Google Ads is one of the most effective advertising tools for attracting more visitors to your website and generating more leads. In fact, most companies have an average ROI of 200% on their Google Ad spend.
To get better, more performing ads on Google, it can be helpful to get a Google Ads certificate. On top of that, it’s a great resume booster.
If you’re looking to get a Google Ads certificate, you’ve come to the right place. Here we have created a guide that explains why Google Ads certification through the Google Skillshop is helpful and how you can prepare and get certified.
What is Google Skillshop?
Google Skillshop is home to all of the e-learning courses offered by Google Product Experts. Here you can get certified for Google products, including Google Ads, Google Ad Manager and Analytics Academy.
Whether you are a beginner looking to immerse yourself in the world of Google products or a seasoned marketer ready to hone your skills, you will find everything you need in Skillshop.
Expand your knowledge of Google Ads Display, Ad Video, Shopping Ads, or even Google Ads Measurement. Not sure why you should go deeper than a working understanding of the Google suite of products? Let’s talk about the “why” of certification below.
Why get a Google Ads certification?
When I applied for a job years ago, I interviewed a few dozen people who worked in the digital marketing industry to learn more about their jobs and the application process. Many emphasized the importance of getting Google Ads certification.
The truth is, many employers are looking for people with this certification on LinkedIn to help find people to join their marketing team. LinkedIn generally offers a higher quality talent pool than standard job boards like Indeed. In addition, there is a high demand for marketers with Google Ads skills, while the supply of qualified candidates is relatively low.
Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to apply for a job with little effort, leaving employers swimming in low-quality decisions.
To find qualified employees, many hiring managers use LinkedIn’s search engine to find people with a Google Ads certification as it is one of the few defining qualifications that can demonstrate demonstrated knowledge and skills. The certification shows the hiring manager that you are somewhat familiar with the industry.
The good news is that many new talent don’t have certification on their LinkedIn profile or resume as they don’t know the value. In other words, you can easily stand out from the crowd when you become certified.
Even if you don’t want to play a role in PPC, certification is helpful for any marketer. PPC advertising, especially through Google Ads, makes up the bulk of online advertising. Once you understand the principles of Google Ads, you can apply these principles to other marketing efforts.
Additionally, an understanding of the related areas of marketing helps with your communication between team members and empathy. Having this certification under your tool belt will ultimately only make you look better for employers.
How applicable is certification in the marketing industry?
To be fair and objective, let’s acknowledge the case of certification.
First, certification is not fully applicable in terms of actual skills and practice in a real marketing role. It is possible to score well or even perfectly on this exam without any actual experience with the platform, especially if there are exam answers online.
The exam can sometimes give you the theoretically best answer that doesn’t come close to the best answer in practice.
Having been on the Google Ads platform myself, I know that some questions are unnecessarily complicated, incorrect, or focused on an answer that involves spending as much money as possible on the Google platform. Google makes money when you spend money on ads, regardless of whether the ad leads to a sale. Hence, their intentions make sense.
With all that said, most of the questions are still valuable as they will help you learn to navigate the platform and do accurate calculations. Preparing for this exam can grow you significantly, even if you initially have little or no knowledge of Google Ads.
You should take the test without cheating, learn from your wrong answers and repeat it to improve yourself. Otherwise, there may be difficulties with the platform later on, which may seem detailed and intimidating to beginners.
Here’s another big reason to get certified and make sure you learn a lot during the prep process, rather than speeding it up – any decent marketing agency or department you want to work for will test you on your understanding of the terminology and Pay-per-click reasoning during the application process. You will find out if you really know what you are talking about.
Hence, the knowledge that the exams provide has real value. That doesn’t mean you have to be a total wizard. However, you should understand most of the concepts tested.
Treat the Google Ads exam as an opportunity to study, not an assignment to check off a list. Your change in mindset will make all the difference as you learn from each question asked as others go through the exam to complete it.
Google Ads certification topics and exam duration
Google Ads exam topics
There are Google Ads certifications for a variety of topics including video, mobile, display, and retail advertising. The main version is the search advertising exam, as this is the area marketers use the most on the platform. Probably the second most popular Google Ads test for marketers is the Google Ads Display certification.
Exam duration for the Google Ads certification
Each exam has a different time limit, but is typically between 60 minutes and two hours. I have a good feel for how long it actually takes since sitting in a classroom with a dozen people taking the exam and seeing how quickly people finish. Usually it takes 50-75% of the allotted time. A small percentage of people will consume by the time they are new or focus on learning from each question.
Google Ads certification badge
Once you pass the exam, you will be given a certification badge that you can view on your LinkedIn profile. Adding this badge to your profile will add credibility and make your profile more search engine friendly. As mentioned earlier, recruiters look for this certification and take care of it so that you will come up more often in the search.
Certification costs for Google AdWords
Google AdWords Certification, now known as Google Ads Certification, is completely free. In the past it has cost money. So if you are a marketer, it is a good idea to take it now while it stays free. You never know when Google might change its prices. You will also get multiple attempts to take the exam.
Google Ads certification training
The training resources offered by Google are a handy place to start. You can learn a lot about the test format, the style of the questions, and the concepts that appear on the exam.
One of the best ways to prepare for the exams is through YouTube tutorials, demonstrations, and tutorial articles. Most people learn visually and learn better when they see the platform for themselves with a video instead of reading about it. However, some blog posts have great screenshots to help you understand the tutorial better.
It is important to note that many of the online resources are excessive. Beginners can easily feel overwhelmed by the details. However, try to focus on learning the basic principles – what to tweak, for example, to have a big impact on performance.
If a tutorial article is 5,000 words long it covers every detail of the platform, which is too much for the certification exam.
In addition, the exams themselves can be training tools. If you fail the first time, you can learn from your wrong answers and repeat them. You can use your first try to familiarize yourself with the format and duration. Think about why you asked a question wrong so that you can remember the correct answer next time.
Some of the questions asked are recycled and randomized with different numbers. You can acquire many applicable math skills by learning the principles behind calculations. Unfortunately, many marketers skip the learning from the exam itself and miss the bulk of where they can grow.
Take the exam with an attitude of learning rather than completing it.
Tips for the exam
1. Take notes.
Have hard copy notes handy for quick reference in case you forget minor details here and there (but don’t expect to rely on them throughout the exam). These tips will be useful if Google imposes restrictive browsing limits for reviewers in the future.
2. Plan enough battery.
Make sure your computer is connected so that the battery life does not run out during the test. This tip may seem obvious, but you don’t want to find yourself in this painful situation.
3. Pace yourself as you answer.
Take your time for each question. Most people have extra time. Remember – it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You answer multiple choice questions for at least an hour.
4. Practice self-care, pre-test.
Hydrate. Get enough sleep. Some people overlook simple things like making sure you have enough water and food before the exam, which can affect brain performance. Foods high in omega-3s are great for brain performance.
Ultimately, Google Ads certification is a worthwhile investment for your career growth. Digital marketing employers are looking for valid evidence that you are above entry level applicants.
5. Do not rush without understanding the subject.
While it is possible to pass the exam without understanding many of the principles, you will do yourself a disservice in the long run. Treat the exam as a learning curve and an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and application of PPC terms and methods as this will help you during the interview and in your career.
You don’t need to know everything about Google Ads as hands-on experience can teach you. However, the knowledge you will acquire as you prepare for this exam will give you a head start.