Pay-Per-Click advertising is a ruthless industry. A simple search for “PPC agencies” nets 2,220,000 results on Google.
It’s hyper-competitive because Google currently has millions of advertisers on their search network alone. They also dominate the online advertising board, too. Their PPC business brings in over $80 billion in ad revenue each year.
But as you already know, all of this attention and interest make AdWords extremely difficult for most businesses. Not to mention, extremely time-consuming.
Thankfully, the Google AdWords certifications exist to weed out the best from the rest.
It can give businesses a leg-up on the competition. And it can give marketers the social proof required to prove your mettle.
Here’s how to pass your AdWords certification ASAP to get the revenue, customers, clients, and gigs you need to succeed.
What is the Google AdWords Certification (And Why does it matter)?
The Google AdWords certification is a ‘professional accreditation’ that Google provides based on proficiency and mastery.
Essentially, having a Google AdWords certification shows that you know what you’re doing. It separates you from those who don’t have it, can’t get it, or are too lazy to attempt it.
When you finish your certifications, you can get a flashy new badge to add to your website to showcase social proof:
So, is this really worth my time and effort?
Absolutely. Here’s why.
According to Econsultancy, companies are increasing their outsourcing of PPC related tasks for these reasons: skills, time, and complication.
And in an uber-saturated market, you need every qualification you can get. Certifications can increase your conversion rates by as much as 30%.
Reviews, star ratings, case studies, and certifications provide credibility from large companies like Google, giving you a badge of trust and expertise.
Nearly every successful company displays social proof in one form or another. For example, HubSpot shows social proof by displaying their large user base:
Unbounce does the same, showing top brand names that use their products and services:
So, are you ready to get this certification? Here’s how it works, and the step-by-step instructions on how to get it.
How The Google AdWords Certification works
The AdWords Certification includes a series of tests that focus on AdWords’ key concepts, including:
- Value propositions
- Campaign setup and management
- Conversion measurement
- And more
For the Certification tests, you will have to pass two tests to acquire your official certification.
According to Google, you first have to pass the “AdWords Fundamentals” test, that covers basic to intermediate AdWords levels.
Once you’ve passed the fundamentals course, you need to pass one more course of your choosing. Currently, you can choose from search network, display, mobile, video, or shopping.
But before diving head-first into these certifications, try to get some real experience, first. Google recommends the following before diving into these tests:
Before taking the AdWords assessments, we recommend that you have on-the-job experience using AdWords. You should be familiar with online advertising concepts and best practices, and should have experience managing different types of AdWords campaigns.”
The reason is that what tactically works in one industry might not always in another. There’s a big difference in running an inexpensive, transactional campaign than in managing a high-priced B2B campaign.
Sky-high CPC’s and lower search volume forces you to manage campaigns differently. More emphasis is placed on other Quality Score items, like your landing page or message match.
Copying-and-pasting some ‘best practices’ from a few Inbound.org blog posts won’t cut it without knowledge of the underlying fundamentals.
Step 1: Join Academy of Ads and setup your account
Just recently, Google updated the way you take tests for certifications. Instead of using the Google Partner Program, you now use The Academy for Ads to acquire certifications.
With Academy for Ads, you need to create a new profile using your company email and fill out your profile information before beginning.
Filling out your profile is key because users can browse your certifications in one consolidated, resume-style profile:
First, head to the Academy for Ads page, and sign in using your Google email account.
Next, click on your profile in the top right corner of your dashboard, and click “My Profile” to edit:
From here, start to fill out your personal and company information:
Remember, all of this data will show up on your public profile that companies can use to scout you and your business before hiring.
Google has curated sites dedicated to helping other companies hire PPC marketers for their business. You want this to look professional.
Using a site like Google Partners, a company can find agencies or consultants with certifications:
Your profile will show up here once you’ve passed the necessary certification tests, meaning you will have free publicity as well.
That’s a win-win-win.
Using the Google Partner platform, it’s easy to find advertisers online:
Getting listed on the partner platform can help give you publicity, credibility, and social proof at the same time.
Getting your profile completed is pretty easy. Unfortunately, the hard part still is to come.
Step 2: Study, Study, Study.
Studying is probably one of the most boring, tedious, and time-consuming ways to spend your day. Thankfully, there’s no meaningless grade at the end of this rainbow but some cold-hard, bling bling, cash money instead.
If you want to pass your AdWords Certifications on the first go-round without wasting time and multiple attempts, you need to study for it. Even if you’re an expert with AdWords, studying is recommended.
They throw curveball concepts into the mix that you might never use in your daily account management, meaning you will have no clue what the answer is when it comes around. Which it will.
Plus, these tests are timed, and they do require a passing score. You can’t bluff your way through the test and expect to come out clean on the other side.
For the fundamentals course, you have a time limit of 90 minutes, and need an 80% or above to pass. For search and display advertising, you have two hours to work on the test (yes, both are very long).
To start studying, navigate to the home section of your AdWords Academy dashboard:
From the home dashboard, scroll down to the “Get AdWords Certified” section:
Here, you will find all of the various certification tests that you can take.
Clicking on each individual one will bring you to their own page, allowing you to choose between taking the test or the optional study guide:
To start studying, simply click on each section of the “Study AdWords Fundamentals” outline to bring up that topic.
The study guide isn’t boring, and actually contains interactive elements to keep you from burning out:
These work as sample tests to see if you are retaining or recalling the proper information.
Some of these outlined sections contain multiple choice questions to help get you prepared for the real deal:
Pro Tip: When running through these study guides for each section, have your AdWords account pulled up on the side. Follow along each step in your AdWords dashboard and see if you can re-enact these scenarios or give yourself time to learn new things that you might have forgotten.
According to Codeburst, “90% of our learning happens only when we start doing it.”
Putting yourself to work can help with concept retention and familiarization of the topic in a deeper way than reading alone.
Studying is boring. There are likely very few people in the world that jump for joy when they have to study something.
But in this case, it’s necessary. The information is dense, long, and often very detailed or scenario-based. Meaning you need to be at least familiar with some arcane concepts to have any fighting chance.
Study up and get ready for the next step.
Step 2.5: Consider Taking an Online Course First
Sometimes, getting through the Academy of Ads study guides isn’t an option. Maybe you don’t learn by reading. Maybe you’re a visual learner. Or maybe you’re like me and get bored out of your mind when it’s not hands-on.
If you aren’t finding success with the study guides, online courses can be an amazingly efficient way to get the job done.
Check out courses on sites like Udemy where professionals often post cheap courses that can get you Google AdWords certified fast.
For example, this AdWords Certification course promises to get you Google certified in just two days, for only $.9.99:
Even if you have no Google AdWords experience, the course will help you learn everything you need to become an expert and pass.
These courses often include tons of useful information beyond just passing the course. This one, for example, gives you a study guide, practice exams, hundreds of practice questions and more.
Conduct a search on Udemy for AdWords Certification, and you will find dozens of options to choose from with reviews, ratings, and pricing:
Find a course that offers great supplemental information and reviews from happy customers before making your decision.
While some courses may cost more, they may also offer more content:
For example, this $89.00 course offers over 18 hours of on-demand video, five in-depth articles, and nearly 14,000 ratings with an average of 4.8 stars.
These courses can range from cheap to expensive, so be sure to examine the benefits of each and fit one into your budget that will give you the best bang for your buck.
Ready to take the test? Here we go!
Step 3: Take Your Two Tests
Now that you have prepared, it’s time for the moment of truth. Remember, to achieve certification, you need to pass your Fundamentals exam as well as one other of your choice:
Just having the certification is one thing. But if you’re working at an agency that runs mobile, video, and shopping campaigns, you might want to end up getting each.
Getting every certification sounds brutal, because it is. But it will also make you stand out.
The specialized courses will remain locked until you pass the fundamentals course.
When you are ready to take each test, simply click on the exam:
The assessment takes on average 90 minutes to complete, and consists of 65 questions:
To pass, you need to land a score of 80% or more.
Thankfully, AdWords lets you review and change answers before submitting, so feel free to skip ones that you don’t know before throwing down a random guess.
Step 4: Add the new certification to your site!
Once you have passed your tests, it’s time to add that well-deserved certification to your site.
In your Google AdWords Academy account, navigate to the Achievements section to find all of your passed exams.
Here, you can find the badges once you’ve passed both certification requirements needed. You should also be emailed a certificate of completion by Google, with links that you can add to different profiles, like LinkedIn:
Be sure to flaunt this new certification on every platform you can. Heck, you earned it.
Last but not least, remember to stay certified. It’s a grueling process to keep up with, as your certifications will expire a year after completion.
Your tests only last one year. Why? To keep up with changing platforms, strategies, and toolsets.
If you took your certification five years ago and never took it again, you wouldn’t be up-to-date with the latest and greatest tactics or new platforms.
PPC is a challenging industry filled with tons of direct competition. With a growing amount of businesses outsourcing PPC to agencies and freelancers, it’s never been a better time to be great at PPC.
But with all that competition comes risk. You need a way to stand out if you want to land great clients.
While it might seem time-consuming and tedious to complete the Google AdWords certification exams, they can help you increase conversions by up to 30%.
Be sure to study, fill out your profile, and take the necessary exams that fit your business or agency.
Last but not least, always add these certifications to your site and profiles and be sure to keep getting certified each year that they expire.
To reap the rewards of easier sales and more revenue for your business, you need to showcase certifications with the Google Academy.