16 All-Too-Real Struggles of a Digital Marketer

Working in digital marketing means you get to have a "So what does that mean?" conversation at every party you go to. We love this field and the wonderful adventures it provides, but it also comes with some challenges. Here's a humorous look at some of the things we encounter on a regular basis. 

1. "You're a social media expert?"

When people basically assume you have no education or formal training what so-ever, i.e. you see this costume circling the Internet. It hurts.

Real Struggles of a Digital Marketer

2. Google, why do you hide things?

When you discover the most amazing Google Analytics hack EVER and think to yourself “Why didn’t I know about this years ago?” Let’s be realistic here, they could have squeezed the easy shortcuts into the 900 pages of study guides, helpful articles or developers notes. It’s like a scavenger hunt, Google rewards the extremely ambitious. Isn’t that fun?

3. Facebook has ADD

When Facebook decides to create anything new and it turns into the never-ending menu of options that you never wanted in the first place. Take your pick: do you want to boost a post, promote it, place an advertisement, run an offer? We can serve it in the news feed, right-hand column, mobile only, or on our audience network. If you don’t want to upload your own ad we can throw it together real quick in Business Manager… or Power Editor.. wait, we can even do an Instagram ad in there now too. For the sake of our sanity Facebook: focus.

4. Google Drive goes down.

Pure panic erupts, work stops. STOPS. For those traditional folks there is an upside: we’re running a more efficient file storage system, everything is stored online and we have nothing stored on our computers so they run faster. But still, Google, it isn’t like you are Facebook, you can’t just “not work,” even if it is only for a few minutes.

5. Keeping up with technology that changes everyday.

The newly-graduated, all-knowing, every-app-having master of each and every social media platform, some of which, you didn’t even know existed. Instagram launches Boomerang and in seconds you realize you weren’t even aware Instagram did videos. You feel yourself blushing, embarrassed that you are clearly late to the party.

6. Email addresses, plural.

I don’t know about you, but it can get tricky operating out of approximately five different email accounts. This is spiraling out of control.

7. Tools and platforms galore.

Tools for keyword research, competitive search evaluation and competitive ad spend data. Platforms to tweet, platforms to monitor analytics and SEO performance. You know it has gotten a little out of control when there are businesses selling integrated dashboards made exclusively to aggregate all your platform data into one place. Put another way, as digital marketers, we have access to every piece of data about you and your online habits except your name.

Real Struggles of a Digital Marketer

8. Integrations, APIs anyone?

Speaking of all those tools and platforms, they all insist upon being tied and integrated to everything else. Somewhere, there is a huge massive web of connected things. In digital, we live to share, but man, you better hope there are good instructions because “Professional Integrations” aren’t always as easy as the checklist makes them sound.

9. Pixel me

If we really want to know how well those campaigns did and if they converted, we need to put a pixel on the page or the button. Let’s just say there is “Pixel Dust” everywhere. Thank goodness for GTM because development is never happy to hear they have to add another pixel somewhere.

10. Finding your dev buddy

Now this one is important, (especially if the last three applied to you) and it's a little different if you came from a traditional agency. It’s not worse or better than buying your graphic design team dinner or wooing them with gifts and compliments, it's just different. The bottom line is that if you haven’t buddied up with a dev guy or gal, it's going to be a struggle for a while.

11. So many passwords

I mean, you know we’ve got a lot of tools, logins, emails and access to social media sites, so naturally that means HUNDREDS of passwords. And because we know how sensitive the information is, we change them all the time. There is no possible way of memorizing all passwords that are used at a digital agency.

12. When your parents tell their friends you work for Google or some social media website like Facebook.

This one isn’t actually too bad and we let it slide because well, we would be honored.

13. Trying to explain the intricacies of why a website won’t be number one in search results the day it launches.

Yes, we did everything to optimize for SEO, but it does take some time for the search engines to index, for the content to catch on, to get people sharing, etc.

14. Ohhhh snap. I’m not in my Chrome account.

It’s Friday, you’re getting ready to head out for the weekend and want to check out that new Star Wars trailer, or the amazing houses people are building in Sims 4 and those crazy Minecraft scenes. Mmmhmm I like that, that is a 4-star house, Like, Like… Then your boss walks by and asks why the company just liked a string of REALLY nerdy YouTube videos. Whoops, you were in the wrong chrome window, with one of the five logins that isn’t yours.

15. Targeting options

Because is a newly engaged woman who just recently moved to Iowa, but is currently on an out-of-state vacation and likes cats going to be more engaged with my allergies article, or will a newly engaged woman who just recently moved to Iowa, likes cleaning products and cats and currently on an in-state vacation after renting an apartment going to like my allergies article better?

16. Images rejected by Facebook

Just stop for a second. How does this make any sense: I can target smokers, but I can’t show them an illustrated picture of a lung telling them about the dangers of smoking. Apparently that is considered singling them out, aka targeting. Catch 22.

Before you go, it is important to know that this article is all in good fun. As part of the digital advertising industry, we are exposed to some truly out-of-the-box thinking. We have to stay on our toes and are expected (rightly so) to be all-knowing about any digital topic. The cool part is that our team at Blue Compass embraces that mindset 100 percent, as I’m sure most digital aficionados do. We love the here and now, but get excited about the future and potential of the ever-changing world of digital marketing and advertising.

I respect the advertising of old (traditional) and realize the demand for experienced, tenured advertising execs. I also respect consumer demand, industry statistics, the growth of mobile usage and a plethora of other studies and findings that suggest digital’s presence is only getting stronger. According to data from ZenithOptimedia’s 2015 Media Consumption Report, there has been a 105% increase in online media consumption. The only other medium that has increased is outdoor by 3% while decreases were noted in consumption of TV (-8%), Radio (-15%), Magazine (-23%) and Newspaper (-31%).

TV and radio aren’t going to disappear, they’re getting smarter by moving their offerings online into the digital experience. These industries are adapting and we’re seeing people stream college football through ESPN apps on gaming consoles or streaming live coverage via’s newly released NFL Game Pass on computers. We’ve got iHeart Radio, Spotify, Pandora, Netflix and Hulu.

We have options, but are they being utilized to their full potential? People streaming the recent presidential debate on their phones saw three minutes of a still screen that read, “Network Commercial Break, Fox Business will Return Shortly.” The network and advertisers missed two hours of marketing to extremely engaged viewers, leaving them to stare at a blank screen during each commercial break. This is also the case with streaming NFL and ESPN; blank screens where advertising could be. There are many new frontiers to cover and I have to think these traditional-turned-digital advertising voids are waiting to be filled by the opportunistic digital agencies of the future.

There is also a role for the bright-eyed innovators who aren’t afraid of testing new marketing strategies. But let’s be clear on one thing; it takes a unique group of people to test these strategies, try out new technologies and determine if a trend is a fad or the wave of the future. It takes an expansive and incredibly in-depth knowledge about successful digital businesses to evaluate if the next shiny thing is worth an investment. Blue Compass knows that and that is why we dedicate time to learning, teaching, researching, training and certifications.

There are some people on our team here at Blue Compass that know every tiny detail about AdWords, but there are also people who know just as much about Bing, about technical SEO and schema, about Google Tag Manager, about Pinterest ads, about Instagram ads. It blows my mind sometimes. Our team spends so much time with these digital businesses that we have developed the ability to recognize faults in their programming and design, identify characteristics of one company that another needs to adapt, realize when digital companies start to get too similar and therefore lose their value.

Why as digital marketers do we have so many struggles? Because it is all new. Because we are blazing the trail for the next generation of advertising. Because we are taking it upon ourselves to figure out what works and where to spend our clients’ money. Because we have to protect the sincerity of quality ‘content’ so that we don’t end up with a new kind of “banner blindness” that ensued after the spammy mistreatment of display advertising. Because as innovators we hit walls, experience setbacks and do it all under the critical eye of establishment agencies. When really, we all just want to get along and stick to our areas of expertise.


Blue Compass News

Author Thumbnail for Stephanie Wubben
Stephanie Wubben

Stephanie is a strategic thinker. Challenging projects and situations drive her ambition to create thoughtful solutions for clients. With a background in market research, her love for measuring success and performance quickly led her into digital marketing where she endlessly tweaks and optimizes clients' campaigns until they're operating at peak performance.