Why Bother Getting AdWords Certified + How To Do It


Whether you’re working at a B2B PPC Agency or are running the paid ads for your in-house marketing team, you’ve probably heard of AdWords Certification. To be honest, when I first started working in the space, I assumed “AdWords Certified” meant “yeah, I know my way around Google AdWords.”

But it turns out things aren’t quite that easy. The AdWords test is a very real thing – and the certification is a real takeaway asset you can leverage to increase your sense of authority/expertise. So, let’s take a look at why getting AdWords certified is worth you time (and how to do it).

3 Reasons Why AdWords Certification is Worth Your Time

It’s important that you can distinguish your brand from the rest of the grey-hat and black-hat spammers in the digital marketing arena – especially in the B2B space. For the most part, the three main reasons to get AdWords certified follow this logic.

After all, an AdWords certified badge on your social profiles and website is only going to strengthen your brand.

#1 Free Brand Authority (Personal or Business)

Just like having Moz, Unbounce, and Google Partners badges on your site improves the credibility of your business, having the AdWords certified badge on your profile does the same.

Placing your AdWords Certified Badge at the top of your resume is a great way to let potential employers know you’re a pro. If you have a fairly robust PPC team in your agency, it may be worth plugging those badges onto your employee headshots.

This way, when new potential clients view your teams they know you are all certified. Likewise, potential new employees will know ahead of time that they’ll be studying for the test during week 1 (if they don’t come pre-certified).

#2 Sense of Customer Security

Especially when dealing with the number of sub-par agencies that have developed over the past few years, it’s important you can make your clients feel comfortable. This means making them feel safe and secure in the right hands with a clear mastery of the platform. As well as being able to explain the tactics you outline in laymen terms.

Einstein said it best:

If you can’t explain it to a seven year old, you don’t understand it yourself.

Now, full mastery of AdWords comes with time and experience – your certification doesn’t automatically make you a PPC guru. But it will help put your clients a bit more at ease as you start the relationship.

#3 Worthwhile Insights, Regardless of Position

Lastly, keep in mind that AdWords certification isn’t just for PPC Specialists. Especially if you are working at a PPC Agency, having a general understanding of how the platform works can benefit every employee. You’d be surprised at how a simple mis-used term or ignorance of a single metric formula can hurt you.

Wordstream recognizes the importance of ensuring every employee is up to speed:

At WordStream we have all our sales and customer service specialists become certified, because we’ve found that it does add validity to conversations with leads and customers. Often people feel more secure if they’re working with a “certified professional.”

Just because you aren’t directly working on the paid campaigns doesn’t mean knowing how they work won’t help. As an search marketer who focuses primarily on content, I can attest to this.

We are constantly accessing our AdWords data to get a more granular picture of which keywords will yield the highest ROI when targeted. And that’s only one way in which our organic search marketers rely on paid data. The list goes on far longer than this…

Now that you know why AdWords Certification is worth your time, let’s take a look at the actual test.

Breaking Down the AdWords Certification Test

Hate to break it to you. But the AdWords Certification test actually consists of two separate tests (at least). You won’t be fully certified until you pass the AdWords Fundamental as well as one additional test. Don’t worry, multiple tests won’t end up costing you. Where the AdWords test used to cost $100 you can now take it totally free!

The additional tests you can chose from are as follows:

  • AdWords Fundamentals (primary)
  • Search Advertising
  • Display Advertising
  • Mobile Advertising ***
  • Video Advertising ***
  • Shopping Advertising ***

You’ll have 120 minutes to complete each of the exams (90 mins for the *** tests). The 120 minute tests have about 100 questions, while the shorter tests have only about 70.

To pass any AdWords test, Fundamentals or the 5 Add-Ons, you’ll need an 80% or higher. But don’t worry, if you fail you can retake the test in 7 days.

3 Classes To Help You Prep for the Exam

If you are looking to get certified in AdWords yourself you may be looking for some ways to study and prepare. Luckily, there are many resources available that will help you not only pass the Google AdWords Certification exam but more importantly, excel at AdWords.

Google AdWords Courses

Google’s own courses on AdWords are great resources to get introduced to the world of PPC and AdWords. The Essential Adwords Courses, is the first step in your journey to becoming a paid search master.

This is where you’ll learn the need-to-know of online marketing and the benefits of using AdWords as a part of your online marketing campaign. Next, is learning how to start your first AdWords campaign and how businesses set up campaigns that match their goals.

The final step in your first taste of Adwords, is learning how to measure and leverage your results. This is an important step in getting the most out of your online marketing budget.

Wordstream’s PPC University

Once you have finished going through Google’s own fantastic resources, venture out and read what other experts in PPC can teach you. If you are truly serious about learning about PPC, then Wordstream is your PPC Bible.

I suggest taking advantage of all their resources, including reading their blog articles and in-depth webinars on topics in the world of PPC. PPC University is another free resource available on Wordstream and offers numerous lessons from introductory courses to advanced topics on PPC advertising.

Each lesson contains detailed definitions and examples of important AdWords terms/features. PPC 101 will introduce you to key concepts for measuring and optimizing your paid campaigns. Such as:

Now if you’re still hungry for more knowledge on PPC and want to be extra ready to tackle the AdWords Fundamentals exam, here are two other great resources.

Certified Knowledge’s Master Certification Class

If there is one name you need to know in PPC it’s Brad Geddes. Only a few people are as well-conversed in PPC as he is. His company, Certified Knowledge, offers an in-depth training program on AdWords and is essential for those serious about mastering AdWords.

CK offers 150 videos that are arguably the most comprehensive tutorials out there. The only downside is that it is not a free (pricing info) resource as the others listed above, but I assure you that his lessons are well worth the price.

However, Certified Knowledge does offer a free trial for those of you who want to be as prepared as possible for the AdWords exam.

If you need more convincing, Certified Knowledge is a certified Google-authorized training provider and can be assured that these videos are everything I’ve said they are. You remember what I said about badges and what-not, after all.

What to Do With Your AdWords Certification

These are my top learning resources for preparing for not only conquering the AdWords Fundamentals Exam, but also mastering AdWords itself.

If you take advantage of these resources and really absorb the knowledge, you’ll have no problem passing the AdWords exam and succeed in creating successful PPC campaigns. Remember that the test isn’t one-and-done. You’ll have to re-certify yourself sooner or later, so hold onto these resources for refreshing later.

As far as what to do with your new AdWords certification, there are more than a few ways to leverage this new badge.

At the very least you should be posting your AdWords certification on your resume and any social platform that will allow you to post a badge. This is a great way to start conversations off with some authority.

Keep in mind that this goes for when you are starting conversations with potential employers as well as potential leads. Any time you reach out via your social this badge is going to work for you.

If you are a standalone B2B PPC Agency, and you have some talented in-house devs working for you, you might even want to consider getting these badges on your employee page. As I said before, this is a great way to boost your brand’s authority by showing users that everyone in-house is an official PPC expert.

This should also improve the strength of your brand by showing your users that you are concerned with their level of comfort.

You recognize that working with AdWords certified agencies is easier than a bunch of grey-hat rogues. The clearer you make that to your users, the more professional and B2B ready you will appear.

Garrett Mehrguth is the CEO and co-founder of Directive Consulting – a global search marketing agency headquartered in Southern California specializing in comprehensive search marketing campaigns for B2B and enterprise companies.

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