Let’s start with a disclaimer – this is by no means a way to hack the teachings and certifications of Google. Sorry, slackers.
Although you might not learn how to cheat Google’s certification process from this post, you will get a better understanding of the overall process itself and gain insight into the benefits of having some Google clout in the digital marketing age.
But before we jump straight into things, I think it’s important to understand my background a bit. Before joining Go Fish Digital as a Project Manager, I was a marketing director for a large organization with a primary focus on digital marketing. I was familiar with Google Analytics and reporting, but I never formally trained or became “certified” in any of Google’s resources. At the time, I figured I had enough knowledge of the tools to get by. But as you could imagine, after joining a digital marketing agency that specializes in SEO (with a team of super smart people), it was important that I expand my knowledge base and utilization of these tools post haste.
But that’s enough about me, let’s talk more Google.
Google Assessment & Certification
If you’re new to the idea of Google Certifications, it’s a professional accreditation Google offers (for free) to those who have a basic and advanced knowledge base for Google Ads and Analytics.
A certification is a great professional trust signal for employers and clients alike as it demonstrates that Google recognizes you as an expert in one of their online tools. For those who already have experience with Google Ads tools but don’t have any certifications or see the value of obtaining one, I would ask you this: would you trust your friend to change the brakes in your car just because they know how to change a tire? Probably not. You’d most likely leave the brakes to a trusted certified professional. Similarly, it’s important to know the inner workings of Google – how the tools connect, how to navigate between them and most importantly, how and when they change.
That’s right, change. It’s inevitable – certainly in our digital age and especially for Google. Google makes changes frequently and their tools are no exception to the rule. Which is why certifications only last one year. Once you reach the anniversary of your last assessment, you must retake it to be re-certified. This ensures you are familiar with any of the changes that have taken place. But do not fret – you’ll be notified of changes and anniversaries as they come. Assessments take about 90-120 minutes depending on the course and require at least an 80% to pass.
So how do you get to know these tools and get certified?
Google Academy for Ads
Google makes things super easy for you to learn and receive certification through Google Ads Academy. A simple dashboard of available courses makes navigating through the different topics easy. Interactive courses and short training videos mirror real-life business challenges. Topics range from basic to intermediate and advanced so you can continue to grow your knowledge base.
The curriculum starts with basic campaign management, bid strategy, reporting, and advanced optimization. It also covers topics like Mobile, Google Analytics, Brand, Creative, Google Web Designer, and Programmatic concepts. It may seem like a lot straight away, but many of the available product courses require you to pass the same fundamental assessment. Additional learning tools supplement each course to guide you through the product in greater detail – enabling you to pass the assessment and officially become certified by Google.
How to get it done in a week
You can see how I was able to break things down below. Remember, time can vary based on how much you already know and/or how you like to pace yourself. Finding what works for you might mean exploring the courses and resources since each training and test requires a different amount of time. So make sure you’re realistic about what your schedule can accommodate!
~10 hours total testing (2 hours testing per day) + ~10-15 hours total review/training (2 – 3 hours allotted per course) = ~25 dedicated hours
- AdWords Fundamentals: 90 Minutes
- Search Advertising: 120 Minutes
- Display Advertising: 120 Minutes
- Mobile Advertising: 90 Minutes
- Video Advertising: 90 Minutes
- Shopping Advertising: 90 Minutes
Take your time learning the fundamentals: Take your time and go through the fundamental course and supplemental tools. It will give you the basics and need-to-know info that will be included among all of the other product tool courses. You’ll also see repeat information in the other courses – you can take note but don’t waste too much time on it – you’ve already learned it from the fundamental course.
Take the fast track: For those with greater levels of experience with Google’s products, the supplemental tools may not be needed. I found them helpful for some but definitely not all. It’s up to you as they are not required to take the assessment. You can save time by quickly reviewing as a refresh and jump straight to the assessment.
Don’t cheat: This should go without saying but don’t cheat your way through a certification. It may be a faster path to getting certified but you’ll never know how to utilize the tool to its fullest potential. And, cheaters never prosper.
Share your certification: You are now a certified Google expert! You’ve spent time getting there, so share it with your team members! Not only will you get a fancy certificate to post on your wall – your company or agency can also claim credit for your recent achievements and earn specializations.
Continue to learn and gain certificates: Once you’ve passed the beginner courses, make sure to keep things going! You’ll definitely want to expand your knowledge base and your value by continuously learning and staying up-to-date on all the product tools and updates.
Are you a recent Google Academy grad, like me? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments!