Not all marketing certifications are made equal.
Some are great for students, new grads, or junior marketers who are just starting to learn the basics of digital marketing.
Some focus on more specialized topics and technical concepts for experienced digital marketers and business executives.
Some certifications can help you land a job or earn a promotion, while others are non-essential but still nice to have.
But let’s be honest: you’re not here looking for certifications that are “nice to have”– you need a marketing certification that will boost your credibility and give you the essential skills you need to advance your career.
What certifications are those exactly? Who better to ask than, well, marketers!
I surveyed dozens of digital marketers, who unanimously recommended these three digital marketing certifications that will equip you with the right digital marketing skills to accelerate your career:
- Google AdWords Certification
- Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) Certification
- HubSpot’s Inbound Certification Course
- Bonus: The Ultimate Guide to Growth Hacking (with 160+ Free Resources)
In this post, I’ll outline everything you need to know about these certifications and how they can benefit you. Let’s check them out.
Google AdWords Certification
Google’s AdWords Certification is one of several programs available in the Academy for Ads, Google’s free online training program. This free certification is available to all Google users and teaches users the basic fundamentals of AdWords, including the benefits of online advertising and best practices for managing and optimizing AdWords campaigns.
To become certified, users will also need to take lessons on one or more advanced concepts, such as display advertising, search advertising, mobile advertising, video advertising, and shopping advertising.
“Google Adwords is still the most powerful paid channel/platform today, covering Google Text ads, YouTube ads, display ads, and remarketing among others, which are the most effective advertising campaigns today,” says Mike Khorev, Growth Lead at Nine Peaks Media.
Eric Johnson, a Digital Marketer at FeedbackWrench, agreed. He says that getting certified in Google AdWords is “without a doubt, the most valuable marketing certification that anyone can have.”
If you’re looking for a job in search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), or in paid advertising, Johnson says having a Google AdWords certification is a must. “For positions that are in search engine marketing, it’s presumed that you have this certification already, so failing to have it will drastically hurt your chances of getting hired,” he says.
But getting certified will not only help you land the job, but will ensure that you do the job well, says Khorev. “Having a Google Adwords Certification can help improve the success of your advertising campaigns, so you can give better ROI for your employer,” he says.
After completing your certification, Google will issue you a personalized certificate; however, keep in mind that a Google AdWords certification can expire after a set period of time. For instance, if you were assessed in Mobile Advertising and that product area assessment expires, you will need to retake the entire AdWords course to stay certified.
Ready to get your Google AdWords certification? Click the link below!
Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) Certification
The Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) certification is another free, online program available to Google users in the Academy for Ads.
Google Analytics IQ certification covers beginner and advanced topics, such as how to set up dashboards, how to track and measure campaigns, the use configurations like Custom Dimensions, Custom Metrics, and Event Tracking, and advanced reporting techniques.
Before you get your certification, you’ll need to take two Google Analytics courses that cover beginner and advanced concepts, each one hour long. Then, you’ll need to take a 90-minute online assessment and pass with a score of 80 percent.
Is it worth it?
Khorev certainly thinks so. “With Google Analytics expertise, you can present better reports with your knowledge of various metrics, dashboards, and how to use the data. So, you can present better reports where you will get more chance to be noticed by managers and executives.”
Khorev also advises getting both a Google Analytics and AdWords certification to really make your resume stand out. “Many marketing job listings require [AdWords & Analytics] certifications,” he says. “First, they are created by Google which is obviously a company known by anyone. There are other certifications offered by third-party companies or universities, but none of them carry as much weight as Google’s. So, if you have these certifications, for example, it will help in getting jobs because you will be a standout among other applicants for the same position.
Better yet, Khorev says getting certified in Google Analytics and AdWords helped him build trust with his current and prospective clients. “After I took both certifications, they really helped to validate my experience, and so my prospects and clients trusted me more because there’s no more guesswork involved,” he says. “Both of these certifications are highly reputable in the digital marketing industry and will definitely be valuable for any marketers and especially digital marketers.”
Interested in getting your Google Analytics certification? Click the link below to get started.
HubSpot Inbound Certification Course
Finally, the certification with the most recommendations out of the marketers I surveyed is HubSpot’s Inbound Certification course. This free online program covers the fundamentals of inbound marketing at every stage of the marketing/sales funnel, including how to build a sales enablement strategy, how to convert more website visitors into leads, how to build long-lasting relationships with customers, and how to plan a long-term content marketing strategy.
This certification requires you to complete 10 lessons covering topics like SEO, content marketing, lead nurturing, conversational marketing, customer marketing, and several others, and also provides 13 marketing and sales tools to help you hone in on your new skills.
Since the program covers a variety of topic, Syed Irfan Ajmal, Growth Marketing Manager at Ridester, says HubSpot’s Inbound Certificate course can help marketers at any stage of their career.
“[This benefits] young graduates, as well as junior marketers, can benefit from it,” he says. “Any paid ads experts who want to learn how to grow a business through the various organic/inbound channels can also benefit a big deal from this course. Business executives can also learn the basics from this certification and it can help them understand the work of their marketing team better.”
Emil Jimenez, CEO and CCO of Passion Communications and Passion1 agrees, and offers the course to all of his employees.”This certification is good for everyone in the business, but especially for young members– like interns,” he says. “It gives them a good overview of marketing information they need to know but usually do not learn in school.”
The marketers I surveyed also raved about the benefits of taking the Inbound Certification course.
“Firstly, it teaches users the fundamentals of inbound, which is the most predominant approach to marketing today,” says Pierre de Braux, Content Strategist at Spiralytics. “Secondly, it teaches users how to attract target audiences in a genuinely non-intrusive manner, which upholds your brand’s reputation. Finally, it shows users how to convert visitors generated into qualified leads and drive them towards becoming customers and brand advocates. All this equates to a holistic understanding of a business’ inbound marketing funnel.”
Ajmal also notes that another perk is that “the certification is updated regularly, and the content is taught by experienced inbound marketing professionals.” He adds, “Plus, considering the stature of HubSpot, and the fact that HubSpot’s yearly Inbound report has shown that inbound marketing not only costs less compared to outbound channels but also converts better, meaning smart companies will be able to value the candidates who have the HubSpot Inbound Marketing certification and reward them according to the value these candidates bring to the table.”
Of the marketers I spoke to, several had taken the course themselves and say they’ve noticed incredible results.
For instance, Alexandra Cote, a Digital Marketer at Paymo says taking the course early in her career gave her a bit of a head start .”It has helped me fully understand the concepts of inbound marketing and prepared me to apply them at work when I truly needed them,” she says.” In particular, it has helped me with email and content marketing as it teaches you exactly which types of content are right for a specific lead according to their qualification.”
Likewise, de Braux says the certification helped foster team communication. “Everyone in my agency is Inbound Certified, making it much easier to communicate because we’re all on the same page,” he says. “Anytime we get a new hire, one of the first things we get them to do is take the Inbound course, as it establishes a foundation of knowledge we can then build on.”
Better yet, Cristian Rennella, CEO & Co-founder of oMelhorTrato.com says that getting his team Inbound Certified was a great long-term investment for his business. “In my company, each new employee of the marketing team has the obligation to take these certifications because we have verified the efficiency of them in the long term,” he says. “Thanks to these HubSpot certifications we have been able to improve efficiency in our marketing campaigns by 23.4% in the last 2 years (yes, AMAZING!)”
Ready to make the same investment in your digital marketing career? Click the link below to get your Inbound Certification.
BONUS: Free Growth Hacking Resources from Ladder
As you may have noticed in this article, all of these marketing certifications are available online for free! In fact, Ladder‘s COO Michael Taylor spent more than 5 years collecting recorded lectures, books, PDFs, infographics, blog post, and other free growth marketing material on the web to create an ultimate guide to growth hacking–a comprehensive guide that includes 160+ free resources!
Taylor created this guide to bridge the gap between an absolute beginner and someone who is able to conduct their own marketing experiments and learn independently. This guide will teach you everything you need to know to run a successful marketing campaign, from strategy to execution across channels. Moreover, you’ll know how to get consistent repeatable and scalable results, and how to use data and strategic frameworks to justify your approach. If you treat this guide like a free online course, it should take you a maximum of 15 weeks part-time (9 hours per week) to complete, or 3 weeks full-time.
Get started on your growth marketing journey! Click the link below to access The Ultimate Guide to Growth Hacking.