The word “certified” has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? It proves you know something about something and that you’re qualified to do a job. When you’re not certified, bad things can happen. For example, if you were to hire an uncertified accountant, they could botch your taxes so badly that the IRS seizes all of your belongings. You, your wife, and your two children would be forced to move to an unfortunately named town and live in a motel, constantly harassed by the similarly unfortunately named mayor. Essentially, a bunch of Schitt will happen. 

(Obviously, we’re big Schitt’s Creek fans here at Hanapin. If you haven’t seen this show yet then what are you doing with your life?)

All of that is a long-winded way of saying that certifications are important. And for digital marketers, having certifications like the ones Google and Microsoft ads offer allows us to prove to our clients or our bosses that we know what the h*ck we’re doing. In order to make the certification process a little less daunting, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know. 

Google Certifications

Google certifications now go through the Google Skillshop. It’s essentially Google’s online classroom for all of their products. You can get certifications in Google Ads, Google Analytics, Youtube, and even Waze, along with a few others. 

Within each track are a number of different areas where you can become certified. For example, within the Google Ads track, you can become certified in search ads, display ads, video ads, shopping ads, and Google Ads Measurement. Each certification is accompanied by a training module in which you can take a pre-self assessment, complete 10-15 minute “study” sessions, and then from there take the certification test.

The pre-self-assessment is required and actually pretty useful for determining whether you should skip ahead to the certification or brush up on some things in the study section. If you pass with an 80% or higher in the self-assessment, Google encourages you to go straight to the certification. However, even if you’ve done well on the pre-self-assessment, it may be worth checking out the study modules as the certification test differs significantly. 

If you do feel the need to brush up on some of your Google Ads knowledge, each study session is broken into 2-5 minute chunks. All together, completing the study section is estimated by Google to take between 1-3 hours, however, the chunks make completing small sections during short intervals throughout your day really easy. If you feel confident you know the answers for a certain study module, you can skip ahead to the knowledge check for that section. If you answer the questions correctly, the module will be marked as done. 

Google certification learning modules

When you’re ready to take the certification test, navigate to that section in Skillshop. Ensure you’ve allocated at least an hour for the test. Google limits you to 75 minutes to complete the certification. While completing the certification test, keep in mind that you can’t go back to a question, so ensure you’ve thoroughly considered the question and answered to the best of your ability before moving on. Overall, it took me about two hours to get certified, study modules and all! 

google ads search certification

Don’t forget to set a calendar reminder after completing your assessment, as it expires in a year!

Microsoft Certifications

Becoming a Microsoft Advertising Certified Professional is pretty straightforward. In order to prepare for the certification exam, Microsoft has provided a number of ‘courses’ you can take, each with a different theme. Within each course, there are different modules that pertain to the theme. Each module links to an article that thoroughly covers each topic. If you’d prefer, you can also download Microsoft’s PDF study guide that contains all of the information provided in the modules. It also includes a handy-dandy checklist to make sure you’ve covered all the topics!

When you’re ready to take the certification exam, don’t worry. You have unlimited time to finish the exam, and you can always pause to come back to it later. The test is a little lengthier than Google’s at 100 questions, but like Google, you’ll need to pass with an 80% or higher to become certified. When you’ve passed your exam, you’ll not only be a Microsoft Advertising Certified Professional, but you’ll also get perks like placement in the member directory and an official certificate. 

All in all, if you’re already here reading PPC Hero, these certifications should be a breeze for you. When you’re finished getting certified, continue to step up your game with some more advanced PPC reads. In the meantime, as my Mom used to advise before a big test, don’t forget to get plenty of sleep and eat a good breakfast, dear. Good luck!