How to Get a Google Ads Certification



To earn a Google Ads certification, you have to sign up for a free Google account and take the necessary certification programs. At the end of each program, you must take the certification exam and score at least 80% to pass.


Key Takeaways:

  • Google Partners are certified by Google to be competent enough to harness the full potential of Google Ads and deliver positive results to their clients.
  • There are three tiers of membership: Member, Partner, and Premiere Partner. Aiming for the Partner tier is sufficient in most instances.
  • Apart from passing the certification exams, Google Partners must also record enough ad spending and optimisation score. For agencies, they must also meet the target number of certified account strategists.

Google Ads (before known as Google AdWords) is one of – if not – the most reliable and versatile pay-per-click (PPC) campaign management platforms on the Web. Paid ads made and managed through this tap into the largest source of prospective customers in the digital space. After all, with Big G managing over eight billion daily searches, you know it’s a massive crowd.

However, behind the promises of attracting and converting more leads is a long and steep learning curve. Google Ads may look straightforward, but oversight and overconfidence too often lead to users losing money rather than earning money. It gets so egregious that some can’t help but wonder in frustration if it’s one big scam.

As a result, some businesses don’t bother using Google Ads at all, while others seek help from people who know PPC like the back of their hands. Both options carry their own risks. In the latter’s case, it’s the risk of ending up with an inexperienced, if not dubious, provider.

Fortunately, a Google Ads certification can erase any doubt about the PPC professional or marketing agency. Even better is that only Google issues such a seal of approval through a series of trials and strict requirements. Let’s talk about it here.

What is Google Ads Certification?

Google Ads certification is part of the broader Google Partners Program, certifying digital marketers since 2013. Its aim is exactly as it portrays itself: proving to everyone they can trust a Google partner or agency to fulfil their specific marketing objectives and digital marketing needs. It also lets partners work with first-hand knowledge straight from Google.

The Google Partners database has nearly 23,000 partners worldwide as of this writing. And for the avoidance of doubt, here’s ours.

Partners have the privilege of showing the Google Partner icon on their respective sites. It’s represented by Google’s multi-coloured G logo and the term “Google Partner.” Meanwhile, Premier Partners have an additional grey bar below showing the year they became one.

What are the Different Tiers of Membership?


Every marketer aspiring for Google Ads certification begins as a member. It only requires creating a manager account on the platform and signing up for the Partners program. The member tier receives the basic amenities, such as:

  • Ongoing education and certification via Google Skillshop
  • Tailored recommendation support from Google
  • Eligibility for participation in quarterly challenges
  • Customer support via the Google Ads Help Center


Achieving Partner status boils down to performance, ad spending, and certification. In the performance category, the member’s manager account must have an optimisation score of no less than 70%. Applying the platform’s recommendations increases the score while dismissing them decreases it.

In the ad spending category, all managed accounts must have a cumulative ad spend of no less than USD$10,000 over 90 days. This is only possible by growing your clientele through various marketing campaigns or encouraging clients to spend more.

Finally, the certification category focuses on the account strategists linked to the manager account. At least half of them must carry at least one certification in the five product areas: Search, Display, Video, Shopping, or Apps. They must also post a campaign spending of no less than USD$500 over 90 days.

Partners get everything that members receive, with the addition of:

  • Annual industry report from Google
  • Privilege to display the Partner badge
  • Promotional offers
  • Inclusion in the Partners database

Premier Partner

Premier Partners are the crème of the crop, particularly the top 3% for the calendar year (varies by country). Given this, not everyone can stay in this tier forever because everyone else at the lower tiers is clamouring for this prestige.

Aside from the benefits available to members and partners, Premier Partners gain access to invitation-only events and dedicated sales support. Take note that this tier might not be available in some countries.

How Do I Start My Certification Journey?

Short version: get a Google account.

Long version: accessing the certification programs in Skillshop requires an account. Once you have one up and running, choose the program you want to tackle. Whether practising as a solo professional or part of an agency, you’ll most likely need to be certified in all the product areas mentioned earlier. Certain types of ads work in specific situations, so being only certified for one product area might not spark confidence among your clients.

Each program has its own exam, so expect the certification process to be drawn out. The time limit for Google Ads exams varies, but it’s usually between 60 and 120 minutes. To pass, you must score 80% or higher; otherwise, you must wait 24 hours to retake it. A Google AdWords certification lasts one year, so you’ll need to renew it afterwards.

I advise starting with the Google Ads search certification program, as it’s the default and most widely-used type of PPC ad. It also gives you enough insight into the other types, making it useful when applying for further certification. For agency owners, the agency can only be certified if the target number of certified team members is reached.

Are Google Ads Certifications Free?

The certification program doesn’t charge users a single penny. Even signing up for a Gmail account or linking an email account to Google is free.

How Hard Is It to Pass Google Ads Certification?

The only downside of failing a certification test is the one-day waiting period. You can take the test as many times as necessary until you pass; it won’t be credited against you. That said, an 80% passing rate can be a tall order. By comparison, school tests in Australia peg the passing rate at just 50%.

While the Google Ad exam can be challenging, it’s by no means insurmountable. Below are several tips to earn your certification with flying colours.

  • Many of the questions include real-life situations, so memorisation alone won’t be enough. Try to understand the idea behind each key aspect of the lesson, as well.
  • Jot down as much as you can. They won’t always be reliable throughout the exam, but at least you have a decent reference in case you need to juggle your memory.
  • No one ever got their Google Ads certificate by blitzing through the module. Take your time learning as much as you can and answering every item on the test.
  • The exam can last an hour or two, so be sure to have enough water and snacks at arm’s length. Consider snacks rich in omega-3 to enhance your mental capacity.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself if you fail. There’s still tomorrow and the days after, so focus on preparing for the next attempt instead of wallowing in defeat.

I can confidently say that my team went through a lot to get their Google Ads certification. However, through dogged persistence, they became some of the industry’s most skilled and respected PPC management experts.

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