Why do you need a Google Adwords certification study guide? Easy, because you need to get a Google AdWords Certification!
The AdWords Certification is a marker of distinction for an advertiser that they can trust.
Did you know that 97% of consumers rely on online search to find businesses? Google, Bing, Facebook — the world of online advertising has a lot of big players.
As you’re getting started in the world of PPC advertising, it can be intimidating to think about where to begin.
But whether you’re studying to make a career in online advertising, or you’re a marketing professional wanting to brush up on your paid marketing skills, AdWords certification is a great place to get started.
In this blog, we explain what it means to be ‘Google AdWords Certified’ and cover all the details you need to know to succeed.
Why exactly is AdWords so beneficial to learn?
Primarily because Google is the most popular search engine with 86.3% market share as of April 2018. As a result, there is a lot of competition between businesses to run ads on its platform.
If you already know and run AdWords campaigns but haven’t completed the certification process, here’s another good reason to invest your time in it: it’s social proof that can be a driving force behind people deciding to select your product or service.
Being a student is challenging — if you’re full-time or taking courses while working. This article will give you the tools and approaches you need to begin on the right foot (instead of wasting valuable time sorting through the slew of videos and courses out there without knowing what’s vetted or not).
Let’s dive in! Google Adwords Certification Study Guide
What Is the Google AdWords Certification?
The AdWords certification is Google’s key professional accreditation that displays your proficiency on their platform. As Google puts it:
An AdWords certification allows individuals to demonstrate that Google recognizes them as an expert in online advertising.”
Expert — that’s the key.
To earn the certificate, you must sign up for the Academy for Ads to pass the free Google AdWords fundamentals test as well as a Specialization exam — to truly differentiate yourself.
Specializations recognize companies and individuals that have demonstrated AdWords product expertise. If you attain this level, you have a chance to put your specialization on your company profile.
It can look something like:
A credential like this can definitely set you apart in a crowded marketplace of advertisers!
The table below that Google provides explains what each course covers in more detail:
After you figure out the fundamentals and it’s time to specialize, choose the route(s) that will be most useful to you in your current or future role.
For example, if you are working or want to work for a company that values YouTube ads, a Video Advertising certification might be more useful to you than Search Advertising.
First Step: Get Some On-the-Job Experience
Even before you consider taking the AdWords assessments, Google recommends that you have on-the-job experience using AdWords.
Having some experience managing different types of AdWords campaigns can help immensely since the exam focuses on testing your knowledge on creating, managing, and optimizing AdWords campaigns.
Find opportunities where you can practice setting up your own campaigns.
Indeed.com, TheMuse.com, AngelList (for startups), and Glassdoor are great places to begin to search for marketing roles with PPC components. Many of these sites, particularly Glassdoor, will help you understand what an AdWords certification is worth in terms of salary. (See their Know-Your-Worth section.)
Even while you’re a student, it’s important to start to consider your salary potential when you graduate.
You can even ask business or marketing professors if they have connections where you could intern or work. Professors outside of the marketing world might have colleagues or friends working for agencies or companies that are looking for support.
Attend their office hours, explain your goals, and ask for advice.
Get creative with how you obtain your online advertising experience.
It can definitely be challenging while you’re still taking classes, but just taking on a five-hour-a-week project or crafting an independent study can pay off immensely down the line.
You’ll have the context you need to dig into topics like quality score, differences between types of ads like Display vs. Search Advertising, and even budgeting when you really begin to hit the books.
And don’t forget to check The Ultimate Google Adwords Guide, it is simple to read and understand, contains a lot of examples, Pro Tips, and takeaways, and, most of all, it’s completely free!
How to Prepare for the AdWords Certification Exams
Once you’ve gotten some real-world experience under your belt — either that internship during college, first-year job, or even freelance work — and you’re ready to take the next step in your marketing career, there are several different ways to prepare for the certification exam.
We’ve gone through what’s available and pared it down to a few easy tips to get you going if you don’t know where to begin.
Studying for the exam should take you anywhere between a couple of days to a couple of weeks, based on how much hands-on experience you already have.
Step #1: Start With Google’s AdWords Resources
Although there are lots of different sites out there (that know how to rank themselves highly in Google Search), we suggest starting out with Google’s own guides.
There are three main options:
- Study guides
- The Academy for Ads
- AdWords videos
Google has a list of study guides that provide an overview of the various AdWords concepts, ranging from “what is online advertising” to “how to set up, measure and optimize your AdWords performance.”
Each study guide has an overview that you can use to plan and track your progress like the Fundamentals guide below shows:
Each guide has a handful of modules that you move through, broken down into clear, bulleted sections with links for further reading.
The Academy for Ads
In 2016, Google announced an Academy for Ads to provide a more interactive way to learn AdWords.
If you want to learn at a more gradual pace, the Academy could be right for you!
It arranges topics by skill levels; so, based on your previous AdWords experience (have you done real on-the-ground AdWords projects? or just Google-searched the process?), you can choose from beginner, intermediate, or advanced sessions.
Overall, each course has three to five hours of content to study.
If you prefer learning via visuals, Google also has a series of videos on YouTube to help you learn the basics of AdWords.
Since they have hundreds of videos on the channel, make sure to zero in on their Introduction to AdWords playlist.
Clearly, the “What is AdWords” video has been helpful — with over 1.6 million views.
But within the 12 video playlist, Google delivers more specific clips, such as Tell Your Story AdWords, which focuses on crafting a narrative and images that will reach the audience most interested in your products and/or services.
Tell Your Story AdWords delves into different formats you can try, such as video:
It illustrates how the customer or potential customer will view your ad, including positioning, and how they can access more information/where to click.
See here for a full list of ad formats you can experiment with, including:
Each of these formats has a unique placement and combination of media that will attract viewers in different ways to help you achieve your business objectives.
Step #2: Sign Up For a Full Course
If you’re looking for more than simply one-off videos and need a more customized, comprehensive approach, there are many online and in-person courses that can help.
Lynda is an online learning platform with a range of business, software, technology, and creative skills often taught by experts.
The advantage of Lynda over other online courses is how established the organization is. Lynda has been in business for over 20 years, meaning that they’ve built up an unparalleled network of resources and industry connections. The company was also recently acquired by LinkedIn and expanded to include tutorials in over five languages.
For AdWords, Lynda has 13 full courses and a supplemental 351 videos divided into three skill levels.
The best part is that if you’re on a student budget, Lynda has a one-month free trial. After that, the basic plan is just $9.99/month. Last but not least, lots of colleges and universities offer students free Lynda subscriptions.
Udemy is another popular choice.
While the company hasn’t been around as long as Lynda, it has a high rating among beginners.
Many of Udemy’s courses offer great practice tests, which are useful to get a handle on the actual test questions.
If you’re looking for an in-person course and are in an urban area like New York or San Francisco, General Assembly has several highly rated marketing courses.
Keep an eye out for recurring AdWords courses. These are generally taught by successful practitioners, and you will get the benefit of asking live questions and getting to know your classmates! (They could be your colleagues someday.)
Tip #3: Create your own campaigns to practice
Read all you want, but one of the best ways to learn something is to do it! This holds true for AdWords.
Whatever study guides you go with, you should apply your new knowledge by creating an AdWords campaign of your own.
Setting up a campaign and experimenting is a great way to get your hands dirty and apply what you are learning for a very little upfront cost.
To get started, create an AdWords account. You can enter a daily budget of $1 while creating your first campaign.
Next, add the campaign details.
For your first campaign, you might consider creating an ad to send traffic to a personal website.
Add the target location, networks you want to target, and keywords that are of value to you.
Once you have added all your details, your AdWords account will be created.
In case of any doubts with the account setup, you can use the toll-free number mentioned on Google Adwords contact page: 1-888-396-1905, to talk to an AdWords expert.
As you learn, use this account to make changes to your campaign.
You can pause it at multiple times in order to cease charges for a few days and study your findings. Has your website received more hits? Then, you can enable the campaign again and run it at a low daily budget once more.
This hands-on experience will familiarize you with the various AdWords features and options that will come up frequently during the exam.
Finally: Take the Test
When you are confident, take the Google Adwords Certification exam in the Academy for Ads and earn the certification.
Go to your Academy account, select your learning path, and take the associated exam.
Once again, to be fully AdWords certified, you have to take both the AdWords Fundamentals and at least one of the five additional product area assessments.
Below is what score you need to achieve to pass:
Most assessments are 90-minutes long and have 65 questions. This can vary based on the specialization.
All assessments need you to score 80% or higher to pass.
Although Google sets the bar high, you can retake the exam again after 24 hours.
Your AdWords certification will be valid for one year.
Because Google frequently updates the platform to add new features that help businesses, it’s actually to your advantage to retake the exam annually to make sure you’re staying up-to-date and have a pulse on the latest tools.
Google Adwords Certification Study Guide: It’s All About Learning
Whether you’re in a four-year undergraduate program, up to your neck in all sorts of classes, in a specialized degree program, a seasoned professional looking to develop your skills, or even embarking on a self-study curriculum, it’s critical to always keep learning.
Being a student of Google AdWords and taking the steps above to achieve your certification will go a long way towards helping you build credibility, hit your business targets, and gain a foothold in a quickly evolving, competitive, and enormously fun industry!
What do you think? Are you ready to turn your office desk into a school desk? Did you take any Google Adwords Certification yet? What’s your biggest pain point? Let us know in the comments!