Paid Vs Free Online Digital Marketing Courses

Many students who plan to take up a new course like digital marketing and build a career from scratch are faced with the question of whether they should take a free course or a paid one.

With the explosive nature of knowledge expansion on the internet, there is a huge amount of free materials available for learning digital marketing in the form of video tutorials, blogs, and newsletters. These have contributed to people wanting to learn more about the course and have exposed the huge scope in this field to build a career. While few people prefer to learn through the free course materials, others opt for full-fledged paid courses with reputed certificates and placements that help them to launch their careers.

If you are someone struggling with the same question, then this blog is for you as all queries will be addressed and you will know the benefits of taking a paid course over a free one and whether it is the right fit for you.

Before we get into whether one should take a free or paid course, let’s take a look at two common myths that are prevalent about digital marketing courses to provide the context-

  • Myth- It’s okay to maintain a broad profile in digital marketing –

Ground reality-  It’s a course based on both skill and knowledge. Moreover, one cannot stick to the umbrella term of digital marketers and has to choose a specialized niche and excel in it. The most popular niches are- social media marketing, email marketing, Google ads, content marketing, and SEO expert.

  • Myth- Anybody can learn from the free materials available online and excel in the field.

Ground reality-  Not everyone is a self-learner and free courses cannot solve all the purposes of learning. One should take into account the candidate’s needs, learning style, and existing skill set to decide which is the better fit for him.

These and many myths float around learning. Let’s make the picture clearer with the following points of comparison and benefits of the paid course over the free one.

10 Benefits of Paid Vs Free Online Digital Marketing Courses

  1. Well-structured and comprehensive content

On most YouTube channels or other platforms that offer free tutorials, it is difficult to access the course in a well-structured chronological order. And so the learner, often, fails to create a strong foundation which is essential for gaining an in-depth understanding of the work.

In a paid course, students get a well-planned syllabus that focuses on foundation building then moving to more difficult modules and finally sealing the course with live projects or internships. This order of learning is important for grasping a subject in the right manner, whereas if one is exposed to knowledge without structure, there are chances they will find it difficult to grasp.

As the paid courses are well-structured, there is in-depth training in each module and the practice of moving to the next module after clearing doubt from the previous one can be followed which in addition enhances learning.

In this way, a paid course can contribute to faster and better absorption of the course.

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  1. Getting certified by a recognized institute/university, a higher chance of getting hired

In a free course, there is neither backing of a reputed institute nor a certificate and so the learning cannot be quantified or qualified. This can come up as a barrier while applying for jobs especially if you are a fresher or someone who is looking to switch to digital marketing from another career.

Whereas in a paid course, you will receive a certificate from a well-recognized institute that will substantiate learning. It will be an advantage on your resume and will help you get noticed by recruiters as this field is quite competitive.

A major additional advantage of paid courses is that a good institute will offer paid internships or placement and that will provide a much-needed start to the career. This is also a chance to recover the course fee soon after finishing it.

Let’s take the example of leading marketers’ profiles on Linkedin. It is noticeable that many of them are backed by work experience from a leading company or are alumni of business schools. Evidently to bag the best jobs and grab high-paying roles in companies, one should have substantial knowledge and not just on-surface theoretical learning acquired from free courses.

All in all, a paid course has a much higher chance of providing the student with a job opportunity and that too a good one.

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  1. Useful learning materials and resources

No doubt there is an immense amount of free learning material available, but a good institute will provide resources that are well structured and graspable.

These materials are highly reliable and will be helpful in acquiring comprehensive knowledge and referring to later. It’s a good way to enhance knowledge and also deepen, substantiate it, and for future reference.

Along with this, one can get reliable recommendations for further reading – which websites, and influencers to follow for different niches like content or social media. Whereas the recommendations one sees on other sites can also be paid promotions and so those may not be too reliable.

In addition, there are authentic case studies and examples offered that will help any learner immensely. Such authentic material and resources are rarely available in free courses.

  1. Be job-ready with hands-on experience on live projects, assignments

What you consume from free content is mostly theoretical knowledge and it often falls short of learning by doing live projects. As marketing is all about having hands-on learning and developing skills, only knowing theory can be just half-baked knowledge and is not sufficient for getting a good start for the career.

Practically working on real projects can be a different experience altogether. For example, if you have learned about B2C marketing, applying those principles in B2B marketing can be a tough task. Working on tools like an email marketing tool is way different than just gaining theoretical knowledge about it. One encounters such types of problems while doing the projects. Getting these problems solved through first-hand work and learning from instructors is what constitutes a good course.

Working on projects, solving difficulties, and then moving ahead is important to gain comprehensive knowledge and to be job-ready. This is one of the major benefits one gets from a paid course.

  1. Get up-to-date and personal guidance from qualified instructors

Google’s algorithm keeps updating and so do the trends and patterns in buying. Every year there is a better tool/software emerging to make a marketer’s life easy. And therefore one should access the latest in digital marketing which is more likely in the case of a paid course and an accomplished trainer.

Getting personal guidance from a well-qualified instructor is a crucial advantage most students look for while joining a course. In a paid course, the trainers can be consulted for personal guidance, timely support, direction, and doubt-clearing which is not available in the free course.

Additionally, the student can benefit from the network of the trainer as well through references for jobs or freelancing projects. Under the guidance of a well-qualified trainer, skills like creativity and problem-solving can be enhanced and nurtured well.

  1. Placements and networking

Most of the leading institutes provide placement assistance and few provide placement guarantees and paid internships. When choosing the institute, one should check the placement services and the percentage of students placed in good companies.

Leading academic institutions offering digital marketing courses have placement forums that are beneficial for networking and securing a job. Moreover, job-oriented skills training like interview preparations, and soft skills training is also provided.

In the case of free courses, this is a major benefit that is missed out on.

  1. Take into account your learning style and ability

Some learners prefer a one-to-one coaching pattern and are not in sync with online learning and group learning. These are learning patterns that differ from individual to individual. The free courses are one-to-many communication and completely online, there is very little room to accommodate the learning style of each individual. So, for those who prefer offline or one-on-one learning, it can be difficult to grasp the subject.

Talking about learning styles, one may find a particular subject amongst others more difficult. For example, few people find marketing analytics tougher than SEO and may require specialized training in it. Such difficulties can be accommodated only in a professional paid course.

  1. More expertise, and more confidence to deal with competition

The professional world is all about having the confidence to have your voice and putting your best forward when it comes to interactions with clients and recruiters. A free, non-structured course is not capable of providing the student with the right expertise and confidence to create an impact in this field.

To stand tall amongst the competition and to impress recruiters from leading companies, it is important to have a considerable level of expertise in one’s niche, and that comes with a professional paid course.

  1. Commitment from both student and instructor

Be it for freshers or those trying to switch careers, if one is serious about making it big in any field, commitment is crucial. In the case of paid digital marketing courses, there is sufficient commitment from both the trainer and the student which is why there are high chances of the student completing the course within a given time duration.

This is missing when learners aimlessly consume some content on online media.

  1. Take into account your needs and career plan

Who should take a free course-

Those looking to get some introduction regarding digital marketing course and see whether they want to go ahead with it or not, not seeking placement but knowledge for personal use, simply looking to enhance existing knowledge.

Who should take a paid course –

Those looking for a lucrative career in digital marketing in leading MNCs, those looking to gain in-depth and up-to-date knowledge and setting up their training and/or consultation, and those who are not tech-savvy and prefer personal guidance.


As pointed out earlier, as much as there is demand for digital marketing courses, competition is also rising among job seekers in this field. The marketing industry is also evolving with technology like AI and creating a higher potential for marketers. And therefore to stay up-to-date with the industry trends and get an edge over others, one needs to consider what they invest their time in. Should it be easily accessible but directionless free content or a well-structured and delivered paid course?

Last but not least, whether it’s free content or a paid course, it’s crucial that there is unwavering commitment and dedication to making it big in any field and the same is true for digital marketing.


1 thought on “Paid Vs Free Online Digital Marketing Courses”

  1. Everything is very open with a clear description of the issues. It was really informative. Your website is useful. Thanks for sharing!

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