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What Types Of Digital Marketing Moves The Needle For A Business?

The way consumers interact with the digital world feels like it's evolving at breakneck speeds. As a business, determining the types of marketing that move the needle is crucial for long-term success.

Navigating the marketing world can be challenging as markets evolve and more avenues for advertising open. In traditional marketing, the effectiveness of a campaign often relies on estimations and projections — the impact of billboard and radio commercial campaigns was measured in terms of impressions and brand recall. Whether these campaigns were successful (if a customer entered a store to make a purchase) was a mystery.

Unlike traditional marketing methods that rely on reach and brand exposure to be successful, digital marketing provides a measurable way for a business to see the success of campaigns. Digital marketing allows for the tracking of granular data — including consumer interactions, conversions, and actions taken — in campaigns, which gives a business valuable insight into its return on investment (ROI).

Let’s break down a few digital marketing solutions to get a greater understanding of their conversions and see how they can fit into a business’s arsenal of tools to move the needle.


Of all the digital marketing solutions we offer at Federated Digital Solutions, SEM has the highest conversion rate — when done well, it’s common to see a conversion rate between 5% to 10%. A large part of the high conversion rate for SEM campaigns is because they are in front of customers in the last leg of the customer journey, what we call the “Zero Moment of Truth.” That’s when a consumer decides if they want to make a purchase.

The digital landscape is vast, with millions of searches conducted every second. SEM empowers businesses to capture potential customers as they’re actively seeking products. That’s a powerful tool that leads to tangible ROI.


When someone searches for your products or services, you want your business to appear not just in ad space, but in the organic search engine results too. That’s where SEO comes in. SEO helps connect your business to consumers and builds your business’s credibility and visibility by ranking higher in search results.

SEO helps to build organic traffic to a business’s website and is a useful tool for optimizing a digital presence, but showing a true ROI through conversions is difficult. Because of this, SEO is a service offered more than it is true advertising. SEO is ultimately a long-term branding solution that has the potential to lead to improved organic traffic growth, conversion rates, and improved ROI over time.


Programmatic display ads let a business target specific audiences based on the parameters it sets, ensuring that its ads are delivered to the people most interested in its products or services.

Not only that, buying ads is automated, streamlining the process and reducing overhead. Ads can be adjusted and optimized in real-time — as data comes in about campaigns, a business can tweak criteria to maximize ROI.

Programmatic display ads are a targeted, cost-effective way to move the needle for a business. Effective campaigns need a high reach and frequency to maximize ROI. Conversions for programmatic display are around  2% to 5%.


OTT/CTV campaigns combine the persuasive power of video with the automation of programmatic strategies.

Unlike traditional TV ads, which simply broadcast to a wide audience, OTT/CTV allows a business to target consumers within specific demographics, interests, and behaviors. Because videos served can also be optimized based on data from the consumer, the ads are more relevant and engaging. On top of that, programmatic video bridges the gap between devices, which means a company’s message can stay consistent across a consumer's devices, like smart TVs, smartphones, and gaming consoles.

Conversions for OTT/CTV are between 2% to 5%, but in 2024 higher conversions with OTT are anticipated — it’s more targeted than ever and is where many consumers spend their time.


Addressable geofencing and geofencing allow a business to set up a virtual fence around a real-world geographic location. When a customer enters that boundary, it triggers location-based actions such as delivering targeted ads or other personalized content. With addressable geofencing, a business can even target specific homes based on a direct mail list, first-party data list, or curated list.

Knowing that a consumer interacted with a business’s website from a campaign or was delivered an ad and then later physically entered a location is a powerful conversion tool. It lets us see a concrete, real-world action taken as part of a campaign!


The heart of successful paid social media campaigns is their ability to target specific audiences. Programmatic campaigns allow for a decent amount of targeting, but — because of privacy changes — Facebook and Instagram now offer less robust targeting than in years past.

Despite the changes to targeting, paid social media ads remain a valuable branding solution. However, they’re best used as an upper funnel tactic. Paid social media has probably the lowest conversion of all the branding strategies (at 1% to 2%) unless it’s true ecommerce.


Organic social media posts are a great way to engage and create conversations with a business’s audience. While it’s a part of digital marketing, it's offered as a service and isn’t considered true advertising.

Leveraging the power of social media is a great way to stay top-of-mind with your audience, and can position your business as an expert in its field. Nowadays, your brand is built on social media. Organic social media goes beyond a transactional relationship with your audience by fostering a sense of community and reinforcing brand recognition.

Like SEO, organic social media can ultimately give an ROI, but it’s nearly impossible to effectively measure and is best viewed as a long-term branding strategy.


Blogs are another form of a branding service as opposed to true advertising. They are similar to organic social media in that they establish the credibility of your business and provide educational information to consumers about your products or services.

Articles on your website can help inform consumers while they’re in the research phase of the consumer journey. Regularly updating your blog (at least once per month) is beneficial to increase your SEO.

It’s difficult to gather conversion data to know if someone viewed a blog and then made a purchase, which can give us information about its ROI. Like organic social media, blogs are a long-term branding strategy that is important for any business, but likely won’t move the needle immediately.

While every business and every situation is different, ultimately, if your business is trying to move the needle and get the most ROI you should be looking first to effectively using SEM campaigns. As it makes sense, layer in programmatic display ads and/or OTT/CTV to help drive ROI. Once you have seen your revenue increase from your digital marketing, you can continue to layer in services like social media management, blogs, and SEO to grow brand awareness.

Ready to really start moving the needle for your business? Federated Digital Solutions has the strategies to help you maximize your ROI! Contact us today to discover how we can implement the right solutions for your business.

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Emily Wideman

Written by Emily Wideman

Emily Wideman is a Regional Sales Manager for Federated Digital Solutions. Emily has over 20 years in media marketing as both a leader and a marketing consultant. She has experience in advertising sales, broadcast TV and radio as well as sales management. Her passion for helping local businesses solve their marketing challenges is what drives her. The marketing experience Emily brings to the digital world allows her to not only be a consultant on digital but also a consultant with all her clients marketing needs.

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