Digital Marketing vs Web Development

Digital marketing and web development are two specialized fields.

When the internet was still in its infancy, it was rare to find a small business with a website. A large number of websites that existed were purely informational and entertainment related.
Digital marketing was an even more rare occurrence. Reserved only for a select number of large companies. And this was not due to a high barrier of entry. Rather, advertising online was not popular enough to be considered viable for regular business. Advertising dollars were better spent on more traditional offline advertising mediums.

That has all changed completely with the internet taking over most people lives. It is difficult to argue against the train of thought that more time is now spent online than offline.
With that, we will look briefly look at the relationship between digital marketing and web development.

But first let us look at what digital marketing is.


Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is the advertising of goods or services through online mediums. These online mediums include:


Search Engines

Search engines are a service that allow users to find what they are looking for after entering the words or phrases of whatever it is they are looking for. The results are usually in the form of websites, video, and images.

The most popular search engines are Google, Bing, Baidu, and YouTube.


Social Media

Social media is websites, software and apps that allow people to share content and interact online.
The most popular social media networks are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. With TikTok soon to be joining their ranks.


Digital Media Buying

Digital Media Buying is the process of buying banners and ad placements on websites and apps.
Placements are purchased via an ad exchange using an auction-based system.

Let us take a look at website development.


Web Development


Put simply, web development is the process of building and launching a website. It is an extremely technical field with the developer needing to be proficient in multiple coding languages.

Web developers often collaborate with website designers who provide them with direction on the visual and functional aspects of the website such as layout, colors, and UX.
Websites are standalone and exist separately to the online mediums listed above. Instead, they require a domain and are hosted on web servers.

In the past, the world did not prioritize online interactions. Therefore, both web development and digital marketing previously were only important for businesses operating in the online space and taking online sales.

With the rise in popularity of social media and the internet in general, there was a shift in consumer behavior. This shift saw people now prioritizing their online time and interactions. Which is why it is crucial for every business in the developed world to have an online presence and actively engage in marketing their presence to attract an audience in a sea of competitors.

Before, websites were very niche. It was rare for a consumer to visit the website of an offline company before making a purchase. Whereas now it is almost mandatory. In fact, the first proper exposure consumers have to a business is via their website.
Because of this, the importance of a website increased.

Resulting in a business wanting more than just a basic website that looks good. Websites have now become an essential part of the overall digital marketing strategy as they form part of the sales funnel to convert more customers.


What is a Sales Funnel?

A basic digital sales funnel is as follows:
Traffic > social media/search engines/media buys > your business website > sale/email > sale
Websites form arguably the most important part of the sales funnel as they essentially act as the focal point of the funnel, the point at which a visitor:

  • is convinced into becoming a paying customer
  • submits their email and becomes a genuine lead
  • has learned more about the business, thus increasing their brand awareness

This has led to two big shifts in the web design and development industry as a whole.

Whereas initially the design of a website was almost exclusively steered by the web designers. Design decisions are now being led by the copywriters and marketers.

You will also find that traditionally technically minded web developers are now learning copywriting, CRO (Conversion Optimization) and sales techniques.



With the ever-increasing global shift towards online interactions, the importance of a closely aligned marketing strategy with one’s website has never been more important.
Thus, it is apparent that what was once considered separate fields in web development and digital marketing is now combined moving forward.