Digital Marketing Vs. Data Analytics – Which Career Should I Choose?

Digital marketing and digital analysis are both reputable professional fields that are in high demand as career choices and feature handsomely paid jobs.

Digital marketing is more of a creative career that mostly focuses on marketing products and services on the Internet using various marketing techniques and platforms.

On the other hand, data analytics is more of a technical career that focuses on collecting, storing, and analyzing data for large businesses helping them understand their consumers better and making well-informed decisions.

While both careers do not act as substitutes for each other, they do complement each other at times. For example, digital marketing helps data analysts collect data online, whereas data analysts help digital marketers understand the behavior of users on different marketing techniques.

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What Is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing refers to promoting and selling products and services on the internet- basically all the marketing that happens online. Just like traditional marketing, businesses with digital marketing also aim to approach their target market and inform and persuade them to buy from their business.

Digital marketers are thereby responsible for conducting this. While there are tons of marketing techniques that are used on the Internet, the most common digital marketing techniques that digital marketers use to promote and sell products and services on the Internet are as follows:

SEO: Search Engine Optimization refers to optimizing a website to rank high on search results. Digital marketers spend most of their time optimizing clients’ websites to appear higher on Google SERPs by doing On-Page and Off-Page SEO.

PPC Ads: Digital marketers run Pay-Per-Click ad campaigns that advertise their product and manage these campaigns to try and hit the most viewers and clicks possible.

Email Marketing: Digital marketers often rely on emailing a business’ target or existing market to promote their products and services.

Content Management: Digital marketers write and manage the content of the business’ website by making sure it’s accurate, informative, attractive, and SEO-friendly.

Social Media Marketing: Digital marketers manage the social media pages of a business to promote their products and services on social media platforms and engage with their followers.

By conducting the above-mentioned and more marketing techniques, digital marketing revolves around marketing and advertising a business online through many means.

What Is Data Analytics?

Data analytics refers to analyzing a business’s raw data and converting it into useful information for management. Data analytics is a complex profession requiring professionals to collect, store, process, clean, and analyze data.

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Modern-age businesses use data analysis at every step of operations. This mostly involves- in layman’s terms- observing whatever happened in the past, making sense of it, and using it to better the business.

For example, a company selling sweaters budgeting for the winter quarter will analyze the budgets and sales of all previous winters the business has gone through to make the best and most well-informed decision for the current year.

Here’s what a data analyst does to the full extent:

Data Collection: Data analysts choose the most suitable platforms and means to collect data for a business that not only provides relevant data for their use but is also cost-effective.

Data Storage: Once data is collected, data analysts choose an appropriate location to store the data. In today’s digital world, this comprises choosing a cost-efficient online storage plan that is easily accessible and secure.

Data Processing: All collected data is then processed in a way most appropriate for the type of business that uses it. There are 4 popular methods of data processing: Centralized, Distributed, Batch, and Real-Time Processing.

Data Cleansing: Once a suitable data processing method is used, data analysts cleanse the available data to filter out all the stuff that does not fulfill the analysis requirements e.g. duplicate or incomplete entries.

Data analysis: And then, finally, data analysts analyze a given data to produce meaningful insights that are helpful for business operators and managers. There are 4 types of data analysis that can be produced: Descriptive, Diagnostic, Predictive, and Productive.

Differences Between Digital Marketing And Data Analytics

Digital marketing and data analytics are two completely different professions. When making a career-defining choice, you should always go with what you’re the most passionate about.

In addition to that, here are the other significant factors that you should consider before choosing your future career.

Education and Courses

Since data analytics and digital marketing require different skill sets, both of them have differences in education and training that are needed to become a professional.

Data analytics is a highly technical field that requires you to have an education in statistics, programming, and data visualization. The most common degrees that data analysts opt for are mathematics, computer sciences, and statistics.

Digital marketing on the other hand is more of a creative field that requires education in social sciences such as marketing, content creation, and customer behavior. Common degrees that digital marketers opt for are marketing, advertising, and communications. 

Competition and Demand

Data analytics and digital marketing both are fields that are enjoying substantial growth in this age, but there are some minor differences when we compare them side to side.

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Since data analytics is a specialized field that requires technical expertise, it has relatively less competition for jobs. However, demand for the profession is not only high but is seen to be growing rapidly with more and more companies making data reports a big factor in decision-making.

Digital marketing on the other hand is a creative field that is easier and more accessible to learn, which means there is more competition for jobs in the profession. However, with the high popularity of digital marketing in today’s age, the competition faces a high satisfying demand as well.

Future Prospects

Considering the growth in technology, the prospects for data analytics and digital marketing are positive. However, there are some differences in how their fields may be helpful in the future.

Data analytics is much needed in the future with new technologies and applications being introduced every day. Data analyst sub-niches like predictive analysis and data-driven decision-making are growing exponentially fueled by the innovative use of big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

Digital marketing also has a bright future but does show concern about being an extremely competitive profession. However, with how important digital marketing is for all companies of the modern age, digital marketing is only seeing an increase in demand every day with companies seeking better ways to approach their customers and grow their sales.


Both, data analytics and digital marketing accompany handsome salaries. However, for each case, the salary varies on factors like experience, location, and industry.

On average, data analysts earn around $76,000 a year.

On the other hand, according to Glassdoor, the average salary for digital marketers is around $63,000.

Since data analytics is a highly technical field with less competition, data analysts enjoy a slightly higher average salary than digital marketers.

But we’re only considering averages here. There are hundreds and thousands of digital marketers who earn more than data analysts or are even millionaires in somecases.

How To Get Started With Digital Marketing

If you’re leaning towards a career in digital marketing, here’s what you need to do to get started.

  1. Develop a strong understanding of digital marketing: Familiarize yourself with the key concepts and techniques of digital marketing by taking courses or getting a degree in a relevant field.
  2. Choose your area of specialization: Since digital marketing is a broad field with many sub-niches, a good starting practice is to identify your interests and start specializing in each field one by one. 
  3. Build a portfolio: A strong portfolio that proves your digital marketing skills to be effective will help you land top employers and clients. The best way to do this is by starting a blog.
  4. Gain practical experience: Look for opportunities to gain practical experience in digital marketing. Internships and entry-level positions in digital marketing are fairly easy to secure.
  5. Stay up-to-date: Digital marketing is a rapidly evolving industry that is prone to changes and developments. The best way to do this is by joining digital marketing forums.
  6. Network with professionals: Networking is an important part of building a career in digital marketing. Build a strong connection by attending digital marketing events and participating in conferences to meet professionals in the field that could help you out for years to come!
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Even though digital marketing poses high competition, the field isn’t considered to be one of the most difficult ones to grow in.

How To Get Started With Data Analytics

If you’re leaning towards data analytics, on the other hand, here’s everything you need to do to get started.

  1. Learn the basics: Familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of data analytics, including data collection, data processing, data analysis, and data visualization. The best way to do this is by getting a degree in Business Analytics.
  2. Develop your skills in statistics and programming: Data analytics makes use of many programming languages. Among the most common are Python, R, SQL, and SAS. Consider taking courses or tutorials in these languages to build your skills.
  3. Build a portfolio: Start by identifying a data set that you are interested in analyzing, and use your skills in statistics and programming to explore and analyze the data. Then, create visualizations and reports to communicate your findings. A strong portfolio helps you stand out to potential employers and clients.
  4. Gain practical experience: Internships and entry-level positions in data analytics aren’t difficult to secure, however, junior analysts have a tendency to be paid significantly less.
  5. Consider further education: While it is possible to enter the field of data analytics with a bachelor’s degree, some employers may prefer candidates with advanced degrees in fields like data science, statistics, or computer science. Consider pursuing further education to build your skills and increase your job prospects.

Final Verdict – Which Is Better For You?

Considering everything mentioned above, it is ultimately your decision that makes either a better choice for you.

In summary, if you’re more interested in creative marketing, digital marketing may be more fun for you.

On the other hand, if you’re keen on data structures, analyses, and programming, data analytics may be the right choice for you.

Both careers will have challenges and rewards of a similar degree, so it’s best to stick with your passion.

Interested in more? Check out How Much Can A Fresher Earn In Digital Marketing?

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