How Much Can I Make as a Digital Marketer – Digital Marketing Salary & Income Guide (2023)
How Much Can I Make as a Digital Marketer?
If you’re asking yourself “How much can I make as a digital marketer?” — or better yet, if you want to learn how to increase your digital marketing salary, you’re in the right spot.
The field of online marketing continues to grow at a spectacular rate. This is great news for those looking to get a higher digital marketing salary or to make more money in the marketing industry.
A popular Global Industry Analysts (GIA) survey estimated the global digital advertising and marketing market will reach $786.2 Billion by 2026, nudged upward in part by the surge in online traffic and shopping that occurred during the pandemic. (I)
Your opportunity as a digital marketer to discover lucrative job opportunities and profitable projects has never been greater.
In this guide, we explore the following topics to help you better understand how much you can make as a digital marketer:
- Digital marketing salary figures by job title
- Income and earnings potential for digital marketing freelancers
- Top-earning digital marketing specialties
- Four ways to increase your digital marketing salary / income
As part of this, we will dive into the following areas that can help position you for a larger digital marketing salary and supplemental income:
- Staying informed of digital marketing trends
- Proven tools digital marketers can’t ignore
- Leveraging the power of personal branding
- Insider tips for creating link-worthy content
- How Much Can I Make as a Digital Marketer?
- Digital Marketing Salary Information by Job Title
- Junior digital marketer (1 – 2 years of experience)
- Digital marketing specialist (3 – 5 years of experience)
- Digital marketing director (6 – 10 years of experience)
- Vice President of Digital Marketing (10 – 15 years of experience)
- Chief Marketing Officer (15 – 20+ years of experience)
- Freelance Digital Marketer (Varying experience)
- Determine How Much Money You Can Make as a Freelance Digital Marketer in 3 Steps
- Specialists Who Earn The Highest Digital Marketing Salary
- Actionable Tips to Increase Your Digital Marketing Salary
- TAKEAWAY – What to Remember About Increasing Your Digital Marketing Salary and Freelance Income
- “Digital Marketing Salary & Income” FAQ Guide
Digital Marketing Salary Information by Job Title
The career path of digital marketers has evolved dramatically over the past twenty years as the world wide web gave way to social media and big data. Working your way to the top now requires relevant expertise, knowledge of niche marketing platforms, and being business savvy.
First, let’s take a look at the digital marketing salary landscape. Here are some basic descriptions by title:
“The internet (and the marketing industry) changes rapidly. There is no good time to jump in, and you cannot be too late. You can, however, waste a lot of time watching others and distracting yourself from your own success.– Cynthia Johnson, Co-Founder & CEO of Bell + Ivy
Entry-level digital marketers may operate under a variety of job titles depending on their employer and specific job responsibilities. Titles like “social media coordinator,” “account coordinator,” or “junior marketing associate” may be used interchangeably for a person pursuing a digital marketing career right out of college or without any previous experience.
Junior digital marketers will often tend to tasks involving administrative work, assisting with research and developing media plans, reporting to account executives, and helping manage customers and/or clients.
Average digital marketing salary starting at: $35,000 – $45,000/year
With more experience under their belt, digital marketing specialists take the lead in marketing campaign development and execution. Aligned most closely with management-specific roles, digital marketing specialists may also be called “digital marketing manager,” “community manager,” or “product marketing manager.”
These types of managers may specialize in a specific area of digital marketing, e.g., SEO, social media, or Adwords, or they may bring a wide range of expertise and delegate to a junior team.
Average digital marketing salary starting at: $50,000 – $65,000/year
Digital marketing directors know that it pays to stay in the game. Whether directing ad sales, marketing research, analytics, media, or public relations, digital marketing directors are the top dog when it comes to strategy.
Digital marketing specialists and managers report to the director, providing the competitive insights, market analytics, and customer data that inform digital marketing strategy for a client or company. A digital marketing director is directly responsible for helping fulfill business goals and drive brand reach and purchasing intent.
Average digital marketing salary starting at: $75,000 – $100,000/year
On the rise to a C-level position, digital marketers may take on leadership roles like VP of Digital Marketing or VP of Brand Development. These roles pair marketing expertise with technical skills and business savvy, and they require specialists to work across departments and often act as spokespeople for the company.
In addition to day-to-day strategy and management, VP’s may also take the lead on developing marketing budgets and interviewing, hiring, and firing for significant positions at the company.
Average digital marketing salary starting at: $100,000 – $200,000/year
The most senior career position for digital marketers is typically as CMO, collaborating with other company executives to set company goals and assuming responsibility for the ROI of different marketing campaigns.
Chief marketing officers offer an expansive understanding of sales and distribution management, brand development, customer service, marketing communications, and project management. In addition to being the chief growth officer, CMO’s also serve as customer champions, marketing experts, and creative leads.
Average digital marketing salary starting at: $125,000 – $300,000/year
Thanks to the prominence of platforms like Upwork and Indeed, advertising digital marketing skills for hire has never been easier. Freelance digital marketers who specialize in key marketing platforms like Facebook Business and Google Adwords can fetch very competitive rates and take on multiple clients at a time, depending on their availability and project load.
Average digital marketing salary starting at: $50-$200/hour
Determine How Much Money You Can Make as a Freelance Digital Marketer in 3 Steps
If you want a better sense of how much you can make doing freelance digital marketing work, there’s an easy way to get earnings data.
Step 1: Pull Hourly Rate data from Upwork for 10 freelancers that most closely match your skillset, background and experience.
Step 2: Pull Fixed Project Rates from Fiverr for 10 gigs that most closely match the services you can offer.
Step 3: Estimate Your Projected Salary / Income as a Freelancer
Get Income Data and Hourly Rates on Upwork
- Visit Upwork, and select ‘Find Talent.’ Then enter the term ‘Digital Marketing‘ in the search box, or use this link to browse how much digital marketers are making. You’ll get a quick sense, but you’ll want to drill down further to see what applies to your specific situation.
- Use the filters on the page to specify any criteria that relates to you. For instance, you can filter by location, language, specific skills and more. If you create an Upwork account, you will have more advanced filters and options to choose from but you can still get helpful information without signing up.
- Once you narrow down the talent pool by things like location, skills, and language, it’s time to look through the profile pages and select 10 profiles that align with your experience and background.
- If there are a lot of results, you can narrow down the list further by selecting an ‘hourly rate’. Pick an hourly rate range that you think matches your market value or choose a ‘desired”‘ rate that you are thinking about charging.
- Next, from the remaining list of freelancers, open their profile pages and review the information closely. Look at their ‘Work History,’ ‘Testimonials,’ ‘Education,’ and ‘Employment History.’ Keep track of which freelancers most closely match with what your profile would look like.
- After you’ve found at least 10 freelancers that most closely match your characteristics, record their hourly rates in a spreadsheet and calculate the average of those rates. This average rate is a good indicator of your market value as a freelancer. It’s also an interesting metric to compare against the annual digital marketing salary you would make working for a company.
Get Fixed Project Rates on Fiverr
- Visit Fiverr, and then enter the term ‘Digital Marketing‘ in the search box, or use this link to browse how much digital marketers are charging for specific projects and tasks (rereferred to as ‘gigs’ on Fiverr).
- Using the ‘Categories” dropdown, scan the list of available projects, and select the ones that most closely apply to the services that you offer.
- Next, similar to Upwork, you can drill down further, by selecting relevant seller details that apply to you (for example, location, language, experience level). It might help to start with the “New Seller” category if you want a sense of a starting income, but if you’re looking more generally for earnings “potential,” you can look across all seller levels. Top rated sellers, and level 2 sellers are the most advanced categories.
- Once you’ve narrowed down the pool of options taking into account the seller characteristic and project types, look for one type of project that falls into your skillet. Start with what you think you would enjoy the most and also what you would be able to best.
- Now begin ‘saving’ your selections into a list. You can create a new list called ‘Gig Ideas,’ using the heart icon at the top of the screen.
- Once you have about 10 gigs that are similar in nature, begin digging into the details of each gig to get a sense of the pricing and how the sellers are packaging and bundling the services.
- Next, use this information to project what you can charge for similar services
Note, you can continue to create more lists for all the different types of services and projects that you would like to offer.
Put it together: Estimate Your Projected Salary / Income
If you’ve followed the steps above, and put thorough effort into your research, then you should have a goldmine of helpful data relating to real-time digital marketing salaries and income.
Next, you will need to:
- Estimate how much available time you have for freelance work during a given week;
- Decide whether hourly or project based work is a better fit (or both); and
- Use the data you collected to project how much money you can make for a given time period.
It’s important to keep in mind that unlike a full-time employee, freelancers don’t have a fixed annual digital marketing salary based on a 40 hour work-week.
To make up for this, it might be a good idea to set a reasonable target for how many hours per month, you expect to ‘win’ freelance work. Even if you are available 40 hours a week, it might not always be possible to get 40 hours worth of work.
So, once you have a good sense of what you will be able to earn based on your estimated hourly rates and/or fixed projects, consider:
a) Your available working hours; and
b) What percentage of your available hours, you believe you can ‘sell’ or actually work (the fancy consulting term for this is your ‘utilization rate’).
You cannot have a recipe for good SEO or good social media without at least one part good content. Content marketers cover the gamut, from developing content strategy to creating digital assets, managing a team of writers/creatives, executing PR campaigns to promote content, and leveraging content management systems and leading marketing tools.
ZipRecruiter reports that top earners in content marketing have an average annual salary of $90,000. (II)
SEO specialists speak the language search engines want to hear. From on-site optimizations of keywords, metadata, images, site structure, site speed, and links to off-site competitor analysis and backlinking strategy development, SEO specialists are highly sought after by companies large and small.
Indeed.com reports an average annual salary of almost $53,000 for SEO specialists, with top earners bringing in over $150,000 a year. (III)
General consultants in digital marketing may contribute to everything from video, email, and influencer marketing to brand management, web analytics, reporting, you name it. Depending on the client and project, digital marketing consultants may act as CMO, manage teams, facilitate paid ad campaigns, or take a business idea all the way from conception to reality.
ZipRecruiter shares average salaries for top-earning digital marketing consultants over $150,000, with some job listings even topping $200,000. (IV)
Ad serving and management under the pay-per-click model is one of the most lucrative revenue streams for businesses when executed correctly. PPC experts manage the lead generation pipeline from early keyword research to generating ad copy, executing campaigns, testing, optimizing, and reporting.
Salary.com reports top earners in the technical PPC field bring in over $65,000 on average nationally. (V)
Social media managers serve a critical role for any brand looking to thrive online in the 21st century. Common responsibilities for social media managers include creating social media strategy, building genuine online communities, engaging customers and followers, crafting and publishing various types of content (articles, video, etc.), managing brand reputation, taking advantage of social analytics, and much more.
Builtin.com gathers responses anonymously from social media managers around the U.S. and reports an average salary of over $71,000. (VI)
In 2020, global retail ecommerce sales topped $4.28T (trillion!), making ecommerce easily one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.(VII) Ecommerce marketing specialists are highly sought-after, providing critical guidance around creating lucrative online buying journeys. They use social media, search engines, digital content, and email campaigns to drive awareness and purchasing action.
Salary.com highlights a median annual income of almost $98,000 for ecommerce marketing managers, with top-earners raking in over $120,000/year on average. (VIII)
Actionable Tips to Increase Your Digital Marketing Salary
Looking to boost the bucks when it comes to your income as a digital marketing specialist?
Your key to success lies in your own marketability.
You can increase your market value in the eyes of potential employers or clients with these five essential tips from leading digital marketing specialists:
1. Stay On Top of Industry Trends
Would you believe that AOL.com and AskJeeves.com were still standard search engines in 2009?
Or that TikTok was developed in roughly 200 days and grew to 100 million users in a year? Technology evolves at lightspeed, and to succeed at digital marketing you must keep up.
From the Experts: Shane Barker, Leading Digital Strategist
“There are several interesting digital marketing trends that have the potential to change the current industry landscape. The one trend that I am most excited about is the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in digital marketing. This is one technology that has numerous potential applications in the field of digital marketing.– Shane Barker
If you’re looking to strengthen your skillset for a higher digital marketing salary, invest time and effort in staying up to date on the latest digital marketing industry trends.
Not only can this equip you with more “in demand” skills and talents, but it can also make your work with clients more effective (and more worthy of credible reviews and references).
How to Stay Informed and Up to Date on the Latest Digital Marketing Industry Trends
- Know Your Numbers – Hubspot’s State of Marketing Report has you covered with at-a-glance statistics and research that can help guide you to the most impactful marketing tactics and campaigns. Hubspot’s marketing statistics share key insights from e-commerce, mobile search, voice search, local SEO, organic search, and conversion rate optimization.
- Follow Industry Digital Marketing Leaders – learn from the movers and shakers in the digital marketing world with this go-to list of the top 32 digital marketing influencers to follow from Animus Marketing. You can also discover interviews, insights, and social handles for top digital marketers around the world on Natfluence, including Neil Patel, Barry Schwartz, Rand Fishkin, Jay Baer, Mari Smith, and more.
- Network With Other Digital Marketers – there are over 400 digital marketing conferences around the world every year, many with virtual options for attending if you can’t make it in person. In addition to hearing from industry thought leaders and learning about the latest state-of-the-art marketing tools, conferences provide a powerful opportunity to network with other marketers, clients, and influencers. Visit MarketTerms.com for an up-to-date list of digital marketing conferences with locations, prices, and discounts.
2. Invest in leading digital marketing tools and technology
You’ve heard the phrase time and again, “It takes money to make money.” When you have access to best-of-breed digital marketing tools that allow you to do incredible work for clients in less time with more output, the payoff potential is strong.
From the Experts: Matt Bailey, Founder of SiteLogic | Marketing Trainer to the World’s Biggest Brands
“Everything starts with keyword research. Knowing the questions that searchers are asking helps develop better optimization, quality content, content calendars, and trends. I use keyword research as a foundational activity for all my marketing.”– Matt Bailey
Since starting his own digital marketing website in 2006, Matt Bailey has been at the forefront of the digital marketing industry. He taught Google employees how to use Google Analytics, Experian how to present data, and conducted digital marketing workshops for Microsoft, Disney, Nationwide, Hewlett Packard, Proctor & Gamble, and IBM.
In addition to keyword research, Bailey recommends mastering media plans and analytics for digital marketing success. Media plans allow you to strategize on what content and which delivery methods will engage your audience the most, while deep analytics inform where and how you should spend your time and which channels garner you the greatest profits.
Top Proven Tools Digital Marketers Can’t Ignore
One of the most comprehensive suites of marketing tools available, Hubspot offers tactical ways for marketers to capture leads (popup and web forms, live chat, etc.), build, manage, and engage email lists, analyze customer behavior, and use data insights in a customizable CRM platform.
Starting price: Free (Premium upgrades allow for more advanced features and marketing automation.)
Downloaded over more than 350 million times, the Yoast plugin for WordPress simplifies content optimization for search engines. Yoast evaluates your pages’ readability and clearly outlines when and how to incorporate focus keywords, write effective metadata, create individual content URLs, optimize internal linking, and more.
Starting price: Free (Premium upgrades allow for advanced features and more monitored sites.)
The data wizards of hundreds of millions of keywords around the world, Ahrefs helps you research content and competitors to boost website traffic. In addition to seeing what pages link to your own website and your competitors, Ahrefs also shows you top-ranking pages and keywords on the web plus opportunities for site optimization.
Starting price: $82/month – annualized price (Tiered upgrades allow for additional seats, expanded keyword tracking, site audits, alerts, and more.)
The yardstick by which all other digital marketing analytics tools are compared is easily Google Analytics. You don’t have to be an expert to leverage Google Analytics insights, including website traffic, user behavior, conversion, event tracking, and more.
Starting price: Free (always).
One of the fastest-growing software startups in the world, Canva doubled its revenue between 2020 and 2021–and for good reason. This state-of-the-art online design platform empowers marketers everywhere to create world-class images, presentations, social posts, logos, and more using a simple drag and drop interface.
Starting price: Free (Role-based upgrades available, including Pro, Enterprise, Education, and Nonprofits.)
3. Leverage the Power of Personal Branding
In the age of social media, clients are diving into so much more than your resume. Does your online presence reflect your personal brand?
Whether it’s your LinkedIn bio, your freelance website (or profile on your company’s Team page), or your social media handles, your personal brand speaks louder than words.
From the Experts: Vladimer Botsvadze, Thinkers360 No. 1 Global Marketing Thought Leader | Keynote Speaker | Fortune 500 Consultant | Startup Advisor
“I started using social media channels for professional purposes in 2014. I connected with many like-minded individuals and built relationships with brands and associations. As a result, I built my personal brand, which allowed me to move up in the world and go places.”– Vladimer Botsvadze
Keep these key tips in mind for molding your personal brand into something noteworthy:
ESSENTIAL STEPS FOR PERSONAL BRANDING
Refine your online profiles and web presence.
According to a 2018 Career Builder survey, over half of all employers research candidate’s social media profiles to look for information supporting a candidate’s qualifications for the job. 50% of survey respondents said they wanted to ensure the candidate had a professional online persona, and 34% wanted to see what other people were posting about the candidate. (IX)
Growing your social footprint has a two-fold benefit for digital marketers. a) It satisfies potential clients and employers who are searching for “social proof” to hire you. b) It offers digital marketers a unique opportunity to demonstrate their creativity and marketing skills on their own digital platforms.
Follow these key tips from The Muse for cleaning up your social media, including deactivating old accounts, removing inappropriate photos, posting industry-related content, adding a professional bio and photos, and more!
Gather authentic and meaningful reviews.
A great reference goes a long way to securing future work and growing a strong client base. In the 2020s, authentic and meaningful reviews can live in a variety of places online.
For freelancers and sole proprietors, the same sites where you find clients can be a valuable place to collect rave reviews and client testimonials. Top job boards and sites for digital marketers to collect reviews include:
- Upwork – within 14 days of completing a contract on Upwork, you are able to rate your client, and they are able to rate you. Your reviews are not visible to one another until both parties have completed the process. Upwork also allows you to upload a substantial amount of portfolio materials to your profile, including articles, designs, code samples, you name it.
- Fiverr – Fiverr allows “buyers” and “sellers” to leave feedback by way of rating one another on not just the final product but communication skills, customer service, and overall experience working together.
- LinkedIn – LinkedIn members can request “recommendations” from their first-degree connections on the social platform. Recommendations live as letters in a special section in your LinkedIn profile and are visible to your network by default.
- Google Business – whether you have your own registered consulting business or work for another company, Google Business listings can generate exceptional value. In addition to displaying quick info about your business and linking to your site and contact info, Google Business listings also feature reviews from clients and customers using a five-star rating system and comment box.
- Facebook Brand Page – have a dedicated Facebook page for your business? In your page settings, navigate to “Templates and Tabs” and toggle the “Reviews” option to ON. This allows customers to recommend your business to others and add additional context like comments, pictures, and tags.
Writing high-quality articles for outside websites and publications is one of the most cost-effective ways to get in front of your audience, generate traffic to your website, build authority and thought leadership in the space (hello, personal brand!), and boost your own SEO ranking.
As you look to supercharge your digital marketing salary, pointing potential clients or hiring managers to incredible guest content you have posted on the web.
Discover where, when, and what to write for a super pitch-worthy article with these expert tips:
- Ask your current customers what blogs, news sites, and other content destinations they read.This will give you great leads for potential sites to pitch your article ideas.
- Use the SEOBook Keyword Tool or AnswerthePublic to find out what people are commonly searching for in your industry/market.
- Use free audience intelligence tools like Twitter analytics or Followerwonk to see other people, sites, and publications your followers are following.
- Try nDash to build up a writing profile and pitch article ideas or apply for guest writing assignments posted by your target market segment.
Want to take your personal branding game to the next level? Check out these personal branding tips for how to create a personal brand.
People consume digital content on a daily basis in more ways than you can count. The proliferation of smartphones over the past ten years has launched content from traditional blog articles and plain text emails to native digital content experiences rich with interactive media and, in some cases, virtual and augmented reality.
Take the 2020 Macy’s Day Parade, for example, where free app users could experience the historical event from a first-person perspective on the parade route using augmented reality.
During COVID, Macy’s knew viewers wanted an escape that went beyond the 2D experience of a television broadcast. Their digital marketing team listened to and embraced their needs, leading to incredible digital content experiences that hallmarked the occasion.
From the Experts: Elizabeth Giorgi, CEO & Co-founder of soona | Forbes 30 under 30 | Two-time Media Entrepreneur | Emmy Award Winner
“Modern brands, modern thinkers, and modern businesses are living in a universe where the distribution channels for content are growing rapidly, creating a massive vacuum where the needs for content are growing.”– Elizabeth Giorgi
Bottomline – more content = more web traffic = more income. Not only can an increase in web traffic directly impact affiliate revenue and ad revenue, but website traffic (and conversions) can serve as signals to your audience and potential advertisers that what you offer the public is super valuable. Strong web traffic can also organically grow your newsletter subscribers, social media followers, and market demand.
3 Tips for Better Content
- Create and share infographics. Go beyond the blog article landscape and reimagine content in refreshing ways. Free tools like Canva, Venngage, Adobe Creative Cloud Express, and Picktochart make it easy to transform your data and written ideas into a vibrant and engaging infographic you can share with your clients, followers, partners, investors, you name it.
- Craft compelling case studies and success stories. Digital marketers are storytellers at heart. In your work with clients and customers, explore unique ways to share their successes through strategic case studies that live on your website. Check out Neil Patel’s 8 Tips for Creating a More Effective Case Study.
- Leverage influencers. When it comes to interacting with online audiences on behalf of your brand or client, the more voices, the better. Social influencers add major clout and creativity to the content you share with your audience, incorporating highly-consumable video and audio products. Learn how to build a successful influencer marketing campaign without breaking the bank.
TAKEAWAY – What to Remember About Increasing Your Digital Marketing Salary and Freelance Income
Digital marketing jobs are not just here to stay; they have become fixed positions for most companies and organizations who know growth isn’t possible without this expertise. This area of expertise has become even more important than ever, and demand for digital marketers will only continue to grow.
If you can build up your knowledge of digital marketing, you’ll find your skillset incredibly valuable. Stay on top of your game, and you have the potential to make six figures or more in this interesting and dynamic career.
Best of all, digital marketing can be done remotely, which means you can enjoy a high-earning, interesting career while traveling or living anywhere in the world.
The key to achieving your highest potential salary as a digital marketer is to never stop learning and improving your skills. Seek out those who are at the top of the industry, so you can learn from their experience and expertise. You have all the tools at your fingertips to succeed, so what are you waiting for?
If you’re ready to jump right in, check out our other article, “Getting Started With Digital Marketing – Actionable Tips From Leading Marketers.” And don’t miss these interviews with our featured marketing experts to learn more:
- Neil Patel
- Barry Schwartz
- Rand Fishkin
- Amy Jo Martin
- Amanda Russell
- Jay Baer
- Mari Smith
- Shane Barker
- Cynthia Johnson
- Matt Bailey
- Vladimer Botsvadze
- Elizabeth Giorgi
Here is a convenient summary of key points to remember when it comes to achieving a higher digital marketing salary: