Internet Marketing vs Online Marketing vs Digital Marketing

Internet Marketing vs Online Marketing vs Digital Marketing

Posted on : by : CCDM Staff

In the Digital Marketing arena we often come across multiple words having the similar meaning. The most common example are these three words “Digital Marketing”, “Online Marketing” and “Internet Marketing”. In this article we will shed the light on these three terms, their origin, the transition, the subtle differences and how and why “Digital Marketing” became a dominant catch-all phrase that represents the spirit of the industry.

Today Digital Marketing encompasses all the digital services that include:

  • SEO (Organic listings on Google and other search engines)
  • PPC (Paid advertising on Google/Bing/Yahoo Gemini and Social Media Platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn etc)
  • Social Media (Organic posts and Paid advertising on Social Media. The paid advertising overlaps with PPC domain.)
  • Website Design/Development
  • Content Marketing (This includes content writing for websites/blog, SEO content, content for social media, landing pages etc.)
  • Email Marketing (Good old email marketing. This is distinct from all other online marketing channels.)
  • Mobile Marketing(WhatsApp, Bulk SMS Campaigns, ShareChat etc.)

Apart from these core services digital marketing companies also offer allied services that include:
  • Graphic Design
  • Logo Design
  • Branding


Digital Marketing as a separate discipline emerged in the very late nineties in the US. Digital Marketing in this period consisted of SEO and Paid advertising. Google, Yahoo, MSN, Altavista, Dogpile, AOL were the prominent search-engines of that era and Google was just another search engine like others. Paid advertising was then done mainly by Overture (earlier GoTo), Yahoo displayed Overture’s paid results above the organic listings and MSN had their own banner display program over organic search results. Paid advertising in this time was marred by issues like “click frauds” and in-correct geographical targeting. The paid advertising was perfected only by Google with its Google Adwords “Paid Ads” program.

Earlier Meaning

But a few years back there was no such catch-all term. , were all distinct services and were not united by any super. In-fact these services were offered by separate agencies, a few years back (almost a decade) there were separate agencies that offered PPC services, separate agencies for SEO and Website design companies lacked these skills. So if you were a business in Pune looking for these services, you had to first get a website designed from one company, get the content created from a freelancer content writer and then go to some other company for PPC and SEO services. Later website design companies acquired the digital marketing skills (SEO, PPC and Social Media recently) and they started offering all these services and website design under the umbrella term of digital marketing.

Earlier Terminology

When these organic and paid search engine advertising/marketing techniques made their way to India in the early and mid 2000, it came to be known as “Online Marketing” or “Internet Marketing”. At that time it was not called “Digital Marketing” was not still in use. In India, the terms “Online Marketing” and “Internet Marketing” continued to be for a long period until the Social Media came to challenge the supremacy of the search engines. And until the whole “online marketing” became a specialized subject taught by educational institutes.

The Transition

The internet or online marketing was in use for quite a long time. In the early years of the first decade of twenty-first century, not many businesses were online like it is today in the year 2020. Online activities were limited to scanty e-commerce which was nothing more than amusement and for gaining knowledge. With the rise of cheap internet and smartphones in India, this scenario began to change from the beginning of the second decade of the twenty-first century. This period also coincided with the advent of “news-feed” based Social Media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, giving the online marketing a new dimension.

The Differences

There are subtle differences in the intent and persona of the people searching these terms, For e.g. the keyword, “digital marketing company in pune” may be searched by a job seeker, a student looking for projects or a corporate manager looking for these services. While keywords like “online (or internet) marketing company in pune” are more “marketplace” terms in the sense that these are small business owners looking for these digital marketing services.

Compare Popularity

In India, the keyword “Digital Marketing” is most popular followed by “Online Marketing” and “Internet Marketing”. The popularity of the keyword “digital marketing” rose from 2014 when institutes and colleges in Pune started teaching digital marketing.

Comparison of the popularity of the terms “Digital Marketing”, “Online Marketing” and “Internet Marketing”. Somewhere between 2012 and 2013, “Digital Marketing” took off leaving “online” and “internet” marketing. This is the period when Digital Marketing became “academic”.

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