Digital Marketing vs Digital Advertising:
Which Do You Need?

You and your customers know that your company kicks-ass, but you need more people to figure that out. You are overwhelmed by the options, and often the advice, you get.

Digital advertising and digital marketing are two of the options available to you. But which is best for your brand? They both offer benefits and choosing can be overwhelming.

Suppose you have an auto repair shop. You are in New Jersey and there are a lot of people that commute into New York City. Here are some ideas for you to implement when debating between digital advertising and digital marketing.

Digital Advertising Ideas:

  • People just can’t pass up a great deal. Creating a digital coupon with a half-priced oil change will get their attention. They use your services and save money at the same time. The important thing is they are using your service. Once they have a great experience they are likely to come back and even refer you. You might offer a free 10-point inspection at the same time, providing an opportunity for an up-sell.
  • Social media ads that are displayed when someone uses Facebook. Targeting these ads to commuters allows the ad to show up in their feed. This casual interaction makes it easy for them to come across your business.
  • Targeted Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns based on the terms that people will type into Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. when looking for auto repair. Like auto repair near me, or car repair Passaic County. By making sure that the page they land on when clicking your ad is highly relevant to that ad.

Digital Marketing Ideas:

  • Create a blog on your website that is useful for drivers in Northern New Jersey. Make it funny, amusing, express your personality in each post. Tell a story that is relevant. You might write about; best shortcuts to NYC, best apps for NYC commuters, How salt and slush can destroy your car, maintenance schedules for the commuter.
  • Make sure your website has appropriate Calls-to-Action. Offer a free guide for New Jersey Commuters, Or a link to Book an Appointment. It is kind of like courting your customers. On a date, you ask for that kiss at the end of a date. You placed an ad, took them to your landing page, they have gotten to know you, now close the deal and ask for that kiss. You have moved them closer to buying.
  • The video is king! You do not need to have high production value, music or special effects. Just a simple video that you and a friend shoot on your phone (hold the phone landscape please). Give a lesson on changing a tire, or checking the tire pressure. Show your personality and share your knowledge, creating a trust with the viewer.
  • Make sure you have a good looking, up-to-date website. Make sure it is designed for search engine optimization (SEO) that’s mobile-friendly. Over 50% of all internet traffic is from mobile devices. SEO is what makes you come up with Google.
  • Great and frequent social media posts are important. Yes even for your auto repair business. These platforms allow you to engage your audience. If you post items that they can identify with they will remember you.
  • Your online reputation is important. Getting reviews on Google, Yelp! And Facebook allows those that don’t know you hear from those that do. This is very influential and makes consumers more comfortable in selecting your shop. Make sure you keep an eye on the reviews, and respond to them, especially any negative ones. This will help you learn from mistakes or clear up a misunderstanding with a customer. If changes to your business are warranted, then make them.

OK, So Which One Does Your Business Need?

Digital marketing is an ongoing effort and means you are utilizing your website and blog and website as incredible marketing tools. You MUST keep them up-to-date, there are nothing worse than seeing a blog that has not been touched in months, or years. Although digital marketing can include advertising, there is a lot more to it.

You have to have an active social media presence, your content has to be targeted at your customers. You need to have keyword research done for your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is an ongoing effort that will improve as time goes on.

Yes we understand you have a business to run, this can be really time-consuming, but doesn’t have to be; you can outsource to a Digital Marketing Agency. This Weill help you concentrate on your business as it grows. This allows people to find you organically, rather than through paid ads.

When we look at Digital Advertising, we are looking at a faster result that Digital Marketing, so if you have limited time and resources to dedicate, this could be the right solution. Your ads need to be placed properly, they need to be aimed at that target audience. But when that ad hits at the right time, in the right place, and to the right people, they are gold. This is much more involved than “Boosting a Post,” this requires research, positive and negative keywords, and good design.

Examples of Digital Marketing vs Digital Advertising

Let’s look at two businesses: Frogg’s Auto Repair and Johnny’s Car Repair. Each has a website, and are doing some form of digital marketing.


Frogg’s website looks really professional. It has pages that include “About Us,” “Locations,” “Service & Repair,” “Tires & Wheels,” and “Coupons.”

Each page goes into detail about the business and services. The “Service & Repair” page lists all of their services including 24-hour towing, air conditioning repair, brake service and oil changes as part of a bulleted list. And the coupons page shows the deals available and allows the coupons to be printed out and used at the shop.


Johnny’s blog is a the best tool they have. The Service & Repair” page uses phrases that potential customers use when searching for that service. These phrases could be  generic or very specific. Johnny’s website links to their blog posts from its social media platforms and their customers like and share them. Especially the funny or educational posts achieve a great deal of engagement, resulting in even more customers.

That page also has tab a bulleted list, but each bullet is linked to a page about that service. Every page uses content about New Jersey establishing the business as an authority. For example, the page on 24-hour towing includes phrase like “When you are driving down Route 4.” This makes the page seem more personal to the reader.

Putting the Sites to the Test

A car a breaks down at 3 a.m. on Route 80, the driver opens Google and searches, “all night towing service, Route 80  Fairfield, NJ.”

Johnny’s business comes up first!  The first page of the Google results also shows blog posts about Johnny’s related to all-night car breakdowns. By showing so prominently, the customer chooses Johnny’s rather than one of his competitors.

Unfortunately, Froggy’s business does not shows up until page three in Google for 24-hour towing. As you know if you’re not on the first page, you’re not relevant.

Although Froggy’s website is good and professional, it lacks digital marketing tactics. Once in a while, Froggy’s shop does a PPC campaign targeted at his 24-hour towing service, and he sees a short-term increase of traffic to his site and a small increase in business.

So, what should I you choose, digital marketing vs digital advertising?

Both marketing and advertising are will driving traffic to your site and try to attract new customers. The Digital Marketing efforts are longer term and need to be maintained on an on-going basis. Digital advertising is a great way to boost those efforts.

To put it in terms of auto repair, you can invest in the best break pads and rotors, but if your tires are bald, your car won’t stop. A good digital advertising and digital marketing agency can help you reach your goals.