Internet marketing, also referred to as i-marketing, web marketing, online marketing, or eMarketing
is the marketing of products or services over the Internet.
The Internet has brought many unique benefits to marketing, one of which being lower costs for the distribution of information and media to a global audience. The interactive nature of Internet marketing, both in terms of providing instant response and eliciting responses, is a unique quality of the medium. Internet marketing is sometimes considered to have a broader scope because it not only refers to digital media such as the Internet, e-mail, and wireless media; however, Internet marketing also includes management of digital customer data and electronic customer relationship management (ECRM) systems.
Internet marketing ties together creative and technical aspects of the Internet, including design, development, advertising, and sale.
Internet marketing also refers to the placement of media along different stages of the customer engagement cycle through search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), banner ads on specific websites, e-mail marketing, and Web 2.0 strategies. In 2008 The New York Times working with comScore published an initial estimate to quantify the user data collected by large Internet-based companies. Counting four types of interactions with company websites in addition to the hits from advertisements served from advertising networks, the authors found the potential for collecting data upward of 2,500 times on average per user per month.
Internet marketing is associated with several business models:
e-commerce — goods are sold directly to consumers (B2C) or businesses (B2B),
publishing — the sale of advertising,
lead-based websites — an organization generates value by acquiring sales leads from its website, and
affiliate marketing — A process in which a product or service developed by one person is sold by other active seller for a share of profits. The owner of the product normally provide some marketing material ( sales letter, affiliate link, tracking facility).
There are many other business models based on the specific needs of each person or business that launches an Internet marketing campaign.
The targeted user is typically browsing the Internet alone, so the marketing messages can reach them personally. This approach is used in search marketing, where the advertisements are based on search engine keywords entered by the user..
And now with the advent of Web 2.0 tools, many users can interconnect as "peers"
Geo targeting (in internet marketing) and geo marketing are the methods of determining the geolocation (the physical location) of a website visitor with geolocation software, and delivering different content to that visitor based on his or her location, such as country, region/state, city, metro code/zip code, organization, Internet Protocol (IP) address, ISP or other criteria.
Internet marketing is relatively inexpensive when compared to the ratio of cost against the reach of the target audience. Companies can reach a wide audience for a small fraction of traditional advertising budgets. The nature of the medium allows consumers to research and purchase products and services at their own convenience. Therefore, businesses have the advantage of appealing to consumers in a medium that can bring results quickly. The strategy and overall effectiveness of marketing campaigns depend on business goals and cost-volume-profit (CVP) analysis.
Internet marketers also have the advantage of measuring statistics easily and inexpensively. Nearly all aspects of an Internet marketing campaign can be traced, measured, and tested. The advertisers can use a variety of methods: pay per impression, pay per click, pay per play, or pay per action. Therefore, marketers can determine which messages or offerings are more appealing to the audience. The results of campaigns can be measured and tracked immediately because online marketing initiatives usually require users to click on an advertisement, visit a website, and perform a targeted action. Such measurement cannot be achieved through billboard advertising, where an individual will at best be interested, then decide to obtain more information at a later time.
Internet marketing as of 2007 is growing faster than other types of media. Because exposure, response, and overall efficiency of Internet media are easier to track than traditional off-line media—through the use of web analytics for instance—Internet marketing can offer a greater sense of accountability for advertisers. Marketers and their clients are becoming aware of the need to measure the collaborative effects of marketing (i.e., how the Internet affects in-store sales) rather than siloing each advertising medium. The effects of multichannel marketing can be difficult to determine, but are an important part of ascertaining the value of media campaigns.
Effects on industries
Internet marketing has had a large impact on several previously retail-oriented industries including music, film, pharmaceuticals, banking, flea markets, as well as the advertising industry itself. Internet marketing is now overtaking radio marketing in terms of market share. In the music industry, many consumers have been purchasing and downloading music (e.g., MP3 files) over the Internet for several years in addition to purchasing compact discs. By 2008 Apple Inc.'s iTunes Store has become the largest music vendor in the United States.
The number of banks offering the ability to perform banking tasks online has also increased. Online banking is believed to appeal to customers because it is more convenient than visiting bank branches. Currently over 150 million U.S. adults now bank online, with increasing Internet connection speed being the primary reason for fast growth in the online banking industry. Of those individuals who use the Internet, 44 percent now perform banking activities over the Internet.
Internet auctions have gained popularity. Unique items that could only previously be found at flea markets are being sold on eBay. Specialized e-stores sell items ranging from antiques to movie props. As the premier online reselling platform, eBay is often used as a price-basis for specialized items. Buyers and sellers often look at prices on the website before going to flea markets; the price shown on eBay often becomes the item's selling price. It is increasingly common for flea market vendors to place a targeted advertisement on the Internet for each item they are selling online, all while running their business out of their homes.
The effect on the advertising industry itself has been profound. In just a few years, online advertising has grown to be worth tens of billions of dollars annually. PricewaterhouseCoopers reported that US$16.9 billion was spent on Internet marketing in the U.S. in 2006.
Internet marketing has had a growing impact on the electoral process. In 2008 candidates for President heavily utilized Internet marketing strategies to reach constituents. During the 2007 primaries candidates added, on average, over 500 social network supporters per day to help spread their message. President Barack Obama raised over US$1 million in a single day during his extensive Democratic candidacy campaign, largely due to online donors.