Digital Marketing spans a horizon of verticals and job roles, and paired with the ability to work for for or with companies internationally boasts a competitive salary to comparable industries like tech.
A digital marketing intern can expect to earn anywhere from R6,500.00 to R15,000.00. Full-time digital marketers can expect to earn anywhere between R10,000.00 to R25,000.00 base salary dependant on role and within their first three years, while highly experienced digital marketers can earn up to R50,000.00 per month.
Checkout Payscale to learn more on how much digital marketers in in South Africa and their expected salary progression.
A digital marketer’s salary is also influenced by the type of company and whether or not the company is local or international.
Education required for digital marketing is not always required. However, having a diploma or marketing-rated degree such as a Bachelor of Commerce in Digital Marketing or Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing could help you land roles at leading companies and agencies, especially if the role requires a data analysis or strategic input.
With digital marketing, most of the time you’ll be using platforms from leading tech giants such as Facebook (Meta), Google, Twitter and LinkedIn. All of which have their own learning portals where you can get certified for free.
Some exams, like advanced Meta certifications may have an exam fee.
Get started learning digital marketing with the below learning platforms from the industry:
Courses and certification exams are not limited the above. There are many courses available online, even some short courses from leading tertiary education institutions in South Africa.
Practice beats papers
Having certifications or a strong academic background may get you the interview, but getting the job is almost always down to experience and practical demonstration of knowledge.
If you are certain of becoming a digital marketing professional, put theory to practice as soon as possible. This will give you an advantage over other digital marketers.
Anyone can say they’ve learnt how to do social media marketing, but showing a social media profile where you’ve consistently posted content and grown an audience will help you stand out. The same goes for content marketing or web design.
Having portfolio of work counts towards experience and can help you negotiate a higher salary.
There are a couple routes one can take when looking for work in this industry.
The first is working for a digital marketing agency where you will be in a team with fellow digital marketers and work with a variety brands. This is a great place to get started, find out what you like most and build a portfolio of brands you’ve worked with for your resume.
Second, you can go in-inhouse at a large company or start-up. In-house digital marketers generally earn more, but also have more responsibilities as the marketing team may be smaller when compared to an agency.
One can also freelance or get work from multiple agencies on as a sub-contractor or consultant. It may be best to first gain some real-world age or in-house experience first.
Working for an international company or agency but being based in South Africa is also a large determining factor for how much you will be paid. If you’re working for US or UK companies, you can ear in their currencies which is much stronger than the South African Rand.
Pay by speciality
Not all digital marketers are alike, and some roles require more hard and soft skills than others. For example, an In-house social media marketer may only need to plan out monthly content calendars, brief posts to graphic designers and copywriters, then schedule those posts for rollout.
When all that is done, the the social media marketer would need to analyse and report back on performance, and do the same thing again next month.
If the social media marketer was employed at a digital marketing agency then they may have to do the above for several different clients and perhaps even need to be client-facing and manage clients on their own.
Client-facing digital marketers can fetch higher salaries. At larger companies their may be account directors or sales consultants which handle client communication and where digital marketers are primarily responsible for implentation.
Highest paid roles in the industry are search engine marketing specialists, such paid media managers and search optimization specialists. Data and analytics specialists are also highly paid.
If you are not keen on specialising, you can be come a digital marketer and specialise in a variety of areas which may include social media, search and data and analytics. Strategists are also very in-demand.
As you progress to around 5+years experience in this field, you may become a team lead and be responsible for managing other team members.
After becoming a team lead, depending on large the organisation is, you could become a regional lead or work your way up to becoming a marketing director.
benefits are dependant on the organisation you’ll be working for. Most leading companies and agencies do subsidise a portion of medical aid schemes.
Other benefits could include remote or hybrid work and in many case flexible hours.
But the best benefit in my personal opinion is the broad range of work available, whether you ant to be on the creative or strategic side. You will never feel bored and can always switch to another speciality until you find what works for you.
So, yes, you can become a highly paid digital marketer in South Africa, and enjoy all the benefits this exciting, fast moving and ever-changing industry has to offer.
But just like any other industry, you are not alone, and your value as a digital marketer will be driven by your experience, skills and willingness to put in the hard work to deliver results.