the Guide You Need to Be Top of The Class

Why do you need a Google Ads certification study guide? Easy, because you need to pass your Google Ads Certification exams!

Whether you’re studying to make a career in online advertising or a marketing professional wanting to brush up on your paid marketing skills, Google Ads certification is a great place to get started!

When you’re certified by Google, it shows everyone that you are an expert in the field. It is the mark of distinction for an advertiser that people know they can trust.

But to get a Google Ads certification is no easy task. That’s why we created this study guide!

It seems like there’s a certification for everything in digital advertising these days. There are platform-specific certifications like Facebook Blueprint Certification and general ones like Hootsuite’s Social Media ROI and Value Analysis Certification.

So, which certifications matter? The Google Ads certification is one of the most distinctive.

As the largest search engine and advertising platform on the planet, Google carries significant weight.

Nailing the Google Ads certification exams isn’t easy. It demands knowledge and practical experience in every aspect of digital advertising, including best practices for managing and optimizing Google Ads campaigns.

You’ll need to show that you not only understand how to run your own advertising campaigns but also the underlying causes for their success or failure.

Let’s get into details!

What Is the Google Ads Certification?

The Google Ads certification is a professional accreditation offered by Google. Those who receive it must demonstrate a high level of proficiency in their understanding of Google Ads.

A Google Ads certification demonstrates that Google recognizes you as an expert in online advertising.

First, one must complete the Google Ads Fundamentals exam via Google’s online training platform, the Academy for Ads. Then, you need to complete an additional assessment in one area of specialization.

The Fundamentals assessment starts by testing your knowledge in the following four concepts:

  • Value proposition of online advertising
  • Campaign setup and management
  • Measurement
  • Optimization

Once you receive a passing grade of 80% on this assessment, you’ll be able to move on to the specialized exams:

Google ads certification assessments

Available specialized assessments from Google.

Receiving a passing grade of 80% in this second test will complete your Google Ads certification (Congratulations!) and help your company earn a Google Partner or Premier Google Partner Badge. You also need to reach a minimum ad spend and company performance baseline, but getting certified is a big part of leveling up your company profile with a Google Partner Badge.

The badge looks something like this:

Google ads certification - partner badge

Google Partner Badges showing areas of specialization.

Now that you know what this certification is, it’s time to prepare you to ace the test!

How to Prepare for the Google Ads Certification Exam

The Google Ads certification requires an in-depth understanding of all aspects of online advertising best practices. This includes both the management and optimization of your Google Ads campaigns.

The specialized assessments drill down into specific areas of expertise, focusing on your ability to competently serve ads in the Google Search Network, Merchant Center, and YouTube as well as targeting Display and Mobile ad campaigns.

Before taking your assessment, choose a specialization. That will make studying for the test much more targeted and, as a result, more valuable. This is no small undertaking you’re about to embark on, so make sure you’re 100% prepared.

Step One: Get On-the-Job Experience

This is the first thing Google recommends to prepare for their certification.

You should be familiar with online advertising concepts and best practices and should have experience managing different types of Google Ads campaigns.

To pass both your fundamentals and specialization exams, you not only need to understand the underlying theories behind online advertising but be able to create, serve, analyze, and optimize real-live ads as well. This just isn’t possible without firsthand experience of the Google Ads platform.

When you set up your own advertising campaigns, it also gives you the opportunity to test your knowledge ahead of the exams and find out where you need to study more.

Step Two: Study, Study, Study

Now that you have on-the-job experience with running Google advertising campaigns of your own, make sure you’re knowledgeable in all current best practices and techniques as well. It can be easy to miss out on important updates if you’re actively working in the tool every day.

Lucky for you, we have a Google Ads Updates whenever there are changes made to the platform!

Once you’ve decided on which specialized exams you want to take, the best places to learn more about what is covered is Google’s own study material. They provide a number of resources that help you focus on studying the right kinds of information for every module.

You can use these study guides to plan and track your progress as well. Here’s the guide for the Google Ads Fundamentals exam:

Google ads certification fundamentals study guide

Google Ads Fundamentals exam guidelines and information.

Each assessment will have slightly different requirements, so make sure you’re reading up on the right one.

The Academy for Ads is another great resource. With interactive tutorials, videos, and projects, you can self-identify as a beginner, intermediate, or expert and find the courses that best fit your individual needs.

Google ads certification - academy of ads

Google Ads section of the Academy for Ads.

Each assessment page also includes a series of courses as a study guide:

Google ads certification - fundamentals study guide

Study guide for Google Ads Fundamentals assessment.

Google also hosts videos on YouTube in curated playlists for anyone who prefers a more visual learning experience.

That covers what’s available from Google in terms of study materials, but that’s not all that’s available. Third-party learning platforms, blogs (check out AdEspresso’s The Ultimate Google Ads Guide!), and study groups can help you, too.

Just remember that while the Google Ads certification is a free assessment, third-party providers like Lynda and Udemy will charge for their materials. You have 14 Lynda or 10 Udemy courses to choose from, so make sure to vet the best option for you or your team.

Pro tip: If you’re attempting the Google Ads certification for your company, they should be able to pay for additional resources as part of their learning & development budget.

Step Three: Practice!

Once you’ve studied up on the material, it’s time to test out your knowledge. Try using different types of ad formats, new ad extensions, or new bidding strategies. Even though you’ve spent time working in the platform to gain experience, trying out the tactics you studied in preparation for the assessment test will help solidify your knowledge.

If you feel like you accomplished enough to skip this step — DON’T! Practical experience of the best practices and techniques you’ve studied will help you level up your current campaigns while at the same time preparing you better for the test.

Step Four: Take the Test

To receive your Google Ads certification, you will need to take the Google Ads Fundamentals assessment and at least one specialized product assessment. You need to take the Fundamentals test first — only once you’ve received a passing grade can you take the specialized test.

Each test requires an 80% score to pass and has a time limit:

Google ads certification - time limits and grading

Assessment passing scores and time limits via Google.

When you start your exam, the allotted time limit to complete the test is clearly shown. You cannot pause or close out of your browser, so make sure everything is set before you sit down to take the exam.

Once you’ve signed into the Academy for Ads, you’ll find each test listed in the Google Ads section.

Google ads certification - fundamentals exam

Google Ads Fundamentals assessment in the Academy for Ads.

Just select the assessment you wish to complete to get started.

Google ads certification - fundamentals assessment

Google Ads Fundamentals assessment.

The fundamentals test asks 65 questions, which you will need to answer in 90 minutes or less. If you run out of time or are unable to complete the test for any other reason, you can retake it after 24 hours.

Once you’ve received a passing grade on both the Google Ads Fundamentals exam and your specialized assessment, you’ll receive the full Google Ads certification.

After 12 months, you will need to retake it to maintain your accreditation.

Google Ads Certification Isn’t Just About Learning

While it may seem like a lot of work to test your skills in online advertising, passing the Google Ads certification test shows your colleagues, your employer, and your network that you are an expert in your field.

Passing the test will help you build more successful campaigns, foster trust in your abilities, and (if you’re lucky) lead to more career growth and a higher salary.

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