digital salaries

PPC Protect’s Digital Marketing Salaries Survey 2021

Sam Carr

Sam Carr

March 24th, 2021

Sam Carr is a content marketer at PPC Protect with 10 years of digital marketing experience. With a keen interest in ad fraud, Sam shares all his insights on the PPC Protect blog.

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Salaries are a crucial part of long-term business success. The right income keeps employees happy and productive while also helping improve staff retention rates.

And digital marketing is no different, which is why we wanted transparency on salaries across the industry.

So, we went straight to the source and asked digital marketing professionals for honest answers to a range of salary questions.

The results? In our Digital Marketing Salary Study 2021, we’ve gathered first-hand data that sheds important light on often obscure industry trends.

Including 10 insightful charts, we dish the details on the state of digital marketing salaries in 2021. To get full access to the data, you can download the full version below.

Download The Full Report

About The Digital Marketing Salaries Study

digital marketing salaries study

The Digital Marketing Salary Study 2021 has first-hand data from 1,121 digital marketing professionals from 48 countries and 166 digital marketing job titles.

We gathered the information via an online survey, with respondents having total anonymity to provide honest answers.

Our findings reveal an industry in a state of continual growth but with worrying signs that many workers feel underpaid.

In fact, some of our key findings suggest digital marketing isn’t doing enough to tackle income inequality.

Key Report Findings

  • Males earn 20% more than non-males, typically taking home $11,539 more each year
  • On average, those who exited education after high school earn $20,268 more than those who hold a master’s degree
  • SEO workers had the highest average annual salary at $70,033, followed by general digital marketing at $64,280, and PPC at $52,578
  • Digital agency employees earn on average $61,488, while in-house staff take home $68,752

One of the main talking points from the report is the difference between income across genders.

With a focus on the gender pay gap in recent years, the average difference of $11,539 indicates the digital marketing industry isn’t doing enough to close the gap.

We also discovered the level of education does affect the pay digital marketers can expect, just not in the traditional way.

We found that those without degrees accelerate up the digital marketing career ladder faster. And earn more in the process.

For the many roles in digital marketing, SEO is the highest earning career path. The average annual income is $70,033. While PPC has the lowest at $52,578.

Another key finding is the big difference in the average annual salary of agency staff. It’s $61,488, compared to $68,752 for similar in-house job roles.

Read on for a detailed breakdown of our report’s findings.

Digital Marketing Salaries By Gender

average annual salary by gender

Despite the growing career opportunities in digital marketing, employees identifying as female are typically paid $57,066 each year.

That’s $11,539 less than those identifying as male, who earn on average $68,605.

For comparison, non-binary digital marketers have an average income of $57,750.

Our results indicate there’s still work to be done on closing the gender pay gap in digital marketing to ensure income equality.

Digital Marketing Salaries By Education

average annual salary by education

One of our most surprising findings is the effect of skipping higher education to focus on a digital marketing career.

High school graduates earn the most in the industry, with an average annual income of $76,842.

Conversely, those with a BA, MA, or higher are earning much less.

Bachelor’s degree holders have an annual income average of $65,093. While master graduates take home the least at $56,574.

The reason? The hands-on nature of digital marketing. Enthusiastic professionals can rapidly work their way up from junior roles, while those at university continue to study.

Ultimately, experience is all-important in digital. So high school graduates have a head start by launching straight into their career.

Do Marketers Feel Underpaid?

do marketers feel underpaid by place of work

Agency and in-house roles offer different types of challenges, but how do salaries stack up?

From our survey, it’s clear agency life has the advantage with 51.44% of respondents believing they receive the right wage. 46.09% feel they’re underpaid.

2.47% believe they’re earning too much.

For in-house roles, the statistics show 48.7% of digital marketing professionals feel they’re underpaid. While 47.96% think they’re on the right amount.

3.57% believe they’re earning too much.

The alarming takeaway here is verging on half of digital marketing employees believe they don’t receive the correct income.

These statistics show many professionals are unhappy in their current career path.

Digital Marketing Salaries By Job Type

average annual salary per job type

Which jobs in digital marketing bring in the most income?

In our “Other” bracket, we’re classing the likes of CEOs, directors, founders, managers, and social media execs. On average, they’re earning $80,234 each year.

As CEOs and directors typically earn a great deal more than most professionals, this greatly increases the average for this category.

Search engine optimization is next, with the annual income, on average, at $70,033. This is arguably no surprise, given SEO skills are in high demand.

Surprisingly, pay-per-click is the lowest, with $52,578 as the average annual income.

Read The Full Report

If you want to learn about the state of digital marketing salaries, our report offers full transparency on the industry’s standing.

There are further charts including more important details. Including:

  • Average Annual Salary By Years of Experience
  • Average Annual Salary By Company Size
  • Do Digital Marketers Feel Underpaid?
  • Average Annual Salary By Country

By downloading our report, you’ll get crucial insights into what digital marketing professionals think about their income.

That knowledge can help shape your salary benchmarking. In the long-term, that can improve your retention rates, ensuring workplace productivity and higher profits.

Want to get in the know? Download our full 2021 Digital Marketing Salary Study below.

Download The Full Report

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