Are You a Good Fit for a Career as a Digital Marketing Analyst?

Marissa Sapega, contributor to the CareerFoundry blog

The data is in: According to eMarketer, the total digital 2021 advertising spend will reach over $450 billion worldwide. And who decides where and how to spend this money? Digital marketing professionals. 

Digital marketing managers, analysts, social media specialists, content marketers, and so on, all help companies promote their products and services online. Digital marketing is a thriving career path that will only become more valuable as more people embrace eCommerce.   

A digital marketing analyst plays a critical role in an organization because they help determine why campaigns are working (or not working) and how to improve them. Fortunately for them, digital marketing (unlike other advertising channels like television, billboards, and radio ads) has clear methods for attribution, making it significantly easier to measure success. 

Being a digital marketing analyst is a terrific career (it’s in-demand, challenging, and fulfilling), but is it for you? This article will help you determine if you might be a good fit for the position based on your personality, career preferences, experience, and more. 

We’ll cover:

  1. What does a digital marketing analyst do?
  2. Are you a good fit for a career as a digital marketing analyst?
  3. Do you have the right skills and background to become a digital marketing analyst?
  4. Is digital marketing a good career move?
  5. How to get started as a digital marketing analyst

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a better understanding of what a career as a digital marketing analyst entails, helping you decide if this is the right career for you. 

A digital marketing analyst in side profile, looking at a computer screen

1. What does a digital marketing analyst do?

A digital marketing analyst is, first and foremost, a data fanatic. They spend substantial time mired in analytics, spreadsheets, and campaign metrics because they are responsible for evaluating how well their organization’s ad campaigns are faring. 

Managers want to know the return on investment for the business’s ad spend, and digital marketing analysts help determine this. They analyze results of ongoing and past ad engagements, generate key insights about the performance, and share them with stakeholders, like the rest of their team and senior leadership.

At some organizations, digital marketing analysts are also responsible for running campaigns themselves and crafting marketing strategies. Company size and org structure ultimately determine exactly what their role entails. You can learn more about what a digital marketing analyst does here.

2. Are you a good fit for a career as a digital marketing analyst?

To figure out if this is a good fit for you, ask yourself the following questions:

Are you obsessed with data?

If you love poring over spreadsheets and analytics and translating results into actionable insights, you will probably love a career as a digital marketing analyst. You’ll spend a good portion of your time looking at stats in Google Analytics, Hubspot or Marketo, native social media analytics platforms, or a whole host of other tools that will help you assess campaign results. For the right personality, this sounds like a dream come true. However, if number crunching and ongoing campaign monitoring sound about as appealing as waiting in line at airport security, cross this career path off your list.  

Are you curious about the why behind the results?

Excellent digital marketing analysts don’t take results at face value; they want to understand the cause behind campaign successes and failures. It’s essential to possess a drive that compels you to dig for answers because only then will you be able to formulate ways to improve results. 

Do you enjoy (or mind) speaking in front of an audience?

Digital marketing analysts need to present their findings to other people, often through reports and presentations. They need to be able to explain how they acquired their insights and the reasoning behind their suggestions for optimization. You must be prepared to defend your findings, especially if results are not as sunny as the team would like. 

Are you analytical?

As the title suggests, a digital marketing analyst needs to have killer critical thinking and analytical skills. Analytical thinkers enjoy working methodically through problems and rely on data to formulate and prove hypotheses, rather than “gut instinct” or intuition. 

Digital marketing analysts need to be able to put disparate puzzle pieces together to form a comprehensive story and prove their points. If you’re a thoughtful problem-solver who prefers to make predictions based on data rather than assumptions, you’ll make an excellent digital marketing analyst. 

Are you detail-oriented and organized?

If you’re someone who often loses their keys/phone/credit cards or is bored by work that requires close scrutiny, avoid this career path at all costs. You’ll be monitoring multiple campaigns and juggling reports and presentations, all of which require keen project management skills and a compulsion to constantly double-check your data. 

A digital marketing analyst holding an iPad, looking at graphs

3. Do you have the right skills and background to become a digital marketing analyst?

Maybe you’ve ticked the boxes in the previous questions and have decided that, yes, you’re a good fit for this role. Now you need to determine if you have the right skills to be a successful digital marketing analyst. 

What are the top skills needed to be a successful digital marketing analyst?

  • Familiarity with external and native analytics platforms. Before you can analyze data, you need to know how to acquire it. At a minimum, you should be highly comfortable using Google Analytics; it’s a rare company that does not include it as part of its analytics tools. You should also be familiar with native analytics platforms on social media and paid search (Google and Bing). Hubspot, Marketo, and Salesforce are other common programs that provide analytics for campaign evaluation.
  • Fluency with data management/visualization software. Microsoft Power BI and Tableau are great tools for data visualization (graphs are so much easier to explain than rows upon rows of numbers), and Excel is a must for number crunching.
  • An understanding of digital marketing strategy. If terms like “brand awareness,” “lead generation” and “return on ad spend” hold no meaning for you, consider starting with an education in the fundamentals of digital marketing. In order to be able to evaluate success, you need to understand what each key performance indicator (KPI) means and how marketing goals align with company objectives.
  • Ability to translate data into insights people can understand. You may be presenting your findings to people who aren’t intimately familiar with the campaigns or KPIs, so being able to communicate results in a way that aligns with greater company-wide goals is a must. 

Now, if you’re reading this list and thinking that you don’t quite measure up, take heart. You can learn many of the “hard skills” on the job (though knowing basic Excel functions before you start is pretty essential), and there are plenty of transferable skills that you’ll be able to leverage from past jobs. 

No singular background offers a sure path to landing a job as a digital analyst; it’s more about a curiosity for the field and thinking about the intrinsic motivators and natural qualities you possess. If you have the aptitude for analysis and a curious mindset, those qualities alone will take you far. 

4. Is digital marketing a good career move?

According to data from LinkedIn, demand for digital marketing roles is on the upswing. The need for digital marketers with keen analytics skills is up by 46%, which bodes well for aspiring digital marketing analysts. Furthermore, one out of every two marketing roles posted on LinkedIn is in the digital or media space. With eCommerce sales booming, there has never been a better time to be a digital marketer!

That said, high demand does not always translate into a substantial salary. So what can you expect to earn as a digital marketing analyst? Glassdoor puts the average salary at an optimistic $70,500, while Salary.com benchmarks it at $57,000. Payscale’s prediction is comparable to Salary.com’s at $53,000. Keep in mind that your experience, company size, and location all factor into your total compensation. For a more in-depth look at salary, you’ll find a comprehensive digital marketing analyst salary guide here.

A digital marketing analyst is a rewarding role for the right person. You’re constantly problem-solving and turning data around in your mind to make sense of it. Analysis is always challenging, especially when evaluating multiple campaigns on different platforms, yet, uncovering insights and figuring out why things are happening is an addictive pursuit. 

A digital marketing analyst can easily move up the career ladder into other digital marketing roles; their experience and skills will be highly valued in a job like a digital marketing manager or director of digital analytics. 

5. How to get started as a digital marketing analyst

If, after reading this, you feel that a career as a digital marketing analyst is indeed the right path for you, there are several steps you can take to get started. Here’s how to become a digital marketing analyst:

  • Play around with some of the tools of the trade, starting with Google Analytics. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with the kinds of tools you’ll be using in your future career. 
  • Take digital marketing and data analytics (computer science) courses. If you’re currently employed or juggling a busy schedule, there are plenty of free and paid courses and programs online that will teach you the basics of digital marketing that you can take in your spare time.
  • Once you have a solid understanding of digital marketing, you may want to further your education through a comprehensive bootcamp or more prolonged program. Such programs may also guarantee a job or pair you with a mentor who can help guide you.
  • Leverage school connections, professional networks, social media (LinkedIn especially), friends, and family to score introductions at companies you’re interested in working for or connect you with job opportunities. 

There is no “best” way to find a job as a digital marketing analyst. But keeping an open mind about opportunities and meeting new people is always a great way to start! And, as for reading up on the field, you can continue with these posts:

What You Should Do Now

  1. Get a hands-on introduction to digital marketing with a free, 5-day short course.

  2. Take part in one of our live online events about career change into tech.

  3. Talk to a program advisor to discuss career change and if digital marketing is right for you.

  4. Explore all our career-change programs and become an in-demand tech professional.