What Is Digital Media?

The modern world is full of digital media. You’ll find it everywhere, from your own pocket to the public spaces where people gather. Digital media is a blend of content and technology. It enables and delivers experiences, whether those experiences are educational, entertaining, technical, or useful. The official definition is simple — digital media is any information encoded in a machine-readable format — and its real-life applications are boundless. 

What Is Digital Media?

First, you’ll need to understand what defines media. Media channels are outlets or tools which can store information or data. For instance, print media includes things like newspapers, magazines, billboards, books, banners, and brochures.

In the past, all media was print media. Today, media takes many different forms, and a great deal of it is digital. Digital media is information transmitted and encoded as digital data. In its simplest form, digital media involves cables or satellites that send binary signals to various devices — or ones and zeros. This is where the term “digital” comes from, as something is “digital” if it involves numeral digits. 

Any time you use a computer, cellphone, or web-based system, you’re consuming digital media. One of the defining features of digital media is that it involves two-way communication — the internet allows for interaction on both ends from the creator and consumer

Benefits of Digital Media

Digital media offers a wide range of benefits. This new form of media has revolutionized society and affected everything — including entertainment, travel, news sharing, health care, marketing, and other facets of life. Here are some of the main benefits of digital media:

1. Makes It Easier and Faster to Share Information 

Spreading information is easier and faster than ever thanks to digital technology. Most people have access to digital information in at least one form. With cable and satellite transmission, you can access information almost instantly. The immediate transfer of information is vital in emergencies and helpful for everyday scenarios like checking weather reports. 

It’s also much easier to update or revise information. News outlets, companies, and individuals can modify the information they’ve already shared when it’s in a digital format. In contrast, it’s challenging and time-consuming to change or update printed media. This has important implications because organizations make mistakes every day for plenty of reasons. Digital media gives them a chance to fix their mistakes as soon as they notice them. 

2. Makes Information More Accessible 

Information has become more accessible in the digital age. Anyone using the internet has access to millions of articles, blog posts, instruction booklets, and other educational resources. Digital content has made it easier for anyone to: 

  • Find the information they need. 
  • Keep up with new research or discoveries. 

3. Facilitates Social Interaction 

Digital media connects people and allows for interaction between individuals all over the world. As of 2021, 3.78 billion people around the globe are using social media, and that number should continue to climb. Digital social media platforms have become an important way to:

  • Form interpersonal relationships, including friendships, professional connections, and romantic relationships. 
  • Enrich relationships and help friends stay in touch. 
  • Identify those in need. 
  • Build empathy between diverse groups. 
  • Help people find the goods and services they need or want. 

4. Boosts Productivity 

Productivity is higher than ever before thanks to digital media. Access to the internet has made remote work possible for many jobs. Employees are able to accomplish more throughout the day, no matter where they are. In that way, digital media can help boost company performance. It also allows for greater flexibility, improving quality of life for employees. Employees in a broader range of industries can do their jobs from home using digital technology. 

5. Gives Everyone a Voice 

One of the main social benefits of digital media is that it gives everyone a voice. Those who want to raise awareness about socio-political issues can use the internet as a platform to do so. And it has a powerful, real-life impact. Digital media has:

  • Allowed for crowdfunding campaigns during humanitarian crises. 
  • Helped people organize events that raise awareness. 
  • Spread awareness about climate change and other global concerns. 

6. Improves Public Awareness for Brands

Digital media has changed the world of business and helped companies:

  • Reach a broader audience. 
  • Reach the correct target audiences. 
  • Create the desired image for their brand. 
  • Increase sales and revenue. 

Types of Digital Media

Digital media can be visual, auditory, interactive, or observable. The different types of digital media relevant for marketing purposes fall into one of three categories: 

Owned

If digital media is “owned,” it’s an asset controlled by a specific company or organization. Owned digital media might include: 

  • A website 
  • Social media pages
  • Blogs 
  • Videos

Any digital assets your company possesses and controls are examples of owned media. Businesses find owned digital media can be beneficial in a few ways: 

  • It makes a business visible, boosting its appearance on search engine results pages. 
  • It improves a company’s trustworthiness and legitimacy in the public eye. 
  • It helps consumers find and recognize a business. 

Paid 

Paid digital media is media a business or organization has purchased to promote products and services. Most paid media helps drive traffic to your owned media. Examples of paid media include: 

  • Display ads
  • Paid search ads 
  • Social media ads

Earned

When others outside of your business or organization generate media for you, it’s called “earned” media. It’s unique because the organization has no control over it. For instance, earned media includes: 

  • Testimonials and reviews
  • Social media shares and comments

Who Uses Digital Media?

Companies and organizations across a wide range of industries have found ways to utilize digital media. Many different professional careers involve using digital media every day. Digital media is an integral part of careers like: 

  • Social media management
  • Web development
  • Graphic design
  • Copywriting
  • Sound editing
  • Journalism
  • Videography
  • Filmmaking

Examples of Digital Media

Odds are, you interact with digital media every day, whether or not you realize it. Examples of popular digital media forms include: 

  • Digital images
  • Digital video
  • Digital audio
  • Online advertising
  • Virtual and augmented reality
  • Websites
  • Social media platforms
  • Video games
  • Electronic books

In addition, digital media has improved technology in many different industries. For instance, digital technology is involved in medical monitoring devices. These tools can track and record things like breathing patterns, blood sugar levels, and the presence of diseases. Even ultrasound imaging devices use digital technology. Each time you step foot in a doctor’s office or hospital, you’re likely to come across some type of digital media. 

Digital Media FAQ

The world of digital media has grown increasingly complicated since the invention of the internet. You’re bound to have a few questions about how it all works. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding digital media: 

1. How Does Digital Media Work?

Digital media relies on electronic devices for its creation, transmission, storage, and consumption. Common digital media tools include websites and apps. Using digital means allows you to deliver messages and engage audiences. Companies use digital media to reach the right consumers in the right ways. 

Digital media companies provide the means for interaction and communication through digital channels. Basically, a digital media company creates and delivers digital content in the form of text, video, images, code, or other types of media. Some examples of digital media companies include the creators and hosts of:

  • Cellphone applications 
  • Online sharing platforms 
  • E-commerce platforms

2. How Has Digital Media Affected Print Media?

You’ve likely heard that digital media is killing print media. The claim is true to some extent, as innovation tends to replace outdated technology. At one point, print reproduction replaced scribes, who had mastered the art of copying books by hand. Print media reigned supreme for hundreds of years, with inventors finding new ways to improve its efficiency. 

In fact, those in ancient East Asia used woodblocks to reproduce text as early as 700 A.D. Of course, print technology has become much more complicated since then. Now, digital technology is taking over. Digital technology boasts many advantages over print technology, such as: 

  • It’s faster: Society operates at a faster pace than it used to, and keeping up requires access to digital technology. News outlets can reveal information, creators can share their work, and companies can launch ad campaigns faster than ever with digital technology. 
  • It uses fewer resources: Print media relies on tangible resources like paper and ink. With digital media, you can create content using few resources, which can make it a cost-effective alternative. 
  • It’s more convenient: Many people prefer digital platforms. They’re convenient to access, as the average person has a phone in their pocket and a TV in their house. Digital media allows for immediate access to news, social spaces, books, and just about everything else. 

So, how has digital media impacted print media? Recent trends have reflected digital media’s advantages over print. For instance, Americans are more likely to learn news from television, news websites, and even social media posts than print newspapers. Because digital media is faster and more convenient than print, it has become the main way to stay informed about what’s happening in the world. Such changes are likely to continue in the years to come — facets of life that once took place on paper will move to digital platforms. 

3. What’s the Difference Between Digital Media and Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing involves using digital media platforms for business purposes. It’s all the marketing efforts involving electronic devices or the internet, including:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO): Search engine optimization is the process of generating more and better traffic to a website. It’s all about attracting audiences who are interested in what you have to offer. SEO focuses on organic traffic, not traffic generated by ads. Search engines like Google consider lots of different factors when deciding what links to show someone on a search results page. SEO strategies help you create a website that caters to those factors. 
  • Social media accounts and posts: Digital marketing also has to do with social media. Many companies have gotten involved with the world of social media, where they create, share, and promote content. With 72% of the American public using some kind of social media platform, it’s a vital way to reach audiences. 
  • Email campaigns: Emails are another effective way to connect with digital audiences. Companies utilize email campaigns to boost brand awareness, follow up with leads, and retain existing customers. 
  • Websites: Any digital marketing strategy will include creating, refining, and contributing to a company website. Having a professional, functional website is necessary for legitimacy and brand awareness. 
  • Web-hosted content: Content marketing is a growing way for businesses to reach consumers. Many companies produce helpful, informative, or entertaining content to increase their brand legitimacy and reach larger audiences. Content could include videos, articles, handbooks, or infographics. 
  • Digital ads: Digital ads encompass a wide range of advertising strategies, such as Google ads, social media ads, and banners.
  • E-commerce: E-commerce is the process of buying and selling things over the internet. It’s a growing way for people to access goods and services. It’s convenient for consumers, who need not travel to retailers to find things they need. 

If you’re looking to reach consumers through digital media, a digital marketing company can help you find and utilize the right channels. It’ll also help you track and measure the results of your efforts. 

4. Is TV Considered Digital Media?

Whether or not TV qualifies as digital media is a complicated question. The answer is yes and no. You could argue that TV involves machine-readable data in a digital format. However, cable TV is a form of one-way communication, not two-way communication. It can only reach broad audiences instead of targeting individuals. Think flyers vs. emails. When you put out flyers, you have no control over who will see them. When you send emails, however, you target specific individuals. TV is like flyers. 

For practical purposes, TV is not included in a digital marketing strategy. Although TV might utilize digital technology, it’s offline. 

Learn More About Digital Media and Marketing

Understanding digital media and how it works is a necessity for any modern business. Digital media has changed the way people do everything — including learn about recent news, check the weather, study educational topics, enjoy entertainment, and find products or services. Companies have to find ways to utilize those digital channels to reach consumers. To achieve this goal, they employ digital marketing strategies. 

If you’re interested in learning more about digital media and marketing, connect with us at AUDIENCEX. We’re the leading digital advertising partner for both brands and agencies. We offer strategic, unbiased, omnichannel performance solutions, targeting and acquiring customers for our partners. Our combined creative capabilities and data-driven insights allow us to deliver outcomes exceeding project managers’ performance goals. When you’re ready to harness the power of X, let’s talk. Contact AUDIENCEX today to learn more.