When I first started my digital marketing career, I remember thinking, “I bet there are a handful of online courses and certifications I could do to get a head start!” One Google search and 5 minutes later, I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of options. There are numerous certifications readily available to you online – but where to begin? In this article, you will find the baseline certifications that we believe every digital marketer should have to their name, as well as a few fun and fancy supplemental certifications to take your know-how to the next level.
Beyond the learning and expertise, you will gain while completing them, certifications are also an excellent way to provide concrete evidence of PPC ability – they are a great addition to a LinkedIn page or resume. Additionally, certifications are an excellent way to build credibility with your client or agency.
So, whether you are new to digital marketing or a seasoned pro, here is our list of 6 essential digital marketing certifications (and some bonus ones too):
The Six Certifications All Digital Marketers Should Have
Let’s start off strong – the basic Google Ads Search certification. While Google offers a significant number of more specialized certifications (don’t worry, we will talk about these later), this is the place to start. This certification will test your knowledge on the basics (building and optimizing campaigns, for example), as well as a small number of more specialized topics, such as Smart Bidding or developing a basic marketing strategy.
Note: One nice thing you will notice about the majority of Google’s certifications is that they offer a course/study guide to complete before taking the certification. While this is usually optional, it is a great way to check your knowledge before trying for the certification. Also, just to calm any nerves, Google certifications can be taken multiple times should it take you a few tries to pass (this is true for most other online certifications as well).
This particular certification goes hand-in-hand with the previous Google Ads Search certification. Google Analytics is an absolutely essential tool for taking your PPC to the next level (you can read more about this fantastic platform and how to set it up in this article).
This certification covers basic and more advanced Google Analytics topics, so be sure to check out the study materials provided by Google if you are new to the platform!
I’ll share with you some wisdom I was given early in my PPC career: “Nic, don’t sleep on Microsoft.” Microsoft is a sometimes-overlooked platform that can be incredibly effective in expanding your PPC efforts and knowledge. One of the perks of learning Microsoft ads, if you are unfamiliar, is that the structure and interface are rather similar to Google Ads – however, if you need a little bit of extra review/information, Microsoft also offers a study guide for the certification.
Facebook/Meta likely needs no introduction. That said, I am going to cheat a bit here and actually recommend two certifications for the platform – one mechanics-focused, and one strategy-centric. Similar to Google, Facebook offers high-quality learning materials to bolster your knowledge before attempting the certification exam, so check those out if you need a refresher.
LinkedIn can be an extremely powerful advertising tool, especially for B2B advertising. Similar to Facebook/Meta, LinkedIn breaks its basic certification into two parts: fundamentals and strategy.
Finally, a certification for our Programmatic friends! DV360 is a common tool used in Programmatic advertising, making this certification a great place to start.
Note: If you will be doing Programmatic advertising in the future, we also recommend completing the CM360 certification that can be found below in conjunction with this DV360 certification. If you are unfamiliar with Programmatic advertising, check out this article breaking down the basics.
Additional Digital Marketing Certifications
As mentioned in the DV360 section, this certification should likely be completed in conjunction with DV360, as they are often two sides of the same Programmatic coin.
This is what it says on the tin – if you will be running Google Shopping Ads, this is an excellent certification to have!
Unfamiliar with the powerful tool that is SA360? Check out this article that breaks it down!
I think it is fair to assume that most individuals running digital marketing campaigns could benefit from this certification – Display ads are very common, and proficiency in the medium is very valuable!
A great way to practice and flex your Google Ads Video knowledge!
If you plan to run (or already run) Google Ads Apps campaigns, this is a great certification to have!
And there you have it! Hopefully, this was helpful in navigating the expansive world of digital marketing certifications. Keep in mind that these two lists are certainly not all-inclusive, and there are many other valuable certifications out there. Feel free to explore and complete what sounds helpful (and entertaining) to you personally!