What Are the Top Digital Marketing Analyst Skills?

Marissa Sapega, contributor to the CareerFoundry blog

Digital marketing analysts are in high demand. Worldwide digital marketing ad spend will reach over $450 billion in 2021, and companies need competent individuals who can assess, optimize, and run digital marketing campaigns. 

If this sounds like an intriguing career path for you, you’re probably wondering what skills and qualifications you’ll need to succeed in this role. This article will help you determine if you’ve got what it takes, and show you how to kick off your career as a digital marketing analyst. 

We’ll cover:

Let’s begin!

10 Must-have skills of a digital marketing analyst

A digital marketing analyst wearing headphones, having a video call with a laptop

Like any professional, digital marketing analysts employ various hard and soft skills to do their job effectively. While some of these competencies may come naturally to people, keep in mind that all of them can be learned. 

So without further ado, the top skills that digital marketing analysts will need to possess are:

1. Analytical thinking

Digital marketing analysts spend a lot of time evaluating marketing campaigns, so it should come as no surprise that they need to be analytical. Critical thinking skills are, well, critical to the role! You need to possess a pattern-seeking mind that will compel you to look for trends in campaigns from which you can curate insights that will lead to greater performance. 

Not only that, but you’ll need to assess results that may not be cut-and-dry. Perhaps one campaign has a low cost per click (CPC) compared to others, but a higher cost per acquisition (CPA). Compare that to a campaign that steadily produces first-time shoppers but falls short of the volume needed for that channel. You’ll need to make tough calls on results and be able to explain how you arrived at every conclusion. 

2. Excellent communication

Presenting reports and recommendations to stakeholders is a big part of a digital marketing analyst’s role. You’ll need to be comfortable translating your findings into a format that everyone, regardless of background, can understand, and be able to answer questions about your recommendations. Be prepared to defend any conclusions with hard data and quantifiable numbers. 

3. Number cruncher extraordinaire

You’ll be looking at data a lot of the time and documenting campaign results. This means a lot of mathematical calculations to determine things like year-over-year/month-over-month percentage changes, customer lifetime value, cost per acquisition, average order value, etc. Every campaign will need a return on investment or return on ad spend calculation so the marketing team can measure success and set reasonable goals. Microsoft Excel will be your best friend, so you’ll need to be comfortable navigating its many features.

4. Marketing smarts

Here’s the thing: you could be the greatest data analyst on earth, but if you don’t understand basic marketing principles, you’ll be lacking as a digital marketing analyst. Having foundational knowledge about essential marketing concepts—like market segmentation, customer acquisition, customer journey, etc.—is vital for this role. This knowledge will allow you to determine better strategies to achieve your business goals (informed by the data you analyze).

You don’t need a degree in marketing to acquire this knowledge either. Many successful digital marketers have learned it on their own or through online programs or bootcamps. It’s up to you to determine what works best for your timeline, budget, learning style, and goals. 

5. Digital marketing technology familiarity

Digital marketing platforms have exploded over the past few years. Now, along with organic and paid search, you’ll have to be familiar with email, SMS, social media, and more. Before you panic about not being an expert on every single digital marketing platform, realize that as long as you are reasonably comfortable using the native analytics and setting up campaigns on the most popular ones (Google Adwords, Google Adwords, Facebook, Instagram, Mailchimp, etc.) you can learn a lot on the job. 

A digital marketing analyst sitting at a desk, having a meeting via a video conferencing tool

6. Exceptional organizational skills

Depending on the company, digital marketing analysts may be responsible for running, analyzing, and optimizing multiple campaigns at once. At the very least, you’ll always have several concurrent projects you’ll need to keep a handle on. Being organized is a must to keep all the plates spinning, so to speak. Whether that’s through copious sticky notes, to-do lists, Outlook reminders, programs like Evernote or a dedicated project management tool, you need to be able to manage your workload at all times. 

7. Detail-oriented

If you’re an organized person, you’re probably also detail-oriented, which is another vital skill to possess as a digital marketing analyst. The marketing team will implement recommendations that come from the insights you’ve pulled, so the numbers on which you’re basing them need to be accurate! Double-checking (and sometimes triple-checking) your numbers and math can help you avoid embarrassing and potentially expensive mistakes.

8. Strategic approach

Being strategic means thinking about the big-picture goals and the best way to achieve them. The most talented digital marketing analysts are always thinking about optimizing their marketing campaigns for sustainable results. They aren’t short-sighted and are willing to invest money in experimentation, yet are willing to cut their losses when necessary. 

9. Eagerness to learn

One of the most challenging (and exciting!) elements of digital marketing is its constant evolution. New social media platforms, digital technologies, and programs are regularly emerging, and digital marketing analysts need to be on top of these trends. A thirst for knowledge and openness to learning new things will serve you well. 

10. Curiosity

A digital marketing analyst will consistently ask themselves why they see particular results. What is causing one campaign to produce stellar results and another to fail? A curious attitude ties in with an analytical mind. Curiosity compels you to wonder what’s going on, and critical thinking helps you figure out the answers to your questions. 

A combination of these skills will see you set up for success as a digital marketing analyst. And remember: even if you don’t possess all these skills right now, you can learn them over time.

A digital marketing analyst typing on a laptop keyboard

Digital marketing analyst career FAQs 

If you think you have the chops to be a digital marketing analyst, it’s worth digging into some additional information about it. Here are some common questions people ask:

1. What does a digital marketing analyst actually do?

A digital marketing analyst supports a marketing team by monitoring, analyzing, and optimizing digital marketing campaigns. They use various analytics and business intelligence tools to gather data and then assess it to develop insights and recommendations to share with the team through reports and presentations. In some companies, they may run campaigns as well.

They are also responsible for keeping abreast of emerging digital trends and brand mentions on social media and throughout the web. It’s a challenging and rewarding career for the right person! You can learn more about what a digital marketing analyst does here

2. What is the average digital marketing analyst salary?

In the United States, a digital marketing analyst can expect to make between around $45,000 to $70,000 per year. Outside the U.S., salaries vary. Here are a few examples:

We’ve put together a more comprehensive digital marketing analyst salary guide here.

3. Do I need a degree to become a digital marketing analyst?

Nope! Digital marketing analysts possess a variety of backgrounds; not all of them have degrees. You may find it helpful to have a marketing degree, but as long as you have skills and knowledge (which can be acquired through other means, like a certification program or bootcamp), you can be a successful digital marketing analyst. 

4. How do I know if I’m a good fit for a career as a digital marketing analyst?

If you read the “skills” section of this article and mentally ticked off most of the boxes, it’s a good start! With the right education and attitude, virtually anyone can be a great digital marketing analyst. 

However, if you’re on the fence (you possess some skills, but not many), consider your personality first and foremost. It’s challenging, but not impossible, for someone who is not naturally organized and detail-oriented to modify their behavior without constant vigilance. However, it can be an exhausting effort. Furthermore, a job like a data analyst may be a better fit for you if you aren’t particularly interested in marketing but think you have what it takes to carry out the analytical responsibilities, 

5. What are some other digital marketing jobs?

Digital marketing is a vast field that’s growing every day. Here are some jobs it encompasses:

  • SEO manager/specialist
  • Paid search manager/specialist
  • Social media manager/specialist
  • Email manager/specialist
  • Digital marketing manager/specialist

For more career paths, check out this round-up of the top digital marketing jobs

A digital marketing analyst working on a laptop

How to start your career as a digital marketing analyst

There are a few basic steps you can take once you’ve decided you want to land a job as a digital marketing analyst. 

Network

First, as with any career transition, it’s incredibly helpful to speak to people already in the field. Use social media (like LinkedIn), alumni networks, family connections, and community resources to link up with relevant individuals and ask them questions about their career path and what it’s like to do their jobs. 

Take a structured approach to learning the necessary skills

If you’re starting from scratch, you may find it helpful to sign up for a bootcamp or certification program to jumpstart your knowledge of marketing and digital channels. Or you can go the self-taught way and take advantage of the many free online resources to help further your skills. 

Learning about what it’s really like to work in digital marketing from people already in the field and immersing yourself in the platforms will help set you up for success when looking for a job. 

Ready to take the next step? Learn how to become a digital marketing analyst in this actionable, step-by-step guide

For more marketing career insights, take a look at these posts:

What You Should Do Now

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