Digital marketing is currently ranked as one of the hottest career sectors to work in. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that market research analysts and marketing specialist, each with an average median salary of $62,000 or more, are among the top 20 professions and will remain so until 2026.
Digital marketers are enlisted by organizations to develop strategies to promote the company’s products and services across the web, conduct brand awareness campaigns, and generate new leads and convert them into paying customers. In addition to bringing in new business, digital marketers are also responsible for maintaining current customer relations through channels like social media and email.
That said, the digital marketing sector is filled with highly talented marketing professionals all vying for the attention of prospective employers. One notable route that is being explored by many marketing professionals is to complete a marketing certification that will help sharpen their skills and boost their credibility — on paper at least.
With so many marketing certifications out there, it’s hard to know which are the best. Kasey Bayne, CMO at Vancouver-based Redstamp, mentioned that her company focuses on hiring talent that have Google Analytics, Hubspot and Google Adwords certifications. “As we become more data-driven as a marketing organization, we're looking for marketers who not only know the "how to" of the tools we use to help our clients, but are able to use those tools to generate real results for our clients, learning and optimizing along the way,” she explained.
To get to the bottom of which marketing certifications matter most, we’ve looked at data including; search engine statistics, digital marketing recruitment agencies, data retrieved by job site searches, and we also spoke to industry practitioners for their insights — all to find the most in-demand marketing certifications.
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1. Google Analytics Individual Qualification
According to SEMrush, the most searched marketing certification is Google Analytics Individual certification. “Its monthly search volume with related queries is over 20,000,” said Anna Pustovaya, assistant regional marketer at SEMRush. This particular certification focuses on developing proficiency in using Google Analytics to measure campaign metrics, monitor KPIs and improve overall marketing efforts. You need to set up an Academy for Ads accounts and complete both Google Analytics for Beginners and Advanced Google Analytics modules to prepare for the test, in which you need to score more than 80 percent to pass. The certification is valid for one year.
Christine Kilbride, SEO associate at Philadelphia PA.-based Majux Marketing, is a big fan of this certification. "As a digital marketing professional, I've found that the Google AdWords Certification and the Google Analytics Individual Qualification are paramount to success in the SEO and SEM fields. Prospective employers use these tests as a baseline to gauge your knowledge in an ever-changing industry. Additionally, having individuals with these qualifications at an agency is desirable to prospective clients,” she said.
2. Google Digital Garage
Google’s Digital Garage is essentially a one-stop shop offering free tutorials on pretty much everything about digital marketing. From video marketing to search, you can complete an entire online course. On completion, you will earn a certification from Google and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Europe.
“[While] relatively less known [in comparison] to Adwords Certification, [Google’s] Digital Garage is a very valuable certification, [it covers] 26 different digital marketing topics. [And] the best thing? It is free,” said Kurniawan
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3. Hootsuite Social Marketing Certification
Hootsuite Social Marketing certification gets a monthly search volume of 3,000, according to Pustovaya. It covers all the core concepts relating to social media marketing. To earn this certification, you need to complete a 60-question online exam. To help you prepare for this exam, Hootsuite encourages everyone to go through the series of free online courses that they have created. “Hootsuite is probably not as big as Google or Facebook, but this certification is definitely one of, if not, the best available [certifications] for social media marketers. There are three different tiers available, and the certification never expires,” said Kurniawan.
Price: $199 per exam
4. PCM - Digital Management Certification
With around 1,000 monthly searches according to Pustovaya, the PCM qualification is fairly well sought after. The Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) provided by the American Marketing Association takes a more formal approach in comparison to the other marketing certifications on this list. The Digital Management certification covers topics on branding, planning, pricing, public relations, social media, and more. The certification is valid for 3 years.
Price: Study materials cost $99 for AMA members and $149 for non-members. Exams costs $99 for AMA members and $299 for non-members.
5. Google Adwords
With 18,420 monthly searches according to Pustovaya, the Google Adwords certification is a popular one. According to Steve Kurniawan, content specialist and growth strategist at Toronto-based Nine Peaks Media, the magnitude of Google’s popularity has once again led to the huge demand for Google Adwords qualifications. “Adwords is a very important aspect of any digital marketing strategy,” he said.
Bob Clary, director of marketing at Lafayette Colo.-based DeveloperAcademy, mentioned that Google Adwords certifications being “in demand” is, “accurate and reflective of my 20 years experience in the marketing space.”
To complete this certification, you must pass two exams, the fundamentals exam and one that focuses on a specific area (search, display, mobile, video, shopping or advertising). The certification is valid for one year.
6. Facebook Blueprint Certification
With 6,000 monthly searches, SEMrush ranks Facebook’s Blueprint Certification as being in high demand. “Facebook [Blueprint] is a very credible certification, and Facebook advertising is very relevant nowadays. This Blueprint certification package includes two different certifications: Facebook Certified Planning Professional and Certified Buying Professional,” Kurniawan explains.
The Planning Professional certification outlines how to plan campaigns through optimizing reach and frequency, and how to target audiences for maximum impact. The Buying Professional certification demonstrates how to improve proficiency in certain areas including determining and reporting KPIs, and how to utilize Facebook Pexels. Both certifications are valid for one year.
Price: $150 per exam
7. Hubspot Content Marketing Certification
“Hubspot certification fetches 9,120 in monthly search traffic,” according to Pustovaya. This certification is best suited for content creators. The course covers tips for building a valuable and scalable content library and also shares best practices for deploying a successful content strategy.
“Free certification from Hubspot [covers] inbound marketing techniques, email marketing, and conversion-related sales tactics. Since it is free, there’s no reason for content marketers not to [get] this [certification],” shared Kurniawan.
8. Bing Ads
While Bing is not the top search engine, it has certainly seen major growth thanks to its acquisition of Yahoo and integration capabilities with Microsoft digital products. Bing’s certification program shows you how to maximize your ROI from Bing Ads. Marketpro writes that Bing Ads is “especially valuable if you are targeting an older audience who still uses MSN and Yahoo email services.”