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10 digital marketing courses to improve your skills and grow your business

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10digital marketing courses to improve your skills in 2022
1For an all-encompassing introduction: The fundamentals of digital marketing course by Google
2For a snappier introduction to the basics: Semrush’s Digital Marketing for SMBs with Greg Gifford
3For expert insight into content-driven search marketing: Semrush’s Content-Led SEO with Brian Dean
4To learn (almost) everything about content marketing: CMI University
5To master your business use of Facebook and Instagram: Meta’s Blueprint e-learning platform
6For a comprehensive understanding of social media as a marketing tool: DMI’s Social Media Marketing course
7To harness the unrivaled power of email: CXL’s Email marketing course
8To get started with PPC: LinkedIn’s Learning PPC with Google Ads lesson
9To build a solid strategy: The University of Edinburgh’s Digital Marketing Strategy course
10For assessing and optimizing your performance: Google’s Measure Your Marketing with Google Analytics course
What to look for in an online digital marketing course
Final thoughts

The most successful digital marketers never stop learning. They’re hungry to hone old skills, learn new ones and keep on top of evolving trends.

Where do marketers (experienced and new) go to upskill, then? One study from Future Learn found that 81% of respondents who’d changed careers since the start of the pandemic did so with help from online courses.

The learning landscape for marketers is complex; it’s difficult to know what’s worth your investment. There are hundreds of digital marketing courses promising to help you grow as a marketer, and what works for one learner may not benefit you.

In this article, we’ll look at 10 courses you can take to refresh old skills, learn a new one or understand digital marketing better. We will then show you how to compare the options and choose your next steps.


10 digital marketing courses to improve your skills in 2022

To save you spending hours trawling hundreds of online course landing pages, we’ve gathered some starting points to consider.

In no particular order, here are 10 of the best digital marketing courses in 2022, covering a range of disciplines, skill levels and time demands.


1. For an all-encompassing introduction: The fundamentals of digital marketing course by Google

Given its influence over the internet, Google is a great place to learn about digital marketing.

Google Digital Garage is one of the search company’s learning platforms and “Fundamentals of digital marketing” is its most well-rounded, accessible and comprehensive course. It’s accredited by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), so you can demonstrate to clients, employers and managers that you’re trained to high standards.

Modules: 26 units covering search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), social media, online advertising, mobile marketing, content marketing, email marketing, video, website analytics and e-commerce.

Target audience: Beginners looking to gain a basic but well-rounded understanding of the digital marketing tools and techniques available.

Teaching methods: Unlimited access to a mix of recorded video tutorials, practical exercises and real-world examples.

Certification: Learners gain certification by passing a 40-question exam when ready.

Course length: 40 hours, self-paced.

Cost: Free (with a Google account).


2. For a snappier introduction to the basics: Semrush’s Digital Marketing for SMBs with Greg Gifford

Very short and just as sharp, this one-hour digital marketing course for beginners gives learners with little-to-no digital experience a high-level view of what it takes to grow a small to medium-sized business (SMB) online.

It provides a great starting point for small business owners and newbie marketers who plan to delve deeper once they’ve got a basic understanding.

Semrush also offers more detailed SEO courses, making it easy to find a learning path in this area.

Modules: 10 introductory modules covering topics like websites, email marketing, SEO, search advertising, retargeting, social media and competitive analysis.

Course length: One hour, self-paced.

Target audience: Business owners and new marketers with little-to-no digital marketing experience.

Teaching methods: Video lessons with Greg Gifford (Vice President of Search at SearchLab) with handpicked research materials for further reading and a 15-question quiz.

Certification: Learners are given a certificate after passing the 15-question exam.

Cost: Free (with a Semrush or Google account).


3. For expert insight into content-driven search marketing: Semrush’s Content-Led SEO with Brian Dean

Semrush's Content-Led SEO course takes a step further into SEO, focusing on content creation. It’s ideal for those who understand digital marketing, know how search engines work and want to get their content to the top of Google’s results pages (SERPs).

The course’s leader is a significant selling point: Brian Dean is an SEO expert and the founder of Backlinko, a marketing insights newsletter with more than 170,000 subscribers.

Modules: 28 modules covering subjects such as content creation, copywriting, content promotion, link building and user experience.

Course length: Four hours, self-paced.

Target audience: Marketers and business owners who want to drive more traffic to their websites by creating search-friendly content.

Teaching methods: On-demand video tutorials led by Brian Dean with supporting worksheets and actionable tips.

Certification: Learners are given a certificate after passing the 15-question exam.

Cost: Free (with a Semrush or Google account).


4. To learn (almost) everything about content marketing: CMI University

Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI’s) CMI University is a more in-depth training program covering all aspects of content marketing. Its curriculum continually evolves to account for industry trends and changes, too, so you won’t have to worry about learning outdated methodologies or skills that are no longer useful.

As well as having an incredibly detailed core curriculum and plenty of additional content, CMI University is delivered by industry experts from a range of business and marketing backgrounds. CMI Chief Strategy Advisor Robert Rose created and now leads the program.

Modules: Ten core modules covering content strategy, audience personas, narrative structure, storytelling and performance measurement. A further 23 elective modules focus on topics like building loyalty, Google Analytics, video content, social media, marketing automation and email.

Course length: An advertised 30+ hours of course content, self-paced with 12 months from enrollment to completion of the core modules.

Target audience: Individuals and teams at all levels who want to learn the foundations of content marketing and keep up with its trends.

Teaching methods: A series of instructor-led videos with transcripts, slideshows and exercises, followed by module-specific quizzes.

Certification: Learners receive a certificate of completion after completing all mandatory courses and quizzes.

Cost: $995 for individual learners, with discounts for returning learners, groups, nonprofits and students.


5. To master your business use of Facebook and Instagram: Meta’s Blueprint e-learning platform

Meta Blueprint (sometimes still known as Facebook Blueprint) is an e-learning platform for Facebook and Instagram business users.

While Blueprint’s many mini-courses won’t give you a rounded knowledge of digital marketing, they will help you get the most out of two of the sector’s most powerful platforms.

Modules: 30+ individual mini-courses, organized into topics such as “increase online sales”, “target the right audience” and “measure ad performance”.

Course length: Mini-courses vary from 10–50 minutes, self-paced.

Target audience: Business owners and digital marketing professionals at all levels who use Facebook and Instagram to share content, build communities and promote products with Facebook Ads. Content ranges from the beginner’s “How to Create a Facebook Page” to the more advanced “Measure and Analyze Community Success”.

Teaching methods: A mix of text, imagery and video content for each module, with “Knowledge Check” quizzes to finish. Real-world small business owners deliver some of the video lessons.

Certification: Learners receive a certificate of completion after completing the entire e-learning program and can become fully “Meta-certified” by taking additional, in-depth exams.

Cost: The e-learning platform is free to access (with a Facebook account), while Meta Certification exams cost up to $150 each.


6. For a comprehensive understanding of social media as a marketing tool: DMI’s Social Media Marketing course

The DMI (Digital Marketing Institute) offers a range of courses to cover all areas of digital marketing. This Social Media Marketing course was devised “under the guidance” of marketing experts at Google, Coca-Cola and Facebook.

Modules: 10 modules covering areas such as social media strategy research and content, as well as specific platforms including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.

Course length: 25 hours (around six weeks), self-paced.

Target audience: Experienced digital sales and marketing professionals, consultants and business owners looking to become social media marketing specialists.

Teaching methods: Short mini-courses called “DMI Sprints”, each lasting 10–20 minutes, delivered via an online learning hub. Within these, you’ll find a mix of text articles, imagery and video content, with quizzes to finish.

Certification: After passing a two-hour exam at the end of the course, learners receive a “DMI Specialist” certification. Those wanting to go further can work towards a DMI Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Marketing.

Cost: $1,955 (sometimes discounted).


7. To harness the unrivaled power of email: CXL’s Email marketing course

For those wanting to maximize their email marketing benefits, this CXL Email marketing course covers everything from deliverability, accessibility and regulatory compliance to content crafting and automation.

It’s taught by Jessica Best, email expert and VP of Data-driven Marketing at Barkley. One reviewer found Jessica’s involvement to be one of the course’s advantages and wrote:

“The teacher was full of energy and enthusiasm. She makes it 10 times easier to understand and remember the information.”

Modules: Four modules covering “Email Marketing Basics”, list optimization, copy and design optimization and data-driven personalization.

Course length: Four hours, self-paced.

Target audience: Beginner and mid-level marketers who want to learn how to grow their subscriber base fast and use data to guide their email campaigns.

Teaching methods: A series of video tutorials delivered by Jessica Best.

Certification: You’ll receive a CXL Institute “Certificate of Achievement” upon completion.

Cost: $1 for a seven-day trial with CXL. After that, full accounts cost approximately $1,500 per year, $530 per quarter or $290 per month. All accounts provide access to this and over 90 other digital marketing courses.

For more email marketing course recommendations, read our article: Improve your skills with these email marketing courses.


8. To get started with PPC: LinkedIn’s Learning PPC with Google Ads lesson

If you’re new to pay-per-click (PPC) advertising (also known as paid search), this Google-focused introductory course from LinkedIn is a great starting point.

In it, entrepreneur and marketing strategy expert Duane Brown shows you how to build a traffic-boosting PPC campaign from scratch. He explains how to research suitable keywords and write dynamic ad copy to get more clicks and conversions, ultimately boosting your ROI.

Modules: Four core modules including an introduction to PPC and lessons on keyword research, writing ad copy, launching your first campaign and campaign optimization.

Course length: One hour, self-paced.

Target audience: Business owners and marketers who have little-to-no PPC knowledge and want to learn how to use Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) to increase traffic to their websites.

Teaching methods: A series of video tutorials, slideshows and real-life examples presented by Duane Brown, with quizzes to test your knowledge.

Certification: Learners receive a LinkedIn “Certificate of Completion” after completing the course.

Cost: $29.99 or free with a one-month trial to LinkedIn Learning.


9. To build a solid strategy: The University of Edinburgh’s Digital Marketing Strategy course

Digital marketing skills are useless without a solid strategy, but this Digital Marketing Strategy course from edX and the University of Edinburgh will show you how to create a great one.

University of Edinburgh Digital Marketing and Analytics lecturer Ewelina Lacka will walk you through the ever-evolving digital landscape and show you how to plan and create compelling content that puts you ahead of your competitors.

Modules: There are eight weekly lessons with module titles such as “The impact of digital on product”, “Changes in technology a marketer has to be aware of”, “The persona and its journey” and “Competitor analysis”.

Course length: Eight weeks (estimate based on four to six hours per week), self-paced.

Target audience: Business owners and marketers who want to build an organized marketing effort using existing skillsets.

Teaching methods: A series of video lessons presented by Ewelina Lacka, with a “Final Project” at the end of the course.

Certification: Learners on the verified version of the course (paid) receive a certificate upon completion. You can also pair it with the more basic Introduction to Marketing course to achieve edX’s Digital Marketing Fundamentals Professional Certificate for around $350 full price (sometimes on promotion).

Cost: Free to take without certification. A “Verified” version comes with a shareable digital marketing certificate and unlimited access to course materials for $199.


10. For assessing and optimizing your performance: Google’s Measure Your Marketing with Google Analytics course

Website analytics is where you’ll learn how effective your digital marketing efforts are, and Google Analytics, with its near-endless website metrics, is among the most useful and popular tools.

Google’s Analytics Academy is a great e-learning hub for marketers at every level; however, it focuses on Universal Analytics (the third iteration of the platform), which Google is gradually replacing with Analytics 4. That means that some of what you learn in Analytics Academy could soon become (or already be) outdated.

If you’re new to marketing analytics, you’ll be going straight in with Google’s latest tool, and the Measure Your Marketing course shows complete beginners how to use it.

Modules: There are four sections, each with short tutorials (two to seven minutes) showing you how to navigate the basic features of Google Analytics 4.

Course length: 50 minutes, self-paced.

Target audience: Business owners and marketers who are new to web analytics and want to measure the performance of their marketing campaigns.

Teaching methods: A guided tour of Google Analytics 4 with step-by-step instructions and access to a demo account for practicing.

Certification: No.

Cost: Free (with a Google account).


What to look for in an online digital marketing course

You’ll see from our recommendations that no two digital marketing courses are the same. Each takes its own approach to providing value, which can make choosing one difficult.

Whether you’re a marketing manager or someone looking for a new career, the main factors to consider when deciding which digital marketing course is best for you are:

Course content

Start by listing the skills you want to learn to find a course with the right content. If you think you’ve found a great program, cross-check its modules with your list and make sure there aren’t any prerequisites that stop you from signing up.

The courses you encounter will vary in detail and target different audiences. For your first foray into a topic, whether it’s online marketing in general or a specific area like SEO or display advertising, look for curriculums that begin with high-level introductions and definitions.

Course length

Some courses take one day to complete, while others run for months.

Fast-track programs have their place and can be valuable in the right circumstances (as a quick refresher or to help you choose your next learning steps), but you can only learn so much in such a short period, so expect limited detail.

A longer course should dive deeper into its subject areas while also giving you time to practice and test what you learn as you go.

Time demands (self-paced vs. live learning)

Even longer courses can fit around professional and personal commitments if they’re self-paced, as you’ll be able to log in and learn at times that suit you.

On the other hand, a course with live online classes will require you to be available at certain times to take part in lectures, discussions and collaborative work.

Teaching methods

All online courses teach in slightly different ways.

Most will be text-based, video-based or they’ll use a mix of different media content. Some come with visual resources like PDFs and infographics, and some provide access to online communities (e.g. through Slack or Facebook groups) so you can chat and collaborate with peers.

Bear the differences in mind and consider how you learn best when choosing a course.

If constant achievements will help you to stay engaged and to know you’re on the right track, pick a course with quizzes. If you’re better at absorbing information when reading, a text-heavy course may be better.

Cost

It’s not difficult to find a digital marketing course free online but don’t completely discount paid-for digital marketing training.

Sometimes it’s worth paying an affordable enrollment fee to get onto an established program with a reputable course leader and recognized qualifications. If you’re learning live, you might find that students on paid courses are more committed to collaborative work and valuable discussion.

Other helpful deciding factors

Choose a digital marketing course the same way you’d choose a product to buy. Take recommendations from colleagues and others in your industry, look for relevant case studies and factor in the course provider’s reputation and track record before committing.

Independently published online reviews can be helpful, too, as long as they go beyond describing a course as “amazing” or “terrible”. Look out for advice that’s practical and describes tangible benefits or specific pitfalls.

The following review of Google’s Fundamentals of digital marketing course, posted by an Indeed job board user, quickly explains who the certification course is useful for:

“Great fundamentals course for those seeking to improve a brand with digital marketing. Thorough and easily navigated. Definitely recommend for those working with a small business that needs a good foundation to organize marketing functions”.


Final thoughts

There are many online courses available that can help you improve your digital marketing game across various digital marketing channels.

Choose one or more that give you the knowledge you need in ways that fit your preferred learning style and schedule and you’ll be ready to market your business effectively.

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