Digital Marketing Vs Social Media Marketing: 11 Key Differences

Digital Marketing Vs Social Media Marketing 11 Key Differences

Digital Marketing is the most affordable yet highly effective marketing strategy that people are going after. Typically when you say Digital marketing, people think of Google ads, YouTube ads, SEO, Content marketing and so on. Because of these popular channels, many may overlook social media marketing.

Though this channel comes under digital marketing, social media marketing is a different spectrum on its own. The ROI for social media marketing is sitting at a whopping 250%! If this doesn’t convince you to go for social media marketing we don’t know what will!

Still, we’ll discuss everything you need to know to give you a comprehensive look at how social media marketing differs and why it matters to your business. Let’s start with digital marketing now.

What is digital marketing?

In plain simple words, it is a process of advertising goods or services using digital channels like websites, search engines, social media platforms, email, and mobile apps is known as digital marketing. It entails using technology to engage target markets, build brand recognition, improve website traffic, and eventually produce leads and conversions.

Examples of digital marketing:

  1. SEO
  2. PPC advertising
  3. Content marketing
  4. Social media marketing
  5. Email marketing

1. SEO

When consumers search for “freshly baked goods near me,” a local bakery uses high-quality content and pertinent keywords to optimize its website so that it shows up in the top search results. Their website receives organic traffic thanks to this tactic.

2. PPC advertising

A software corporation targets particular keywords associated with its software products using Google Adwords advertising. When people click on their advertisements, they are paid. This increases website traffic and may result in more leads for sales.

3. Content marketing

A clothing line produces interesting how-to videos that highlight various styling approaches for their most recent collection. Through the dissemination of these movies on social media and YouTube, they quietly advertise their products while drawing in and interacting with their audience.

4. Social media marketing 

On Instagram, a clothing company interacts with its followers by publishing content created by users, holding competitions, and working with fashion influencers. This interaction broadens their appeal and increases brand loyalty.

5. Email marketing

Personalized product recommendations are sent by an online retailer based on the browsing and purchase histories of its clients. Customers are encouraged to return to the website and make more purchases through these tailored emails.

What is social media marketing?

The use of social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others for the purpose of product or service promotion, audience engagement, and connection building is known as social media marketing. Building brand loyalty and propelling SaaS business growth, entails producing and disseminating content, executing targeted advertisements, and engaging with followers.

Examples of social media marketing:

  1. Facebook advertising
  2. Instagram influencer marketing
  3. Twitter engagement
  4. Thought leadership on LinkedIn
  5. TikTok challenge campaign

1. Facebook advertising

A clothing company promotes its newest collection through a targeted Facebook ad campaign. They increase traffic to their online business and increase sales by using targeted audience targeting that is specific to their interests and demographics.

2. Instagram influencer collaboration

An Instagram beauty influencer with a large following is partnered with a skincare business. By using the brand’s products in her skincare routine, the influencer produces captivating content that expands her audience and boosts sales.

3. Twitter Engagement

An IT startup uses Twitter to offer round-the-clock customer service. By interacting with people and quickly responding to questions and issues, they build their brand’s reputation for providing exceptional customer service.

4. Thought leadership on LinkedIn

The CEO of a marketing firm frequently shares industry updates and thought-provoking articles on LinkedIn. By doing this, the agency becomes recognized as a thought leader and draws in new business. 

5. TikTok challenge campaign

A fast-food chain can initiate a TikTok challenge to encourage users to showcase their creative burger creations. The challenge could go viral, generating user-generated content and increasing brand visibility.

Digital marketing vs social media marketing: 11 key differences

SaaS enterprises can reach their target audience in the modern online world by using a variety of marketing techniques. Social media marketing and digital marketing are two popular strategies. Although they both seek to increase brand awareness and interact with customers online, their methods and goals are different.

Let’s look at 11 significant distinctions between them using a table:

Aspect Digital Marketing Social Media Marketing
Channels used Uses a variety of digital channels such as websites, search engines, email, and mobile apps. Mainly focuses on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others.
Reach Aims to reach a wider audience across various digital platforms.  Targets users specifically on social media sites.
Content Format Includes a mix of content types like blogs, videos, and infographics. Relies heavily on visual content such as images and videos, along with short, engaging captions. 
Engagement Encourages interaction through comments, shares, and likes across multiple platforms. Facilitates direct engagement with users via comments, shares, likes, and direct messages on social media.
Audience targeting Provides advanced targeting based on demographics, interests, and behaviors. Focuses on targeting users based on their social media activities, interests, and demographics. 
Brand building Boosts brand visibility across numerous online platforms. Builds brand loyalty and advocacy through genuine engagement and community interaction on social media. 
Conversion tracking Offers detailed tracking of conversions using tools like Google Analytics.  Provides insights into social media engagement metrics like reach, impressions, and engagement rates.
Longevity of content The lifespan of content varies depending on the platform and type of content. Content tends to have a shorter lifespan due to the real-time nature of social media.
Cost effectiveness Includes cost-effective methods like SEO, email marketing, and content marketing.  Can be cost-effective compared to traditional advertising, but often requires investment in paid ads for best results.
Customer relationship Focuses on nurturing relationships through personalized communication and targeted content.  Emphasizes building authentic connections and fostering two-way communication with customers.
Measurement metrics Measures success through metrics like website traffic, leads, conversions, and ROI Tracks social media metrics such as likes, shares, comments, and follower growth.

Although social media and digital marketing are essential components of contemporary marketing strategies, they have diverse functions and target different facets of online interaction. SaaS companies can create comprehensive marketing plans that successfully accomplish their objectives by utilizing the advantages of both digital and social media marketing by comprehending the subtle differences between each strategy.

Digital marketing vs social media marketing: Which one works better?

Online SaaS companies frequently ponder which kind of marketing is more successful: social media marketing or digital marketing. But to find out which strategy is more effective, it is necessary to look more closely at each one’s advantages, disadvantages, and fit for a certain set of goals.

The following six subtleties clarify which approach works best for businesses:

  1. Audience reach and targeting
  2. Engagement and interaction
  3. Content format and consumption
  4. Brand building and awareness
  5. Conversion tracking and measurement
  6. Cost-effectiveness and ROI

Let’s look into each of the above nuances in brief:

1. Audience reach and targeting

SaaS companies can now reach a wider audience through digital marketing on channels other than social media. Various channels such as search engines, websites, email, and mobile apps offer chances to establish connections with people at various phases of their purchasing process.

On the other side, social media marketing concentrates on precisely targeting individuals on social media platforms according to their behavior, interests, and demographics. It may only reach users who are active on those particular sites, despite the fact that it allows exact audience targeting.

2. Engagement and interaction

Digital marketing promotes engagement on websites, blogs, and other digital channels in addition to social media platforms. It also encourages comments, shares, and likes.

Through direct messaging, shares, likes, and comments, social media marketing enables direct user involvement, promoting community building and real-time engagement on social media platforms.

3. Content format and consumption

Digital marketing includes a wide range of material formats, including podcasts, infographics, videos, blogs, and more, to accommodate customers’ varied tastes and online platform consumption habits.

Visual content, such as photos and videos, along with succinct, interesting descriptions that are tailored to users’ social media platform scrolling habits, are the mainstay of social media marketing.

4. Brand building and awareness

By utilizing search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, email marketing, and other strategies to build a strong online presence, digital marketing increases brand visibility across a variety of online channels.

Through genuine involvement, community building, and storytelling on social media platforms, social media marketing aims to cultivate brand loyalty and advocacy. This enables SaaS companies to humanize their brand and establish a personal connection with their users.

5. Conversion tracking and measurement

With the use of technologies like Google Analytics, digital marketing makes it possible to measure conversion metrics in great detail, giving insights into website traffic, leads, conversions, and return on investment (ROI).

SaaS companies may assess the success of their social media initiatives by using social media marketing, which offers insights into social media engagement metrics including reach, impressions, engagement rate, follower growth, and referral traffic.

6. Cost effectiveness and ROI

With the help of affordable solutions like email marketing, content marketing, and SEO, SaaS enterprises may accomplish noteworthy outcomes while staying within their budgets thanks to digital marketing.

 When compared to traditional advertising, social media marketing can be more affordable. However, in order to achieve the best results, paid advertising may need to be invested in. ROI is frequently calculated using metrics like engagement, brand sentiment, and customer retention.


In conclusion, based on the particular objectives, target market, and sector of the SaaS business, both digital marketing and social media marketing have advantages and can be successful.

If you wish to see more success for your business with social media strategy, you can always reach out to us!

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