What is digital media? (Different types, uses and careers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Digital media is any form of media that relies on electronic devices for its distribution, such as photos, videos and social media. Almost every business utilises digital media to advertise and highlight its products and services. If you're thinking about a career in a digital or creative industry, it's important that you understand the different types of digital media and the different careers that you can pursue to work with digital media. In this article, we discuss what digital media is, different types of digital media, why companies utilise this type of media and different digital media careers.

What is digital media?

If you're thinking about a creative career, you may wonder 'What is digital media?'. Digital media is working with electronic mediums that allow for others to see your products or services virtually. Many businesses relied on print media, such as posters, flyers and magazine adverts, to spread information about their products before digital became popular. Although, with the advancement of technology and the increased use of social media and search engines, digital media has become one of the most important types of advertisement that a business can use to grow its company. Digital media may include types, such as:

  • software

  • social media

  • videos

  • video games

  • websites

Related: How to become a social media manager: A step-by-step guide

Why do companies use digital media?

There are a number of reasons why companies may use digital media. For some, it's an affordable and effective advertising tool, while for others, digital media is part of the product that they sell. Here are some of the main reasons why companies may use digital media:

Advertising purposes

Many companies use different types of digital media to advertise their company, including products and services. For example, a company may have a number of social media accounts where they post photos, graphics and videos about the company. All of these posts work to improve the brand awareness of the company, while also advertising the different products or services that the company offers. Digital media marketing can help companies to advertise without print material, which can be both beneficial for the environment and can help to promote the business more successfully.

Main function of product or service

Digital media isn't just an advertising tool. Many businesses create products or services using digital media. Because there are so many different types of digital media, there are many different products and services that companies can create using digital media. For example, a video game company uses digital media to create their online games, while a digital marketing company may utilise social media to advertise their clients. As we spend more and more of our time online, many companies are utilising digital media as a product or a service and these types and products are becoming ever more popular.

To reduce the use of paper

Many companies are choosing to reduce their impact on the environment. As global warming is becoming an increasing concern for businesses and individuals alike, many companies want to reduce their impact on the environment and one way they can do this is by reducing the amount of paper they use. Traditionally, companies have relied on paper printing to advertise their services in the form of posters and flyers, which is a much less environmentally friendly way to advertise. Therefore, companies are now making the switch to digital media to reduce their environmental impact.

Types of digital media

Although there are many different formats of digital media, there are also a number of different types of digital media. You may require an understanding of the different types of media if you're thinking about a creative digital career. Three main types of digital media include:

Owned digital media

Owned digital media is digital media or an online asset that the company has control over. Companies typically tailor these pieces of owned media to suit the brand. Examples of owned media include a company website, their social media sites, any blogs they create, any videos they create and any other digital media that the company owns or has created.

This owned digital media can help to improve the brand image while also increasing brand awareness. For example, if a company website is well-designed, informative and optimised for search engines, potential customers are more likely to find the website and they are more likely to have a favourable impression of the company.

Paid digital media

Paid digital media is media that companies pay for to improve their brand awareness. For example, many companies pay for social media companies to advertise their products on their user's social media feeds. Businesses can use paid media to improve traffic to their website or to other owned digital media assets.

For example, if a company is looking to advertise their e-commerce website, it may pay for social media adverts that highlight its products on its target market feeds. Paid digital media is an essential part of any successful digital marketing campaign. While companies may also want to focus on using paid social media to further boost their website and their brand awareness.

Earned digital media

Earned digital media is advertising that customers create for you. This type of media is typically customer reviews of a product or service, which helps the company generate more consumers or sales. If a customer buys a product from a company and they are incredibly happy with their purchase, they may review your product on social media, on your website or on a dedicated review site.

They may also promote your company through word of mouth, through shares of your posts or through comments on your social media. Earned media is an effective way to grow a brand using digital media, as it can increase a company's brand awareness while also reducing the amount of money and time they spend on customer acquisition.

Related: How to become a photographer

What careers use digital media?

Because digital media plays such an important role within the business for many different reasons, there are many different careers that either create, work with or utilise digital media. Some of the industries that use digital media include education, food industry, health care, finance, marketing and entertainment. As many businesses operate online, most careers now involve some work involving digital media. If you're thinking about a career where you can work with different types of digital media, here is a list of some of the different careers that either create or use digital media:

Digital marketer

The role of a digital marketer is to create digital content and adverts that can help to promote a company. Digital marketers use a creative understanding of different types of digital media and a deep understanding of different marketing and social media trends to create dedicated marketing strategies for their clients. Digital marketers can work on creating social media ad campaigns, pay-per-click campaigns or SEO campaigns to promote their clients. They may also create videos or podcasts to further promote their clients' work, depending on their skill set and the target audience of their clients.

Related: How to get into digital marketing? (With steps and FAQs)

Video game developer

The role of a video game developer is to create and design software that operates as a game that users and customers can then play. Developers ensure the functionality of the game while also ensuring that it's high quality and easy to use.

Depending on the type of game, video game developers also edit code to ensure that it functions with the specific gaming system, such as a console or mobile phone. As video games are a form of digital media, video game developers usually have a keen understanding of the different forms of digital media and how best to utilise them within gameplay.

Photographer

The role of a photographer is, simply, to take photos. Photographers may choose to create artistic pieces of work or they may choose to work as a professional photographer who takes photos for specific events or occasions, such as weddings. Many businesses use photography as a form of digital media to highlight their products and to create adverts. Photographers can create effective digital media with professional cameras, different lenses, professional lighting and an understanding of digital photo editing tools.

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