Digital Marketing is one of the most popular and fast-growing forms of marketing today. It includes marketing of products and services via the Internet and related mediums such as Websites, Blogs, Social Media, Mobile Apps, etc. The estimated amount spent on various Digital Marketing mediums was over 300 Billion USD in the year 2020. This is expected to grow at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate of over 14 per cent in this decade. Digital Marketing has overtaken conventional marketing mediums such as Newspapers and Television in many countries. The new generation of people spends more time on their smartphones and laptops as compared to Television and Newspapers. 

Digital Marketing makes use of several tools like Search Engine Optimisation, Social Media Marketing etc. to promote web pages, blogs, advertisements and other content to the targeted audience. While making use of these tools, digital marketers track and study the behaviour of their target audience with the help of Social Media Channels like Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Instagram etc. Search Engines also track user behaviour about which keywords are searched by the user, which websites and blogs are visited by the user, which posts and videos are liked by the user etc. Social media channels also track such information about the users. This information is used by Social Media companies, Search Engines and Digital marketers to show relevant ads and posts to the users. Effectively speaking private user data is exploited for commercial use. Whether such use of private user information is ethical and legal is a matter of debate. 

Recently Apple introduced a Feature on their phones which allows users to prevent such data from being monitored by Search Engines and Social Media Channels. Apple’s competitor Google which owns the other major operating system Android is unlikely to introduce such a feature on Android devices, as Google itself tracks user information for commercial purposes. Such unethical infringement of user privacy is a concern widely debated across the globe. 

There are some other factors that digital marketers must consider such as truthful advertising, not violating the religious, racial, emotional, ethnic feelings of other people and communities. The Internet is a global medium. What is sacred and acceptable to one community may be objectionable to some other community. Digital marketers must ensure that they don’t hurt the feelings of one group of people while trying to attract or please another group of people. This is because the same information is equally accessible to everyone across the globe. 

While advertising products and services digital marketers must ensure that the information provided in the advertisements is true for all practical, legal and ethical purposes. There must not be any under or overstatement of facts to attract customers. 

Email Marketing campaigns are conducted by many digital marketers on behalf of their clients. Marketers usually engage in spamming the mailboxes of people across vast regions. They send marketing mailers to people they don’t know. Such email addresses are usually acquired through fraudulent means. Such spamming by marketers tantamounts to harassment. Another widely used strategy by digital marketers and their clients is to pursue occasional visitors to their websites or casual online enquiries endlessly by spamming their mailbox. There are various other tools used by Digital Marketers to acquire, analyse and study user data. Marketers must desist from such unethical behaviour and ensure that such personal data about customers is not acquired or used unethically for commercial purposes. 

The Internet is a vast global network. It allows for anonymity of the source and destination of the information. This anonymity provided by the Internet is often used to violate intellectual property rights. It is difficult to track and punish the violators of intellectual property rights across different countries and geographies. Digital Marketers must ensure that they abide by international legal and ethical standards while dealing with intellectual property. 

To sum it up, it can be said that Digital Marketers must treat their audiences the same way, they would themselves like to be treated. Unless Digital Marketing is conducted based on certain ethical and moral guidelines, people will lose faith in products and services marketed using such means or they may just start ignoring the information propagated through the Digital medium. 

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