The closer you get to graduation the more stressful thoughts of the future become, especially if you are planning a career in digital marketing. So how do you stand out in a crowded room of recent grads? Easy. Certifications. Certs show your potential employers that you are self-motivated and hungry to learn industry-leading tools. Whether or not you are looking to end up on a creative team or a media buying team, the certs below will help you get ahead of your peers.
Google Adwords (Free)
When you use Google to look for a barber or restaurant, chances are you see an AdWords ad at the top of the search results. Google AdWords teaches you the fundamentals of how you should organize, scale, and measure the success of digital advertising campaigns. It’s an amazing education, and everyone in digital marketing should have this certification. Best of all, Google AdWords is a free certification. It takes two tests to complete, Adwords Fundamentals and a test in one of five ad subcategories (Do the Search Advertising exam first, but do them all over time). If studying study guides isn’t your jam, check out Google’s Academy for Ads, it’s easy and completing the course sets you up for success on the exams.
Facebook Blueprint ($150 per exam)
Facebook ads are currently the best way to reach Millennials and GenZ consumers. Facebook Blueprint cost money, and it’s worth every penny. With the power of Facebook Pixel and Custom Audiences, it’s never been easier to get the right ad in front of the right people. Facebook’s eLearning courses are well-thought-out, and if you follow this list, you’ll come away with a strong understanding of everything from community management to ad buys. It’s information that you, and your future brand need to know. Lastly, it’s a relatively new certification, and it’s coming up more and more as a request in job postings.
Unbounce Academy (Free)
Every good digital advertisement needs to lead somewhere and more often than not; it needs to lead to a landing page. Unbounce is one of the easiest ways to create an A/B test landing pages for your ads. It’s quickly becoming the industry’s favorite, thanks to its simplicity and scalability. Additionally, Unbounce’s Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics code integration is seamless. The core concepts of landing pages are valid across digital marketing, and this academy will teach you most of what you need to know.
Google Analytics (Free)
In the marketing world, firms will live and die by ROI. Google Analytics is the best way to measure ad campaigns and ad results. Put simply; Google Analytics uses code placed in the header of the website to determine where web traffic is coming from, and what actions are completed on your web page. Learning Analytics is easy with Google’s Analytics Academy. Google analytics code lives in the header of almost every B2C website and a lot of B2B websites too. After passing the exam, make sure to get comfortable with Google Data Studio, (currently in beta) your future clients will thank you.
Twitter Flight School (Free)
Twitter is one of the most prominent ad and customer service new media platforms, almost everyone with a smartphone has the Twitter app installed. Twitter’s courses will teach you how to write the best copy you can in less than 140 characters. It will also show you how and where to use hashtags, and the best ways to use Twitter in advertising campaigns. The case studies covered in Flight School are fascinating and full of good and easily consumable lessons. Make sure to check out the “Extra Curricular” classes offered after finishing Flight School to learn more about media buys on Twitter.
Bing Ads Certification (Free)
Bing isn’t the most popular search engine, but with its acquisition of Yahoo, it is the second most popular search engine. Its ads populate the same way as Adwords, but they remain in Microsoft’s digital properties. It’s an especially powerful advertising tool if your target audiences are baby boomers or older Gen Xers who still use Yahoo Mail, and MSN as their homepage. The certification is free, and it does have some cool features. Lastly, Bing ads are cheap, so if your brand is looking to target an older audience with a small budget, your certification will come in handy.
Doubleclick is currently the most popular ad serving tool. There are others, but none are used as common across the industry as Doubleclick. If your firm runs banner ads (they do) then knowing how Doubleclick works is a must. The certification track can be found through Google’s Academy for Ads. While you’re at it, listen to this podcast, and learn how the Johnson Box can improve banner clicks!
Hubspot Inbound Marketing Certification (Free)
This certification is the culmination of all the certifications above. However, it is not as detailed. After passing the certs above, dive into this course and learn how to tie landing pages to Google Analytics, Facebook, Google, and Twitter advertisements, and measure their results. Think of Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing Certification as the most valuable capstone class you will ever take.
That’s it! Add the badges to your Linkedin account, and mention them in your cover letter and resume. Remember, nothing impresses employers like the motivation to continue learning. Certifications are a surefire way to show them that you will always look ahead, and strive to find out more.
A big thank you to Johney Burke of @Vladimir Jones for pointing out the value of Unbounce and Doubleclick.