Google AdWords Certification – Part 2

With the recent change to the Google Certified Professional program, some more questions arise about the value of the certification tests. Now that the program is named Google Partners ( and the tests are FREE, the question whether to take the test is even easier to answer. As I said before in Is Google AdWords Certification Worth It?, the test is valuable and I highly recommend taking it.


Old Partner Badge

google partner badge

New Partner Badge

The Cost

They clearly followed Bing in the pricing structure (Free), and listened to their agency partners to push more of a “certified company” profile more than a “certified professional” program. Over the years I have spent over $600 on Google tests, since you have to take it every 12, 18, or 24 months depending on the test at the time. I’m very happy that the tests are free, even though I’m still annoyed that someone in the business for over 7 years has to take the exam every year.

The Investment

Now that the exams are free, time and effort are the extent of your investment. Simply spend a few dozen hours in the AdWords interface and study the basics of AdWords at their official AdWords Certification Study Guide. Then dedicate 90 minutes per exam. You will need to pass two exams minimum to become certified; Advertising Fundamentals exam is required, then you can choose Advanced Search or Advanced Display as your second required exam. You can take all three if you fee compelled to take all available exams.

The Value

Passing the exams will not get you a job (most likely). However, it could differentiate your resume enough versus someone without the certifications on their resume. As a hiring manager, I certainly like to see certifications on a search marketing specialist’s resume. It shows initiative and passion in the space. It shows that the individual is interested in search marketing outside of the 9-5 job, which is essential to success in the industry.


Words of Wisdom

  1. If you’re just looking to get the certification, you can’t go wrong with setting aside 2-3 hours of a day and knocking out the Fundamentals and Advanced Search exams at one time. The Advanced Search is Very similar to the Fundamentals exam. The main difference is that the Advanced exam adds a lot of situational types of questions, as if you are working with a hypothetical account/client.
  2. Don’t over study. I’ve seen this with co-workers and peers in the past. They over think the importance of passing the exam and worry too much about what they don’t know. Focus on the AdWords interface and the basics of how a campaign, adgroup, keywords and ads function. You should be good to go if you’ve ever managed an account.
  3. Once you are a partner, LINK your badge to your profile. I’ve seen agencies and individuals use the badge on their site and not link to a profile to prove that they are actually a partner. That makes me (and any users) think that you are not actually certified.
  4. Encourage peers to take the exams.