Jun 082014
 

I just passed the exams for my Google AdWords and Google Analytics certification this weekend. So many of my colleagues at Advance Digital and NJ Advance Media already have passed the Google AdWords exams, and a few have passed the Google Analytics exams, that I am happy to finally be joining the ranks.

It wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be. I had been putting it off since I became a trainer last September, worried that I didn’t have the time to devote to studying for each. This turned out to be a non-issue. I’ll explain how I prepared in case you ever have an interest in doing the same thing.

Google has lots of good reference material you can use for study, both on its website and in quick YouTube videos. It’s really just a matter of making the list and systematically going through the list of study items one by one. Each little study session is quite manageable at about 25 mins.

Cost for the tests:

The Google AdWords sales rep exam is free to take now. You just need to use your Gmail account to get connected as a Google Partner. In my case, our company is using a site called Prometrics for the testing, so I had a code I needed to enter in.

The Google Analytics exam is $50 unless your company pays for it, which mine did. We are rolling out this certification to everyone in the organization, starting with trainers and managers and working our way through everyone. Trainers in each market track the certification status for both exams and remind folks when it’s time to renew every 2 years.

Test time:

Google AdWords: About 40 minutes, which turned out to be more than enough time.

Google Analytics: About
90 minutes, which turned out to be just enough time (I can be a slow test taker).

Prep materials:

We are lucky that we have an online learning center that our company maintains. The trainers have created more than 130 courses over the last 6 months or so and those courses include some that help with the test preparation.

But even if you don’t have that kind of facility at your command, you can prepare well for both tests using Google’s online resources:

Google Adwords:

AdWords Exam Study Guides – I used this area for a quick review, since I have a good working knowledge of Paid Search already and just needed to brush up on how Google AdWords works differently than the Paid Search service we offer our advertisers. It took me about half an hour to review. If this is the first time you approach this topic, it may take you about 2 hours to read through everything here.

https://support.google.com/partners/topic/3204437?hl=en&ref_topic=3111012

Google AdWords channel on YouTube – I watched a few videos explaining certain concepts like Ad Rank. Just scroll through the list of videos on the channel, and watch the ones that seem just a bit unfamiliar to you. Each video is about 5 minutes long.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgl9rHdm9KojNRWs56QI_hg

Google Analytics:

Prep for this test was definitely more of an undertaking. Although I have been using Google Analytics for about five years, and explaining it to advertisers for about three years, that’s only some of what I needed to know for the test. The best prep here was the Digital Analytics Fundamentals course Google offers on the subject.  It’s got seven parts, each consisting of a handful of 5-minute videos with some quiz questions for each. The quiz questions help keep you anchored – this stuff can get pretty abstract, and I struggled to keep my attention on the material until I started working with the questions.

The other thing I recommend is to get access to a Google Analytics account (create your own using their instructions, if nothing else) and practice within GA to explore what’s being covered. It won’t mean anything to you unless you get your hands in there and work with it.  The final assessment in this course actually does a fair job of preparing you for the test.

https://analyticsacademy.withgoogle.com/course01/course

Also, here is the YouTube channel for Google Analytics –

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ5UyIAa5nEGksjcdp43Ixw

Note: Depending on the discipline you are in, you may be thinking that you don’t need to know GA to the level of detail that this course covers. Actually I have to admit, though I was impatient with the nitty gritty technical stuff and the arbitrary names of things, actual businesses do care about answering the kinds of questions I can now answer with my training. And that’s a good thing!  Plus, I have bragging rights for being Google AdWords certified and Google Analytics certified.

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