Do you want to learn best practices for running all kinds of Google Ads campaigns? Do you want to increase your credibility with clients and current or future managers?

If yes, then getting Google Ads certifications is one of the best (and official) ways to do it.

There are several different certifications you can get for Google Ads, one for each of their major types of ad products. In this guide, I’ll go over the various types of certifications, which I recommend to take for who, and how to pass them.

Key takeaways
  • There are currently six different Google Ads certifications
  • All Google Ads certifications are free to take and receive the certification
  • Each certification takes around 3-4 hours to complete and can all be done online
  • Getting certified can help give you an extra edge for landing jobs or impressing clients - all for free

What are Google Ads certifications?

Google Ads Certifications are the most accredited and recognized certifications for Google Ads because they are official certifications by Google. They can be an important credential for people who are looking to land a job or promotion with heavy Google Ads responsibilities. They’re also a great resource for business owners to learn Google Ads fast from an official source but don’t have any previous experience with them.

There are six different Google Ads certifications available in nearly 20 different languages. Each certification is composed of recommended study, a knowledge check, and the assessment to earn the certification. To pass each assessment, you’ll need to score at least 80%—with the only exception being the Google Ads Apps assessment, which requires a score of at least 70%.

You can get the following certifications for Google Ads:

  • Google Ads Display Certification
  • Google Ads Search Certification
  • Google Ads Measurement Certification
  • Google Ads Video Certification
  • Shopping Ads Certification
  • Google Apps Ads Certification
The badges for the six different Google Ad certifications
The badges for the six different Google Ad certifications

You’re given 75 minutes to complete each assessment and you can expect to see anywhere between 46 and 50 questions per assessment. Your computer will not be restricted during the assessment (like with the Facebook Blueprint certifications), so you can search for answers while taking the assessment. The catch is once you select an answer, you can’t go back to change it.

If you pass the assessment, you receive the certification immediately and if you don’t pass, you only need to wait 24 hours to retake it. Another warning: before taking the test, make sure your internet connection is stable, because going offline for even a second will automatically disqualify the session.

How much does it cost to get Google Ads certified?

In the past, Google Ads certifications used to come with a price tag. Only recently has Google made the certifications completely free. So if you’re planning to expand your knowledge about Google Ads and increase your credibility, it’s a good idea to get certified while they won’t cost you a dime.

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Are Google Ads Certifications worth it?

If you’re new to Google Ads, the certifications are definitely worth it because they’ll teach you the basics and set a strong foundation for future experimentation with ads later on. However, because the curriculum is created by Google, there’s some bias with regards to the “right” strategy, as Google wants to convince their users to target a broader audience, regardless of whether broad targeting is right for them. As you would expect, Google wants to encourage its clients to spend more on Google ads, so while the Google courses work great for teaching you what each type of ad does, and how the platform works, these courses may not be the best for learning the latest and most optimal advertising strategies.

Despite this, I definitely think the certifications are worth it just for the extra credibility alone. For individuals, it can help you stand out among other candidates when job hunting, earn your managers more confidence in you to handle Google Ad responsibilities, and help establish authority with clients if you do any freelance work. For agencies, it can also help with earning trust from clients and also ensure some base level competence among your account managers.

Google Ads certifications are separate from the Google Partner badge. To receive the Google Partner badge, you’ll need to meet certain ad performance requirements on the Google Ads platform and spend at least $10,000 on ads within a 90-day period.

How hard is it to get Google Ads certified?

Overall, the Google Ads certifications are well-known to not be too difficult to pass, especially because you can Google answers to the questions while taking the test. However, because of the time limit, you’ll still want to understand a wide range of definitions, concepts, and basic strategy/use cases.

The assessment doesn’t have outright tricky questions, but they do want to award certifications to those who can use their critical thinking skills so there are questions that require you to have a firm grasp on the concepts and which you won’t be able to easily look up the answer to. Most of the questions are multiple-choice which makes it easier, but read the questions carefully as you’ll have similar answers to choose from.

Also, you don’t need to pass all of the assessments to get the certification. Each assessment comes with its own certification. Most people focus on the Google Ads Display, Search, and Measurement Certifications since these are areas most marketers use. If you’re frequently running ads for ecommerce brands, then you’ll definitely want to take the Shopping Ads certification. If running YouTube ads, take the Video certification. If running ads in apps, then take the Apps certification.

Compared with the requirements for the Facebook Blueprint Certification, the requirements for the Google Ads assessment are far less restrictive. For example, to take a Facebook assessment, you’ll need to be in an empty room, on a desk clear of any unnecessary items. You’ll also need to install a program that will prevent you from running other programs while taking the certification and keep your webcam turned on throughout the assessment.

The Facebook Blueprint certifications aren’t free, but are worth looking into if you plan to be running Facebook ads at some point.

How to prepare and study for your Google Certification assessment

First, start off by taking the recommended lessons in each certification. They are short and give a background as to what the test will cover and quickly get you familiar with the most important parts.

One of the pieces of study material for the Google Ads Search certification
One of the pieces of study material for the Google Ads Search certification

Then, the best way to learn the concepts required to pass the assessments is by gaining firsthand experience running Google Ads. If you don’t have a live account to practice with, you can always set up a new account yourself. You’ll be able to go through the steps of creating complete campaigns without turning them on and spending money.

Whether it’s on an existing account, or your newly created practice account, you should practice setting up what a real campaign would look like and go through all the actions as if you’d actually launch it. That way, you can connect what you need to learn with the context of running an actual campaign.

Here’s what I’d do:

Go to the Tools tab and connect a Google Analytics account. See what you can learn about Google Analytics activity to strategize your Google Ads campaigns. Then see how you can analyze user behavior from your campaigns in Google Analytics.

On the Opportunities tab, you’re shown what new keywords you can bid on and what type of budgets may work for your business. Remember, this is Google’s advice who wants to maximize your spending and may not be optimal so just take these as suggestions, not guarantees.

To get more specific with your targeting, look into the various level breakdowns. With these options, you can narrow down your targeting at an account, campaign, ad group, or keyword level. Think about what you’d do in a real campaign and go through all the steps here.

As you go through everything, write down words and acronyms you don’t understand, then look up what they mean so you can understand everything.

Once you think you’re ready, test your knowledge with the practice assessments before taking the real thing. Or, because the assessments are free and you can always retake them the next day, you can also just go for the real thing without being 100% confident - and hey you might pass first try!

You can use this strategy to get yourself familiarized with taking the assessment, but remember, the end goal isn’t just to get certified but also to become better at running Google Ads campaigns.

If you feel like you need more learning sources, there’s a plethora of Google Ads videos for beginners on YouTube all for free.

Where and how to display the Google Certification badges

At the minimum, add your certification badges to your LinkedIn profile in the certifications section. But don’t go overboard throwing it everywhere you can like your LinkedIn header, social bios, or email signature - after all, it’s just a free certification that shouldn’t be your core source of credibility.

How your Google Ads certification will appear on your LinkedIn profile
How your Google Ads certification will appear on your LinkedIn profile

Many employers do look for candidates who are certified so just make sure it’s on LinkedIn in the appropriate section and maybe on the bottom of your resume (your experience should always be first).

For agencies, you can briefly mention that all your account managers are certified, or something to that effect. Again, just don’t highlight it too much or lead with it as it can appear amateurish compared to previous results achieved for clients.

What to do after getting Google Ads certified

My advice is to continue getting familiarized with the platform and delve deeper into Google Ads strategies that real companies in your space typically execute.

You can also learn about other software related to Google Ads such as Revealbot - that’s us! At this point, you may have heard of scripts for Google Ads or automated rules. Well that’s what Revealbot does, but we make it easier to set up and manage automations without knowing any code. You can learn more about how we do Google ads automation and set up a test account with our two week free trial.

Additionally, Google is known for constantly making changes to their ads platform, typically at the expense of the advertiser. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep track of the latest Google Ads news through official Google updates and following them on Twitter.

Aside from the official Google Ads certification, Google has also curated a ton of different online courses, both free and paid, on a variety of digital marketing topics.

Google's digital marketing course library
Google's digital marketing course library

Keep in mind that some of these courses cover intermediate and advanced topics, and will not come with a certification. These courses are best used if you want to deepen your knowledge in certain areas but aren’t interested in earning a badge that can be shown on your social media to potential employers or clients.