Analysis of Digital Marketing Salaries and Salary Sources

It’s the time of year when people are taking inventory of 2014 and making plans for a better 2015. For many digital marketing professionals, that includes evaluating how their raises or bonuses are keeping up with the market. But as we have found after extensive analysis, it’s not so simple.

The Problem

Salary estimates can vary by a surprisingly large margin.

You go to a search engine, search for job title + salary, and click on the first listing. What next? Do you stop there? What if the first listing was 30% different than the second listing? What if the first listing was wayyy different than the majority of listing on the first page? Worse yet, what if your boss stumbles across one unusually low number, and you don’t have a good enough grasp of the salary landscape to explain the overall trends?

The Solution

Combine information from as many sources as possible.

Looking at 10 or 12 sources smooths out a lot of the problems you get with 1 or 2 sources. This concept has already been proven in movie & game reviews. Not every salary site will cover every job title, but collectively they do. Not every job title will have a significant amount of data at each site, but collective they do. Yes, it takes time to do this analysis. That’s why we did it all for you. Now you can get up to speed in a fraction of the time.

The Methodology

We calculated an average, but not any old average…

Some sites were consistently low, while others were consistently high. You will get a skewed average if only the low or only the high sources happen to be represented for a particular job. So we calculated how much each site was above or below the average. Then we used this to adjust the raw numbers. Then we calculated an average based on the adjusted numbers. Overall, it seems to give good results.

The Salaries!

Below is an overview of the average salaries for popular digital marketing positions.

1000s of US $ Digital eCom Analytics
SEO PPC Social Email Affiliate
Vice President 131.4 142.9
Director 114.1 121.2 129.5 101.1 89.6
Manager 80.6 78.5 82.6 77.2 67.4 64.8 75.1 65.8
Analyst 66.4 63.0 59.5
Strategist 79.5 63.0 60.3
Specialist 54.3 77.7 64.6 49.5 50.6 64.4
Coordinator 46.4 49.2

See the complete digital marketing salaries section for all 30+ job titles.

Salary Features

Salary averages can help you to understand the differences between various positions.

But within a particular position, you will need to know more than a simple average. Many of the salary sites let you modify the averages based on geography and other factors. We have made detailed descriptions of these features under the “salary sources” on the job detail pages. Here is a condensed look at the different features:

Salary Rangespayscale.com, glassdoor.com, crandallassociates.com, roberthalf.com, mondo.com, cranberrypanda.co.uk, fivetengroup.com, michaelpage.co.uk
Geographic Differencespayscale.com, indeed.com, crandallassociates.com, roberthalf.com, michaelpage.co.uk
Compensation Breakdownpayscale.com, salary.com
Personalized Reportsalary.com
Experience Levelspayscale.com
Details by Companyglassdoor.com, careerbliss.com
Details by Skillspayscale.com
Salary History Chartindeed.com
User Salary Commentscareerbliss.com
Job Satisfaction Ratingpayscale.com

Salary Sources

Okay, so now you can cobble together all the salary-finding features you ever wanted. There’s just one catch. The salary estimates at different sources are not interchangeable. Below are our calculations of the differences in salary sources, at least as they pertain to digital marketing jobs.

Salary Index (average = 100)
124.3 – roberthalf.com
122.3 – mondo.com
122 – cranberrypanda.co.uk
111.3 – crandallassociates.com (2013)
100.4 – salary.com
100.3 – indeed.com
97.8 – fivetengroup.com
91.7 – glassdoor.com
91.1 – simplyhired.com
90.9 – careerbliss.com
82.6 – michaelpage.co.uk
69.9 – payscale.com

In general, the reports from recruiters skew higher than the salary sites and the job listing sites. Some people have questioned whether this is intentional, in order to lure more employees into the job-seeking market. However, it could be because of a different populations, if recruiters are more often used by larger companies seeking higher-end talent.

Meanwhile, payscale.com is consistently lower than the other sources. It appears that while they break out total compensation in great detail, their “average” number is only the base salary. Other sites may include the base salary plus other forms of compensation in their “average” numbers.

Tips & Tricks

On the DIY salary sources you have a lot of flexibility to search however you want, but with this power comes more responsibility to know what you are doing. Here are some tips to help you avoid the common pitfalls:

tip #1: search syntax can make a big difference!

For example, on Indeed, putting the job title in quotes (exact match) can yield dramatically different results than a regular search. Likewise, checking Indeed’s “Search Job Titles Only” box might make the results more relevant to the actual job you have in mind.

tip #2: experiment with common synonyms.

You can get very different salaries with “Search Engine Optimization” vs. “SEO” in the job title. Even the trivial difference between “ecommerce” and hyphenated “ecommerce” can cause issues. The more popular synonyms are likely to have better information.

tip #3: pay attention to sample sizes.

Sites like Glassdoor and CareerBliss provide the actual details of individual salaries. This can be very interesting. It also gives you an idea of the sample sizes for different jobs. The salary derived from 300 data points is a lot different than the one with only 3.

What Now?

You should be a salary ninja by now. Even if your exact job title isn’t listed in our salaries section, you now know enough to search the right sources for all the information you need.

We will continue to refine the salary section over time. We’ll cover new jobs as they become more popular. We’ll likely update the average salaries before “salary season” towards the end of each year. We’ll also publish similar research on how & where to search for your new job.

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About Sean ORourke 33 Articles
Sean is the owner and primary author of marketingterms.com. He also provides digital marketing consulting as the owner of Cleanup Interactive.