The digital marketing world is always evolving. Platforms are incorporating new brand safety standards, innovative ad types, and hyper-targeted audience options at a lightning-fast pace. In my experience, I’ve found that Google’s certification assessments are excellent tools for understanding the latest platform changes and testing your how-to knowledge of Google Ads.

Recently, Google migrated their certifications home base from the Google Partners site to Academy for Ads. With this change comes updated assessments focused on the new Google Ads experience and a more robust and user-friendly learning platform.

So what’s the difference between Academy for Ads and Google Partners? Individual users get certified by passing assessments on Academy for Ads, while marketing firms and agencies get that special Google Partners badge and earn the right to call themselves “specialists” by having their Google Ads-certified employees affiliate their Academy for Ads accounts with the organization. The benefits of being a Google Partner, like managing multi-channel campaigns from a central location and knowledge on best practices for optimum campaign performance, then get passed on to clients.

Even if you have a partner to help guide you through the evolution of Google Ads, earning a certification can still help increase your understanding of the landscape and make you a stronger marketer.

A Bundle of Certifications
Let’s walk through some of the key certifications you can earn from Academy for Ads:

The core certification is Google Ads Fundamentals. This is your basic course for those new to the world of Google Ads and a great starting point upon which the other assessments will build. You’ll learn how Google Ads works, how to create ads and perform some basic optimizations.

Then you can opt to further your knowledge with product-specific certifications, like Search, in which you’ll dig deeper into Google’s best practices for Search campaigns, including how to set goals and measure conversions, effective audience targeting and you’ll discover more in-depth optimization techniques.

Google Display campaigns are an entirely different animal, so study and pass this assessment to gain a deeper understanding of what display advertising means and where your ads might show. If you’re new to display advertising, I highly recommend this course as strategizing for how best to layer your keyword, topic, interest, in-market and/or affinity audience targeting can be quite complex and targeting too narrowly can cause your ads not to show.

Video campaigns are a subset of display advertising and use the same targeting criteria, so ideally, you would complete your Video assessment after display. This course is great for understanding the types of messaging and marketing goals perfectly suited to video advertising as well as the metrics you should be reporting on to determine if your campaign is a success.

The Mobile certification is also one to check out because - as you all know - we live in a mobile-first world. This course will help you understand the value of mobile with helpful stats. You’ll also learn why it’s so important to have a mobile-responsive site and how to tailor your Calls-to-Action for the small screen. There are also a few sections on how to launch Mobile App campaigns to drive downloads or repeat visits to your mobile app.

Lastly, you’ve the got Shopping and Digital Sales certifications. Shopping campaigns are a fantastic tool to drive e-commerce sales and, in this course, Google walks you through the creation of your Merchant Center account to quickly and easily link your product catalogue to your shopping campaign. The Digital Sales certification is a crash course in sales, from prospecting to pitching and proposal to closing − a great primer for understanding how to communicate the value of digital campaigns, even if you’re not a part of the sales team!

Extra Credit
These subject matter assessments take a deep dive into the great products and features of Google Ads. And, for extra credit, there are additional “mini courses” that take less than 15 minutes to complete and brief you on topics like remarketing and programmatic advertising.

Google’s Academy for Ads is an amazing resource for learning how to get the most out of your advertising and, best of all, it’s a free course library. So jump in and start studying today!

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