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Paid Media and Digital Advertising Salary Snapshot

Author: Phill Stott
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As part of our Salary Snapshot Series, we’ve been sharing with you the average salaries for a wide range of roles across marketing, digital and technology. 

Last week Forward Role was thrilled to sponsor the Paid Media and Digital Advertising Leaders Masterclass, held at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. And so, our series continues with a look at how much those in the world of paid media and digital advertising are paid, on average, in the North of England.


For graduates starting out in their career, the two main entry level roles available within the paid media and digital advertising space are PPC Assistant and Digital Marketing Assistant. Although almost identical in salary, £19,333 per year on average, the main difference between the two is the amount of variety within the role – PPC Assistants will focus exclusively on Pay Per Click campaigns, whereas Digital Marketing Assistants will also be required to support across SEO, social media, content and web.

Like many areas of online marketing, paid media and digital advertising is a candidate short market, meaning graduates can usually move up to the next level after just 6-12 months. Once at Executive level the average salary goes up to £26,666 with the opportunity to specialise. Here we typically find that those in Paid Search roles earn slightly more than broader Digital Marketing Executives who cover various online channels.

Senior Executives are usually those with between 2 and 4 years’ experience, who can support the more junior members in the team through mentoring and coaching. At this level it’s often Senior PPC Executives and Senior Paid Search Executives who will earn slightly more but generally speaking, Senior Executives within this space earn on average £32,450.

Once those working in the paid media and digital advertising industry get to management level, we see a more noticeable difference in salary across the different specialisms. PPC Managers, Paid Media Managers and Digital Acquisition Managers earn over £10,000 more, on average, than Paid Social Managers (£36,250) and Display/Programmatic Managers (£36,941). This is largely down to paid search being a much more technical area than paid social and a result of businesses generally investing more on this marketing channel as a whole. Affiliate Marketing Managers sit somewhere in the middle with average earnings of £41,416.

Going up the career ladder another level there are three main job roles; Head of Paid Media, Head of Performance Marketing and Head of Affiliates. Whereas the latter earn £60,125 on average, the former two are very similar roles and have a combined average salary of £83,147. The reason for this £23,022 difference is that Heads of Paid Media / Performance Marketing have much larger remits, looking after PPC, display, paid social, programmatic, affiliates and shopping channels. Heads of Affiliates will be responsible for just affiliates and partnerships.

Finally we come to Acquisition Directors and Performance Marketing Directors who are responsible for entire teams, business strategy and overall output. On average we find that Directors at this level earn £110,333.

All of the salaries mentioned in this research are an average, based on data we’ve collected from all of the candidates and clients we work with. Depending on the size of the organisation, sector, number of years’ experience and number of direct reports, salaries can vary. If you’d like to find out more, or have a query around salary expectations, please get in touch with our team.

Phill Stott is Digital Recruitment Lead at Forward Role, he can be found tweeting @forwardrole_ps and on LinkedIn.

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