This post was sponsored by Careerplay.
Try naming just one industry or discipline that changes faster than digital marketing. It isn’t just the technology and speed of interaction that changes fast. It’s also the way that marketers try new tactics to stay ahead of the curve.
Smart marketers employ new SEO strategies to better target prospects; they alter their messaging based on metrics; they walk a fine line on social media to optimize their presence and ensure their messages are perfectly suited for every audience. In other words, they move quickly and adeptly and they can never stay in place for long, lest they fall behind.
That’s why it’s critical in the digital marketing space to continually keep your skills sharp and take advantage of every innovation you can find. And with so much noise reverberating in online posts, blogs, and websites, you need a reliable place to learn digital marketing best practices that can set you apart from the pack.
Online education and certification offered by professional training organizations can be a lifesaver for marketing professionals. They give you skills proven to be effective in the workforce, taught by experts who live and breathe the stuff. You stay updated with the latest tools and techniques and you benefit from collaboration and interaction with experts and peers alike.
Why Choose a Career in Digital Marketing?
There is an enormous and still growing demand for digital marketers with finely tuned skills. Jobs exist in almost every imaginable industry. In most cases, you can get into the field with a low cost of entry (i.e. with limited prerequisite knowledge and experience).
They make great money. Average salaries for digital marketing range from $73,000 to $114,000 on Indeed.com1 and there are ample job opportunities for digital marketing managers, SEO managers, SEM/PPC experts, social media managers, affiliate marketing leaders, content marketers, and much more.
Here’s a quick primer on five of the best digital marketing courses we’ve identified for professionals who have a passion for digital trends and techniques and want to take their career to the next level. In this list, we’ll highlight the objectives and learning path for each course, how the courses are delivered, what they cost, and what distinguishes each one from the rest (pluses and minuses).
Our Picks for the 5 Best Digital Marketing Courses
The Simplilearn “Masters Programs” are designed to provide comprehensive education on career-changing skillsets. Specifically, the Digital Marketing Specialist Masters Program does just that by covering all of the core digital disciplines in depth – SEO, PPC, social media, conversion optimization, content marketing, web analytics, mobile and email marketing – packaging in-depth knowledge into 14 courses (10 courses of the Digital Marketing Certified Associate program and 4 advanced courses) to complete the learning path.
We see several key advantages to the Simplilearn approach, content, and delivery.
First, the program content goes both broad and deep. It arms learners with all of the vital skill sets needed for digital marketing and provides a wealth of practical knowledge to help you pass various expert exams, such as OMCA (Online Marketing Certified Associate), Google Analytics, AdWords, Facebook, YouTube and more, which never looks bad on your resume.
Second, you nurture skills that are applicable in the real world. Simplilearn provides access to virtual simulations with their Mimic Pro environment (powered by real-world Google data) so you can step into the shoes of a real digital marketer, run marketing experiments, create virtual campaigns, conceptualize landing pages, and conceptualize other key tasks using virtual memory. You’re also exposed to more than 40 digital marketing tools and learn how use them in on real projects.
Third, the course instructors are all highly-respected thought leaders and practitioners of digital marketing know-how, including:
- Lilach Bullock, listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers, crowned the Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle, and popular speaker on the digital marketing world circuit.
- Stéphane Hamel, Google product strategy expert, named the Most Influential Industry Contributor by the Digital Analytics Association, and creator of the Digital Analytics Maturity Model.
- Brad Geddes, author of Advanced Google AdWords, founder of Certified Knowledge, columnist for Search Engine Land, and co-moderator of the AdWords forum on Webmaster World.
Fourth, you get a course structure and delivery that is first-class all the way. The blended learning model combines instructor-led training in virtual live streaming classrooms with self-paced video so participants can follow at their own pace (with full one-year anytime access to courses). Instructors all bring 12+ years of work and training experience to the table, along with regular instruction from a “dream team” of Silicon Valley authors that provide their perspective to real-world scenarios.
Wrap that all up with monthly mentoring sessions, access to a community of digital marketing experts, regular quizzes and exams, downloadable workbooks and apps, and you’ve got a powerful delivery mechanism. You can complete the course in 4 months by learning for 10 hours a week.
There are no prerequisites for the course, just a passion for learning cutting-edge digital marketing techniques. The cost is $1,499 for the entire five-part course, which includes all courses, videos, exams, and workbooks.
In case you already know what topics you want to learn or which domain you want to specialize in, you can consider Market Motive’s Digital Marketing Expert Pass. It allows you to access the entire content of Simplilearn’s Digital Marketing Specialist course on a subscription model.
- $1,499 for five key digital marketing disciplines
- Blended learning model: virtual live classrooms + self-paced videos
- Virtual simulations with Mimic Pro environment
- 40+ marketing tools used on real-world projects
- Top instructors and “Dream Team” of Silicon Valley experts
- Monthly mentoring sessions and community of marketers
- In-depth preparation for key digital marketing certifications
Coursera’s Digital Marketing Specialization is a beginners’ course that explores several aspects of the new digital marketing environment, including digital marketing analytics, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and 3D printing. The content is tailored to provide an understanding of the foundations of the new digital marketing landscape and acquire a new set of stories, concepts, and tools to help you digitally create, distribute, promote, and price products and services.
The learning path is fairly extensive but focuses a good amount of its time on concepts and theory, with a drill-down on analytics and marketing channels. Courses offered include:
- Marketing in a Digital World
- Marketing Analytics in Theory
- Marketing Analytics in Practice
- Digital Marketing Channels (Landscape)
- Digital Marketing Channels (Planning)
- Digital Marketing Capstone (final project, 6 weeks to complete)
The Coursera specialization is part of the University of Illinois Master’s of Business Administration degree program. The MBA methodology becomes apparent in many of the theory-based course modules, but as digital marketing is a hands-on discipline, it would have been better if practical application was in-built into each element rather than coming at the end.
The course offers open availability, so virtually any job titles with any experience can enroll in the program, and they offer a certificate to highlight your new skills on LinkedIn. Unfortunately, Coursera does not include on-demand support for premium customers (such as companies who wish to up-skill their entire marketing teams).
Each course takes four weeks with 8-10 hours of work per week, 6-8 per week for the first module.
- MBA-driven theory and practice with digital marketing techniques
- Six four-week courses taking 8-10 hours per week
- Open availability but no on-demand support for premium customers
- Hands-on project course takes place at the end of the training
- Affiliation with University of Illinois MBA
Udacity offers two options for digital marketing training. The Nanodegree program is a full-immersion, full-feature learning experience suited for someone seeking a digital marketing career after graduation. The program offers you the opportunity to master platform-specific skills, while at the same time establishing a broad-based understanding of the whole digital marketing ecosystem.
The learning modules include:
- Marketing Fundamentals
- Content Strategy
- Social Media
- Social Media Advertising with Facebook
- Search Engine Optimization
- Search Engine Marketing
- Display Advertising
- Email Marketing
- Metrics with Google Analytics
The second option is independent study. If you’re a working digital marketer who wants to skill up, add a specialty, or refresh your skills, you can consider the self-study model. This is also a good choice if you want more schedule flexibility, or need to watch your budget.
Udacity also offers real-world projects as part of the program, where you get to run live campaigns on major marketing platforms, and Display Advertising is a unique addition to its learning path to show you how to set up display ads in AdWords. They take a “360-degree approach” to digital marketing learning, but most training courses offer a broad-based approach of the digital marketing ecosystem. Live Q&A sessions and forums to engage with industry experts and mentors and you get your own assigned mentor to provide personalized feedback on projects and expert advice on career services.
Pricing for the Nanodegree program is $999, and for the Independent study it’s $599 (upgrade any time to the Nanodegree program for $499). There are no prerequisites and the course load is 10 hours per week, which you complete in three months.
- $999 for full-immersion Nanodegree program, $599 for independent study
- Projects included in 7 of the 9 modules
- Display advertising as a separate course offering
- Assigned mentor
The Digital Marketing Institute’s online training program is the lengthiest of the bunch. It’s a two-year program that you take part time.
Part 1 of the program (60 weeks to complete) consists of 150 hours of digital marketing content via on-demand e-learning: video lectures, downloadable slide presentations. You also submit two 5,000-word assignments: a digital marketing research paper and digital marketing strategy based on an organization of your choice. The program includes six modules:
- Communications and consumers
- Search marketing
- Social media marketing
- Mobile marketing
- Digital strategy and planning
- E-commerce and email
Part 2 is a 15,000-word thesis (52 weeks to complete) with support of academic and industry mentors and a series of webinars. While there are merits of doing one deep project like this, it is a lot of time to spend on one project that may or may not be applicable in the future (i.e., you’re putting all your eggs in one basket).
The program is designed to help professionals become a certified digital marketing master. The program is created by the Syllabus Advisory Council, comprised of digital leaders from places like Google and Facebook, to validate learning content to ensure it is cutting-edge, relevant, and technically accurate.
Prerequisites are higher than other offerings. You must hold a recognized third level honors degree in business/commerce/marketing and minimum two-year relevant work experience, or a minimum of three years digital marketing experience. You must also provide a copy of your degree transcript for admittance.
The cost for the program is $10,735 and includes all course materials, personalized support from an industry expert tutor, as well as additional resources in the form of Sandbox accounts, webinars, online tutorials, podcasts, and e-books.
- $10,735 for two-year masters course
- Part 1: 150 hours of coursework (60 weeks)
- Part 2: 15,000-word thesis (52 weeks)
- 6-module curriculum
- Higher set of prerequisites for most participants
The Simplilearn SEO Specialist Masters Program puts particular focus on one of the most important fields in digital marketing: SEO and inbound marketing. The digital transformation of the world has led to a huge demand for qualified SEO specialists who can optimize websites and manage content and links to make content more accessible to digital audiences. SEO is the most in-demand digital marketing skill according to Smart Insights and cmo.com, and nearly half of all content jobs now require SEO skills2.
The SEO Specialist Masters program is designed to transform you into an effective, industry-ready SEO professional. You’ll master various facets of SEO, including on-page SEO, link building, content marketing, web analytics and extensive project experience with inbound marketing initiatives.
- DMCA (foundation in digital marketing)
- Advanced SEO Tools and Techniques
- Advanced Content Marketing
- Advanced Web Analytics
The cost of the program is $1,199 and provides access to more than 35 live, instructor-led online classes conducted by expert trainers. You also get access to high-quality eLearning content, simulation exams, a community moderated by experts, and monthly mentoring sessions by thought leaders. This course also comes with an iPad Mini to provide ease of access and learning on the go.
Annual average salaries for SEO experts in the U.S. range from $100,000 to $110,000. Graduates of this course will be positioned for highly sought after jobs such as SEO manager, content marketing specialist, and much more.
- $1,199 for 35 live, instructor-led online classes conducted by multiple expert trainers
- Special focus on SEO, one of the most in-demand sectors of digital marketing
- High-quality eLearning content and simulation exams
- Community moderated by experts, monthly mentoring sessions by thought leaders
- Position yourself for lucrative SEO jobs that range from $100-$110k
Whether you’re already in the marketing field or looking to change careers and develop skills that will give you new focus and motivation, digital marketing has a lot to offer. Be sure to take the time to decide what skills you’ll need and what courses can meet your needs for the right price. Either way, you’ll be happy with the number of online training options available these days, and you’ll be delighted with the career opportunities soon to be on the horizon.
There are plenty of options at your disposal when it comes to Digital Marketing courses and this shortlist of the top 5, will make your job easier. Here’s a quick recap:
- Simplilearn’s Digital Marketing Specialist Masters Program
- Coursera’s Digital Marketing Specialization
- Udacity’s Digital Marketing Nanodegree
- Digital Marketing Institute’s Masters in Digital Marketing
- Simplilearn’s SEO Specialist Masters Program
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