PPC salaries 2023: How much do in-house, self-employed, and agency search marketers make

Determining how much you should be compensated can be challenging, awkward, and sometimes even intimidating, as it requires balancing personal expectations with industry standards and organizational constraints. However, a recent PPC salary survey might offer some insights, enabling you to decide whether to negotiate a pay raise or explore new opportunities.

Duane Brown, CEO & Head of Strategy at Take Some Risk, has compiled and published his yearly examination of PPC salaries. The comprehensive report, featuring 112 slides, is based on data from 902 participants and conveniently breaks down gross salaries by country and region.

While the survey is packed with information, we’ll concentrate on a few key aspects: agency, freelancer, and in-house salaries for male and female PPC specialists in the U.S. For a more in-depth analysis, view the full PDF report here.

Brown acknowledges in the report that some data may be skewed due to respondents with only 1-3 years of PPC experience but who have been working for a decade or longer.

Agency PPC salaries. The median salary ranged from $50,182 $47,500 (less than one year of experience) to $199,000 (15+ years of experience).

These figures are up significantly from the 2022 report that showed $47,500 (less than one year of experience) to $139,000 (15+ years of experience)

This was based on 219 responses from people who work for an agency. Here’s the chart:

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In-house PPC salaries. The median salary ranged from $62,150 (one to two years of experience) to $124,000 (15+ years of experience). This was based on 125 responses from people who work for a client or brand.

There weren’t enough participants working in-house with under 1 year of experience to survey.

Self-employed. The median salary for self-employed people is $155,833 for those with 3-5 years of experience. The highest compensation for this category occurred in those with 10-15 years of experience, coming in at $322,500.

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Company size. The survey also looked at salaries by company size. If you’re looking to get a six-figure salary, your best chances will be working at a company with 1-10 employees.

This is a stark contrast to the 2022 report, where the highest median salaries reported were at companies of 200+ employees. 

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Male vs. female. In a shocking twist, females with 9 years of experience or less were paid more than their male counterparts. However, for those who have 10 years or more of experience, males earn more on average.

The most significant disparity comes in at the 10-15 year range, where females earn $130,000 and makes $160,000.

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Why we care. Understanding your worth and appreciating the work you do is crucial. Whether you’re in-house, a freelancer, or at an agency, multiple factors affect your salary, including your location, experience, gender, and negotiation skills. Keeping informed about PPC salary trends and industry benchmarks can empower you during negotiations for your next role or salary increase. Recognizing your value will not only help you secure fair compensation but also contribute to overall career satisfaction and success.

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About the author

Nicole Farley

Nicole Farley is an editor for Search Engine Land covering all things PPC. In addition to being a Marine Corps veteran, she has an extensive background in digital marketing, an MBA and a penchant for true crime, podcasts, travel, and snacks.

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