February 08, 2021 in Tips by

I just passed my Google Ads Search Certification for this year and am pretty disappointed.

I might be complaining, but this article isn’t about certifications. It’s about things you should watch out for when running a PPC campaign. It’s also about what you should watch out for when hiring someone to manage your PPC campaign.

What the Google Ads Certification (2021) Covers

I can’t tell you specifically what was on the test so I’m going to speak in broad strokes.

It seems to me that the current exam focuses on things that help Google, more than helping the customer use Google Ads. Just look at the outline for the course:

Maybe I’m becoming an old, crotchety man but it seems like this test was harder and more complete! In former test, I actually had to use math! Not this one. In other tests I had to better understand the specifics of Ad Rank and how the auction works- not so much today.

So, if you’re hiring someone to manage your PPC campaign, don’t think that the Google Ads Certification gives them more credibility- it might just make them a better salesperson for Google!

The Google Ads Industrial Complex

If I were smart, I wouldn’t complain about this. Like most PPC providers, I charge clients based on how much they spend with Google. If I can get clients to spend more, I can charge more!

I would do this- if I had no self-respect, that is.

I have a lot of pride in delivering better results for my clients. I want to get as much as I can for their spend. I believe this is my professional obligation. Sometimes that means resisting Google’s suggestions in order to maximize their spend.

If you’re hiring someone to manage your PPC campaigns, make sure they’re looking for your best interest, and not their own (or Google’s, for that matter- they have enough money!).

This is a trend with Google Ads

It seems to me that Google is moving Ads into something that is much more interested in serving itself, than its customers lately. There are quite a few things that seem to be moving in this direction:

Google is not your friend. I’d characterize the relationship as “frenemy.”

Maybe it’s not all that bad

If I take a moment and calm down, it might not be as bad as I first stated. In fact, Google’s certifications have always been about promoting their products.

The old Google Ads certifications used to neglect conversions and focus on optimizing for clicks and impressions. What a great way to waste money!

I love the Google Analytics IQ Certification- and highly recommend it- but a large part of that is about setting of your site for remarketing.

Even though they’ve always had a self-interest in these certifications, they still teach valuable things. In fact, I have to admit, that I’ve neglected the Performance Planner- and plan on starting to use it.

Besides, I’ve always appreciated the difficulty of these exams. I think they are pretty hard and can be tricky. I don’t believe most people could show up and pass the exam without going through the lessons first.

If you do pass one of these, you should be proud (I still am)- even if there’s a lot of things in Google’s self-interest.

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David Zimmerman has earned his Google Analytics Certification
(Covering GA4).

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