In 2018, state-of-the-art marketing techniques increasingly involve the internet. Direct mail, traditional television, and radio advertisements are decreasingly relevant, with younger generations spending many of their waking hours on their laptops. Marketers must know how to use social media and search engine optimization to drive traffic to companies' websites. Professionals can learn how to maximize these tools by earning a digital marketing degree.
A digital marketing degree can also help current marketing professionals reach higher levels within their companies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, marketing managers make a median annual salary of $129,380. Moreover, the BLS projects a 10% increase in marketing manager jobs by 2026. As such, a digital marketing degree is a potential investment in your future.
Should I Get a Bachelor's in Internet Marketing?
An internet marketing degree eschews more traditional academic fields as many digital marketing jobs barely existed 20, or even 10, years ago. Earning a bachelor's degree in internet marketing allows students to network with fellow marketers and explore job opportunities in the field with the support of a university. Many college marketing departments provide job placement assistance or maintain connections with organizations in the field for internships. Upon graduating with this degree, students can create digital advertising, marketing, and fundraising campaigns.
Students who pursue internet marketing degrees often have two delivery method options: online or on campus. Online programs tend to cater to working professionals. The typical profile for online students includes older students who are several years out of high school and students who live in remote areas without easy access to higher education. On-campus programs cater more to students who want to pursue a direct trajectory from high school to college to the digital marketing workforce.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Internet Marketing?
A digital marketing degree provides many possible career paths. Options include public relations, marketing, and management professions. No matter which professional path you choose, digital marketing requires individuals to collaborate with teams, work long and sometimes irregular hours, and have strong written and verbal communication skills. Most digital marketers work from an office setting for companies of all sizes, although some digital marketers work from home or as freelancers.
- Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Manager
These professionals oversee the marketing wing for different types of companies. They manage many kinds of workers, including art directors, salespeople, and accountants. A bachelor's degree is required for this position. Since the internet plays such a large role in marketing campaigns, a digital marketing degree can help applicants for this position distinguish themselves from the competition.
Median Annual Salary: $129,380*
Fundraisers organize and manage campaigns and events for nonprofit organizations or political campaigns. All fundraisers must have at least a bachelor's degree.
Median Annual Salary: $55,640*
- Sales Manager
Sales managers oversee salespeople in the execution of daily, monthly, and quarterly goals. Most sales managers need at least a bachelor's degree and some experience as a salesperson. Professionals with a digital marketing degree can stand out in employment searches for these positions.
Median Annual Salary: $121,060*
- Public Relations Specialist
These professionals help companies execute marketing or public relations strategies, often under the supervision of a marketing manager. This position provides a good entry-level option for students with a bachelor's in internet marketing degree.
Median Annual Salary: $59,300*
- Public Relations and Fundraising Manager
These professionals manage and direct other public relations professionals and have decision-making power over campaigns and marketing materials. These managers need at least a bachelor's degree, and sometimes a master's degree.
Median Annual Salary: $111,280*
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
How to Choose a Bachelor's in Internet Marketing Program
When differentiating between bachelor's in internet marketing programs, many students zero in on two factors: location and cost. This makes sense because students should not enroll in programs that they cannot afford, and a college's location can play a large role in postgraduate job opportunities and a student's happiness.
However, prospective digital marketing students should consider other key factors to help them differentiate between programs and make a decision. Below, we highlight some of those key factors.
Students should search their prospective program's curriculum for practicum/internship requirements, capstone experiences, and concentrations.
- Program Length
Whether or not a school offers part-time or full-time study makes the biggest difference in determining program length. Program length can greatly affect program cost if the school charges tuition by semester. As such, part-time students should enroll in schools that charge tuition per credit.
- Delivery Method
On-campus programs often cater to students who want to progress directly from high school to college to the workforce. Online programs in digital marketing are often ideal for working professionals.
Programmatic Accreditation for Bachelor's in Internet Marketing Programs
Prospective digital marketing students should not enroll in a program at a school that has not earned regional accreditation. Regional accreditation consists of a thorough vetting process carried out by one of six geographic regional accrediting bodies. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation approve of these six bodies. Employers may not recognize degrees from schools without regional accreditation, and these degrees may not count as valid documents.
The Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) oversees programmatic accreditation for the field's degrees; however, while the DMI seal of approval adds value to a program, it has not yet reached a level of prevalence to make it an absolute necessity for students.
Bachelor's in Internet Marketing Program Admissions
On a macro level, admissions processes for on-campus programs share many commonalities. Students must submit an application, which typically includes personal essays, transcripts, and recommendation letters. Many programs also require students to submit standardized test scores, although this requirement has become less prevalent at the undergraduate level in recent years.
The admissions process for online programs differs slightly from on-campus programs. The process for online admissions occasionally requires more involvement, as some programs require an interview with prospective online students, while others provide applicants with one-on-one admissions counseling. Prospective undergraduate digital marketing students should apply to at least three schools to ensure admission, whether they are pursuing an online or on-campus program. In addition, all prospective students should apply to at least one “safety school,” where they are confident of gaining admission.
- Minimum GPA: Many undergraduate programs require a minimum 2.5 high school GPA. Some schools waive this requirement for applicants who demonstrate outstanding performance in another area, such as standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, or extracurricular activities.
- Application: Application forms often consist of two sections: personal information and essays. While the personal information section does not take long to complete, students should set aside at least eight to 10 hours to create, write, and edit their essays. Many schools use the The Common App, a centralized application form that allows students to apply to multiple schools at once.
- Transcripts: A transcript lists the courses a student has taken and the corresponding grades they earned. Students should ask their high school registrar to send these transcripts to all prospective colleges. High schools typically do not charge students for this service.
- Letters of Recommendation: Students must submit at least two letters of recommendation to most programs. While letters from former teachers carry the most weight, students can also ask former coaches or employers for a recommendation. Students should ask for the letters at least two to three months before the deadline.
- Test Scores: Many schools still require applicants to submit ACT or SAT Scores. Students should take each test at least once. Minimum required scores vary by school and program.
- Application Fee: Most digital marketing applications cost between $25 and $90. Applicants who demonstrate financial need may receive a waiver for this requirement at some schools.
What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's in Internet Marketing Program?
The details of digital marketing programs differ from program to program. Many digital marketing programs share certain courses and concentrations. Below, we highlight some common courses and concentrations.
|Digital Marketing||Many internet marketing degrees are actually communications degrees with a digital marketing concentration. Students receive thorough knowledge in digital marketing, including advertising campaigning, copywriting, and social media strategy. Many graduates go on to work in digital marketing firms.||Social media manager|
|Copywriting||Students interested in digital marketing who demonstrate an aptitude for reading and writing should consider the copywriting concentration. Students learn about creating many different written marketing materials, how to perform keyword research, and best practices based on case studies.||Copywriter|
|Advertising||Students in this concentration prepare to work in advertising firms. They practice creating marketing and advertising campaigns from start to finish using data and analytics to evaluate the success of those campaigns. Students learn about advertisements in all media, including print, digital, radio, and television.||Advertising account manager|
|Mass Communications||This concentration prepares students for public-facing roles, offering a broader option than a typical digital marketing degree. Students may explore fields such as public relations and journalism in addition to advertising, which provides diverse career options upon graduation.||Communications officer, public relations specialist|
|Social Media Strategy||This course of study prepares graduates to run social media operations for companies of different sizes. Students learn about search engine optimization, keyword research, and best practices when posting on social media. Students also learn about relevant data and analytics to evaluate success.||Social media strategy|
Courses in a Bachelor's in Internet Marketing Program
Each internet marketing program aims to differentiate itself from others. As such, many programs offer unique courses that may help students decide between one school and another. However, each program must also cover the same core competencies, so all digital marketing programs offer similar core courses, even if their other offerings differ. We outline some of those core courses below.
- Social Media Strategies
Students in this class learn a comprehensive approach to social media campaigns by focusing on each stage of the campaign: design, execution, and evaluation. Students learn how to use data and research -- especially keyword research -- to create campaigns that convert.
- Advertising Campaigns
Often a capstone course at the conclusion of a student's time in a program, this course asks students to create a digital marketing campaign. Students use the knowledge they gained throughout the program to create a real-world campaign that they can show to prospective employers as part of their portfolio.
- Professional Ethics in Advertising
Students discuss what does and does not constitute ethical behavior in the professional world of advertising. The course accomplishes this goal through case studies and analyzing how advertiser behavior impacts industries, agencies, and clients.
- Copywriting for Advertising
In this course, students receive a broad introduction to copywriting for all media, digital and otherwise. Students workshop their creative writing abilities, learn about layout and copy, and analyze case studies to determine effective advertising language. A basic writing course is a typical prerequisite for this class.
- Media Graphics
Students learn how to use and combine design, type, and layout in electronic and print publications to create effective advertisements. The course combines theoretical elements (e.g. color theory) with hands-on applications (e.g. case studies and projects) to advance student knowledge.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor's in Internet Marketing?
Most internet marketing bachelor's degrees take around four years of full-time study and 120 credits to complete. However, several factors can cause completion times to deviate from those standards. For example, some programs offer part-time curricula that allow students to take fewer courses per semester and graduate in five or six years. Additionally, some schools offer accelerated programs that allow students to double up on credits and earn their degrees faster.
In online programs, delivery method can affect completion times. Synchronous programs typically offer more defined completion times since they provide a set schedule and increased accountability; however, students in asynchronous programs can often finish their degrees faster by working through coursework at their own pace.
How Much Is a Bachelor's in Internet Marketing?
A bachelor's degree in internet marketing often costs between $40,000 and $120,000.
Several factors affect how much a digital marketing degree costs. Whether a student opts for an on-campus or online program makes the biggest difference. On-campus study includes additional fees, including housing, technology, and activities fees. Some colleges require first-year students to purchase a meal plan. On the other hand, several schools allow out-of-state online students to pay in-state tuition, or at least a reduced tuition rate.
Certifications and Licenses a Bachelor's in Internet Marketing Prepares For
- Certified Internet Marketer
The Internet Marketing Association (IMA) created the CIM distinction to help digital marketing professionals stand out in their job searches. To earn the certification, applicants must pass the online certified marketing associate exam and attend at least one IMA networking event.
- Certified Digital Marketer
Awarded by the Digital Marketing Association, the certified digital marketer program collaborates with the University of California-Irvine to provide postgraduate coursework that leads to certification. The CDM also includes collaboration from Oxford College in the United Kingdom and the Australian College of Marketing.
- Google AdWords Search Certification
Students must create a Google Academy of Ads account to sit for the examination that leads to this certification. The examination covers topics in at least four areas: optimization, measurement, value proposition of online advertising, and campaign setup and management.
- Digital Marketer Certifications
Digital Marketer is a website that offers online classes. Current offerings include paid traffic mastery, content marketing mastery, conversion funnel mastery, social media mastery, email marketing mastery, and analytics and data mastery. Each course costs $495.
- Copyblogger Certified Content Marketer
For internet marketers focusing on copywriting and content marketing, Copyblogger offers a Certified content marketer course. Students learn the ins and outs of content marketing, including landing page writing, search engine optimization, and keyword research.
Resources for Internet Marketing Students
Copyblogger offers a blog with posts about different elements of content marketing, although the site primarily focuses on copywriting. The website also offers content marketing courses and certifications.
HubSpot is one of the nation's leading customer relations management software platforms, and it offers a blog with tips about content marketing.
MarketingProfs provides a one-stop-shop for marketing professionals, offering strategies, educational materials, events, and professional development. The website includes tips on social media and email marketing.
This site models best practices in search engine optimization, article writing, and title writing, providing a strong “mentor text” as an aspirational model for content marketing professionals.
This site provides data and research that forecasts future trends in media and digital marketing, keeping internet marketing professionals one step ahead of the curve. It operates using a subscription service model.
Professional Organizations in Internet Marketing
As internet marketing constitutes a relatively new field, its professionals continue to define its best practices, direction, and opportunities. As such, membership in a digital marketing professional organization offers particular value to students who can attend annual conferences, network with other members, read publications, take continuing education courses, earn certification, and use job boards through these groups.
Arguably the preeminent professional organization in the marketing industry, the AMA offers a digital division that provides access to publications, a job board, and trainings.
Founded in 2001, IMA's membership constituency includes sales, marketing, management, programming, and creative professionals. The organization offers certification, local chapters, and continuing education.
Though its core focus consists of advocacy efforts for data-driven marketing, the DMA also provides professional development courses in fields like copywriting, customer relationship management, and analytics, as well as networking opportunities.
Focusing specifically on search engine marketing, SEMPO provides resources, a membership directory for networking, and several hangouts and webinars throughout the fiscal year.
DMA operates globally, awarding diplomas in digital marketing and social media. The organization also offers training and useful links and events for members.