When I graduated from college with a degree in advertising, I thought I knew everything needed to be successful in the digital world. However, I quickly discovered I was lacking the technical knowledge crucial to making it in this industry. While searching the internet, I luckily stumbled across the Digital Creative Institute apprenticeship program. After applying, I was encouraged to bolster my abilities and broaden my advertising foundation into digital by learning Google AdWords and other essential digital skills.
Google Adwords uses keywords to match search queries with relevant businesses that sell the product or service desired. Have you ever noticed that nine times out of ten you never go past the first search results page because you’ve found what you’re searching for immediately? If a company is only showing up on the second or third search results page, then their marketing efforts are still stuck in the stone ages. According to a study by Infront Webworks, the first page of Google receives 95% of web traffic. Because of this, it’s imperative an organization learns how to effectively optimize Adwords and perform SEO or their online presence will suffer.
How do you learn Google Adwords?
Let’s begin with the basics. You’ll need to create a free Google Partner account then you register to be a Google Partner. Once you’ve done that, you can start studying for the Google Adwords certification. To obtain the certification, you need to pass the Adwords Fundamentals exam plus one of the specialized Adwords assessments. The advanced exams include: search, display, video, mobile, and shopping advertising. As time goes on, more and more consumers are using their smartphones to search for things while they’re on the go. Seeing this as the up and coming way to reach customers, I chose to get certified in Mobile Advertising. Of course, all the other options are also valuable and filled with relevant information.
Chart above by Google to outline the different exam categories.
The Fundamentals Exam Study Guide provided by Google is made up of 3 sections:
- Introduction - Understanding the value of online advertising
- Campaign Management - Setting up an AdWords campaign
- Measuring and Optimizing Performance
The introduction highlights the benefits of online advertising and how Google Adwords works. Then, in Campaign Management you dig into the structure of campaigns, targeting, bids, and budgets. When you’ve crafted your campaign and it’s ready to be launched, you need to know what kind of data you should focus on to perfect it. In the Measurement and Optimization section, you'll learn which metrics and tools you’ll need to analyze your campaign’s performance.
*Google also offers a PDF download version of the study guide.
Mastering the Exam
When you’re going through the Google online courses, you’ll be presented with: videos, articles, links to additional information on terms and concepts, and short quizzes at the end of each section.
While watching the videos, take notes so you can refer back to if you have questions about a particular topic. It's also a good idea to watch the lessons more than once. If you commute to work or school, you can kill time by listening to the videos on your phone. You can also do an online search to find other study materials to help you learn the concepts. I used school4seo.com because it has sample questions with answers from the test.
Although we live in a digital world, sometimes you have to revert back to old fashioned methods to learn information. While taking the course, I wrote my notes in a journal and reviewed them for about 8 hours over the duration of a week. In between working, sleeping, and eating, I made sure to study for about an hour or two everyday. All of the lesson modules included a video and written description to follow along with and after each topic there was a quick quiz to test your knowledge.
- Take notes while watching the video lessons to ensure you don't just glaze over it
- Spend 1 to 2 hours studying each day for a week before you take the exam
- Download the PDF study guide and review it many times
- Revist the quizzes at the end of each lesson, the questions are very similar to those on the real exam
The Fundamentals assessment is 120 minutes long and contains 100 multiple choice and true/false questions, which means every question is worth one point. Google considers 80% as passing, so you can get a maximum of 20 questions wrong and still make the cut.
Choosing a specialization to complete your certification
Congrats! Now that you’ve passed the Google Adwords Fundamentals exam, it’s time to choose a specialization category. Based on what you choose, the amount of lessons vary ranging from 3 to 9 lessons long with exams containing 70 to 100 questions. As I previously mentioned, I decided to take the Mobile Advertising course, which had 4 lessons in it’s study guide and an exam 90 minutes long with 70 questions. How do you choose which area to specialize in? Search is the most widely used form of AdWords so it’s a good place to start for beginners. Keep in mind you can tackle all the specialities! You just need Fundamentals plus one other to become Google AdWords certified.
Here's what my certification looks like after specializing in Mobile.
As a new marketer in the digital age, it’s crucial to know how to use Google Adwords. I'm certainly glad I spent the time to learn the material so that I could be on my way to search engine management (SEM) proficiency. Going through this training and getting certified made me more well versed in Adwords and the strategies that businesses use to reach their target audiences effectively online. There’s many more components that go into an AdWords campaign than I originally thought. By taking this course, you’re strengthening your resume and becoming a more versatile candidate in the digital industry. Best of luck on the exam!
Have you thought about earning your Google Analytics certification in addition to AdWords? Download the free guide “The Ultimate Google Analytics Guide for Marketers” to get started today.