Seasoned veterans and new professionals alike can both benefit from Google Ads Certification.
As an industry standard with content tied directly to the Google Ads platform, it is the most trusted credential and source for training in the industry.
What Is Google Ads Certification?
Google Ads certification is a process by which Google recognizes marketers as experts in online advertising.
After passing Ads certification exams, individuals get a personalized certificate and – if affiliated with a company – can contribute to the company’s Google Partner credentials.
Like many Google products, properties, and initiatives, the program has evolved over the years.
The certification program was standalone and had a cost attached to taking exams.
That changed with the creation of the Google Partners program and has further evolved with the migration to the Google Academy for Ads in 2018 and, more recently, a rebrand to Skillshop.
Individual certification still works the same way it has for the past several years with training content and exams.
Over the years, the certification has become a minimum or expected requirement for entry-level search marketing roles for agencies and corporations.
Even when I hire someone who will go through our training program, I know that they are willing to invest time and see the importance of taking the step of getting certified is crucial.
Having that base level of subject matter exposure from Google is much more specific than what a school textbook can provide on how Google Ads works.
On top of that, there’s value in being able to affiliate with an individual who is already certified with my agency’s Google Partner account.
This step-by-step guide provides a walkthrough of how to get Ads certified, as it can be a confusing process when doing it for the first time or when coming back only annually or occasionally for recertification.
Step 1: Get Started In Skillshop
Navigate to the Google Ads Certification platform within Skillshop.
In the top right corner, click “Log In.”
Now, we’re at a critical step right away. We want to ensure that the account you get certified through is the specific one you want to be certified.
If you work for an agency or a company, you’re likely to be required to use your work email address.
Regardless of agency, corporate, or whatever status, you likely want to link your certification to the address you manage Google Ads to keep things simple and clean.
If you haven’t managed Google Ads yet and don’t have an account, you can easily create a new account here to get started.
If you’re a returning user, be careful to find your Skillshop profile and ensure your Google account is still properly linked, so you don’t accidentally take exams in a new account versus recertifying your current account.
The account management piece can be confusing and frustrating as there are separate profiles yet linked accounts between this system and Google’s accounts and Ad management systems.
If you’re interested in your certification counting toward a Google Partners badge, be sure to use your company email address that you use for managing ads for your Google Partner company to link things properly.
If you’re interested, I encourage you to learn more about the Google Partners program details, requirements, and logistics for getting set up.
Step 2: Select Your Exam
If needed, navigate back through Skillshop to the Google Ads Certifications again to arrive at the page with the list of exam topics.
Here you can find the specific certification you want to start with and click on it.
Within the specific certification, read the overview info.
When you’re ready to dive in, click the Get Started button.
Step 3: Prepare For Exams
Google provides both basic educational info and more extensive training content.
The specific Google Ads certifications include:
- Shopping Ads.
- Ads Creative.
If you’re brand new to Ads and the certification exams, I recommend starting with the Google Ads Search Certification first.
Search ads are typically the most common type of ads a company will run.
But if you are more focused on something like just shopping, then start there.
Training content is tied to each of these specific certifications.
When you click on any of them, you’ll be presented with options to get started, including a quick knowledge assessment and other resources.
You’ll need to plan on investing at least a few hours to go through the training content specialization.
If you’ve been managing Ads campaigns or have deeper exposure, it’s still a good idea to go through the modules – even if you do it faster.
The sample questions are quite helpful; they are written in the same format as they appear on the actual exams.
Unless you have previously been certified and/or have a moderate level of Ads experience, don’t skip the training content!
Step 4: Pass The Assessment
To become certified, you are required to pass the assessment in any of the respective certification specialties.
Your certification will then be awarded for that specific product focus area.
You can stop with one specialization or continue by going through additional specializations until you have mastered and achieved all of those relevant to your desired credentials.
If you’re an overachiever or love standardized tests, there’s nothing that says you can’t take them all.
Note that if you fail to pass an exam, there’s a waiting period before you can retry. That’s the only real penalty for not passing.
When you have passed one or more assessments, I recommend downloading the digital certificate(s) and saving those, so you have proof of your certification.
Additionally, you can create a public profile page that showcases your mastery.
You can turn the public profile on (if you haven’t already) by clicking in the top right corner of the page and then on “My Account.” You’ll find a toggle switch for “Public” to turn on if you choose by following the prompts.
Google Ads Certification provides a base-level credential for new professionals managing ads.
It also provides an ongoing opportunity for industry veterans to maintain their status and show longevity by keeping certified and staying on top of the platform and best practices changes over time.
Whether seeking your first job in the industry out of school or leveraging the certification for a Google Partners designation, I recommend the program for learning and maintaining education and standard credentials.
There are other excellent training and education programs available from third parties.
However, the Google Ads Certification still holds weight in the industry and is a common expectation for paid search practitioners to have.
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