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Digital Marketing Specialist Career Guide

How to Become a Digital Marketing Specialist

Within the last decade, marketing has evolved from television and print media into mainly digital marketing channels. You’ve most likely received an email about a brand’s newest product launch or been encouraged to click on a seasonal promotion while scrolling through your social media. These are examples of digital marketing in practice.

Digital marketing specialists, also known as digital marketers, are responsible for developing a company's strategies for marketing its products and services online. They use various digital channels, from websites to emails to social media apps, to connect with and grow a company’s customer base. Given the ever-changing nature of the internet, it’s important for anyone entering the digital marketing space to be willing to embrace new information, overcome challenges, and integrate creative and analytical skills.

budget analyst crunching numbers

What Is a Digital Marketing Specialist?

A new era of advertising has created a need for professionals who know how to navigate the digital space and translate a company’s goals into successful marketing campaigns. Most digital marketing specialists spend their days creating, deploying, managing, and tracking campaigns to strengthen a company’s online presence. They work collaboratively with designers, developers, and communication professionals to determine the most effective ways to reach a target audience.

The field of digital marketing is vast and encompasses content marketing, social media marketing (SMM), email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and more. Often, digital marketers specialize in a particular area of digital marketing, such as becoming an SEO specialist or a social media strategist, to strengthen their expertise and skills.   

What Does a Digital Marketing Specialist Do?

Depending on the company, industry, and seniority of digital marketing specialists, their day-to-day responsibilities can vary. Overall, a typical workday may include: 

  • Researching advertising trends: Being a successful digital marketer requires brand awareness and knowledge of the current culture and trends in advertising. Most of a digital marketing specialist’s work revolves around research and learning.  
  • Researching competitors: Digital marketers create campaigns with competitors in mind, so actively studying other prices and products on the market is vital to developing a marketing strategy that stands out from the crowd. 
  • Determining what content is best for customers: Knowing a company’s target customer and understanding their needs is essential for digital marketers. They depend on market research and strong discernment skills when deciding which content is best for customers. 
  • Deciding on the optimal placement of ads: A digital marketing specialist utilizes marketing analytics, along with the collaborative input of other experts, such as data analysts, to determine the best placement for digital advertisements. For example, the click-through and conversion rates on a campaign help digital marketers determine where their content works best.  
  • Developing projects to create content: From social media campaigns to email marketing to optimizing websites, digital marketing specialists develop short- and long-form content throughout various digital channels to effectively promote a company’s product or service.  
  • Publishing digital marketing content: Digital marketers use various platforms to publish marketing content. The ability to navigate from a newsletter to a blog to a social media platform with specific content is essential.  
  • Analyzing marketing campaign results: Tracking and monitoring the results of a marketing campaign is important for a digital marketing specialist to determine areas of success and growth. Also, communicating those results is important when reporting to managers and executives within a company.

How Do I Become a Digital Marketing Specialist?

The first step to becoming a digital marketing specialist is to earn a bachelor’s degree in marketing. This initial education will provide you with a strong foundation of understanding the full scope of marketing, from consumer behavior to digital channels to analytics. Next, gaining experience in digital marketing through internships and working your way up the ranks will only further develop your knowledge, skills, and hiring potential. Additionally, various digital marketing certificates allow you to specialize and show your commitment as a constant learner of the latest trends and changes in marketing. Finally, earning an MBA or master’s in marketing will open more job opportunities and growth as a professional.

Best Degrees for a Digital Marketing Specialist

Marketing – B.S. Business Administration

For those who want to lead brands and steer consumer markets:...

For those who want to lead brands and steer...

For those who want to lead brands and steer consumer markets:

  • Time: 67% of graduates finish within 36 months.
  • Tuition: $3,575 per 6-month term.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Marketing and PR manager
  • Director of marketing and communications
  • Director of publications
  • Customer intelligence manager
  • Marketing sales manager

Marketing is a creative and exciting field—and one where an undergraduate degree will open better opportunities.

Marketing – M.S.

Two online marketing master's degree options with a focus on...

Two online marketing master's degree options with...

Two online marketing master's degree options with a focus on either digital marketing or marketing analytics.

  • Time: 70% of grads finish master's programs within 24 months.
  • Tuition: $4,530 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 11 total courses in this program
  • Specializatin: Students choose from two specializations to focus their marketing studies on digital marketing or marketing analytics.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Marketing manager
  • Marketing analyst
  • Marketing director
  • SEO manager
  • SEM manager
  • Email manager

A marketing master's degree will help you prepare for a wide range of exciting marketing careers.

Master of Business Administration

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management, strategy, and leading teams:

  • Time: Graduates can finish in 12 months.
  • Tuition: $4,530 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President and CEO
  • Vice president
  • Executive director
  • Chief strategic officer

Our competency-based model gives you an innovative learning experience you won't find anywhere else—and our MBA grads tell us they loved accelerating their program to see a faster ROI.

Next Start Date

Start the 1st of any month—as soon as you complete enrollment!

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Our Online University Degree Programs Start on the First of Every Month, All Year Long

No need to wait for spring or fall semester. It's back-to-school time at WGU year-round. Get started by talking to an Enrollment Counselor today, and you'll be on your way to realizing your dream of a bachelor's or master's degree—sooner than you might think!

Learn about Online College Admissions at WGU.

What Skills Does a Digital Marketing Specialist Need?

Digital marketing professionals need a mix of technical marketing skills and creative skills, including: 

  • Knowledge of and experience with SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) 
  • Knowledge of and experience with various social media platforms 
  • Knowledge of and experience with email marketing 
  • Knowledge of and experience with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising 
  • Awareness of consumer behavior and human psychology
  • General understanding of data analytics 
  • General understanding of UI/UX design 
  • Writing, editing, and visual storytelling  
  • Creative problem-solving 
  • Project leadership 
  • Adaptability 
  • Time management 
  • Strategic planning  
male budget analyst

How Much Does a Digital Marketing Specialist Make?


A digital marketing specialist’s salary often depends on location, size of company, degree, and experience level. The median income for a digital marketing specialist is $63,920 per year, with the bottom 10% earning $37,570 and the top 10% earning $128,320. On average, a digital marketer with a master’s degree can earn up to $20,000 more per year than a digital marketer with just a bachelor’s degree. 

What Is the Projected Job Outlook?


There is a rising demand for digital marketers as more companies focus their attention and finances on advertising online. From 2020 to 2030, the advertising and marketing field is expected to grow by 10%, and the increasing dependence on digital media within every industry will only continue to require digital marketing campaigns and professionals.

Where Does a Digital Marketing Specialist Work?


Digital marketing specialists work at small, medium, or large companies. Most work within marketing and advertising firms, with the largest employers of marketers occupying professional and technical services, finance, manufacturing, and wholesale. Since almost every industry relies on digital marketing to promote its products or services, digital marketers have the flexibility to work on-site or remotely.

Additional FAQs

Yes. Most employers require at least a bachelor’s degree in marketing for a digital marketing specialist role. 

No, but many digital marketers earn certificates, such as Google Analytics Certification or YouTube Certification, to deepen their specialty and knowledge in the field.

On average, it takes three to five years of education and experience to become a digital marketing specialist.

Interested in Becoming a Digital Marketing Specialist?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this exciting career.

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