How the war has affected Ukrainian digital marketing: experts tell

After February 24, the work of each industry changed: some lost their jobs, and others re-profiled or chose the international service market.

Iryna Dubyna (PPC specialist at SoftServe), Yana Polishchuk (marketing specialist at CGS-team), Oleksiy Matuznyi (Account Strategist and Process Improvement Manager at Delfi.lv), and Taras Humeniuk (digital specialist at Perfect PR) tell us what is happening in Ukrainian digital and what are the prospects for its development.

How has your work changed during the war?

Iryna Dubyna, PPC specialist at SoftServe

In terms of salary or company, everything has remained the same. The geography of services has changed. If earlier I worked on projects in Ukraine about 85% of the time, now it’s only 10%. I spend most of my time developing projects in neighboring countries and Latin America. Not because it’s better there, but because of the war, many clients don’t want to hire IT people in Ukraine. That’s why my services are not in full demand here yet.

Yana Polishchuk, marketing specialist at CGS-team

I lost my job. Many projects were put on hold, which slowed down marketing tremendously. I gave some advertising accounts to volunteers to spread the truth about the war. This made me feel that our tools are also weapons. However, in 1.5 months I found another position, and I’m happy. I am happy because marketing is a thing that business cannot live without. I feel that the Ukrainian market needs me.

Oleksiy Matuznyi, Account Strategic та Process Improvement Manager at Delfi.lv

Since the beginning of the war, I have lost all my clients with whom we worked with a team. And with them, I lost 90% of my business. Some of them moved to Europe, while others stopped their business before the war ended. As for my main job, I quit it and spent two months going to interviews. SEO specialists are still in demand, but salaries have dropped by 20-30% on average due to the overheated market.

However, there are more vacancies in the Western market. If you are a Senior or Team Lead specialist, you can expect to earn $2,000-2,500 (after taxes in another country). Of course, it all depends on the project, the team, and the size of the company. Startups targeting the US market pay much more than these numbers. The result was about 40 different interviews, one of which was at Google. It helped me to understand the market situation. I wanted to go to an American startup, but my friend invited me to work for the Latvian project Delfi.lv. They really wanted to help Ukrainians and looked for specialists who were currently unemployed and stayed in Ukraine, so I agreed.

Taras Humeniuk, digital specialist at Perfect PR agency

A significant number of internal projects have either dissolved or are still on hold. Therefore, we need to master new vectors. This primarily concerns the Western market/technologies. The minimum skill we are working on today and will need both now and tomorrow is English. Therefore, if the answer is reduced to one thesis, the change is to work with new markets and new technologies.

What do you think are the prospects for digital marketing in Ukraine?

Iryna Dubyna, PPC specialist at SoftServe

There are always prospects in digital marketing. Specialists can benefit from re-profiling for countries abroad, it means a wider experience, new types of clients, the ability to choose from many projects, etc. I think it’s a good opportunity to find out your worth and not adapt only to the Ukrainian market.

Yana Polishchuk, marketing specialist at CGS-team

This sphere has already come to life, and we see a lot of renewed projects. Ukrainians are the most digitized nation, so the prospects are superhuge. As for some businesses, I’m most annoyed when war becomes a speculative topic in advertising. There is no place for such digital marketers in this market. So if you want to talk about the war on behalf of your business, think very carefully.

Oleksiy Matuznyi, Account Strategic та Process Improvement Manager at Delfi.lv

I think that in a few years after the end of the war, there will be huge prospects in all areas of marketing. Due to the Covid-19 situation, many business owners decided to go digital back then. As a result, many Ukrainian start-ups have emerged that help to develop digital transformation in Ukraine. For example, it is «Vchasno», which makes document management much easier. Many online stores have opened, so I think there will be a huge demand for digital marketing after the war, and the sector will recover quickly.

Taras Humeniuk, digital specialist at Perfect PR agency

In general, there is a tendency in the industry to lose the value of the work of an average specialist due to external reasons. To a large extent, the work of a specialist in Ukraine is tied, although it is not obvious, to work with personal data. Given the course for greater privacy, work efficiency may be declining. Add in the specifics of web3.0, legal integration with the EU (read GDPR), a generally low entry threshold, and the trend towards automation, and we get the following picture: the market may expect a certain decline in business activity with the change of current professions to more specific and labor-intensive ones.

I assume that there will be a 20/80 ratio between professions that are deeply integrated into technology and those that require relatively less effort from a specialist than now.

How is the internal digital services market doing?

Iryna Dubyna, PPC specialist at SoftServe

I think it’s more stable than at the beginning of the war, but it’s still disconcerting. Marketers usually react quickly to changes, and this is a huge advantage. Now I see a trend to look for clients abroad. It is not so easy when you have experience only in the local market and don’t know the specifics of the country. Some techniques that are successful here may not work in Europe or the US, so it takes a little longer than usual to adapt.

Yana Polishchuk, marketing specialist at CGS-team

There were a lot of technical difficulties. If we talk about social media, they block every second person. And I’m not just talking about business accounts, but also opinion leaders. It’s difficult, but it’s never easy for digital workers in general. We are adapting to it quickly. It is interesting that the market is growing. More and more businesses are moving their marketing into the digital world. More and more specialists are emerging, and they are looking for their first work experience. There is a minimal fear that in one or two years there will be 20 digital marketers per doctor.

Oleksiy Matuznyi, Account Strategic та Process Improvement Manager at Delfi.lv

There are quite a lot vacancies now. If you have a good CV, professional social networks (Linkedin, Djinni), I don’t see any problems with the job. On average, I receive 4-5 job offers per week for the position of Senior/Team Lead SEO specialist. From time to time, I analyze the market and see that there are quite a lot of requests for Junior SEO as well. Therefore, it seems to me that it is not difficult to find a job in the field of Internet marketing nowadays.

Taras Humeniuk, digital specialist at Perfect PR agency

Along with business, demand for services is also recovering. I have also noticed the phenomena of hyper-competition, dumping, an apparent refusal to cooperate with the russians, and certain processes of reorientation to the EU/US markets. However, I cannot call the last of the mentioned a widespread trend. As for the agency/specialist market, unfortunately, it is being sifted. Only the best ones, those who know how to negotiate, and those who are lucky remain in the workflow.

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