What is SQL And Why Is It Used by Digital Marketers?

Why is SQL important in marketing industry?

SQL (Structured Query Language) is a programming language used to manage and manipulate relational databases used in a variety of industries and applications, from managing customer data in marketing to tracking financial transactions in banking.

In this article we will examine the far-reaching results of SQL functionalities in digital marketing as it pertains to gaining insights into customer behavior and subsequent targeted and personalized ad approaches that are more likely to drive customer engagement and conversion.

Main Reasons Behind SQL’s Wide Adoption in Digital Marketing

Campaign optimization resulting from SQL-provided data analysis of website traffic, social media engagement, ad performance metrics.

It is used as a database of customer profiles containing info such as contact details, purchase history, and behavioral data.

It helps automate marketing campaigns by analyzing customer data and as a result helps create targeted email campaigns or retargeting ad campaigns based on specific customer behaviors.

SQL is most useful when creating customer segments based on shared characteristics across demographic, behavioral, psychographic, or geographic spheres. Marketing campaigns customized to target specific segments of customers are more likely to resonate with each group.

Those targeted campaigns can be fine tuned to create personalized marketing experiences, e.g. personalized product recommendations or tailored email marketing messages to specific customers.

SQL in Action

Below is a sample SQL code aiming to create bahavioral segments of customers most likely to make a purchase on an e-commerce website.

    WHEN num_purchases > 0 THEN 'Purchaser' 
    WHEN num_cart_adds > 0 THEN 'Cart Abandoner' 
    WHEN num_pageviews > 0 THEN 'Browser' 
    ELSE 'Non-Visitor' 
  END AS user_type, 
  COUNT(DISTINCT user_id) AS num_users 

This SQL query generates a behavioral report that segments users into four categories:

  • Purchasers (users who have made a purchase),
  • Cart Abandoners (users who have added items to their cart but not completed a purchase),
  • Browsers (users who have viewed pages on the website but not added items to their cart or made a purchase),
  • Non-Visitors (users who have not visited the website).

Differences Between SQL, T-SQL, and mySQL and Their Use in Digital Marketing

While all three (SQL, mySQL and T-SQL) are used to manage and manipulate relational databases, they are often used together to create and manage large databases in a variety of industries and applications.

  • SQL is widely used and supported by many database vendors, making it a valuable tool for digital marketers who need to work with different database platforms. SQL is also relatively easy to learn and use, making it accessible to marketers with varying levels of technical expertise.
  • mySQL uses SQL as its primary language and is popular among digital marketers due to its ease of use, performance, and scalability. mySQL is widely used in e-commerce sites due to its ability to handle high volumes of traffic and transactions.
  • T-SQL is a specific implementation of SQL designed specifically for use with Microsoft SQL Server. It has additional syntax and functionality beyond what is included in standard SQL, but may not be compatible with other database management systems and not widely used by marketers.


Although learning SQL does require some basic knowledge of database concepts and SQL syntax, most people can learn SQL relatively quickly and begin using it to query and manipulate data gaining valuable insights.

This article was originally published on tessadigital.medium.com

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