The Tech Advantage with E K Foli:  an eco-friendly case for digital advertising


It’s 3:34 am. As has become common practice, I’m intent on using the quiet solitude of this hour to plan my day. I perform my breathing exercises and clear my mind; however, my thoughts keep centring on one main idea. Unable to shake it off, I acquiesce. My last few months have been spent working with clients focused primarily on accelerating business growth through sales and marketing.

I consistently encountered an obsession with flyers and brochures which left me befuddled. “Is it time for me to prioritise an eco-friendly approach?” I wondered. In many ways, that was a rhetorical question and I knew the seeds had been planted, so to speak, for me to be a full-time advocate for digital advertising on purely ecological grounds.

At the risk of preaching to the choir, this article will seek to introduce the distinct forms of digital advertising to the reader, with the aim of facilitating more informed and more nuanced business conversations on the subject where applicable.

What is digital advertising?

Digital advertising often refers to the practice of promoting products, services or brands using various online platforms and channels. It involves delivering targeted promotional content to a specific audience through electronic devices, such as computers, smartphones, tablets and smart TVs. Digital advertising encompasses a wide range of formats, strategies, and technologies to reach and engage potential customers across the digital landscape and may include the following:

Display advertising

Display advertising involves creating and placing visual advertisements, such as banners, images, videos and interactive media, across various online platforms. These ads are strategically positioned on websites, social media networks, mobile apps, and other digital spaces to capture the attention of the target audience. Often, they are designed to raise brand awareness, drive traffic to websites, and encourage user engagement by showcasing visually appealing content.

Display advertising leverages the power of visual communication to effectively convey a brand’s message and offerings by using a combination of eye-catching graphics, compelling messaging, and calls to action.

Search engine advertising

Often referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, search engine advertising is a digital marketing strategy that involves placing targeted ads within the search engine results pages (SERPs). When users search for specific keywords or phrases related to a product, service or topic, these ads appear prominently at the top or bottom of the search results. Advertisers bid on keywords relevant to their offerings, and their ads are displayed to users who use those keywords in their search queries.

Unlike organic search results, advertisers pay a fee only when their ad is clicked, making it a cost-effective way to drive immediate traffic to their websites. Search engine advertising, most notably through platforms like Google Ads, allows businesses to precisely target their desired audience based on search intent, geographic location, device type, and other factors, ensuring your ads reach users actively looking for relevant information or solutions.

Social media advertising

This involves the strategic use of various social media platforms to deliver targeted promotional content to specific user groups. It leverages the vast user bases of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others to display ads in users’ feeds, stories, or as sponsored content. Through demographic, behavioural and interest-based targeting, advertisers can tailor their messages to reach the right audience, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversions. Social media advertising allows brands to foster meaningful interactions, build brand loyalty, and create a strong online presence by delivering visually engaging content that resonates with users.

This approach capitalises on the highly interactive nature of social media to not only showcase products and services, but also to encourage sharing, commenting and interaction, ultimately driving brand visibility and business growth.

Video advertising

Video advertising is a dynamic digital marketing strategy that involves the creation and dissemination of promotional videos across various online platforms. These videos can be displayed before, during or after other video content, capturing the viewer’s attention and conveying the advertiser’s message in a visually compelling and engaging manner.

Video advertising takes advantage of the popularity of video content consumption on platforms like YouTube, social media, and streaming services. It offers brands the opportunity to tell stories, showcase products, and connect emotionally with their target audience. By combining audio, visuals, and often interactive elements, video ads can leave a lasting impression, making them a powerful tool for increasing brand awareness, driving user engagement, and encouraging conversions in the digital landscape.

Native advertising

Native advertising is a subtle and integrated approach to digital marketing, where promotional content seamlessly blends with the surrounding platform’s content, providing a more cohesive user experience. Instead of standing out as traditional ads, native ads match the appearance, style and context of the platform on which they appear. This strategy aims to deliver value to the audience by presenting content that is relevant, informative and engaging while also subtly promoting a brand, product or service.

Native advertising can take various forms, including sponsored articles, videos, infographics and social media posts. By aligning with the natural flow of the platform, native advertising helps brands establish trust and credibility, leading to improved engagement and higher chances of user interaction and conversion.

Email marketing

Email marketing involves sending tailored messages, offers, announcements and information directly to a group of individuals’ email inboxes. It is a highly effective way for businesses to engage with their audience, build customer relationships, and drive conversions. By obtaining permission to communicate directly with recipients, email marketing allows brands to deliver personalised content based on user preferences, behaviours, and demographics. This can include newsletters, product updates, special promotions and relevant educational content.

The goal of email marketing is to provide value to subscribers while promoting products or services, thereby encouraging them to take specific actions, such as making a purchase, visiting a website, or signing up for an event. With careful segmentation and thoughtful content, email marketing can foster brand loyalty and deliver measurable results in terms of open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates.

Content marketing

Content marketing is a strategic approach to digital marketing focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and informative content to a target audience. This content can take various forms, such as blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, podcasts and more. The primary goal of content marketing is to engage, educate and entertain the audience while subtly promoting a brand’s products or services. Instead of overt advertising, content marketing aims to establish the brand as an authority in its industry by offering insights, solutions and knowledge that address the audience’s needs and interests.

By consistently delivering high-quality content, brands can build trust, establish long-term relationships, and attract an engaged audience. Content marketing is a powerful way to drive organic traffic to websites, improve search engine rankings, and foster brand loyalty in the digital space.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is a dynamic digital marketing strategy that involves collaborating with individuals who have a significant and engaged following on social media platforms and other online channels. These influencers, often recognised as experts or enthusiasts in specific niches, have the ability to sway the opinions and behaviours of their followers. Brands partner with influencers to promote their products or services to a highly targeted audience, leveraging the influencer’s credibility and reach. Influencer marketing can take the form of sponsored posts, reviews, unboxing videos, tutorials and more.

By aligning with influencers whose values and interests align with the brand’s offerings, companies can tap into their authenticity to create authentic and relatable promotional content. This strategy allows brands to connect with potential customers in a more personal and engaging way, expanding their reach and potentially driving higher engagement and conversions.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based digital marketing strategy in which businesses collaborate with individuals or other entities, known as affiliates, to promote their products or services. Affiliates earn a commission for each sale, click or action generated through their marketing efforts. This arrangement creates a win-win situation: businesses gain exposure and sales without upfront advertising costs while affiliates have the opportunity to earn income by promoting products they believe in. Affiliate marketing relies on unique tracking links or codes that affiliates use to share with their audiences, enabling the business to attribute conversions back to the specific affiliate.

This strategy thrives on the diverse online presence of affiliates, who can range from bloggers and social media influencers to website owners and content creators. It’s a cost-effective way for brands to tap into the audiences and credibility of affiliates while providing them an incentive to actively market the products or services.

The case for digital advertising

In an age where environmental sustainability is paramount, digital marketing emerges as a compelling advocate for a greener, more responsible approach to brand promotion. Unlike its traditional counterparts, digital marketing significantly reduces the carbon footprint by eliminating the need for excessive paper usage, minimising energy consumption, and curbing physical waste production.

The virtual environment provides a canvas where creativity and innovation can flourish without the detrimental environmental consequences of billboards, flyers and print media. By harnessing the power of precision targeting, data-driven optimisation, and real-time analytics, digital marketing ensures that resources are efficiently allocated, campaigns are effectively tailored, and messages resonate with audiences genuinely interested in a product or service.

This shift to a more eco-friendly paradigm not only exemplifies corporate social responsibility, but also aligns marketing strategies with the global call for sustainable practices.

From social media platforms to search engine ads, digital marketing opens doors for businesses of all sizes to amplify their message on a global scale without the geographical limitations and logistical complexities associated with traditional methods.

In addition, the agility of digital marketing allows brands to swiftly adapt to changing market dynamics, refine strategies based on real-time data, and continuously innovate in response to consumer behaviours.

Sages’ perspective

My understanding of the quote, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”, attributed to Albert Einstein gives me a renewed reason to advocate for the earth. It implies that the inability to analyse nature in all its glory would truly symbolise the beginning of the end of our understanding.

© E K Brand Consult 2023

The author is a software developer and technology & business development consultant with over 19 years of experience in the industry. He specialises in helping small and medium-sized businesses leverage technology to drive rapid revenue growth and maximise market share.

[email protected] +233 507409529


Leave a Reply