Why Choose a Digital Marketing Course?
With Google now processing over 3.5 billion searches per day, you’re far more likely to find new customers using digital marketing methods – such as email marketing and SEO (search engine optimization) tactics – than using traditional marketing methods like billboards or magazine ads.
While we can’t show you the digital marketing ropes ourselves, we can point you in the right direction. We’ve searched far and wide for the very best online marketing courses available today, comparing each one based on its price, topics covered, course length, assessments, and more. We’ll also discuss the most important digital marketing topics to give you a broader understanding of the industry.
After much consideration, though, we’ve whittled down our favorite courses to just five…
Best for Users Seeking a Marketing Managerial Position
- $2,450 for six courses in key areas
- 365 days of access to 75+ instructor-led online classes
- Aimed at digital marketing professionals seeking leadership roles
- Monthly mentoring sessions
- Learn about 40+ digital marketing tools
- Approx 4 months to complete at 10 hours per week
Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading online learning companies, having helped over one million professionals and companies across 150+ countries gain new skills and certifications. In a nutshell, Simplilearn offers one of the best digital marketing courses around.
Simplilearn boasts over 40 global accreditations, including the Training Industry’s Top 20 Online Learning Library Companies for 2019. Its Digital Marketing Specialist course is also accredited by the OMCP (Online Marketing Certified Professional).
What Does the Course Include?
Across six courses, you’ll gain a detailed understanding of eight key digital marketing disciplines: SEO, social media, PPC, CRO, digital analytics, content, mobile, and email marketing.
You’ll get individual certificates for each course you complete. The courses are as follows:
- SEO, Content Marketing, PPC, and Digital Analytics
- Social Media, Mobile Marketing, and Digital Strategy
- Advanced Web Analytics
- Advanced SEO
- Advanced PPC
- Advanced Social Media
Once you’ve completed the six courses, you’ll gain a Master’s Certificate, which will confirm your ability to spearhead the digital marketing campaigns in your company.
During your course, you’ll dive into 45+ projects, including simulation tasks created by Mimic Social in which you’ll create virtual digital marketing campaigns using virtual money, providing a virtual hands-on approach. Virtually amazing, huh?
Best for Flexible Studying Hours
- Access to modules costing $39-$79/month
- Seven online courses
- Beginner level
- Approx 4 months to complete at 10 hours per week
Does Coursera kick butt in the online marketing course world? Of course! Founded in 2012, Coursera now offers over 3,800 online courses in partnership with leading universities around the world.
What Does the Course Include?
Exploring several new developments in digital marketing, you’ll learn about social media marketing, 3D printing, digital marketing analytics, and much more.
Designed for beginners, each course takes about 32 to 40 hours over four weeks to complete. Once you’ve enrolled, you can subscribe to any or all of the seven courses, which are:
- Marketing in a Digital World – Examine how digital tools such as smartphones and 3D printing are revolutionizing the world of marketing.
- Digital Analytics for Marketing Professionals: Theory – Learn the strategy and theories behind effective data analytics.
- Digital Analytics for Marketing Professionals: Practice – Focuses on the practical application of the theories you learned in Course 2.
- Digital Media and Marketing Principles – Understand the most important processes of digital communication and how to engage with consumers.
- Digital Media and Marketing Strategies – Learn how to plan a brilliant digital marketing campaign.
- Marketing in an Analog World – Interactive online courses exploring how non-digital marketing methods have adapted to the rise of digital marketing.
- Digital Marketing Capstone – A six week project offered by the University of Illinois where you’ll put your learnings into practice and apply them to a real business problem.
Aimed at beginners, this course is much cheaper than the Simplilearn course above, charging between $39 and $79 for each of its seven classes. However, the Coursera online course does not include on-demand support, mentored guidance, or access to thought leaders in Digital Marketing, which are all features you’ll find on the Simplilearn online digital marketing course.
Best for Real Life Digital Marketing Campaign Experience
- $537 for the full program
- Alternatively, pay $199 per month and learn at your own pace
- Assigned mentor
- Approx 3 months to complete at 10 hours per week
- No digital marketing experience required
- Project assignments included in eight of the nine modules
- Personalized feedback on all your projects
Founded in 2011, Udacity’s name comes from the brand’s desire to be ‘audacious for you, the student’. And, given the 360-degree approach within the nanodegree – allowing it to leave no digital marketing campaign stone unturned – you’ll be most impressed by the company’s audaciousness.
What Does The Course Include?
The nanodegree is a full-immersion learning experience – Udacity actually offers the chance to work on real-life projects, where you get to run your own PPC and Facebook campaigns for products from your own existing company.
Unlike Simplilearn’s digital marketing course with its virtual campaigns, Udacity lets you build real campaigns that deliver real results. The Udacity modules and their corresponding projects are as follows:
- Marketing Fundamentals – Market either your own company’s product or a fake product provided by Udacity, and build a business model.
- Content Strategy – No assignment included.
- Social Media Marketing – You’ll write a blog about yourself, and share it on three social networks.
- Social Media Advertising with Facebook Blueprint – Similar to module 1, you’ll create, test, and improve a Facebook advertising campaign for your chosen product.
- SEO – You’ll audit either your own company’s website or a Udacity website to recommend a list of target keywords and evaluate the UX of the site.
- Search Engine Marketing with Google Ads – Create a Google Ads PPC campaign for your chosen product.
- Display Advertising – Evaluate the results of a display advertising campaign, and create a presentation on how to improve the campaign.
- Email Marketing – Plan and prepare an email campaign for your chosen product, writing emails and evaluating the results.
- Measure and Optimize with Google Analytics – Summarize all the digital marketing campaigns you’ve completed, and suggest improvements.
Throughout the nanodegree, you’ll also benefit from live Q&A sessions and forums with industry experts to provide personalized feedback on the projects you complete. This course is more hands-on than Coursera’s choice, and less expensive than the Simplilearn course.
Best for Becoming an Industry-Leading Expert
- Two-year, two-part program
- $11,515 for both programs
- Requires a third level honors degree in business/commerce/marketing
- Part one: 90 hours of coursework (60 weeks)
- Part two: 15,000-word thesis (52 weeks)
- 8-module curriculum
About Digital Marketing Institute (DMI)
Some of the Digital Marketing Institute’s 55,000 members work for Google, Facebook, Nike, Coca-Cola, Twitter, IBM, and other small brands. Need we say more?
This course demands much higher prerequisites than the other courses on this list, and charges far more money, but it does help you dive that much deeper into the realms of digital marketing expertise. This course is for professionals who want to become the go-to expert for other professionals.
What Does the Course Include?
Strap yourself in. Part one of the program consists of 90 hours of on-demand e-learning content, including video lectures and downloadable slides. On top of that, you’ll need to write two 5,000-word assignments and complete six modules, which cover:
- Communications and Consumers
- Search Engine Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Mobile Marketing
- Digital Strategy and Planning
- Ecommerce and Email
- Marketing and Services Management
- Digital Innovation
And that’s just part one. Part two involves writing a 15,000-word thesis, with help from academic mentors and a variety of webinars. This takes 52 weeks to complete.
As you can see, this course isn’t for the faint of heart. However, this course has been crafted by the Syllabus Advisory Council (filled with members from Google and Facebook) to help turn a professional marketer into a digital marketing guru, goddess, or god.
Best for University Students
- Aimed at students
- Google provides $250 Adwords budget
- Campaigns designed to help non-profit companies
About Google Ad Grants
You’ve probably heard of Google, so we shouldn’t need to convince you that this online marketing course oozes credibility. But how does it work?
Once a university professor has first registered, students form teams of two to five members and appoint a Team Captain. In order to qualify for the challenge, your team must complete seven modules, and then pass two exams: the Google Ads Search Certification and Measurement Certification. You’ll then request your chosen non-profit partner, who you’ll be running the four-week Google Ads campaign for.
It’s a lot of hurdles to clear, but it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for budding digital marketers undergoing any undergraduate or graduate program. Your team will be competing with others, with the team in first place winning a $15,000 donation from Google to the team’s non-profit partner.
What Does The Course Involve?
Using your Google Ads credit (up to $250), you will plan and execute online advertising campaigns for your chosen non-profit partner, over a period of at least four weeks.
Once the campaign is done, you’ll analyze your campaign’s performance and make recommendations to the non-profit partner on how they can continue to thrive in the digital space.
As mentioned earlier, your team will need to complete seven learning modules before taking on the two exams. Those modules are as follows:
- Google Academy for Ads – Bitesize courses on Google’s ad products, and an assessment to become Google Ads Certified.
- The Digital Garage – Free courses covering 26 topics; once you’ve completed them all and unlock each badge, you’ll earn the Digital Garage Certificate of Online Proficiency.
- Google Best Practices – Killer tips and advice on search engine marketing tactics.
- Tips for Success with Google Ad Grants – Tips on how to structure your Google Ad account, and how to create effective ads.
- Analytics Academy – Free courses on Google Analytics.
- Primer App by Google – Free mobile app offering five-minute lessons to complete whenever you like.
- Think with Google Tools – Learn about Google’s tools, such as Google Trends and Shopping Insights.
This online digital marketing course from Google is free to enroll on, has a competitive edge, offers real-life digital marketing experience, and helps non-profit organizations build an online presence – it’s the full package. However, it’s only eligible for university students.
The digital universe is a wonderfully complex space. That’s why digital marketing takes many forms, which will each suit different businesses, products, and services. Below, we’ll briefly discuss the areas of digital marketing you’re likely to come across on your digital marketing course of choice.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO involves improving the visibility of your website to search engine users. Using various organic (i.e. non-paid) methods, you can bring more visitors to your website by making your website appear higher on the search engine results page.
One of the most common SEO methods involves using keywords (popular search terms related to your industry) in your written content, so that your search engine users can find your content more easily. Plus, there are over 200 factors that can affect the ranking position of your website on the Google results page.
Getting your SEO methods right can pay dividends, which is why you’ll find SEO courses available as part of nearly every online marketing course.
On the first page of Google results alone, the first five organic links (those that aren’t adverts) account for 67.60% of all the clicks! All in all, well-planned SEO can help any business that owns a website grow massively online.
Email marketing is all about sending commercial messages to any number of people, via email. Each email you send has a purpose, whether it’s to encourage return purchase, ask for donations, or provide information about a product or service.
On average, email marketing has a 4400% ROI (return on investment), which means for every dollar you spend, you’ll get $4,400 in return. Also, with 49% of all emails opened on mobile devices, email marketing enables you to send your brand messages directly to the pockets of everyone in your mailing list – which is why nailing your email campaigns is one of our top digital marketing tips for 2020.
Social Media Marketing
Today, there are 3.725 billion active social media users. Advertising on social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, can expose your business to an extraordinarily large audience. Social media will also, most likely, take up a sizable chunk of your digital marketing training.
You can use these social platforms to promote your business in many ways. For instance, you can build brand awareness through humorous memes, increase the number of visitors to your website through engaging video content, or increase sales by connecting your online store. When it comes to making money on social media, the possibilities are endless.
Also known as paid advertising, PPC is an advertising model in which your business pays Google or a social media platform, depending on where you’re advertising, each time an internet user clicks on your link. PPC is one of the most effective ways to market your products online.
The price you pay per click will depend on how often the term or phrase is searched for, but it usually costs around $0.50–$1.50 for each click. Think of PPC like an auction – your business ‘bids’ a certain amount of money in order to have your website appear higher up than your competitors. The more you bid, the higher your page will appear.
Let’s say you run a vintage bicycle website, and you want your website to appear higher on the Google results page. You can bid to the auctioneer, Google, for search terms related to your business, e.g. “vintage bicycles”, and as long as you’re bidding more than the competition, Google will accept your bid and grant your website a higher position whenever a user searches for that term.
CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization)
Whether your goal is to have your website visitors purchase an item, sign up to your newsletter, or submit contact details, you need them to complete that action. That action is called a conversion.
CRO helps to increase the percentage of visitors that complete any desired action on your website, doing so by testing changes. Generally, this is done by improving the user experience (UX), e.g. using different colors on your buttons to encourage more clicks, or making your subscribe button more easy to find, among many other tactics.
Yes there are, but you can never guarantee the quality of free online courses. The best free online digital marketing course we found was Google’s Online Marketing Challenge, which is aimed at students. Otherwise, you’re better off choosing one of the cheaper courses out there, such as Coursera’s course, if you’re money-conscious.
Mastering SEO (search engine optimization), pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, and social media advertising would be the most effective method for expanding your customer base or audience. However, the most important digital marketing channels for your business depends on which channels your audience is using most.
Ideally, you want your online digital marketing course to offer things like self-paced training videos, expertly-led webinars, a variety of assignments to give you real experience, regular feedback on your projects, and credible certifications to help you further your digital marketing career.