Digital Marketing Industry Pricing Survey from Credo (updated 2019): Digital marketing consultant rates

Digital marketing consultant rates


The common question we get is whether it is cheaper to hire an agency or a consultant, and for a long time the answer has been “it depends”.

This is still true, as it depends on the service you need, the firm’s years of experience and specialty, how full they are with work, and so on.

But in the interest of answering the question “how much do digital marketing consultants charge?”, we took a stab at it with our data from the 2019 digital marketing pricing survey.

The survey had 104 solo consultant respondents worldwide, with 55 in the US and the rest spread around the world.

When we normalize the data using the middle number of each range, we can find the average hourly rates for digital marketing consultants.

The average hourly rate for digital marketing consultants worldwide is $140.29 per hour.

The average hourly rate for US-only digital marketing consultants is $161.57.

As you will see below, the takeaways for this section are:

  • 41.25% of worldwide consultants charge less than $100 per hour;
  • 27.28% of US consultants charge less than $100 per hour;
  • 54.54% of US consultants charge between $101-$200 per hour;
  • 18.18% of US consultants in our dataset charge over $200 per hour and 2.88% charge more than $500 per hour.

Digital marketing consultant hourly rates

Let’s look at the digital marketing consultant hourly rates, shall we?

Digital marketing consultant hourly rates worldwide

Here is the breakdown of reported hourly rates worldwide for digital marketing consultants:

The raw data:

Hourly Rate Count All consultants
Under $50 10 9.62%
$51-$100 33 31.73%
$101-$150 24 23.08%
$151-$200 21 20.19%
$201-$300 10 9.62%
$301-$500 2 1.92%
$501+ 3 2.88%
Don’t bill hourly 1 0.96%

Digital marketing consultant hourly rates (US)

Here is the breakdown of reported hourly rates for US-based digital marketing consultants:

The raw data:

Hourly Rate Count US consultants
Under $50 2 3.64%
$51-$100 13 23.64%
$101-$150 15 27.27%
$151-$200 15 27.27%
$201-$300 5 9.09%
$301-$500 1 1.82%
$501+ 3 5.45%
Don’t bill hourly 1 1.82%

Consultant rates by years doing marketing

Here are the consultant rates (worldwide) by years doing marketing:

Pricing Count of Average hourly rate
Under $50 10
1-3 1
3-5 5
5-10 2
10+ 2
$51-$100 33
Less than 1 1
1-3 2
3-5 2
5-10 16
10+ 12
$101-$150 24
1-3 1
5-10 10
10+ 13
$151-$200 21
3-5 2
5-10 4
10+ 15
$201-$300 10
3-5 1
5-10 2
10+ 7
$301-$500 2
10+ 2
$501+ 3
10+ 3
Don’t bill hourly 1
10+ 1

Not surprisingly, the more senior someone gets the more they tend to charge.

Takeaways:

  • There are no consultants in our dataset with less than 3 years of experience charging more than $200 per hour;
  • Most consultants with 10+ years of experience are charging more than $100, though there are a set charging $51-100 per hour. Interestingly, 4 of the 12 are US-based!

We wanted to have a look at how this visualizes and pricing according to years of experience. Here’s what we came up with:

Here is the raw data:

Hourly rate Less than 1 1-3 3-5 5-10 10+
Under $50 0.00% 25.00% 50.00% 5.88% 3.64%
$51-$100 100.00% 50.00% 20.00% 47.06% 21.82%
$101-$150 0.00% 25.00% 0.00% 29.41% 23.64%
$151-$200 0.00% 0.00% 20.00% 11.76% 27.27%
$201-$300 0.00% 0.00% 10.00% 5.88% 12.73%
$301-$500 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 3.64%
$501+ 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 5.45%
Don’t bill hourly 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1.82%

Basically, the spread widens as consultants get more experience.

  • There are not any consultants with less than 3 years of experience from our dataset charging more than $150/hr.
  • There is a subset of consultants with 5-10 years of experience charging $200-$300 per hour.
  • Only consultants with more than 10 years of experience dare to charge more than $300/hr, and 9.09% of them dare to do so.

Digital marketing consultant project minimums

Now let’s look at digital marketing consultant project minimums.

Overall, here are the percentage of consultants per bucket of project minimums:

Here is the raw data:

All consultants single project minimum
Project minimum Count of Single project minimum Percentage
Under $1,000 32 30.77%
$1,000-$1,999 30 28.85%
$2,000-$2,999 17 16.35%
$3,000-$3,999 6 5.77%
$4,000-$4,999 2 1.92%
$5,000+ 11 10.58%
Do not accept one-time projects 2 1.92%
No minimum 4 3.85%

The interesting callouts are:

  • 59.62% of solo consultants worldwide will take one-time projects that are less than $2000 in size;
  • 10.58% don’t take one-time projects that are less than $5,000.

Let’s look quickly at how the above numbers break down as we get more granular on years of experience, keeping in mind that as the data gets more granular then the numbers break down a bit and are to be taken with grains of salt.

The raw data:

Project minimum Less than 1 1-3 3-5 5-10 10+
Under $1,000 100.00% 50.00% 40.00% 50.00% 14.55%
$1,000-$1,999 0.00% 0.00% 50.00% 17.65% 34.55%
$2,000-$2,999 0.00% 25.00% 0.00% 5.88% 25.45%
$3,000-$3,999 0.00% 25.00% 0.00% 5.88% 5.45%
$4,000-$4,999 0.00% 0.00% 10.00% 0.00% 1.82%
$5,000+ 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 5.88% 16.36%
Do not accept one-time projects 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 2.94% 1.82%
No minimum 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 11.76% 0.00%

Here are the counts, which may be more helpful than percentages at this point:

Row Labels Less than 1 1-3 3-5 5-10 10+ Grand Total
Under $1,000 1 2 4 17 8 32
$1,000-$1,999 5 6 19 30
$2,000-$2,999 1 2 14 17
$3,000-$3,999 1 2 3 6
$4,000-$4,999 1 1 2
$5,000+ 2 9 11
Do not accept one-time projects 1 1 2
No minimum 4 4
Grand Total 1 4 10 34 55 104

The interesting points:

  • Most consultants in our dataset cluster around the Under $1,000 minimum project size.
  • The next biggest bucket is $1,000-2,000 and then the number get very spotty.

Digital marketing consultant monthly retainer minimums

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