Hiring online freelancers for marketing roles and projects is a trend that has experienced significant growth over the last year.

We’ve seen a 106% increase in digital marketing jobs posted on Elance for the 12 months leading up to March 2012. And, the increase from UK businesses was even greater (124%).

There has also been a 215% increase in marketing jobs completed and a 188% increase in client spend.

In the first of a series of monthly posts, I'll look at more trends in digital marketing jobs...

UK marketers are using digital marketing freelancers more than other countries. In March 2012, the UK became the second biggest hirer of digital marketing talent, up from fourth in March 2011, just behind the US. The UK is also the fifth biggest country when it comes to supplying digital marketing freelancers.

Video is on the up

When we drill down and look at the types of jobs that are increasingly being outsourced, it is interesting to note that video is the big mover year-on-year. Videography was the second fastest growing skill in the last year (272% increase), followed by Video Production (253%) and Video Editing (233%).

Requirements for infographics spiralled in the last 12 months too with a monumental 552% increase. However that growth has slowed recently and there was no change in demand from February to March this year.

The only skill to see a drop in demand over the last year was Newsletters (-12%). Though in the month from February to March we saw less demand for SEM (-39%), Newsletters (-15%), eBooks (-9%) and Affiliate Marketing (-9%). 

Job Post Count by Skills

MOM % change

YOY% change

Internet Marketing






Social Media Marketing









Video Production



Video Editing



Banner Ads






Email Marketing






Affiliate Marketing


















Three reasons for increased demand

A common reaction to this growth in demand would be to question why this is happening. For me, when it comes to digital marketing, there are three key reasons:

  • Economy.
    There is no doubt that the difficult economic conditions over the last few years has put strain on marketing budgets. Using freelancers is a good way to control costs, especially when there are freezes on hiring additional full time headcount.
  • Flexibility. Marketing disciplines and campaigns are far more varied in this digital age. It is often hard for marketing teams and agencies to predict what skills will be needed from one month to the next.
  • Specialisms. Following on from this last point, it is often necessary to have a specific specialist for a specific task. Hiring a freelancer who has the necessary skills that might be missing in the agency or in-house department is a much more effective way to manage this.

We’ll continue to chart these trends, identify areas where there is significant change and will include these in future monthly posts.

Kjetil Olsen

Published 15 May, 2012 by Kjetil Olsen

6 more posts from this author

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Comments (10)

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Steve Morgan

Steve Morgan, Freelance SEO Consultant at Morgan Online Marketing

Great article, fascinating stats.

(BTW, noticed a spelling error:

"In March 2011, the UK became the second biggest hirer of digital marketing talent, up from fourth in March 2011"

I take it the first "2011" is meant to be "2012"? Just wanted to give you a heads-up.)

about 6 years ago



Great and very interesting post!
Just one question though, what about web analytics specialist? Any trend for them?

about 6 years ago


Eric Layland

@Alexandra - good catch. What I've experienced after 16 yrs in digital marketing is the technical hires come first followed by the marketers. Unfortunately the analysts follow marketing but the up swell is coming if not already here. The next phase will be business professionals that are capable of managing in both digital and off-line business roles.

about 6 years ago

Christopher Rose

Christopher Rose, PPC Marketing Director at Rose Digital Marketing

Any particular reason these stats are confined to Elance, which is neither the only, leading or best freelancing site?

about 6 years ago

Kjetil Olsen

Kjetil Olsen, VP, Europe at Elance, Inc.

@Steve: Thanks for noticing the error in the article. Will change this to March 2012 over March 2011 soon.

@Alexandra: As an example in Q1 2012 Google Analytics jobs were up 42% QoQ.

@Christoph: The reason that these states are confined to Elance is that I - the blog post author - is heading up Europe for Elance. I only have access to our own data. Your opinion on "only, leading or best" I won't comment :)

about 6 years ago

Christopher Rose

Christopher Rose, PPC Marketing Director at Rose Digital Marketing

Kjetil: Then is it not the case that the opening sentence of your article "Hiring online freelancers for marketing roles and projects is a trend that has experienced significant growth over the last year" is missing the words "on Elance" at the end?

It may not be true that this is actually accurate information...

about 6 years ago


Sandy Pochapin

This gives you a great idea of what keywords should be included on your resume and online profiles.

about 6 years ago


Stella Oefinger

I heard at the beginning of the year that digital marketing would be in big demand. It looks like the trend is true and will continue - possibly into 2013.

about 6 years ago


Athena Catedral

Marketing is no longer just a one-way dialogue or a series of interruptions.

The digital age has evolved marketing into a dialogue with millions, competing for that precise moment a prospect is interested. It's much more exciting and more measurable too.

about 6 years ago


Graham Mallinson, Managing Director at d2 Digital by Design Ltd

I can't see mobile on the list...why is that?

about 6 years ago

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