By: Stephan Becker, PPC University
Google Ads certification is quickly gaining popularity among digital marketers – and if you’ve been around long enough, you’ll know that it’s not always been that way.
Before Google’s Academy for Ads, there was Google AdWords, and with it came the title of “Google AdWords Certified Professional”. To achieve this coveted distinction, one had to pass a minimum of two Google AdWords Exams: AdWords Fundamentals, which was mandatory, as well as one of five elective exams on several topics – Google Search, Google Display, Google Video, Google Mobile, or Google Shopping Advertising.
Certified Google AdWords professionals know very well that until 2017, it wasn’t actually too difficult to get certified. If one was motivated enough, one could find entire Google AdWords exam PDF copies for a few bucks online. All one had to do was run them over and over, take the exam again, and Presto! A new Google AdWords Professional was born.
Fast forward to 2018 : Goodbye Google AdWords, Hello Google Ads
While Google AdWords exams can still be found on the darker corners of the web for little more than a Starbucks coffee, what you get may very well be outdated, not worth the paper you print it on. This is because Google has increased the pace at which it churns out new features, ad formats, advertising mechanisms, and bidding and campaign automation features, among others. Additionally, the new Google Ads exams are now updating at the same speed, faster than Speedy Gonzalez on Red Bull.
Google is Redesigning Google Ads Exams For Professionals
This is part of a more general trend: the Internet as a whole – and digital marketing in particular – is evolving at light speed, with Google and a few others leading the pack. When it comes to testing, if you want to have what it takes to become a “Google Ads Professional” in 2018, put on a pair of good sneakers, and be ready to hit the ground running.
In short, everything about the business is moving quickly. Google has been updating its exams at the same pace as its digital marketing features, and in January 2018, our quality control team at PPC University responsible for making sure courses are always up-to-date staff have begun updating our mock Google exams every two months – before 2018, we would only update Google exams every four to six months, depending on the exam topic.
In other words, the rate at which Google exams are being updated has more than doubled. Furthermore, PPC University’s exam question statistics for the new Google Ad Exams indicate that every two months, approximately 30% of exam questions are completely new, with an additional 40% of questions having been rewritten by Google. This has made PDF copies of Google exams practically obsolete, since answer choices have been changed and questions reformulated. In conclusion, this means that approximately every 2 months, about 70% of the questions on Google exams can potentially throw you off, especially if you rely on outdated Google AdWords exam copies circulating the web. It’s become tough, and it’s getting even tougher!
Fortunately, there is an end to this frantic race, a solution to achieving the required qualifications in order to get Google-certified : Enrolling into second-market Google Ads Certification prep courses such as those offered by our very own PPC University… but more on that later.
Google Would Do Away With Digital Agencies Altogether – If it Could
Google has understood the need to educate their most important client base, the various businesses that use their platform. After all, Google’s annual revenue of over $90B is primarily generated by these small and mid-sized businesses, and there’s still plenty of space to grow.
Here, I’d like to make a bold assumption: digital ad agencies have historically been considered by Google as a “necessary evil”, especially when it comes to getting businesses to spend their advertising budget on Google. It is my firm belief that Google, if it were able to, would much rather sell advertising services directly to businesses, instead of letting agencies act as the intermediary. Digital agencies may potentially be slowing down Google’s own growth objectives, especially in terms of capturing as large a portion of the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market as possible. But in order to do away with the competition, Google will need to educate SMBs and assist them with consulting services tailored to their needs.
And that’s exactly what they are doing. Google recently released its revamped and free Google Ads Phone Support, created the Google Academy for Ads, and built an easy-to-use (but flawed) ad campaign setup, Google Adwords Express. The latter has been designed to get businesses started, but doesn’t properly address the complexity of Google’s larger ad platform. At its best, it succeeds in upselling those businesses into buying more ads with the help of Google’s free online support – or rather, its “free Google online sales team”. At its worst, Google Adwords Express is a thinly veiled attempt to cash in on inexperienced businesses paying cost-per-clicks, without any reasonable Return On Ad Spent (ROAS).
With its Google Ads Phone Support, Google Academy for Ads, and Google AdWords Express trinity, Google aims to help businesses manage their Google campaigns by themselves, without the need for digital agencies. However, Google now faces a dilemma: Google Ads campaigns have become nearly impossible to manage without expert knowledge and advanced training – it almost takes a PHD in rocket science to tame the beast and generate positive ROI, especially for inexperienced SMBs!
For Google Ads Professionals, a Bright Future Lies Ahead
Despite Google’s best efforts to try and educate businesses directly, a trained 3rd party Google Ads Professional still has many opportunities to enter the market and offer their services, since most clients cannot be expected to master the skills required to generate ROI and ROAS on their own, especially when taking into account the considerable capital invested in Google’s voracious ad services.
What does this all mean to you? As an aspiring Google Ads Professional, your best bet to become Google-certified is not to dive into Google’s web of complexity head first. It is not to try and master every feature thrown at you by Google in its quest to build the future of digital ads. It also isn’t about “getting your feet wet” by creating your own Google Ads account, practicing without actually knowing what you are doing. Your best bet as a budding Google Ads Professional is actually to enrol in a well-designed and up-to-date Google Ads certification course that also displays feedback based on the answers you provide. This will allow you to concentrate on what you need to get certified in, while at the same time using feedback to determine what you need to improve on, in order to achieve mastery on all the topics covered in the Google Academy for Ads. This will likely increase your productivity as a PPC student manifold – while reducing the time required to achieve Google Ads mastery at the same time. There is now even scientific evidence confirming that taking practice exams with feedback are the best way to learn a new skill such as digital PPC marketing.
By doing so, you’ll come across the Google Ads features you actually need to master, instead of trying to understand everything in Google’s Academy for Ads and its six Google Ads exam study guides, which would take you ages to accomplish, without any tangible and actionable benefits.