6 digital audience strategy myths debunked

August 22, 2023 · 5 min read · By ASU Online
Get the facts on some of the most common myths associated with earning an online digital audience strategy master’s degree, offered by Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Discover how you’ll be able to customize your degree, elevate your online skills and gain confidence in future career opportunities.

Myth: I already use social media and search engines; I don’t need a degree to learn more.

Fact: You’ve probably been using social media, search engines and smartphones for the majority of your life. However, leading social media for a brand involves so much more than just selfies. You have to know how to think strategically about the company’s objectives, hone in on its target audiences, define its goals and nail its brand voice; all while algorithms, regulations and platforms are constantly changing.

Creating, launching and optimizing effective campaigns requires foundational knowledge, analysis and techniques, all of which you acquire in the digital audience strategy program.


Myth: Coursework is all just practice.

Fact: The digital audience strategy master’s gives you experience using common industry tools that professionals use to research brands, measure content performance and analyze audiences for people and companies you interact with every day. Throughout your coursework, you’ll critique campaigns and study data in real time.

Additionally, in the capstone course, a virtual agency serving actual clients, you’ll be challenged to use real data, create real campaigns, allocate real budget and drive real results.

Along the way, you’ll receive professional feedback at every turn. Just as athletes have coaches and trainers who support their growth and guide them in repetitions that develop muscle memory, Cronkite faculty provide extensive feedback to help you refine your approach, build fluency in skills and strategy and gain confidence for your next career move.


Myth: I can’t personalize my degree.

Fact: While you’re required to complete fundamental coursework in digital marketing, strategy development, audience measurement and campaign creation, you can use your elective requirements to customize your degree.

You can further personalize your degree with unique Cronkite’s study abroad experiences, from exploring social media in Tokyo to navigating the media landscape in Cuba. You may also pursue a for-credit internship with help from Cronkite’s Career and Professional Services office, a dedicated career development resource that connects Cronkite students with media internship and job opportunities, provides resume and portfolio guidance and offers one-on-one professional development support.


Myth: AI is going to replace jobs in this field. 

Fact: While AI may be utilized for some tasks in this industry, it isn’t anywhere near good enough (yet) to consistently create content that’s usable at the professional level. It may get there someday! But even then, humans will be needed to edit and vet that content for brand and audience appropriateness, accuracy, tone and quality.

AI has been known to introduce false promises that would be illegal in advertising or plagiarize a competitor’s content in ways that could cause legal problems for a client. For a company, using it would be like putting a customer in a self-driving car that hasn’t been tested for roadworthiness yet. AI also isn’t yet capable of understanding a brand’s objectives and goals in the way that a human can. Even if AI could identify a brand’s most pertinent data, few employers would be ready to entrust their whole company’s strategy to a bot.

Humans will be sought after to guide organizational leaders in complex data-based decision making and manage the tools they lean on. Content that engages audiences will need to inspire expertise, authority and trust. Cookie-cutter, robot-generated content just can’t do that. AI may be useful in automating or batching formerly manual processes, providing ideas and speeding up your workflow. But no matter what tools arise, you still need to know how to use them in service of a business’s digital marketing goals, and that’s what the digital audience strategy program prepares you to do.


Myth: I can’t succeed because I’m bad at math or art.

Fact: Let’s take these one at a time. While audience analytics do involve math, it’s fairly basic. If you can calculate a percentage, you’re golden! Most modern analytics platforms perform the calculations you’ll need, though you’ll be asked to flex your analytical skills to derive insights from the statistics that you see and apply them to real-world scenarios.

Next, you don’t need to be a graphic designer, video pro or photographer to create successful content. You’ll use intuitive digital content creation tools and techniques that can help you create content that drives results.

Alumni and current digital audience strategy students are succeeding in careers in all intersections of media. If you love to be creative, you may thrive in social media content creation. If data science or analytics is more your style, you’ll feel at home working in paid advertising, search engine optimization or the in-demand world of data analytics.

Our students bring unique strengths and interests, but each student develops a strong critical thinking foundation that balances being data driven and creative. This puts you at the forefront of our industry, with the ability to create content that is compelling for digital audiences, brands and clients, paired with the ability to explain how it performed and what that means for business stakeholders.

Don’t fret about being unfamiliar with digital marketing tools or techniques. You’ll be introduced to some of them and you’ll gain proof of all you’ve learned as you earn respected professional certifications from Google, HubSpot and more.


Myth: Technology moves too fast, so my degree will soon be outdated.

Fact: Technology can move fast. But if we pay close attention, we can sometimes predict the future. Take a quick look around your desk. You’ll find classic technologies including pencils, paperclips and books. Of course, you may own more modern iterations, like a stylus or an e-reader. But while these technologies may look different, they are all designs built using the core fundamentals.

In the digital audience strategy program, you’ll become skilled in the core practices of digital data analysis, audience research and strategic thinking. You’ll also be equipped with approaches that never change: creating goals, honing audiences, content testing and more. Along the way, you’ll embrace a spirit of innovation, adaptation and community.

You’ll learn more than how to click a button in a piece of software. You’ll learn the “why” behind each action so you can apply your learning, even as the field evolves.

You’ll become a trusted decision maker who’s able to identify and implement trends or technologies worth your brand’s time and resources quickly.

There’s no doubt the digital marketing world and profession is fast-paced and constantly filled with emerging technologies. This is why students in the digital audience strategy program learn key fundamentals, including analyzing data, conducting audience research and exploring digital audience theories.

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