Digital marketing has grown and evolved from advertising on online channels to integrating theories of consumer behavior with automation and analytics. Students who pursue a digital marketing degree are prepared for a career undergoing unprecedented growth. The Wall Street Journal reported that digital advertising represented 64.4% of total advertising in 2021, and Forbes cited a Magna Global report of $162.4 billion in digital advertising spending in the U.S. alone.
A digital marketing degree leads to several potential career paths, and Glassdoor.com reports that the estimated total pay for a digital marketing professional is $82,903 per year, with a base salary of $57,357 and bonuses averaging $25,545. There is also a remarkable growth opportunity as businesses in all industries and of all sizes continue to expand their digital marketing strategies.
What Can I Expect from a Digital Marketing Program?
Digital marketing programs are generally offered as either Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degrees. Though each program is different, all provide graduates with the tools needed to establish and enhance brand identities in the digital marketing arena. Areas of focus include social media, metrics, pay-per-click advertising, and search optimization, and students cover topics including data and analytics, artificial intelligence, and legal and ethical principles in marketing.
Online Bachelor of Digital Marketing Coursework
Digital marketing degrees are taught as in-person programs, or via online Bachelor of Digital Marketing programs. Online bachelor’s degrees cover the same subject matter and have the same credit hour and general education requirements as on-campus options, but offer considerably more flexibility. Online programs also often cost substantially less, and because many courses are available asynchronously students are able to continue working and upholding family and social responsibilities while earning their degree.
Beyond general education course requirements and digital marketing fundamentals, students can expect to take marketing courses on topics including:
- Introduction to digital media
- Email marketing strategies
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Marketing Campaigns and Strategies
- Content marketing
- Graphic design
Many programs also require senior students to participate in a capstone project where they demonstrate their understanding of their selected specialization and apply the principles that they have learned over the course of the program.
On-Campus vs. Online Digital Marketing Degrees
The ability to pursue a degree online is a relatively new development. The most significant difference between on-campus and online digital marketing degrees has to do with class schedules. While on-campus programs adhere to strict lecture schedules with instructors and students meeting in brick-and-mortar buildings, online classes take place over the internet and can be held either synchronously, with students and instructors logging on and attending at the same time, or asynchronously, with students logging on to pre-recorded classes on their own time.
Beyond this difference, online and on-campus classes have the same level of course difficulty, offer indistinguishable diplomas, and provide students with availability to apply for financial aid. As long as the program that you attend has accreditation, you can feel secure that employers and recruiting professionals view online learning equally, particularly if the online program is offered by a college or university that also has a traditional campus.
Digital Marketing Career Paths
One of the most attractive aspects of pursuing a degree in digital marketing is the variety of careers available after graduation. Within digital marketing, professionals can focus on their forte, whether that be writing, mathematics, graphic arts, or another creative or technical talent.
Some of the most popular career opportunities include:
Social media marketing specialist – Creates and delivers content, including editing videos, creating graphics, writing, proofreads, and posting to social media accounts.
Digital marketing manager – Develops and implements strategies for a brand or company’s products, including those involving social media, search, web content, and other marketing tools.
Digital marketing business administration – Uses analytical and strategic skills to respond to customer expectations, and develop creative solutions and content for engaging consumers.
Digital consumer behavior analyst – Expert in the needs, pain points, and preferences of consumers relied upon to provide insights that guide growth, marketing, and sales.
Digital Public Relations – Responsible for the maintenance of a company or organization’s online image via digital content, website content, and social media.
Digital marketing specialist – Develops and manages complex marketing campaigns across multiple channels including organic search, paid search, display advertising, email, and social media.
Salaries for digital marketing degree graduates vary, though the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that advertising, promotions, and marketing managers earn a median annual wage of $133,380. These careers require a bachelor’s degree, though additional higher education is recommended.
Digital Marketing Degree Financial Aid
No matter what program you choose to attend, paying for a digital marketing degree is a real challenge. Fortunately, there are multiple sources of financial aid available to help students fund their education. These include:
Grants – A type of need-based aid for which repayment is not required. Grants are offered by the federal government, state governments, as well as organizations, and academic institutions.
Scholarships – Similar to grants, scholarships help students pay for education and do not require repayment. They can be awarded based on need, achievements in academics, athletics, or another type of talent, participation in particular activities, or pursuit of particular fields of study. Scholarships are also awarded to members of identified groups. There are thousands of available scholarships to which students can apply.
Loans – Loans are money that has been borrowed from either the government or from private lenders and which is repaid with interest.
Work/Study – This federally-administered program facilitates students being hired for part-time jobs while they are attending school. Students are paid directly rather than funds being applied to their tuition.
Digital Marketing Degree FAQs
Is it worth getting a degree in digital marketing?
- Digital marketing is one of the fastest-growing careers. Students who pursue and graduate with a degree in digital marketing will find themselves in high demand, eligible for generous salaries that often include bonuses, and working in an exciting, quickly evolving industry.
Which degree is best for digital marketing?
- If the school that you are interested in attending does not offer a specific digital marketing degree, you will likely find the same curriculum offered in marketing or communications programs. If you are interested in career advancement, you would do well to pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree that provides the basics and from which you can go on to a master’s degree or specialized certifications in the future.
What does a digital marketing degree include?
- Though every program is unique, graduating with a degree in digital marketing will generally include a robust education in marketing, public relations, market research, analytics, Search Engine Optimization, online advertising, and social media management.