marketing misconceptions

10 Digital Marketing Misconceptions You Should Know

This article originally appeared on Channel 13’s blog, a creative & branding agency partner of Periphery Digital.


If you are like most digital marketers, you probably harbour fear and doubts about whether you are doing your digital advertising right. As an up-and-coming field, it is easy to get caught up in the confusion and misinformation that surrounds the digital marketing space. While we encourage taking risks in this industry even if you’re unsure of the outcome, there are best practices and things to avoid to mitigate wasted time and money while boosting ROI.

Social media has grown to become an indispensable marketing tool but has also made it easy for people to spread ‘fake news’ about anything and everything. As a marketer, being aware of these and keeping updated with industry trends should be a priority.

Here are 10 common digital advertising misconceptions we’ve seen floating around to keep in the back of your brain when constructing your strategy.

1. A website is enough for marketing

It is a common belief that simply creating a website can help grow leads and increase sales. While having a website is important, it will not be enough to generate quality leads and turn them into customers. Launching a quality website comes with a lot of logistics and considerations. You have to make sure it is optimized for search engines, user experience, and analytics. It should have high-quality visuals, high-value content, and be updated regularly. Ensuring it runs on updated software and is easily accessible on all devices is crucial for Google to place it near the top of the search engine results page, and thus, acquire more organic traffic and keep your audience engaged.

2. SEO is dead

With social media rising in popularity as a more effective form of advertising, many marketers are downplaying the role of SEO as a marketing strategy. However,  93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine, which proves the role of SEO in marketing. In line with the SEO myth, there is a tendency for marketers to believe that paying for Google Search Ads will cause Google to boost organic rankings. This is untrue, however, if an advertiser has a paid and organic result on the SERP, people may be more likely to click on the organic link.

Having twice the real estate on the SERP may make it more likely your link will be noticed over your competitors.

3. Cross-platform is not necessary

Competition is increasing at a rapid rate, and companies that expand their reach are sure to enjoy a bigger market share. This calls for marketers to quit relying on one particular element of digital marketing and take advantage of available platforms. Unlike traditional marketing where one marketing element such as a website would suffice, digital marketing requires you to incorporate social media, mobile, SEO, etc. into a multi-channel strategy. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should have a presence on every single channel and platform, as throwing resources at platforms where your target audience doesn’t spend their time is futile. Instead, spend some time researching your target audience and creating a customer persona to better understand their lifestyles and behaviours to solve for the pain points they didn’t even know they needed a solution for.

4. Email marketing doesn’t work

The myth that email is dead has been perpetuated for a while now, but email continues to thrive as one of the most effective digital advertising platforms. For every dollar spent on email marketing, 38 dollars are generated in revenue. In fact, email is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter in generating revenue. The average office worker receives 121 emails per day which highlights just how popular emails are, and their ability to generate traffic and increase sales shouldn’t be brushed aside. Another great reason to choose email marketing — you can automate it so you can spend more time strategizing and analyzing and less time executing.

Many companies know the benefits of email marketing — it might be time to consider an email strategy.

5. One-on-one marketing is too much work 

Contrary to the common belief that one-on-one marketing is an elusive goal, personalizing your marketing can go a long way in increasing brand visibility as well as attracting more clients to your business. Personalized marketing allows you to target customers with content based on their preferences, lifestyles, and buying behaviours and deliver exactly what they’re looking for to solve their unique pain points. We’d recommend using a CRM to keep track of this information. This can also help you anticipate their future needs. People these days are bombarded with choices, and if you can’t deliver what your customers are seeking when they want it, they will simply move on to your competitor. A simple thing such as having a client’s name in the body of your emails can make your customers feel as though they are being spoken to directly and boost open rates.

6. There are too many social platforms and social media won’t work for my industry

Yes, social media platform popularity is changing rapidly, but being scared of new things is a surefire way to clear a path for your competitors to reach the finish line. Keep in mind that each social platform attracts a different clientele, and the best way to increase brand visibility is to be present where your target audience spends their time. And spend their time on social media, they do! Roughly half of the world’s population is on social media (65% if you remove kids under 13 from the world population numbers), welcoming 1 million users each day. Online content consumption has accelerated in 2020 with no signs of slowing down.

Each platform has a different feel, and it’s important to consider that when reposting something across social channels. For example, you probably won’t want to use as many hashtags on LinkedIn as you would on Instagram. 

If you don’t have the resources to consistently post on every platform regularly, it’s okay to start small and work your way up. Beyond the standard networks you’ll find in North America, we’d recommend trying out something different like WeChat, which can open the doors to a whole new market, unleashing a new revenue stream.

7. Mobile optimization is overrated  

Mobile optimization is more important than ever, thanks to the prevalence of mobile devices. This underscores the importance of having a mobile-friendly website as a way to make your business accessible to more people. Google is also favouring mobile-friendly websites, which means failure to work on your mobile optimization can jeopardize your ranking on search engines. Research also shows that 61 percent of customers will move on to another site if they didn’t find what they were looking for, and this is huge traffic to lose for something you can rectify.

8. The more content, the better

While there is absolute truth in the statement ‘content is king,’ copious amounts of content does not directly mean a higher conversion rate. Content gains value when it is keyword optimized for search engines, helping people find it organically. But a well-optimized piece of content is nothing without educating your audience about something they want to consume. Strictly promotional content won’t get you very far — to keep your audience coming back, you need to deliver value, or else they will simply go elsewhere to get it. Whether it is video, podcast, blog post, or webinar, make sure your content delivers value to your target audience and is optimized for search engines.

9. Your ads should appeal to as many people as possible

This digital advertising misconception essentially means the more people you target in your ad, the higher the conversion rate. The problem with this notion is when you target a broad audience, you end up watering down your message so much that it communicates to no one in particular — your message won’t resonate with anyone, and your audience will move on to a company whose ads appear to speak to them directly.

The best approach here is to make sure your ad appeals to a very specific group of people. You can determine this by creating a customer persona, which will help you put yourself in your audience’s shoes. This will not only help you communicate clearer but will also boost the conversion rate. 

10. Digital means you can set it and forget it 

If you want to lose money, sure! One fundamental rule of marketing — always be testing. This goes for everything from ad creatives, copy, landing page headlines, hashtags, CTA buttons — the list goes on. This helps you better understand your audience and what types of content resonates with them, and ultimately acquire more conversions. And this doesn’t mean test, gather data, and forget, even if it’s working! You should always be iterating on your initiatives.

While we’re on the subject of testing, it’s important to only test one element at a time. Why? You won’t know which variable is attributed to the data variations between versions, and therefore will more than likely end up more confused than before.

In Conclusion

Myths and misconceptions about digital advertising are all over the internet, making it easy to confuse them with legitimate information. Thankfully, it’s possible to educate yourself on proven tactics if you do proper research before adopting a digital advertising strategy. 

Are you experiencing challenges in your digital advertising efforts? There’s certainly a lot to consider and it can take time and resources to determine where to begin to get the most impact. At Periphery Digital, our experienced, data-driven team can create, execute, and report on comprehensive digital strategies in English and Chinese to maximize ROI with transparency every step of the way. Contact us today to learn how we can help you break into a new market and accelerate the growth of your business.

Download our Real Estate Marketing E-Book