Was 2018 a tough year for digital marketers?

To answer the question posed in the headline, yes – maybe a little. 

But not in a way that should have you worrying that you’ve chosen the wrong profession or anything. Far from it. 

In fact, the digital marketing scene and its practitioners are doing just fine in a financial sense. For proof, look to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which recently reported that industry revenue jumped a whopping 21 percent in 2017 to $88 billion. 

Revenue from social media advertising alone was projected to hit $51.3 billion in 2018. And the digital marketing industry as a whole?

Well, according to pqmedia, “global digital and alternative media revenues” are on pace to hit $496.08 billion in revenue this year. That’s a lot of money. 

All of this is to say that we’re not here to deliver bad news. On the contrary, all signs point to growth and lots of it. But digital marketing did experience some growing pains this year, and some new challenges surfaced for those of us in the field.


A new survey from WBR Insights and SheerID found that digital marketers reported feeling “under more pressure to meet acquisition and revenue goals than they did one year ago.”

Bummer. Why?

“Marketers are struggling with a noisy marketplace,” MarTechSeries says. The biggest of those “noises”? Achieving “competitive differentiation,” the report found. 

Translation: They had trouble proving to customers that they were different from the competition, that they had something unique to offer, or provided a value their competitors did not. 

So what do we do with this information?

First, we interpret it as a bit of a silver lining. It’s a sign of runaway growth in digital marketing — you might even call it a bit of a boom. 

This is undoubtedly a good problem to have (and should make us all feel just a little more confident in our choice of career), but all booms end, so it’s important to be smart now, not later, about how you conduct yourself and your business in this dynamic environment. The decisions could have lasting effects. 

Second, we look at how we can put that information to good use. As we’ve discussed before, there’s a lot of worthwhile things you can do as a digital marketer to set yourself apart from the competition.

Chief among them is creating good, valuable content (which we’ve discussed at length before – check out some of our useful tips right here) and hiring (or at least collaborating with) good people to make sure it has an impact. 

Of course, that’s just the beginning. If you want more insight into how to overcome the pressures of digital marketing, we’d love to hear from you and keep the conversation going. So reach out to Fluency Digital today and get a FREE consultation for your business.

Coming soon: Rounding up all those 2019 predictions.