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Mobile Marketing vs Digital Marketing: Understanding the Difference Between the Two


In today’s world, marketing would cease to exist without its digital element. Instead of simply reaching your target audience, you can now target every individual. Digital marketing is personal, specific, and extremely accurate. AI technology, algorithms, and location services can seemingly read your consumer’s mind. 

Lately, sights have seemed to be set on the cultivation of mobile marketing specifically. But too often, entrepreneurs and business owners do not understand the distinct difference between digital marketing and mobile marketing. This article will showcase the differences between both types of marketing and why they are both crucial.


What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing promotes a brand using digital communications via the Internet to connect with potential customers. This includes e-mail, social media, web-based advertising, and multi-media channels. These channels provide the necessary basis for the tactics of digital marketing. There are many types of digital marketing; popular tactics include SEO, PPC (pay-per-click marketing), affiliate marketing, native advertising, and mobile advertising. You can learn more about the different types of content marketing here.

Pay-Per-Click Marketing

PPC marketing charges a fee every time someone clicks on your digital ad. Instead of paying set amounts to run ads, you will only be responsible for paying for the ads a person interacts with. For example, if you search ‘best vacuum cleaner’ in Google, an automatic auction occurs to determine which ad result will appear at the top of the SERP (search engine result page). Every time a person clicks your ad, you pay for the click.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a relationship created between two companies. As a business, you would offer to share a commission with an affiliate marketer every time they help you sell one of your products. For example, if you own a makeup brand, you could offer a commission every time an influencer recommends your products to their followers. This is slightly different than influencer marketing, however. The difference is that the influencer only gets paid if one of their followers purchases from you through a special link you provide.

Native Advertising

Native advertising is a sneaky type of advertisement – made to blend in and camouflage with the surrounding content. TikTok is an avid user of native advertisements. They will insert videos on a user’s for-you page (comparable to Facebook’s home feed) that incorporate trending sounds and popular content creators from the app. Although, in the very corner of the video, you will see “paid promotion.” The law requires advertisers to indicate that they are paid promotions somewhere in an advertisement.

Other types of digital marketing:

  • Social media marketing
  • Audio Marketing
  • Influence Marketing
  • Video Marketing
  • Blogging

The advantages of digital marketing are endless. Digital ads conquer print and TV ads due to their extensive geographical reach, cost-effectiveness, and proven results. Digital ads can produce market data instantly. They do this by monitoring views, shares, comments, clicks, and real-time customer conversions. The personalization of digital marketing will provide authenticity and trust between you and your customers.


What is Mobile Marketing?

Mobile marketing is any advertising promoting products/services on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. Although a part of digital marketing, mobile marketing is now becoming a division of its own – with data showing that 85% of Americans now use smartphones. All digital marketing must be accessible on handheld devices for this reason.

Mobile marketing utilizes the fullest of technological advancements due to its capability of tapping into location services. Businesses can now target audiences by behaviors rather than just demographics. Studies have shown that 89% of marketers reported seeing increases in their sales after the utilization of location services. However, it is worth mentioning the concerns surrounding mobile device advertising. Privacy issues have plagued the digital industry since its beginnings. Consumers face problems with their data being tracked, hacked, and traded. It is still being discovered what the boundaries are when dealing with businesses and their consumers.

There are several types of mobile marketing strategies. Here are just a few:

  • SMS Marketing-This involves sending promotional messages to customers and prospects via text messaging. Permission is required before you can market using this method
  • Location-based marketing-This is a strategy that targets consumers based on their physical location.
  • Augmented Reality-AR marketing involves using digital technology to overlay virtual images, videos, or interactive elements onto the real world. This can be used to enhance customer experiences, promote products, and create unique and engaging brand experiences.
  • In-game marketing-In-game marketing involves advertising within video games to reach a large and engaged audience. This can include product placement, in-game billboards or ads, sponsored in-game content, or even entire branded games designed to promote a product or service.

For more examples, check out our article on the different types of mobile marketing.

The Difference Between Mobile Marketing and Digital Marketing?

Digital and mobile marketing are crucial when exercising your business’s marketing plan. The main difference we see between the two is how digital marketing appeals to the entirety of Internet marketing, whereas mobile advertisements focus on a particular niche. Mobile advertisements track and integrate themselves into a user’s smartphone. Users will receive personalized push notifications and text messages tailored to their interests.

For example, a 24-year-old female athlete sees a viral video on TikTok about a particular type of Lululemon leggings. The video leads her right to Lululemon’s site, where she orders what she sees. At the beginning of the sale, Lululemon asks her for her personal information, which includes her phone number and e-mail. This contact information will now inform her of current sales and new products to bring her back as a returning customer. 

The customer is comfortable with revealing her information to the company because she is aware and interested in what this company offers. This young woman was converted into a customer by viewing a video from a digital marketing tactic. She was then retained through mobile marketing.

Digital marketing is different as it appeals to a larger target audience rather than mobile’s localized approach. Mobile marketing has the advantage of appealing to users in an interactive way through phone applications. Using the same woman as an example, she will see many more daily ads while visiting social media sites or by reading her e-mails. 

Ads she sees on her Instagram feed are tailored through an algorithm of her recent Google searches or other ads she may have clicked on previously. The digital advertising world is a cohesive and integrative experience for the business and the consumer. The business owner must tap into both marketing techniques as they add intrinsic value to one another.



When done right, both mobile marketing and digital marketing can create huge conversions for any business. For instance, Dominos launched a mobile marketing campaign in 2015. The campaign allowed mobile app users to scan any pizza (even non-Dominos pizza) and get ten reward points. Once the user hits 60 points, they receive a free pizza. Their mobile app generated lots of free user content and brand awareness for the company. 

When choosing your marketing strategy, understanding the difference between the two types of marketing will help you refine your strategy and manage expectations. 

Elicia Ronto on Linkedin
Elicia Ronto
Team Writer: Elicia Ronto, is a 30 year-old self-employed safety coordinator and part-time freelance writer. In October 2022, she graduated with her bachelors degree in business administration. Elicia is also a mother to a rambunctious 3 year-old girl and spends any extra time she has cleaning, reading, hitting the gym, or going on small weekend trips. Her goal is to someday pursue freelancing full time.

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Team Writer: Elicia Ronto, is a 30 year-old self-employed safety coordinator and part-time freelance writer. In October 2022, she graduated with her bachelors degree in business administration. Elicia is also a mother to a rambunctious 3 year-old girl and spends any extra time she has cleaning, reading, hitting the gym, or going on small weekend trips. Her goal is to someday pursue freelancing full time.

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