If you’re contemplating a career in the digital marketing field, you’re probably interested in the salary data for this occupation. Digital marketing is a rewarding career for tech-savvy professionals whose strengths include strategy, analysis and creativity. A digital marketing salary can be lucrative, especially when you gain a lot of professional experience and if you advance to a leadership role.
What Is a Digital Marketing Career?
A digital marketer is a marketing professional who focuses their marketing skills on online channels of reaching consumers. A number of different career options fit under the umbrella of digital marketer, each of which has its own job duties and a corresponding digital marketing salary. In addition to their base salary, digital marketers may earn bonuses.
Digital Marketing Career Roles
There are numerous digital marketing roles. Digital marketer jobs can be as generic as digital marketing specialist or as specific as content strategist or email marketing strategist. Some digital marketing careers are entry-level, while many other digital marketer roles fit into a general classification of digital marketing manager.
Understanding the Marketing Industry
The field of marketing is concerned with promoting companies and their products and services for the purpose of motivating sales. Marketing specialists may identify growth opportunities, create campaigns to build brand recognition and analyze the results of their efforts.
Digital Marketing Skills
Digital marketers express marketing messages through online tools and channels instead of conventional marketing materials like posters, billboards, postcards, stickers, brochures, direct mailers, flyers, signage and promotional merchandise.
The marketing strategies and materials commonly involved in digital marketing include the following.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO, revolves around improving a website’s performance in organic (non-paid) search engine results. When a searcher types a term into a search box in Google or another search engine, that search engine returns what it considers to be the best possible matches for that term, based on computer algorithms that can be quite complex.
In SEO, the digital marketer makes changes to the content and the on-page and off-page technical aspects of the website to help it better align with the algorithm that determines how search results are ranked.
Often, part of SEO is engaging in content marketing, through which companies provide valuable content – written or otherwise – on topics relevant to their industry and work for potential customers or client leads. A content strategist is a digital marketer who specializes in developing a coherent strategy for effective content marketing.
SEO pertains to non-paid search results, but companies can also pay for a premium spot among sponsored advertisements that typically appear at the top and bottom of a search engine result page. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is the area of digital marketing in which marketers aim to achieve the best results in paid search campaigns.
In PPC advertising, successful marketing campaigns require you to strike just the right balance. If your ad is too narrowly targeted, it may fail to be seen by enough people to produce results. However, if a PPC ad is not targeted enough, companies can end up wasting a lot of money, since they’re paying for every searcher’s click, whether or not they come from qualified potential leads.
Social Media Marketing
Using social media in marketing involves conveying marketing messages through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and TikTok. Each social media platform has its own requirements and conventions. Social media specialist and social media manager are some of the jobs you will find in this area of digital marketing.
Social media marketing encompasses both organic posts and engagements that help to build a brand’s following and paid advertising campaigns.
Running marketing campaigns is expensive. The way digital marketers quantify the return on their company’s investment in marketing efforts is through digital analytics, the process of analyzing and interpreting data from digital channels.
By exploring digital analytics with the use of free digital marketing tools like Google Analytics, marketers can see how consumers behave in response to their campaigns and more. Analyzing and interpreting big data can tell a digital marketer whether their campaigns brought about the successes and sales generation they intended.
What Kinds of Companies Rely on Digital Marketing Strategies?
How do digital marketers drive sales through strictly online channels? Believe it or not, it isn’t only directly through e-commerce.
Naturally, digital marketing methods appeal to retailers who can see results reflected directly in online sales orders generated through social media posts or email marketing blasts. However, even businesses that are less online sales-oriented can benefit from having skilled digital marketers working for them.
Services-based industries may use digital marketing practices to attract potential clients who provide their information via a phone call or by filling out online contact forms.
What to Expect From a Digital Marketing Degree Salary
In digital marketing, as in other career fields, salary data for an individual opportunity depends upon a lot of different factors, including the following.
Job Title as a Salary Factor
The title you hold and the responsibilities and seniority it confers naturally impact your digital marketing salary potential. Digital marketing assistant is typically one of the lowest-paid digital marketing jobs, while a senior leadership digital marketing role usually corresponds to the highest digital marketing salary.
Salaries for Digital Marketing Manager Job Roles
How much can you really expect to make as a digital marketing manager? Salaries for digital marketers in leadership roles vary by company size, job responsibilities, and other factors. Let’s look at the distinctions in salaries for digital marketing managers at different levels of seniority. According to Salary.com, digital marketing managers reported earning a significantly higher average salary than digital marketing supervisors in 2022. However, a digital marketing director could still expect to outearn a digital marketing manager by almost $50,000 per year.
Comparing Non-Managerial Digital Marketing Roles
How Degree Level Affects Digital Marketing Salaries
To a certain point, the higher your level of education, the higher your digital marketing salary potential. If you apply for a marketing assistant role with no college education, you’re likely to earn less than peers in the industry who have a college degree.
Similarly, you might earn an associate’s degree in marketing to learn some of the skills needed for specialist roles in the field, but many of your colleagues are likely to have a bachelor’s degree. Having a bachelor’s degree could prepare you for jobs with more extensive marketing responsibilities and boost your digital marketer salary.
The Impact of Professional Experience on Earning Potential in Digital Marketing
Digital marketing specialists need to be lifelong learners, but that doesn’t mean you have to go back to school every few years to earn a competitive digital marketing salary. Once you have the level of degree you’re comfortable with, you can learn a lot of new skills and technologies through webinars, industry blog posts, online courses and direct digital marketing experience.
Generally, workers with more professional experience in the field can expect to earn higher digital marketing salaries. That may not sound like good news for entry-level digital marketers, since there’s no way to rush gaining years of experience, but you are likely to see a corresponding pay bump for each step you take up the ladder.
Geographical Location and Digital Marketer Salary
How much does geographic location really affect digital marketer salary? According to the BLS in 2020, market research analysts and marketing specialists in the highest-paying state, Washington, earn an average salary of $92,350 per year – twice as much as digital marketers in these roles earn in West Virginia ($45,170 per year).
For both marketing managers and more entry-level and mid-career professionals in market research analyst and marketing specialist positions, the BLS reported that some of the highest-paid career opportunities are in metropolitan areas like New York and San Francisco, among others.
Digital Marketing Salaries at a Glance
Generally speaking, the average salary for digital marketers is favorable. Beyond entry-level digital marketers, professionals in digital marketing jobs can expect to earn salaries that are on par with or better than the $41,950 median salary per year that the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported for all occupations.
Digital Marketing Specialist Salary
The average salary for a digital marketing specialist in the United States in 2022 was $58,912 per year, according to Salary.com. Digital marketing agency Reliablesoft reported an average salary of around $40,000 per year for entry-level digital marketing specialists. A digital marketing specialist with five to nine years of experience can earn an average digital marketing salary of more than $70,000 per year. As you can see, with the right level of experience, a digital marketing specialist salary can climb quite high.
Digital marketing specialist is a more specialized role than marketing generalist. Digital marketers focus on digital marketing as opposed to all methods and channels of marketing. However, digital marketing is still a broad field. Even more specialized roles for digital marketers might include SEO specialist, PPC specialist, social media manager and content marketing specialist. The role of a digital marketing specialist is generally to help conceptualize, implement, oversee and analyze digital marketing campaigns.
Digital Marketing Manager Salaries
In digital marketing, as in other areas, managers make more money. This makes digital marketing manager a particularly rewarding career.
For a digital marketing manager, Salary.com reported an average salary of $110,436 per year in 2022.
A digital marketing manager holds a leadership role in digital marketing departments or agencies. These marketing managers oversee the work of digital marketing analysts, digital marketing specialists and others involved in a marketing strategy or campaign.
Although digital marketing managers should have strong technical skills in the use of digital technologies, they have less direct involvement in putting the project into action. Digital marketing managers focus more on the big-picture aspects of campaign planning, project management, and ensuring that marketing efforts are successful in helping companies achieve their business goals.
Digital marketing manager salaries vary depending on their responsibilities and level of seniority. The most senior-level digital marketing manager role, digital marketing director, reported an average salary of $166,503 per year in 2022, according to Salary.com. On the other hand, digital marketing supervisors, who generally have less seniority and less extensive job duties than digital marketing managers, earned an average annual salary of $99,442 per year in 2020, Salary.com reported.
How Professionals Can Earn Higher Salaries in Digital Marketing
If you’re eager to boost your digital marketing degree salary, you should revisit the salary factors listed above and consider what factors you’re willing or able to change. As an industry, digital marketing (and marketing more generally) offers plenty of opportunities for high-paying job roles, but those with the best credentials will have the best salary potential.
Raising Salaries by Changing Job Titles
Job titles can be somewhat confusing in the digital marketing sphere, but identifying the (more lucrative) title you would like to have and working toward reaching that goal is one way to begin improving your salary.
Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by the vanity titles that are so common in the marketing industry, like “digital guru” and “digital marketing rockstar.” Instead, focus more on how job titles fit along the chain of seniority.
Moving From Social Media Specialist to Senior Manager
If you currently work as social media specialist, for example, working toward a role as a social media manager can improve your income potential considerably. Salary.com reported an average salary of $46,533 per year for social media associates, but for senior social media managers, the average salary was $68,016 per year.
When it comes to pricing out salary ranges for social media managers, it’s important to ascertain whether the “social media manager” serves a true leadership role with managerial and supervisory duties. Some of the lowest-paid “social media managers” only actually “manage” the company’s regular social media activities, not planning for big-picture goals or supervising other employees. The social media managers who earn the highest digital marketing salaries tend to have true management and leadership duties.
How Digital Marketing Employees Can Land a Higher-Paying Job Title
Asking your boss to let you tweak your title probably won’t accomplish what you want. For a change in title to boost your salary, the job title needs to correspond to the activities, responsibilities, skills and credentials that are worth more to an employer.
Start preparing yourself to earn a promotion or begin applying for jobs with other companies seeking a digital marketer in a position that would be a step up for you.
Morphing Your Digital Marketing Job Into a New Title (And a Better Salary)
If you have already taken on additional responsibilities at your current place of employment, you could make the case that you’re really doing the work of a different, more lucrative position now and that, as a result, you have earned a raise.
Remember, just as digital marketers must impress their employers or clients with a positive return on investment in their campaigns, showing the positive results that you have brought to the company is your best chance of earning a raise.
Improving Digital Marketing Salaries by Going Back to School
Some digital marketing professionals boost their income potential by pursuing a more advanced degree. For some marketing professionals, this means going to graduate school to earn a master’s degree in marketing.
Boosting Digital Marketing Salaries Through Professional Experience
Success in digital marketing jobs often depends more on skills and results than on education and certifications directly. Every year you spend on the job improves your level of professional experience, enhancing your potential salary for a digital marketing job in the future.
Of course, the quality of your experience as a digital marketer matters just as much as how many years of experience you have. Make an effort to get involved in new projects and technologies. Volunteer to take on responsibilities that can help you grow professionally. Consider speaking to a supervisor or a mentor about opportunities for professional development and advancement within your company.
Moving to a New Geographic Location for a Better Salary
Although location affects salary for a digital marketer, the income boost you receive may not be as big as you expect based solely on the numbers. Digital marketers who are planning to relocate to earn more money should know that the areas that pay better salaries – like New York and San Francisco – are often more expensive areas to live in, too.
That’s not to say that you won’t wind up more financially comfortable putting your digital marketing skills to work in New York. Many digital marketers enjoy working in such a major city. However, you might not get the massive financial boost you expect if you look only at average digital marketing salaries in New York without taking into account changes in the cost of living.
The career options in digital marketing are numerous and diverse. As more companies embrace online channels of communication over traditional ones, the digital marketer field is growing – and it happens to be well-suited to remote work, as well. With the right degree and enough years of experience, digital marketing can be a high-income career field.