Digital media marketing is growing across every industry, from automotive to financial and from local companies to national brands. Why it’s catching on isn’t a surprise — there are more than 4 billion people online in the world at any given moment–but how to use it to market it to your audience continues to confuse, overwhelm, and challenge most business owners.

Here’s what you need to know.

Today’s shoppers are informed, tech-savvy, and invested in making smart purchases.

This means they do their homework, read reviews, are open to new information, and want to feel good about a purchase long (and just) before they make it. They will reference up to 12 sources of information to make their decision–that means a brand has several chances to make a good impression through attention-grabbing ads, quality content, positive review mentions, and strong affiliations with like-minded businesses. And they are doing more of this research on their mobile devices (82% of the time they are doing it while they are in the store).

Traditional media targets audiences. Digital media singles out individuals.

Through digital media marketing, companies are using behavioral targeting to learn more and more about their ideal consumers and how best to approach them for a particular product or service. Digital media gives us the strength to track consumers across their devices, provide contextual advertising based on their digital footprint and searches, and measure the success of each campaign with metrics like click-through rates (CTR), video ad completion rates, and cost per click (CPC).

Display ads are expected and accepted when incorporated naturally into the user experience.

Research has proven time and time again that banner ads on websites and social media play an important role in creating a strong marketing mix. When combined with other media, digital display ads offer a return of nearly 3:1.

I’ve been in the marketing industry long enough to see that while the ultimate endgame of advertising hasn’t changed, how we approach consumers–and how they respond to ads–has completely transformed. Fail to adapt, and your business will, too.

If you only remember one thing about digital media marketing, remember this: it works, and it works well–especially if you know what you are doing. And if you don’t, don’t fret–there are people who can help you cut a clear strategy for your budget, and we’re just a phone call away.

Meet the MediaSpark team.