Online marketing is the practice of leveraging web-based channels to spread a message about a company’s brand, products, or services to its potential customers. The methods and techniques used for online marketing include email, social media, display advertising, search engine optimization, Google AdWords and more.
Firms have increased their emphasis on communicating with customers through their websites. They use their websites to build their brand image and educate customers about their products or services, as well as where they can be purchased. Retailers and some manufacturers sell merchandise directly to consumers over the Internet.
Social media is media content distributed through social interactions. The three most popular facilitators of social media are YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. In these online sites, consumers review, communicate about, and aggregate information about products, prices, and promotions. These social media also allow users to interact among themselves (e.g., form a community), as well as provide other like-minded consumers (i.e., members of their community) and marketers their thoughts and evaluations about a firm’s products or services. Thus, social media help facilitate the consumer decision process by encouraging need recognition, information search, alternative evaluation, purchase, and post-purchase reviews.