Being new to Google AdWords and Pay-Per-Click in general, I found it difficult to get started, I didn’t know where to begin, what to do or where to turn. I consistently would ask myself ‘how do I get started in PPC?’
Luckily for me I managed to find a company willing to offer training, taking me from a traditional marketing background to hopefully a PPC expert. However, most people are not as lucky as me and will have to begin the journey on their own.
If you have not been to university to study Marketing and been taught in an academic manner how to get started in PPC, then your first port of call will likely be the Google Partners AdWords Certifications. They are free, fairly comprehensive and all you need is a Gmail account to start.
Once you have gone to www.google.com/partners and registered then you will notice the AdWords certifications are broken up into six parts. The first one that we will focus on is the most basic, AdWords Fundamentals, this will be your first step in getting started in PPC, however if you want to be ‘Certified’, you will need to pass two ‘Certifications’, AdWords Fundamentals and another module.
The AdWords Fundamentals exam is, in all honesty the most basic level, I spent a few hours a day for a week studying the course material, watching videos and webinars. I have now passed but I don’t feel as though it was all that helpful. I can now answer academic questions, explain basic concepts and understand basic conversations about AdWords, however there is very little practical application to the material in my opinion.
The webinars that I watched were a repeat of videos uploaded to YouTube years’ ago with little new information, despite the test being updated and the questions changed regularly. The host ended the webinar with ‘you are now ready to take the AdWords Fundamentals exam’, don’t believe her, you’re not.
The information contained in the webinar was more basic than basic and offers very little insight into AdWords, it was like watching a football match and then being asked to play based on what you have seen.
I found tutorials on YouTube by third party uploaders to be much more constructive and helpful in getting me ready for the exam.
The key problem with the current and, in my opinion outdated way that Google handles its certifications, is the fact there is no practical element. A technically highly advanced company such as Google, should be able to have dummy AdWords accounts running for people going through the training. It would create much more skilled and more able marketers: as a company whose profits rely on advertising, surely the investment would be worth it for them.
If you are still wondering ‘How do I get started in PPC?’ my answer would be broken down into four parts:
- Firstly, if you can find a mentor it will be incredibly helpful, if you cannot then there are some fantastic third party videos on YouTube
- Secondly, do not rely entirely on the course material provided by Google, it does not cover everything in the exams
- Thirdly, gather as much information as possible from other sources,, read blogs, articles and tutorials
- Lastly, and something I cannot stress enough, open an AdWords account, play around with it, make mistakes, learn where you went wrong and understand the abstract concepts spoken about in the course material on a practical level.
I am hoping the materials provided by Google are more helpful for the next step, the ‘Search Advertising’ certification, I am beginning to study for this certification and will update you on the efficacy of the materials in due course.