In the world of digital marketing, the only constant is that everything will change. From the abundance of new and exciting platforms you need to know, to best practices across reaching diversified audiences in different corners of the web, it can be a lot to master on your own. That’s where certifications come in. For newbies looking to skill up, or even mid and upper-level professionals, earning a certification is an excellent way to keep up with the latest industry trends in advertising, analytics and optimization.
In this comprehensive review, we’re taking a look at the most popular certifications available to digital marketers in 2022. While these programs vary in scope, cost and duration, they are all widely recognized as leading academic marketing qualifications across the sector at large. Our hope is that you can use this list as a means of guiding your career path towards the certifications that can best assist you in accomplishing your career goals!
What is a Digital Marketing Certification?
A digital marketing certification is a program designed to instruct professionals in the best practices around one specific skillset or platform within the marketing world. As you’ll see below, some of these are offered by the vendor itself, like in the case of Google’s courses, while others are taught by industry experts or academic institutions. Earning a certification by completing a course verifies the skills and education of the holder in regards to the techniques and strategies taught within.
For a constantly changing field like digital marketing, certifications have arisen as a supplement or alternative to lengthier degree programs. Organizations are able to more easily adapt their content as platforms update and best practices shift to accommodate them. You’ll notice that almost all certification programs can be completed entirely online and many are self-paced, giving participants the ability to work around other professional and personal obligations as they wish.
How is a Digital Marketing Certification Different from a Bootcamp?
Certification programs and bootcamps mainly differ on the breadth of knowledge students come away with. Digital marketing bootcamps generally take several weeks to several months to complete, and students typically enroll on a full-time basis. They encompass several units and teac hard and soft skills like marketing analytics and reporting, search engine optimization (SEO), content development and presenting and stakeholder management. Graduates also receive access to services like career coaching and resume and interview prep. Certifications laser in one specific skill or platform and can be completed in as little as eight hours of study (although some are more comprehensive than others). In some cases, bootcamps may incorporate instruction designed to allow students to complete one or more certifications within their curriculum.
Are Digital Marketing Certifications Worth It?
Before you invest your time and money, you might be wondering just what you’ll get out of earning a certification in a digital marketing skill. The largest and perhaps most obvious benefit is that you’ll set yourself apart from other candidates by proving your expansive knowledge and professional abilities for a position. But beyond that, let’s look at some numbers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, marketing specialists have seen salary increases of several thousand dollars over the last few years, with the industry expecting to grow by more than 160,000 jobs by 2030.
At the same time, companies are increasingly prioritizing digital marketing training in order to meet demand and close the skills gap. Furthermore, experienced and certified Marketing Managers earn approximately $116,500 per year to entry-level Marketing Managers’ $67,000, according to Robert Half Technologies’ Salary Guide. So a small investment now can pay off big time in the future when it comes to career earnings.
Still not convinced? Other benefits to earning a certification include:
- Staying on top of new developments and technology innovations, like Internet-of-Things and A.I. powered automation.
- The ability to work cross-functionally or earn promotions by adding new tools to your base of knowledge.
- Setting yourself apart from peers and demonstrating a drive for self-improvement to your employers. Becoming the best on your team is an excellent way to stand out as a natural leader.
The Best Digital Marketing Certifications
A quick online search will reveal thousands of digital marketing courses, all claiming to benefit your career. We’ve narrowed down the list for you with some of the best taught and most widely-recognized certification programs that produce real results.
1. Google Analytics IQ Certification
Almost every marketing role will work with the Google Analytics platform in one form or another, making the company-provided Individual Qualification nearly a prerequisite for some positions. Interested users can sign up for a Google Skillshop account and work their way through practice questions and modules in basic and advanced topics like reporting, conversion tracking and audiences. Obtaining the qualification itself requires earning at least an 80 percent on a 70 question exam, with 90 minutes to complete. Luckily, becoming an expert in this platform is totally free.
2. Google Ads Certification
Duration: Self-Paced (Modules typically take 2-5 hours to complete)
The tech giant’s near monopoly in the search space means marketers must become extremely comfortable running effective advertising campaigns on their auction-based platforms. Google offers six different certifications for advertisers, with each one focusing on a different placement area of expertise: Display, Search, Measurement, Video, Shopping and Apps. Once again, a completion of a 75 question exam at an 80 percent or higher score will earn users a certification, which counts as a requirement towards joining Google’s Partner and Premier Partner programs.
3. Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) Certification and American Marketing Association (AMA) Professional Certified Marketer (PCM)
Cost: $1955 (Currently on sale for $1368)
Duration: 30 Hours Self-Paced
Two certifications from two industry-leading organizations with one test and one price. Sounds like a great deal, right? Successful completion of this Digital Marketing Pro course will allow you to become dually certified as a Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) Professional and AMA Professional Certified Marketer. This internationally recognized program is continuously updated to account for new developments and covers topics like Google Ads (PPC), Facebook Ads, content marketing, SEO and more. The fully online curriculum has received additional recent revamps to include eight new soft skills and new platforms like TikTok. This comprehensive program is mainly aimed at those already in the industry looking to update their skillset and marketers working in management. Scoring a 60 percent or higher on a single three hour exam is considered completion for both of these certifications.
4. Facebook Blueprint Certification
Duration: Self-paced (Courses take about 2-5 hours to complete)
The other giant of the online advertising industry is of course, Facebook, so definitely add this one to your list if your role sees you responsible for campaigns on any one of Meta’s platforms. In this case, the courses themselves offered by Facebook are self-paced and free, but the exams needed to earn the certification cost $150 each. The company offers ten different courses, meeting the needs of everyone from total amateurs to long-time professionals. Entry-level industry specialists should start with the Facebook Certified Digital Marketing Associate, which teaches foundational competency in creating, managing and reporting ads across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. Earning any certification grants you access to the Facebook Certification Career Network, which includes more than 60 companies looking to hire skilled talent.
5. Hootsuite Social Media Marketing
Duration: Six Hours
Hootsuite is the platform of choice for most marketers when it comes to social media management, so this is a great way to get started with all the best practices across all platforms you need to know. Some people not in the industry think anyone can master social skills in a snap, but this course proves otherwise, diving deep into topics like goal setting, KPIs, budgeting, defining band persona and even social media governance and crisis management. Once you complete the 60-question exam and earn your certificate, the platform also offers advanced courses in social advertising and social strategy.
6. LinkedIn Digital Marketing Certificate
Cost: $26.99 – $39.99/month
Duration: Varies (20 Hours for Digital Marketing Specialist path)
LinkedIn Learning is one of the largest and most reputable platforms for online courses for professionals. After paying a monthly fee, users can choose from among thousands of classes and are provided recommendations based on skills, interests and past positions listed on their site profile. LinkedIn also groups similar courses together to form area career paths that grant users a certificate of completion when they finish. The Digital Marketing Specialist path consists of hands-on courses like email and newsletter marketing, content marketing, google ads essentials and more.
7. Content Marketing Institute University
Cost: $995 for 12 months of Access
Duration: Self-Paced (12 Months of Access to Materials)
Content Marketing Institute (CMI) is the hub for all things content marketing, and their CMIU program is a comprehensive virtual learning environment with more than 20+ hours of ancillary content from top industry leaders. Updated each year to account for industry developments, the 10 core modules that make up the curriculum cover the full spectrum of content marketing including Planning, Audience, Story, Channels, Process, Conversation, and Measurement. To earn a certificate, students must complete all the required courses and quizzes, and are granted 12 months to do so at their own desired pace.
8. HubSpot: Inbound Marketing Course Certification
Duration: Four Hours
This is the course for anyone looking to work in the inbound marketing and sales world. In eight interactive lessons, 34 videos, 8 quizzes and four hours, you’ll gain the knowledge you need to know about inbound marketing techniques and develop an understanding of the core tactics of inbound marketing. Hubspot is a leading customer relationship management (CRM) platform across the industry, and their Hubspot Academy platform is a great provider of relevant information and strategy when it comes to all elements of aligning marketing with sales.
9. HubSpot: Develop a Winning Online Advertising Strategy
Duration: Three Hours
More popular content from the same provider, this 101 course is excellent for early learning looking to understand the process of creating advertising at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Learn key concepts like programmatic advertising, monitoring ad performance and mastering the art of ad copy, creative and conversion. The best part of Hubspot Academy (other than all content being free) is that signing up once grants you a lifetime of access to all instructional material. So far, more than 250,000 professionals have taken advantage of their offerings.
10. Online Marketing Certified Associate (OMCA) and Online Marketing Certified Professional (OMCP)
Duration: About 2 Hours, 15 Minutes
OMCP are both independent certification standards and also the name of an industry certification that maintains the competency and standards of the exam in question. The OMCA is for non-experienced digital marketers, while the OMCP targets those already in the industry. To earn the certification, both also require a specific amount of work experience or a post-secondary degree or prior passing of an approved course. Take note that since the organization itself doesn’t provide training, you’ll have to seek that out from a third party provider, and you must renew your certification every two years to keep it up to date.
11. SEMrush SEO Toolkit Course
Duration: Three Hours
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of those areas of marketing that seems to fly more under the radar for those who don’t encounter it as part of their normal job responsibilities. This online course consisting of 14 lessons is a great primer to the topic, diving into the popular and powerful tool from SEMrush. Modules cover everything from organic research and traffic insights to SEMrush’ “Keyword Magic” tool and On- Page SEO Checker.
12. Harvard Digital Marketing Strategy Program
Duration: Five Days
This course is best for executives and mid-level marketers looking to get a taste of getting offline and into the classroom. The Harvard Extension School carries with it all the prestige of the globally recognized University and this five-day intensive takes the form of a highly interactive program that will teach you a proven framework for designing, implementing, and managing a successful digital marketing strategy. At the end of the program, participants form groups to present presentations on their own strategy they’ve created and solicit feedback from colleagues.
13. Twitter Flight School
Duration: Varies (Courses typically take 1-2 Hours)
In the spirit of the site, Twitter’s online learning platform features bite-sized courses and the ability to choose your own learning path as you skill up in the world of running campaigns on Twitter. As opposed to certificates, users can earn badges for completion of certain coursework and assessments that can be displayed on LinkedIn. Courses can be completed in as little as ten minutes or as long as five hours and include comprehensive topics like best practices for Twitter Ads creative, and introduction to Twitter Spaces audio feature and creating and executing video campaigns.
14. Microsoft Advertising Certified Professional
While it’s not always the first platform that comes to mind for marketers, Microsoft Search Network placements and native advertising reach a combined audience of more than 700 million unique searches per month. Becoming a certified professional is billed as “simple, free, and convenient” by the site, and only requires participants to receive a score of 80 percent or higher on a 100-question exam to become a member for a full year. Download the study guide to prepare on your own time and receive access to a member directory once completed that will allow you to network with fellow professionals or seek job opportunities.
Learn More About Digital Marketing
Choosing the right certification that aligns with your career goals can be a great way to quickly upskill and reach the next stage of your professional journey. Hopefully this article serves as a starting point for making that decision. If you’re curious about other ways you can kickstart a digital marketing career, be sure to take a moment to browse our bootcamp offerings or check out additional articles on the topic below!