 T. Piñeiro-Otero and X. Martínez-Rolán
3.1 Situational Analysis
One of the most relevant parts of any strategic document is the denition of the
baseline situation of the organisation and its environment. This analysis allows for
the development of an action plan that is reality based and shall therefore minimise
the risks in the development of a strategy.
The starting point of any situational analysis is to dene the mission, vision and
values of the organisation. This denition helps guide any marketing action.
The mission denes the chore of the company, its essence. This denition
usually includes the work or activity of the organisation, reference to its audi-
ence, business models and the singularity or differential factor of the organi-
sation. The mission responds to questions such as who am I?, where do I come
from?, what do I do?, whom do I address?, what is my eld of operations? and
what is my competitive edge?
The vision must describe the future goals of the organisation in a short and
concise way. These goals must be realistic and achievable in order to motivate
all stakeholders in their achievement. The organisations vision answers ques-
tions such as where am I going to?, what do I long to be? and where do I want to
The values are the principles that guide the business culture and that the
organisationmustfull in all its activities.
Once we have dened these three essential aspects from a communicational and
strategic perspective, the next step is the development of an internalexternal
analysis of the organisation.
An internal analysis is relevant to determine weaknesses and strengths, and it
must address aspects related to production, commerce, organisational and nancial
issues, as well as the attitude of management.
For an external analysis, the goal is to determine the threats and opportunities,
thus considering the specic environment (products, clients, competitors and sup-
pliers), as well as the general environment, namely the ecological, technological,
economic, legal, political or socio-cultural constrains.
Both analyses lead to a SWOT matrix.
A digital marketing plan, apart from being a study of the organisation and its
environment, must analyse its online presence and position. This study shall help
determine a concrete digital strategy and shall help compare its results with the
initial situation. In this sense, the following must be developed:
Monitoring of the organisations keywords, competition and sector (some useful
tools are Mention, Google Alerts, Hootsuite).
Web positioning assessment of the organisation and its platforms (e.g. Google
search or Alexa ranking).
Social network evaluation. Presence, activity, inuence, etc. (here tools, such as
Klout, PeerIndex and Kreed, become relevant).
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics and Actions 41
Competition benchmarking and main inuencers in the sector present on digital
Specic SWOT.
In order to complete the situational analysis, audiences must be dened, with
special attention to the target group, without neglecting the remaining stakeholders.
This description must also focus on the presence and activities of these audiences in
the digital world: active presence in platforms and services, access devices, usage
times, contents of interest, main activities, etc.
The explanation of audiences must be very detailed in trying to adjust the
proposal both to the real needs of those users and to their aspirations and frustra-
tions (Fig. 2).
This phase helps determine the organisation and its situation in the environment
in which it operates and, more particularly, in the digital world. From this infor-
mation, the potential and gaps of the organisation can be identied to design a
future strategy.
3.2 Goal Setting
Setting goals is one of the key phases in any marketing plan. Goal setting offers an
idea of where the organisation is going and it enables adjustments to the marketing
Goal setting must follow SMART criteria [11]
Specic: simple and easy to understand.
Measurable: they can be measured through any kind of quantitative or quali-
tative unit.
Fig. 2 Empathy map. Source XPLANE [10]
42 T. Piñeiro-Otero and X. Martínez-Rolán
Assignable: they can be assigned and implemented by a member of the
Realistic: with accessible resources, goals can be achieved in a realistic
Time-related: they must have a time frame to achieve them.
In the speciceld of online marketing, such goals must also be exible to adapt
to the changes in the company and Web evolution and reached through a consensus.
Many of the actions of digital marketing are horizontalfor example actions on
social mediaand involve different departments in the company; therefore, con-
sensus is key.
In an online marketing plan, the most usual types of goals are as follows:
Scope goals.
Activity goals.
Conversion goals.
Loyalty goals.
Once these goals are set, they must be implemented through key performance
indicators. These indicators enable measurement and monitoring.
3.3 Planning a Strategy
In order to accomplish the planned goals, a specic strategy must be dened.
A strategy is the implemented scheme to achieve such goals. This strategy mate-
rialises in activities that are the ways planned to achieve such goals.
An online marketing strategy is based on the model of a marketing funnel
suggested by Strong [12] as a development of the AIDA model (Awareness,
Interest, Desire, Action). The transformation of marketing in recent decades and the
particularities of the digital world have allowed for a revision of this marketing
model so that it captures the conversion strategy, as well as the loyalty strategy, key
in the online world.
There are several proposals, such as that by Rogers [13], who advocates that,
apart from Awareness, Consideration, Preference and Action (an update of the
AIDA model phases in the current context), two new states must be incorporated:
loyalty and advocacy. Like Strongs model, each phase means a higher level of
commitment, and therefore, loyalty and advocacy are at the bottom of the model
(Fig. 3).
However, in the online world, loyalty and support for the brand can lead to
change consumers into prescribers, thus increasing the scope of the organisations
action, which could lead to an expansion of its consumer base.
In the phase of determining a strategy, means and actions must also be dened.
The translation of conventional marketing to the Web, as well as the multiplication
of 2.0 platforms and services, has stressed the complexity of the new media reality.
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics and Actions 43
While the classication of paid, earned and owned media has been a constant in
marketing, in the past differences in the three categories were clearly dened. Most
marketing initiatives focused on paid media, while owned and earned media were
used to reinforce and amplify advertising messages. Loss in efcacy in advertising
and the appearance of the social Web has led to rethinking this model by blurring
the lines between different media types.
Their convergence is taking root in digital channels, rapidly moving from one
type of media to another. Companies must know and combine the three types of
media in order to ensure greater effectiveness in the building process of their own
In the context in which users are more critical with the organisations and in
which peer assessment is given more credit than brands, earned media become key
against paid or owned media. Many funds can be allocated to advertisement, but
one cannot force consumers to assess their experience or recommend a product or
service in particular.
Any comment about a particular brand on Internet can have a measurable impact
in terms of scope; therefore, the goal of organisations is to have a signicant
relationship with their users so that they convert into consumers and, on a higher
level of commitment, prescribers (Fig. 4).
Despite the increase in relevance of earned media, the three types must be used
in a coordinated fashion to maximise the efciency of a digital marketing strategy.
Owned media Corporate channels such as websites, social network proles and
mobile apps. These channels are unique, and organisations have total control
over their content within the limits of each platform. Owned media offer avenues
for most content distributed by the organisation, and thus, they become the
Fig. 3 Marketing funnel review. Source Prepared by the authors based on Rogers [13]
44 T. Piñeiro-Otero and X. Martínez-Rolán
backbone of the digital strategy of a brand. However, due to the fact that they
are biased communication, they do not always have the push or scope needed.
Earned media Content about the brand developed by external users, for free.
Earned media is essentially online word of mouth: mentions, shares, reposts,
reviews, recommendations, product reviews on specialised Webs or assessments
on online shops or specic social platforms (e.g. Ciao! or TripAdvisor). Peer
recommendation is essential in the current context, as it is perceived as genuine
and unbiased, as brands lack control over them. One of the most effective tactics
to get public support for brands is to combine a good organic positioning in
browsers (SEO) with a good content strategy.
Paid media These are spaces or content that the brand had to pay for. They tend
to be used to foster or increase the scope of the messages and initiatives of the
brand in owned or earned media, as well as to improve their output. Apart from
advertisement display and advertisement in social media, earned media includes
retargeting, Pay Per Click, promoted tweets, paid reviews in specialised blogs or
recommendations by inuencers on social media (they should be identied as
such). Good management of paid media fosters content for earned media, as
well as increasing trafc in owned media. Such an increase in the Web can lead
to sales of a product or services.
Each of these media offers their own advantages and scenarios; therefore, using
them complementary can lead to accomplishing the set goals. All of them contribute
to the development of a digital marketing strategy, although each brand must
analyse what media is more appropriate for them and on which the return on
investment (understood in its widest sense) is higher.
Despite the fact that actions in digital marketing have changed to adapt to new
platforms and users, some of the most relevant in terms of use and results are
e-commerce, Web search marketing, e-mail marketing and social media marketing.
Their features and strategies are developed in the following sections.
Fig. 4 Convergence media. Source Prepared by the authors based on Lieb and Owyang [14]
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics and Actions 45
3.4 Action and Control
In the process of setting up a strategy, a large number of actions are dened, and the
possible theme areas for the development of content or keywords are listed (e.g. in
the Social Media Plan). Likewise, the development of each strategy requires time
planning to programme implementation.
In this sense, an essential part of any digital marketing strategy is the scheduling
of tasks and timing for each of them. In the case of marketing strategies based on a
limited number of toolsor example a branding campaign where a Facebook
prole and newsletter are exclusively usedthe content of each of the actions
(publication, sending the newsletter) can be briey mentioned in the scheduled.
Likewise, for online marketing strategies linked to traditional marketing, ofine
actions have to be included in the schedule whenever they are interdependent on
online tasks.
Scheduling means assigning tasks in the digital marketing strategy, with clear
indication of who is responsible for each action. Therefore, all departments in the
organisation should have a copy of the marketing plan, especially those depart-
ments and professionals involved in its proper development.
In the action phase, the cost of different actions planned must also be considered.
In this estimate, both technical and operational costs related to the implementation
and monitoring of the online strategy are to be clearly included, especially those
related to websites or online shops.
In the case of other 2.0 tools, despite the fact that most of them are free for the
development of marketing strategies, the cost of the professional developing and
monitoring the strategy must be included or, otherwise, training of staff and pur-
chase of specic management tools for the strategy, its monitoring and output
Constant feedback and quantitative data of interactions allow for constant con-
trol of the planned strategys evolution. However, dates must be set to assess the
different actions and tools in detail, looking at the specic features of each of them.
This can be a quarterly evaluation for SEO, monthly for the corporate Web or
weekly for some strategies on social media.
These actions can be reviewed and corrected depending on the output of each
individual action; however, the value of the development of the complete strategy
must be periodically assessed. Generally speaking, 46-month intervals are rec-
ommended for such assessments, always taking into account the total duration of
the digital strategy and the type of techniques used.
The conclusions to review the strategic document shall be drawn from this
process. This document has to be updated to maximise the efciency of the fol-
lowing implementation phase. At the end of each phase, the process shall be
46 T. Piñeiro-Otero and X. Martínez-Rolán
4 Social Media Marketing
Social media are a great opportunity to establish signicant relationships and create
ways of social interaction dened through dynamic exchanges between their members.
Social media is booming in terms of the number and variety of platforms and users.
Thus, one can nd audiovisual platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo and
SoundCloud; image platforms such as Flikr, Picassa, Pinterest or Instagram; general
social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or specialised ones such as
LinkedIn; news or bookmark aggregators such as Digg or Delicious; blogs; and
wikis, etc., a vast digital arena where they become the new Web winners.
Although the notion of a social network is not new, it has reached new heights,
thanks to Web penetration and connectivity. Social networks have developed
through platforms that show different types of functions, but common features.
These features aim at creating a community by connecting users, who can interact,
discuss, offer insights or knowledge. Technology in the case of these platforms also
needs to be exible and conducive to an exchange of information. This means that
free web standards; and modular architectures that lead to complex but efcient
applications are usually favoured [15].
In essence, a social network manager is a service that allows individuals to create
a public or semi-public prole within an enclosed system, to articulate a list of other
users they share connections with, and to use that list of users, as well as other
nodes in the system. The nature and nomenclature of such connections may vary
from one site to the other [16].
Such platforms become content containers as they grant space and tools for a
user who plays an increasingly more active role. In this sense, brands and organ-
isations should be part of the social conversation and use the interactive channels to
listen to their users, who share their perspectives, insights and knowledge, or
generate value through content development.
4.1 Prosumers: Paradigm of an Active User
Internet penetration and the democratisation of some information and communi-
cation technologies have favoured the creation of a World Wide Web with constant
information ow. In this mesh of social digital relationships, each user or node can
become a content producer.
The breaking down of the classical division between sender and receiver has
favoured the appearance of the prosumer (acronym for consumer and producer), an
active user who not only accesses and uses content, but also produces and dis-
seminates it, thanks to the appropriation of 2.0 tools. Despite the fact that the idea
that a user is both a content producer and consumer had already been presented by
Tofer [1], this was seen as a utopia until the advent of Web 2.0. Users produce
more content on a daily basis than any other classical senders such as corporations
and media, thus becoming the undisputable pillar of the Web.
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics and Actions 47
On the social Web, Internet users have access to a number of free platforms with
simple and user-friendly interfaces that allow them to create their own content,
make it available for thousands of users and get feedback in just a few minutes.
The democratisation of such collaborative platforms paved the way for an alter-
native production system based on crowd wisdom that calls for a rethinking of the
marketing strategies by organisations. More and more users look for precision, rele-
vance, power and reciprocity in marketing, the actual bases for concurrence marketing.
Precision and relevance refer to the agreement with the consumer in both targeting and
messaging. On the other hand, power and reciprocity are linked to cooperation with the
consumer and product design or to marketing implementation [17].
With customisation, concurrence marketing becomes an opportunity for the
establishment of long-term relationships with audiences. This is a new scenario that
has led to the transformation of social interactions, information access and use, a
scenario that has forced brands to stop bombarding consumers to have a conver-
sation with them instead.
Organisations have started looking for touch points to their different Internet
audiences. These touch points are seen as spaces for interaction whereby brands can
trigger strategies to add value and transform their messages in an attractive expe-
rience for the user. Marketing is more effective when it is consumers who look for
brands rather than the other way around.
4.2 The Role of Community Managers
In a new environment of interactions in which brands and their audiences share
space and conversations on an equal footing, a new professional prole has
emerged: that of community managers.
A CM (community manager) is a professional in charge of the social platforms
of brands or public persons, so that they become the link between the
organisation/person and its community. The roles of a CM are community based, as
they are responsible for building and managing a community, as well as for content
production and activation.
The tasks of a CM include listening to a social audience and identifying opinion
leaders, an action that may help them optimise management of their community
while they gather value-added information for the strategic management of the
organisation. In this way, the CM becomes the voice of the company for external
audiences and the voice of the social community for marketing directors.
Increasing specialisation of the sector has led to the specialisation as community
managers, who, as Baston [18] highlighted, in agencies of digital marketing and
large corporations, shares space with more specic social proles such as:
Social Media Manager: they coordinate the community managers.
Social Media Strategist: they interpret the reports and designs a strategy for
social media.
48 T. Piñeiro-Otero and X. Martínez-Rolán
Social Media Analyst: they have a technical prole as data analysts and interpret
the metrics to draft reports.
Social Media Developer: this is a hyperspecialisation of a programmer who
knows the social APIs and designs project code for social media (e.g. compe-
titions or specic landing pages).
Social Media Public Relations: they foster content outside their own channels.
Social Media SEO: they apply SEO techniques to social media, especially for
campaigns of online reputation.
Content Curator: they select and organise relevant information.
4.3 Social Media Plan
A Social Media Plan (SMP) is the master document that guides an organisations
presence on social media, and it covers all aspects to be considered when setting up,
maintaining and integrating social networks in the organisations digital marketing
strategies. Therefore, any Social Media Plan must be in line with the marketing
A Social Media Plan is a living document that needs close control due to the
liveliness of the virtual world in which it is implemented.
This document usually follows a relatively stable structure including goal set-
ting, types of audiences, platforms, strategies and tools, and output measurement.
With output measurement, the whole process begins anew (Fig. 5).
Fig. 5 Social Media Plan. Source Prepared by the authors
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics and Actions 49
4.3.1 Goals
Apart from following SMART criteria when they are discussed, the goals of a
marketing plan must cover three different nonexclusive targets:
Visibility: making the brand popular (e.g. more Facebook hits).
Sales: to increase sales or leads through a specic platform (e.g. to turn visits to
the site into actual sales through twitter links to products of an online shop).
Loyalty: to preserve an audience that has already been attracted (e.g. through a
media-based customer support service).
4.3.2 Audience
The objectives must be targeted at a specic audience. The more you know the
organisation knows its target audience, the more possibilities it has of fostering
efcient communication and forging a signicant relationship. In the case of social
media, most of these data are given by the users themselves when they create their
proles. Data are further dened by actions and interactions among users in social
platforms and, generally speaking, on the Web. It is also common to use statistics
portals to select more specic audiences.
4.3.3 Channels
Goal setting and a denition of target audiences give insights into the channels to be
used for our social media marketing strategy. To materialise this decision in an
efcient way, each of the suggested platforms should be schematically analysed in a
dedicated document. This document must include the type of user, topic of interest,
type of format and languages, segmentation possibilities, and the best timings for
marketing communications.
4.3.4 Dening a Strategy
The time has come to dene specic actions for the strategy. In this phase, actions
to be undertaken, the type of content to be disseminated through social media and
the editorial calendar of such content will be planned.
Some of the rules and techniques used for content on social media during the
drafting of the marketing plan are Paretos principle, marketing content, branded
content, content curation, competitions or customer support, among other.
Content Marketing: these are actions to create and disseminate relevant and
useful content to raise interest in the audience and attract them, instead of inter-
rupting them so that they buy products and services [19].
50 T. Piñeiro-Otero and X. Martínez-Rolán
Despite the fact that content marketing is not a new phenomenonsee the
monthly magazines of airlinesit has boomed with Web 2.0. Through their own
media, brands disseminate useful and quality content to attract and retain qualied
trafc. Content must be of quality and useful, must have the brand personality and
be multiformat and segmented.
Furthermore, content marketing tries to change users into sneezers, expanding
the scope of the brand beyond its own channels.
Formats to implement this strategy are varied: from more traditional formats
such as white papers, e-books or specialised magazines to other types of formats
specic to the digital world such as podcasts or videos, or other types of content
with higher virality such as infographics or memes.
Content Curation: this is the process of collecting, selecting, organising and
adapting the relevant information on certain topics or trends on the Web to be
published in an attractive and signicant way.
Content curation allows the company to be constantly updated and know new
Web features, especially in terms of its audiences, while it saves time in the process
of content creation.
Having a content curator can help brands design their content action plan and
indicate possible developing lines depending on the topics of their audiences in the
social conversation or who they follow on the Web. Tools such as Google Alerts or
Google Trends and Mention, RSS readers such as Feedly or bookmarks such as
Scoop or Delicious enhance identication and selection of topics of interest.
Customer Support: customers come to brands through social media looking for
direct, useful, fast and effective contact. Thus, managing customer support through
2.0 platforms completes the customer experience with the brand.
Social networks allow for direct and instant contact with the company, fullling
the concrete need of the customer at a critical point that, if successfully handled, can
generate loyalty from the user, or undo a conversion otherwise. In both cases, the
user can comment online about their experiences with the company and enlarge the
scope of their experience.
Competitions: they are one of the best tools to promote an organisations
presence on social media, especially during product launch. In order to properly
manage competitions, the following needs to be considered:
Competition strategy: it must be adapted to the possibilities of each social
media. Using 2.0 specic services for competitions such as Cool Tabs or
Offerpop for Facebook is encouraged.
Regulations: they have to be clear and concise and provide a detailed expla-
nation of the operations, dates, participation, award, etc.
Prize: it must be attractive and therefore encourage participation. If a product or
service by the company is given as prize, it can not only reduce the competition
cost, but also help convert a user into a customer and afterwards into a fan.
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics and Actions 51
4.3.5 Measuring Outcomes
Assessing the actions taken on social media is vital to measure success and check
whether the goals set have been accomplished. As there is a large variety of
measurable items for social media, KPIs must be concretely described and adjusted
to the goals in order to develop a successful Social Media Plan; otherwise, there is a
risk of going into vanity metrics that do not measure real performance [20].
A KPI can cross-check different metrics to measure an objective. For example, in
order to know whether popularity on Facebook has increased, one can use the
number of hits or interactions with the brand in a particular period, compared to
competitors or a previous period.
Metrics usually revolve around the following factors:
Audience: community volume (e.g. Facebook fans, Twitter followers). This is
one of the most basic metrics. Quantitatively, they can indicate the evolution of
a community, but they do not offer qualitative data about it.
Scope: this is related to the size of the community, although it really measures
direct amplication. It can be measured on Facebook through the number of
shares, on Twitter with retweets, etc.
Engagement: this is one of the most highly valued metrics; it measures the
degree of engagement of the audience with the brand. It helps detect stake-
holders and real fans.
Inuence: this measures the repercussion that is generated in the audience, so
that it can be seen as part of engagement. One of the most widely used KPIs to
measure inuence is the Klout Index.
Interaction: this is a complex metrics because it involves engagement and brand
perception. On Facebook, for example, this is measured by PTAT (people
talking about this), a metrics that counts the users that in some way have
interacted with the brand.
4.3.6 Pivoting
Once the actions implemented are evaluated and the accomplishment of goals has
been checked, some conclusions must be drawn so that the organisation can pivot,
integrating precise changes in its marketing strategy on social media.
4.4 Social Media Advertisement
Most social networks show business models based on advertising. If we take for
granted that a social network manager is a massive database, with large amounts of
qualitative data from its users, using them allows brands for microsegmentation of
their advertising actions.
52 T. Piñeiro-Otero and X. Martínez-Rolán
Facebook is the king of segmentation. Its advertising platform, Facebook Ads,
allows for a delimitation of the target audience of each ad depending on location,
age, sex, languages and even interests and behaviours. Facebook is the social
network with more data on its users. The basic data lled in by the user alone in the
process of registration on Facebook includes name, e-mail, sex and age of the new
Facebook advertising formats are inserted either on the sidebar on the right-hand
side of the platform itself or on the users own timeline (Web and mobile), as well as
on the logout page. These adverts must to be identied as such, while their goal is
to foster as much interaction with users as possible. They thus try to increase
engagement, lead users to a website or special offers, get more likes on pages, app
downloads... etc.
Twitter, on the other hand, has less information on users; therefore, its seg-
mentation capacity is lower. However, through its advertisement platform, Twitter
Ads, they have launched some highly efcient publicity formats. This is the case of
Twitter cards, a format focusing on promoted tweets to generate tweet engagement,
website clicks or conversations, app installs or app engagements, followers or leads
on Twitter, to name a few.
Other advertisement formats on Twitter are promoted accounts, which are placed
on the prole recommendation section, or sponsored trending topics on the list of
topics at a particular point in time.
5 E-mail Marketing
E-mail marketing is an online marketing technique that uses e-mail to send
advertisements or commercial information. This is a communication tool used to
attract new customers or make those that one already has loyal to the brand.
E-mail and Internet have gone hand in hand since the Web was created. The
beginning of Internet dates back to 1969 (Arpanet at that time), while the rst
e-mail was sent two years later (1971). This rst e-mail showed some basic features
that have remained till the present: the use of @on the user name, as well as the
elds To,Subjectand Message.
In such a volatile environment, e-mail has been one of the Web tools that have
best adapted to change, both in content and in scope and penetration. Therefore,
e-mail marketing becomes one of the main tools in a digital strategy.
At present, e-mail is the rst Internet service ahead of social media. In 2015, the
number of e-mail accounts in the world was about 4.353 million users from which
205 billion e-mails were sent [21]. This volume of trafc includes legitimate e-mails
and spam.
The term spamrefers to those messages we do not request and we do not want
or with an unknown sender, usually sent though mass mailing. Although spam can
be used on other platforms and devices, for example SMS on mobile phones, e-mail
is the most important channel for this practice.
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics and Actions 53
The line between commercial information sent by e-mail and spam is, in many
cases, a ne one that experts in e-mail marketing must properly identify in order to
avoid making mistakes in their work.
The most common form of e-mail marketing is the newsletter: a publication that
is distributed with a specic periodicity on an interesting topic for all recipients,
called subscribers.
The complexity level of a newsletter shall depend on its goals and content; they
can be simple with mainly plain text as the predominant feature or be enriched with
images, graphs, adverts and/or hyperlinks.
The objectives of e-mail marketing can be multiple and varied; however, all of
them could be grouped around four main goals:
Diverting trafc to our website: be it the home page or any special section inside
Promoting a special action: either promotion of new services, special discounts,
sales, download of applications, etc. When the goal is to increase trafc or some
Web-based special promotion, specic websites are usually created. Such pages
are called landing pages.
Cost savings: e-mail marketing supports order management and information to
the customer regarding the status of such orders, as well as the provision of
customer support services at a lower cost than other communication channels.
Brand popularity and image: same as for other types of campaigns online, e-mail
marketing is suited to generate popularity and brand image among consumers.
5.1 Advantages of E-mail Marketing
The strong penetration of e-mail in the current context becomes an important reason
to include it any digital strategy, but there are also other important reasons to do so.
This is mass technology that instantly reaches everyone and whose use spans
devices and screens (desktop, laptop, mobile telephones, tablets, etc.).
The system is direct and able to reach individuals in a scalable and targeted way.
This is due to the fact that an e-mail can be sent to a single address or thousands,
while content can target different types of audiences . In fact, the systems scala-
bility does not hinder customisation; despite its capacity for mass mailing, it can be
highly customised at a cost far lower than that of other types of campaigns.
This is also a multimedia channel that offers the possibility of sending a large
amount of information as text, images (static or moving), sound or hyperlinks, in
any combination.
As this is digital communication, its impact can be quantied through different
metrics that allow for an evaluation of the output of each campaign.
54 T. Piñeiro-Otero and X. Martínez-Rolán
5.2 Disadvantages of E-mail Marketing
Despite the many plus points of this marketing format, starting e-mail campaigns
can be hindered due to some disadvantages inherent to this channel:
The most important enemy of professionals in the sector are antispam lters of
e-mail managers that identify e-mail marketing as spam, thus reducing the effec-
tiveness of campaigns.
Furthermore, explicit authorisation by the end-user to receive ads through mail is
needed. Such actions are regulated by data protection acts and specic e-commerce
Depending on the country and specic laws, sending unauthorised messages
may result in very high nes for the companies sending them.
This need for prior authorisation to include the person on an e-mail database of a
particular organisation has pushed e-marketing into the group permission mar-
5.3 Legal Framework
The legal framework regulating e-mail marketing is important as it can inhibit some
of its features.
On the one hand, legislation protects personal data in order to prevent the illicit
transfer of databases. The relevant legislation forces the company to have a register
in some cases physicalof user data and makes the company responsible for the
protection of such data.
On the other, each country develops laws to regulate mass mailing, a standard
that inuences commercial communications or advertising and those of transna-
tional or relational character.
Despite the fact that the legal framework can vary from one country to the other,
there are some common elements:
Mailing must have explicit authorisation by the recipient. This authorisation
must be prior to the inclusion of the person in the mailing list.
The fact that the message is linked to advertising must be explicit, as well as the
identication of the sender on the e-mail, the subject and the heading of the
In the cases of offers, competitions and promotional games, they must be
identied as such and be clear and explicit about the conditions and participation on
In some countries, the advertising message has to be identied with the word ad-
vertisementor abbreviation, as well as with a valid postal address for the company.
Simple procedures for the user to withdraw consent are a must.
In the case of multinational companies, the relevant legislation is that of the
country where the company is based and not that of the recipient.
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics and Actions 55
5.4 The Heart of E-mail Marketing: Subscribers
The success of a marketing campaign lies precisely in target management; there-
fore, a good strategy to attract and retain subscribers is needed.
The recipient database must be meticulously kept and segmented. The essential
question here is quality over quantity; therefore, purchasing user databases is dis-
couragedunless this is unavoidable, or unless their usefulness has been proven.
Best practices in e-mail marketing stress the need to generate and maintain the
organisations own database. The reason is simple: it is easier to get back a client
than to get a new one.
Getting subscribers is a slow but steady task, although it can be sped up through
online and traditional channels. Registration boxes can be created on a website,
either as pop-ups or in another Web section where registration is required to request
information (e.g. a budget) or in exchange for exclusive content or downloads.
Generally, easy forms must be used, where the compulsory elds include name
and/or e-mail, although the number of elds in the form may be increased depending
on the value of the treat one is offering the user in exchange for their registration.
Another common instance is e-commerce. When a user registers on a particular
online shop and accepts the use and service terms, they are automatically included
in the e-mail marketing database.
Regarding traditional channels, the compilation of e-mails and information
related to the users can be done through competitions, on-street promotion, post-
cards, loyalty cards or formal information requests through e-mail, phone or postal
mail. Traditional channels demand, however, the digitalisation of the data to be
included in a subscriber list.
Keeping subscribers is a task that needs special attention and that must be
implemented while new users are added. In this process, brands must be especially
careful regarding content and the form e-mail communications take. Content must
be interesting for the user, giving priority to quality instead of periodicity.
In a nutshell, it is about adding value to commercial communications with
complementary information (comparisons, advice, features, etc.) useful for the
5.5 NewslettersSome Key Aspects
Four key aspects are to be considered for effective newsletter design:
Database. In order to have good content segmentation, the organisation needs to
know the subscriber base of their newsletter as much as possible. This infor-
mation will allow for specic proling depending on demographics, geo-
graphical data, interests, etc., thus increasing the efciency of communications.
The content of the newsletter. The content must be useful and interesting, and
the weight of commercial information must be properly balanced. Subscribers
56 T. Piñeiro-Otero and X. Martínez-Rolán
value content that adds value or is useful to them. In fact, newsletters are one of
the key tools of content marketing.
The eld from. In the context of communication saturation, the customer will
look at the eld fromas a lter to recognise the origin and dismissor not
the mail.
The eld subject. Same as with a slogan or tagline, the eld subjectmust
stand out above the mass of incoming e-mails. Likewise, this eld must full the
criteria of usefulness and interest for the user and, above all, honesty about the
content they will nd in the mail. Otherwise, the company runs the risk of their
mail becoming invisible and that the subscriber requests to unsubscribe from
their database.
The eld subjectmust not be too long or complex, although it allows for the
inclusion of special characters such as emojis.
There is no exact formula to predict the success of a newsletter. Each campaign
is different and is closely linked to the audience it addresses. In any case, campaigns
may be optimised using A/B tests.
These tests are random experiments with two differential variables. Two different
versions of the newsletter are sent to two subgroups of the database just changing a
single element (the eld subject, layout or organisation of content, the colour of
the download button, the size of the main image, etc.). This process allows for an
empirical test that reveals which version of the message works better and leads to
higher ratios of opening, clicks, conversions, etc., so that optimisation of future
versions of the newsletter becomes possible.
5.6 Basic Metrics to Assess the Efciency of E-mail
There are three elements to assess e-mail marketing: the user database, sending the
newsletter and conversion metrics.
In metrics related to databases, estimating the index of increase in subscribers is
easy or, if that were the case, the rate of unsubscribers. Identifying the cause for any
increase or decrease in subscribers is of essence. As they happen in a timeline, the
cause can be traced back to a particular content item, so that the organisation knows
what content works better.
Regarding sending newsletters, there are four indicators to measure the success
of e-mail marketing:
Sent index: Percentage of deliveries to the recipient (i.e. where there was no
mistake in sending).
Opening rate: Percentage of e-mails that have been opened by the recipient.
Some applications provide information about what recipients have received and
opened the e-mail, as well as reception and opening time.
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics and Actions 57
Clicks on links: It is possible to determine what are the links that have been
clicked and establish a popularity ranking depending on the number of clicks.
Unsubscribers per batch sent: Number of people who have cancelled their
subscription to a newsletter after they have received a particular issue.
Finally, a conversion rate can be established between the sending of the
newsletter and the accomplishment of a particular goal, for example downloading a
mobile application, using a discount voucher, registration on another website and
sending additional information by the user.
5.7 Applications and Resources for an E-mail Marketing
The supply of existing applications around e-mail marketing is wide, with many
applications for different operating systems, such as Windows (G-Lock EasyMail7,
for example) or OSX (Direct Mail, for example), although market trends seem to
focus on the development of Web applications that help manage this kind of online
marketing. The advantages of Web services lie in their mobility and the possibility
of accessing them from different devices.
Thus, we can have a wide array of Web services to implement an e-mail mar-
keting campaign successfully. The features vary a little across platforms, although
there are a series of functionalities that must be present for a proper professional
development of such marketing:
Contact and list management, with the possibility to import and export, and to
create segmented contact lists.
Newsletter design, usually HTML based. Many of the tools incorporate visual
editors to make the design aspects of the newsletter as easy as possible, to
include multimedia elements and to distribute the elements in the newsletter.
Sending campaigns and the possibility of scheduling and automating the
Statistical analysis of output.
Some tools enable the integration of the newsletter with other services and
platforms regularly used by organisations. Some examples are the incorporation of
a widget on the companys blog, the integration of social media or tools such as
Google Analytics.
The most widely used newsletter editors are Teenvío, Dopple, MailChimp,
Benchmark, MailRelay, Campaign Monitor, MPZ Mail or SendinBlue.
These kinds of services tend to offer freemium business models, offering a
limited free version that allows to test the service with some restrictions; they are
usually linked to the number of subscribers and/or monthly dispatch of e-mails (see
Table 1). Choosing one platform or the other depends on the needs of the company
and the possibilities they offer on their free or payment versions.
58 T. Piñeiro-Otero and X. Martínez-Rolán
E-mail is a powerful marketing tool that is also easy to combine with other
strategies and platforms, such as social media and e-commerce.
6 E-commerce
E-commerce means the development of transactions between companies and/or
individuals on Internet, mainly for buying and selling products and services, using
applications such as e-mail, instant messages, shopping carts or Web services, to
name a few.
The progressive penetration of Internet and its possibilities have multiplied
online trade relationships. This trend started in 1970 with the transfer of funds, with
the arrival of the World Wide Web, and it became an opportunity for traditional
companies and the beginning of businesses operating only online.
The boom of mobile devices, smartphones in particular, has opened the doors to
mobile commerce (m-commerce), i.e. electronic commerce using a mobile device
E-commerce is an increasingly wider and more diverse phenomenon; therefore,
classications are difcult. In any case, the most widely used classication of
e-commerce is based on the nature of its transactions looking at the relationship
between companies and/or between them and their nal customers. In this line, we
can speak of:
B2B: Business to business, these are already established companies that operate
through Internet where consumers are not involved.
Car manufacturers, for example, use online purchase platforms for their suppliers
to place their orders.
B2C: Business to consumer, this is the most popular and widespread model on
Internet, where a company sells its products (e.g. Zalando, Amazon, AliExpress) or
services (Spotify) to the consumer through the Web.
B2E: Business to employee, this is a model of e-commerce that is derived from
the previous one, where only the company and its employees take part. Microsoft,
for example, uses it so that its workers can order ofce supplies, documents and
Table 1 Comparison between the most important e-mail marketing applications
App Business model Free subscribers Monthly mail delivery
Benchmark Freemium 2000 14,000
MailChimp Freemium 2000 12,000
MailRelay Freemium 15,000 75,000
MPZ Mail Freemium 2000 12,000
SendinBlue Freemium Unlimited 9000
TeEnvio Freemium 1000 5000
Source Prepared by the authors
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics and Actions 59
company cards. This is a type of business that generates engagement by the staff
through, for example, attractive offers that push their performance, which is the
reason why big companies are so keen on this model.
G2C: Government to consumer, this is a variation of B2C for the public
administration. This is a model of e-commerce that is gaining progressive weight in
its implementation through the e-administration. A clear example is payment of
taxes through Internet.
C2C: Consumer to consumer is common in sectors where end consumers relate
to each other, away from companies, for their own transactions. This is a business
model that is becoming stronger with crowd sourcing economies (e.g. BlaBlaCar or
Uber) or online purchases and sales portals (eBay).
6.1 E-commerce Techniques
6.1.1 Online Shop
In order to purchase or sell on Internet, an online shop is not a must, but it becomes
a useful Web tool for efcient e-commerce [24]. Some of the most common sec-
tions in any online shops are as follows:
Properly structured product catalogue with sections, images displaying the
product alone, as well as accurate and honest product descriptions.
Shopping cart, always visible so that the customer can check, with just one
click, the products added, shipping costs, taxes and discounts (if applicable) and
the total purchase price.
An internal search engine, which will be more important as the product cata-
logue and sections develop.
Explanation of payment methods allowed and contact/customer support area. As
there is no physical contact, companies must offer communication pathways for
their online shops so that users can share their concerns and increase their trust
in the company.
The availability of several payment options is recommended. Some of the most
common payment methods are credit card, which needs a safe payment gate-
way, bank transfer or other e-services of great penetration and reliability such as
PayPal. Payment against delivery, which was a star method for distance sales,
can also be used on some shops, although it is becoming outdated (Fig. 6).
Apart from the quality of the product that the description and the picture on the
online shop match the product, companies must be very careful with the shipping
options, especially in the case of physical products. In online sales, transportation
and the delivery of the product become the only phases where the customer has
physical contact with the company, and therefore, a bad experience with the courier
or decient packaging can ruin the purchase experience.
60 T. Piñeiro-Otero and X. Martínez-Rolán
Companies must take care of these aspects to the last detail, as they are part of
the image the consumer will have of their brand. Guarantee and delivery dates by
the courier must be considered, as they are key e-commerce issues.
6.1.2 Development of an Afliation Programme for the Online Shop
(Afliation Marketing)
Afliation marketing is an online marking tool widely used for e-commerce. In
essence, it means taking the commission business model to an online environment.
Amazon was a pioneer in this type of marketing when, in 1996, it allowed other
websites to sell their books in exchange for a percentage of the unit sold.
Afliate networks appear in order to regulate trade relations between merchants
the real product sellersand afliatesthose who publish the ad of a product
online. Such networks include Zanox, TradeDoubler or Commission Junction, and
they act as mediators between advertisers and afliates, while they provide them
with tools to follow up sales and the proper development of their relationship. The
afliate network is supported by a commission that the merchant pays the afliate
(Fig. 7).
For the merchant, the advantages are obviousthey only pay if the target is
accomplished and it can reach its potential clients through the hundreds of Webs
promoting them. However, some afliate networks demand a monthly feeand
Fig. 6 Main sections of an online shop. Source Prepared by the authors using a screenshot of
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics and Actions 61
even an entry feethat can be up to 600 , a threshold high enough for small- and
medium-sized merchants [26].
6.1.3 Retargeting or Remarketing
Retargeting is an online marketing technique to turn a user into a customer who,
despite having shown some interest on the products or services of a website, did not
manage to nish the purchase or action required.
Google labels this technique remarketingand uses it through their display
Retargeting works as follows: The user visits a product X on an online shop.
Without nishing the purchase, they leave the website and continue browsing the
Web. When they access another site, the user will nd adverts on product X, adverts
that will follow themduring browsing andin case they clickwill bring the
user back to the initial online shop (A) (Fig. 8).
Retargeting is only used for consumers who have shown any interest in a pro-
duct before, and therefore, it is a quality impact that often ends up in a purchase.
Fig. 7 How an afliate programme works. Source Prepared by the authors based on Quirk
eMarketing [25]
Fig. 8 How retargeting or remarketing works. Source Prepared by the authors based on Hussain
62 T. Piñeiro-Otero and X. Martínez-Rolán
Retargeting is part of behavioural marketingand is supposed to yield high
protability for e-commerce.
6.2 Business Models to Estimate Payment Per Page
in Advertising
Many of the online marketing strategies are based on digital advertising; therefore, it
is essential to know the different formulae to hire and estimate the cost of an online
campaign. Some of the online advertising models available include the following:
CPM (cost per 1000). This is related to the number of times an ad is shown on
the screen, also known as impressions. The CPM indicates the cost of 1000
online impressions of the ad. This system is basically used for branding cam-
paigns, and the process of brand equity is the most economic option of all.
CPC (cost per click). This is related to the interactions of the user with the ad
through clicks. They are used to divert trafc to a website, paying only when the
user clicks on the ad and is redirected to a Web (therefore the name PPC, Pay
Per Click). CPC does not guarantee sales, but it ensures trafc and is less
volatile than CPM.
CPL (cost per lead) refers to a contract based on quality contacts without
implying direct sales. In particular, CPL is the price that is paid for each user
who completes the objective or lead. Such leads vary depending on the mar-
keting goals of the company; a lead can be to ll-in a Web form, becoming a
follower of the company on social media or to disseminate content on the site.
CPA (cost per acquisition) is hiring ads per sales; that is, payment is done for
each action that has generated a customer. In the mobile environment, this is
also referred to as CPI (cost per install) and indicates the applications installed
after interacting with the ad. In this case, the installation of an APP, even if it is
free, becomes a purchase (Fig. 9).
Fig. 9 Models of online ad purchasing. Source Antevinio [28]
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics and Actions 63
Of the previous models, only CPA and CPI ensure a transaction between the
customer and the company, so that they are formulae that require more economic
6.3 E-commerce Glossary
Understanding the language of e-commerce is not simple. The use of common
words with a different meaning can sometimes be confusing.
Some of the most usual terms are as follows:
A/B test: through this technique, organisations show two different versions of
the same content to understand which one is more widely accepted. A/B tests are
common in e-commerce and online marketing and they must be done with just
one change every time the test is performed.
Shopping cart abandonment: this is the moment a potential customer gives up
before nalising the purchasing process on an online shop.
API: a set of operations and instructions released by software to interact with it
and access higher quantity of data and options.
Backofce: administration of the backofce of an online shop. This is mainly
geared towards catalogue and stock management to optimise the browsing
process and purchase of a product on the said shop.
Call to action: this is an initiative to create interest among users and encourage
them to participate or react before a particular stimulus.
CAPTCHA: Turing test inserted on a website, generally on a form, to check
whether the data are being fed by a person or a machine. It is useful to avoid
Shopping cart: a key tool of an online shop showing the products a user has
selected for their purchase, their price and taxes, as well as the nal cost for the
Cash ow: same as for traditional businesses, e-commerce needs to look at its
cash ow or the difference between receipts and payments of a company in a
particular period.
CMS: Content management system that allows, in a simple way, to organise,
treat and publish on a website. This is also used for the online product catalogue
and, generally, for any content on the online shop.
Cookies: website information stored in the browser enabling better under-
standing of the user through their browsing (habits, interests, etc.). This is key
for retargeting strategies.
Checkout: guided process of nalising a purchase that converts the content of
the shopping cart into a real sale.
Display network: it is Googles afliate network with over two million websites
64 T. Piñeiro-Otero and X. Martínez-Rolán
Dropshipping: type of retail sales in which the retailer does not have the actual
stock of the product and issues the purchase order to the supplier once the
shopping process is over. This is especially relevant for an online shop envi-
ronment because it saves stocking costs.
Eye tracking: technique and instrument to eye track the areas of the screen users
pay special attention to, as well as their reading line.
Lead or Conversion: each of the concrete goals set by the company. Usually, a
lead is equivalent to a sale, but this is not necessarily so; they can be linked to a
database of subscribers and prescribers.
Payment gateway: it triggers payment processing.
Payment processing: it allows for payment management.
7 Web Positioning
Accessing information on Internet is done mainly through the World Wide Web, a
vast digital arena that has experienced constant expansion since it was created in
1991 by Tim Berners-Lee. The current volume of websites is around 850 million
(July 2015).
When Internet started, the number of websites was low enough to access all of
them through their domain. As Internet expanded, it became clear that there is a
need to create a system that allows for Web searches and enables access.
Until the end of the twentieth century, classication systems with embedded
categories, known as directories, offered good results in an expanding community
of Web users. The most widely known directory was Yahoo, still accessible on the
However, a more intuitive and simple way to access the increasing volume of
sites and Web pages was needed. That was when browsers rst appeared.
A browser or search engine is a computer-based system that indexes websites
using some dedicated software. A search engine offers a list of the results depending
on the search terms and connectors used by the user to access the desired content.
This simple process is currently the most important pathway to access online
content, while it becomes the marketing base for browsers: SEO and SEM.
SEO stands for search engine optimisation, and it refers to a set of techniques
applied on a websitestructure, code, content and linksto improve positioning in
the organic results of a concrete browser [29].
SEM stands for search engine marketing, and this refers to a publicity system of
a browser offering users ads that are related to their search terms. Unlike SEO, SEM
offers induced results (payment), even if they are presented to the Web surfer as the
best result of their search (with the same look as for natural results) (Table 2).
Both types of positioning are opposing, even if they are both based on two key
aspects: search engines and keywords (Fig. 10).
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics and Actions 65
7.1 Search Engines
Each search engine uses tracing software for websites for their indexing. The
software used is known as Internet bot, Web crawler or Web spider, and periodi-
cally tracks the Web looking for new content or modications on sites.
The search engine processes Web tracking, while it uses its own algorithm to
classify websites and offer its results, as well as their order, depending on the search
terms used.
Therefore, both in order to improve the organic result (SEO) and to improve the
efciency of advertising campaigns (SEM), selecting a specic search engine is of
Fig. 10 How search engine optimisation and search engine marketing results are shown. Source
Prepared by the authors
Table 2 Differences between SEO and SEM
Mid- and long-term results Immediate results
Results are sustained for longer At the end of the campaign, the results are
Organic results Paid results
Results are always shown at the centre of the
Results appear mainly on the screen top or
Source Prepared by the authors
66 T. Piñeiro-Otero and X. Martínez-Rolán
Despite the fact that there are several search engines available (Ask, Bing,
Yahoo!, AOL, Baidu, Yandex, etc.), Google ranks as the search engine with the
deepest worldwide penetration.
In fact, Google is the search engine with the highest market share in most
countries in the world. In countries such as Japan, Russia, China and North Korea,
it ranks second.
In order to optimise resources for positioning, organisations need to adapt to the
search engines algorithm most widely used when speaking about positioning in
browsers, usually meaning SEO and SEM action in Google (Fig. 11).
Google started in 1998, and in a few years, it became a world reference, thanks
to an innovation they introduced in the result system: PageRank. This algorithm
gives marks to each page depending on the quality of their incoming links; thus, the
results are more closely adjusted to Web searches.
In recent years, Google has introduced changes in its algorithm in order to avoid
anomalous positioning and bad practices in its results. Thus, Panda (released in
2011) and Penguin (released in 2014) have rened their positioning criteria.
7.2 Keywords
Keywords are the terms or phases that users use to search something on Internet.
Likewise, keywords are search criteria matching a specic website.
When trying to positioning a site using some search criteria, several words are
used for each keyword, avoiding generic terms at all times. These words will be
increased and/or modied with time.
The extent of use of these keywords on a particular website is also important, as
it is checked against the total number of words on the Web page. The percentage
obtained is known as keyword density, and it must be over 2 % and below 5 %.
Fig. 11 Penetration share of
Web browsers worldwide.
Source Prepared by the
authors using Statista [30]
data for July 2015
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics and Actions 67
Likewise, in many sectors, several websites want to position themselves with the
same keywords. The degree of competition to position a website over another one
using the same keywords is called keyword competence. The SEM section is
particularly relevant, as there is more competition and this will increase the prices to
get those keywords.
7.2.1 Tools to Select Keywords
In order to select the keywords, a manual list is prepared with the marketing and site
goals to be optimised. This manual list can be ltered and improved using some
useful Web services.
Google Trends is a Google tool showing quantitative data regarding term
searchers by their users.
The evolution of Web searches of one or several terms can be observed, thanks
to this service by using three parameters:
Time trend or interest through time, from 2004 until the present;
Seasonality throughout the year, to be chosen since 2004 (the year the service
Location, so that the result can be shown in global terms or per country.
Google Trends provides information regarding how certain search terms behave
in the long run, and this is quite useful to discard or optimise a list of keywords
before implementing them on a website.
Google AdWords is a PPC (Pay Per Click) advertisement management platform
by Google and therefore the SEM of this browser. This platform includes a key-
word measurement tool called Keyword Planner.
Keyword Planner offers information on the potential performance of a term list
with data regarding the average monthly searches and competence of keywords for
SEM campaigns. Due to this, Keyword Planner becomes an added value tool to
select keywords.
Other interesting tools to plan keywords are Ubersuggest, which suggests
alphabet-based replacement terms for a keyword; Soovle to suggest added value
keywords for the most important search engines; or SEMRush to monitor
7.3 How to Use SEO Techniques
SEO positioning is improved by working on two aspects: internally or externally,
depending on the control level that the Webmaster has over the website.
Internal SEO means undertaking actions to improve content, code and/or
accessibility, aspects related to the website to be controlled by the Webmaster or
68 T. Piñeiro-Otero and X. Martínez-Rolán
company. Regarding this, keywords must be adapted to the website [31]. Such
keywords must be included on:
Title tag: the website title, visible on the top bar of the browser.
Meta tags: even though they are losing importance (especially meta tag key-
words), meta tag description is very useful, both for Web crawlers and for users,
as the content of that tag is used as a rich snipped in the browser results.
Links: using keywords on friendly URLs.
Content: keywords must be within the content of the website. In order to be
considered relevant, the content of each website has to be over 300 words and
the position and density of keywords have to be looked into. Regarding location,
in order to optimise the use of keywords, they have to be placed near the Web
heading and on the title or subtitles of the text. Likewise, in order to improve
positioning, the density of keywords should be over 2 % but not over 5 % so that
browsers do not penalise the site.
With the latest update of Googles algorithm, content has become more
important. Offering original and quality content is one of the recommendations by
Google for those who want to get started in the optimisation for Web searches.
Apart from selection and use of keywords, improving Web positioning requires
the development of other actions on the websites structure and code.
For example, having a sitemap helps Web crawlers index the website. A sitemap
is a le with different URLs that make up the website.
Another action in this line is to indicate to Web spiders which content is relevant
and which is not, so that they trace it (or not) and index it (or not). This action is
done through the robots.txt le, located on the root directory of the website.
On the other hand, external SEO focuses on aspects that are less controllable for
the company, for example incoming links (coming from other websites), with the
goal of gaining popularity and higher quality of the links. A link is perceived as a
quality link when it is created by a site or reference platform from the sector the
company is in and/or that works on the same topic.
Since 2012, Google penalises malpractice related to external links, for example
link farms (group of websites that all hyperlink to every other site without having
any type of theme or sector link); therefore, it is important to work in order to create
quality links to other websites relevant for the sector.
This technique is known as link building and can be implemented through
concrete actions such as:
Exchange of links between different websites sharing themes and content.
Links from social networking sites such as forums or social networks, adding
the link and the signature to the message or the content shared.
Link baiting: publishing content that encourages visitors to create links from
their websites to that content. The key to success lies in their viral or mimetic
nature, and though it is a technique that is difcult to master, the results are
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics and Actions 69
Quality external links could also be improved by registering a website on general
or theme-based directories. This practice is no longer used since Google stopped
considering them in their update of the algorithm in 2013.
7.4 How to Use SEM Techniques
SEM campaigns require being familiar with the keywords that are related to the
business one tries to promote. Each click of a user who is not part of the target is
lost money.
In order to optimise a marketing campaign using browsers, one has to know the
structure of an ad. An ad usually has a title of less than 25 characters linked to the
destination site: a visible URL, which need not be the destination site URL, and two
lines of text, around 35 characters per line. The content of those texts must be
carefully decided as it must create interest in users, especially in the body of the
message as the ad will be placed on locations where only a single line will be
The most important ad platform for browsers is Google AdWords, which
operates its own search engine and a network of associated websites (display
network). In order to have SEM in Yahoo or Bing, the two other most widely used
search engines, Bing Ads has to be used.
In order to successfully develop a SEM campaign, one has to consider the
following questions:
An ad must have the keywords of the destination site. If keywords that are
different from the content of the website are bought to raise interest in users,
many hits will be registered, but they will lack any value and shall only waste
Ads ready to pay more per word will be placed at a better spot. The value of
keywords correlates with demand.
Ads with more clicks are located in a better position.
When designing a text, the most important aspect is that it matches the searches
of users, in order to optimise the click ratio: concordance can be wide, of a
sentence, exact or negative (Table 3).
7.5 Malpractice: Black Hat SEO
The importance of search engines as ways to access information of a website has
opened up a space for a new professional prole: optimiser of search results
organic or paidto increase trafc to websites.
70 T. Piñeiro-Otero and X. Martínez-Rolán
These experts master the algorithm of browsers and can make the best of the
websites. This mastery allows them to know the limits of the browser and imple-
ment anomalous SEO improvement.
Black Hat SEO is a set of practices that try to illicitly improve the positioning of
a website in the search results.
Such practices are against the standards of search engines. In this sense, each
update of the search algorithm penalises some of these practices and nds out which
websites have improved their positioning using them.
One of the oldest Black Hat SEO practices is to place keywords or links of the
same colour on the websites background. The text, invisible for users, is indexed
by search engines, increasing the density of keywords and the number of outgoing
links. This practice is called hidden text and lost momentum when Google started
penalising keyword density over 5 %.
Another type of Black Hat SEO practice are the above-mentioned link farms, a
set of articially connected websites through incoming and outgoing links. This
practice tries to manipulate the popularity of these websites presenting them to the
search engine as more relevant sites and, therefore, suited for better positioning.
8 To Summarise
In this context of intense digitalisation of individuals and organisations and of the
relationships between them, it is often the case that Internet presence is perceived as
a must. This is, however, not necessarily so.
Being in Internet demands constant updates of the different channels with inter-
esting content for the public. Likewise, conversations on social platforms happen
24/7, so that a brand cannot just publish, and they have to follow the social con-
versation around their publications and even stimulate the participation of users to
achieve higher engagement. All this needs resources that not all organisations have.
Table 3 Keyword matching options
Match type Special
Ads may show on searches that
Broad match None Womens hats Include misspellings, synonyms, related
searches and other relevant variations
Broad match
+keyword +womens +hats Contain the modied term (or close
variations, but not synonyms), in any
Phrase match keyword”“womens hatsAre a phrase and close variations of that
Exact match [keyword] [womens hats] Are an exact term and close variations of
that exact term
Negative match keyword women Are searches without the term
Source Google [32]
Understanding Digital MarketingBasics and Actions 71
In this sense, the must is not to be on the Web but to listen to it and do it actively.
In the current context, no company, regardless of its size, can live with its back to
If they do not have enough resources to have an active presence adapted to the
digital world, at least they need to have a strategy to monitor and know what is
being said about their company on the Web.
In this chapter, we have presented some of the most widely used and most
effective digital marketing strategies. Such action can be scaled up and adapted to any
brand and organisation that wants to have an active and effective online presence.
We have discussed some techniques to attract users and the right audiences, to
create attractive and interesting content so that customers remain loyal to organi-
sations and brands. While we have also presented some concrete strategies and
techniques to measure outcomes, organisations working in the digital environment
must be careful not to get lost in the complex universe of tools and platforms. They
must give and receive value, and their most important asset is in their real essence
and audience, regardless of the channels used for this relationship.
9 Review Questions (True or False)
1. The goals of a digital marketing plan must be SMARTspecic, measurable,
assignable, realistic, time-related.
2. Own Media is essentially online word of mouth: mentions, shares, reposts,
reviews and recommendations.
3. A Social Media Plan has nothing to do with a marketing plan; it is a different
document altogether and not at all related to marketing.
4. KPIs are useful metrics for objective measurement.
5. E-mail marketing is a mass, cheap and highly customised toolthe keys to its
6. Retargeting is an online commission-based business strategy.
7. CPA is cheaper than CPM as a business model to estimate ads.
8. Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner are useful apps for selecting
9. Search engine ads related to a Web search are known as SEO.
10. Nobody can escape the Internet.
Answers to the Review Questions
1. True
2. False
3. False
72 T. Piñeiro-Otero and X. Martínez-Rolán
4. True
5. True
6. False
7. False
8. True
9. False
10. True
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The authors contend that solutions to the most pressing environmental challenges will result from understanding and solving social traps such as the commons dilemma. They propose a synthesis for analysis and action to suggest that marketing's stakeholders can cooperate to contribute solutions and ultimately develop programs that help ameliorate the tragedy of the commons.
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