Free Digital Marketing Certifications and Training
A select list of free digital marketing certifications and training across subjects like Digital Marketing, Analytics, PPC, Email and related subjects
Whilst I do think that experience counts for a hell of a lot in the field of digital marketing (SEO, PPC, Email, Social, CRO, UX etc), training and certifications are always useful especially for a newcomer. Creating a simple WordPress site like this and using certifications or training to build your skills is a very simple way to gather knowledge and apply it to your career. So let’s get started with some of the free certifications you can get that will help you with Digital Marketing.
Digital Garage (Google)
Location: Online (and in some UK locations including Birmingham) URL: https://learndigital.withgoogle.com/digitalgarage
What is it: Digital Garage is a free online education and certification service offered by Google. It helps establish the foundations of how a digital strategy can help a business grow, by using online marketing to attract and convert traffic. It covers the online opportunity, building an online shop and expansion into national and international markets. The learning modules are broken down and easy to understand with quick quizzes at the end of sections. You can collect badges (26) and complete lessons (107).
Who is it for: Perhaps best aimed at students and business owners who want to better understand digital. Google are of course pushing some of their tools (Business Listings, Analytics, Adwords, Merchants etc) but none the less this gives a comprehensive plan of digital activities you could be doing. Fundamentally, this to for anyone needing a digital literacy.
Conclusion: Someone new to digital marketing would inevitably find this useful and as Google has the most market share in the UK for organic search and paid advertising it makes sense to learn directly from them. However this will only be enough to make you aware of what you could be doing and is far an actual digital strategy – that relies on what you know about your website and your existing plus potential customers. Experienced marketers wouldn’t learn much from this but it would be a valuable resource to pass to non-digital colleagues or new starters.
Academy for Ads (Google)
Location: Online URL: https://landing.google.com/academyforads/
What is it: Confusingly called ‘Academy for Ads’, this is a one stop shop of learning for nearly all Google services – it is not just for PPC, Display and Programmatic. This covers Google Analytics, Shopping, Adwords, Mobile Site Development, DoubleClick, My Business, Web Designer, YouTube and Digital Sales. It is a treasure trove of bite size learning modules, study guides and ultimately certification.
Who is it for: Just about any digital marketer or person working in an agency environment. This whole learning platform was originally Google Partners where you had approved agencies with staff who were qualified. Now things are a bit more fractured but the content has expanded and I for one see a lot of value in getting these certifications.
Conclusion: Though poorly named and branded in my opinion, this has to be one of the best resources available for someone wanting to learn more aspects of digital. You can do so much with paid advertising now that it’s no surprise there’s 4 different Adwords certifications: Search, Display, Video & Mobile. And as Google release more features and services (e.g. Google Optimize) expect this learning and certification library to expand.
Analytics Academy (Google)
Analytics Academy by Google Screenshot Analytics Academy by Google
Cost: FREE Location: Online URL: https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/
What is it: Like Academy for Ads above, this separate learning area is solely for Analytics and Tag Manager. However it does not have the Analytics certification, just 5 separate courses. The courses are broken down into units and lessons with easy to follow video guides. There’s multiple choice questions at the end and you can get a certificate of types by getting a good enough score. However if you make mistakes you can easily go back and read the relevant material and take the test again until you pass.
Who is it for: Anyone who uses Analytics and wants to know more. I think it’s easy to understand the basic concepts of Analytics (behaviours like page views, acquisition by channel, audience breakdowns) but this goes deeper into using GA and covers Goals, Segments, Custom Dimensions and Metrics, filtering and ‘under the hood’ configuration.
Conclusion: Very useful for a digital marketer who needs to analyse site or channel performance – so basically everyone. The setup means you could game it and not really learn the material while getting lucky on the multiple choice questions. But none the less I think this can really help digital marketers know more about Analytics and how they use data. The Tag Manager module especially is useful for people wanting to expand their knowledge of what’s possible with tag management.
Cost: $150* Location: Online URL: https://www.facebook.com/blueprint
What is it: OK so firstly, this is not a free certification however the training is free. I don’t tend to do much work with regards to social media but I’ve always thought of Blueprint from Facebook to be pretty useful, especially as paid advertising budgets have slowly moved from Google’s network and increasingly into Facebook’s. The setup is simple; learn about things like running a page, using audiences, ad formats, increasing sales and measuring performance. Each topic is broken up into smaller manageable sections that finish with a multiple choice knowledge check. There are two exams to gain certification: EXAM 310-101 Facebook Advertising Core Competencies and EXAM 321-101 Facebook Certified Buying Professional.
Who is it for: It’s mainly for anyone who is using Facebook for paid advertising but newcomers to Facebook for a business will also find some useful content. Just like Google’s platforms (above), Facebook want people advertising through their network and doing it successfully enough to continue spending.
Conclusion: Not working in Social Media I would have thought a lot of this knowledge can be picked up relatively quickly but for a newcomer again I think this is a very valuable and under used learning experience. Anyone wanting to make a career in social media will need to know about the intricacies of Facebook and they’ve made all of it easy to learn without having to build a business page from scratch.
Twitter Flight School
Cost: FREE Location: Online URL: https://twitterflightschool.com/login
What is it: Just like Facebook, Twitter has an online certification to prove you know what you’re doing on their platform. If I’m honest I hadn’t actually heard about this even though it was first announced in January 2016. The learning is split into Marketing Leadership (approx. 60 minutes) and Executive Leadership (approx. 10 minutes) so it’s relatively short. Whilst covering the basics it does go into content planning, audience targeting, campaigns and integrated marketing.
Who is it for: Like Facebook’s Blueprint, this is aimed at anyone looking to run a social media account and ultimately use Twitter as part of their inbound marketing. Of course Twitter would like you to spend money on their platform and make a success of it so like Facebook advertising there’s crossover with PPC.
Conclusion: Twitter is easier to understand and use than Facebook mainly because Facebook have rolled out features of business pages and paid marketing at a much faster rate. No wonder Twitter is still struggling to actually make any money! I’ve not tried Twitter’s Flight School (unlike Facebook Blueprint) but my experience of Twitter isn’t great. Hard to monetise and underwhelming as an experience. It is however a great way for customers and businesses to communicate quickly and effectively.
Location: Online URL: https://academy.hubspot.com/courses
What is it: HubSpot is becoming the go to tool for businesses looking to move into a more unified and integrated marketing solution. Packt, my current employer, are looking to deploy it across the business and I think it will be a great asset and really change how the business does its marketing. Because this a large and multi-channel solution HubSpot have gone all out on educating its customers on how to best to use it – I think they appreciate that on boarding and empowering users will lead to better and more fruitful lifetime values and who can blame them. Their course offering
Who is it for: When I first looked at this I assumed it would be too related to HubSpot’s products to be of actual use and there is an element of that. But I think this is one of the single best repositories of learning for any aspiring digital marketer. It brings together disciplines like SEO, Social and Email and helps users align these to business needs and wider marketing strategies. Everything that a marketer know they need; an acquisition plan, a lead capture strategy, a lead nurturing process, a conversion model plus courses on social advertising, copywriting, design and sales.
Conclusion: As I write this I’m at the infancy of my relationship with HubSpot but I see this as an increasingly common certification on CVs. Having some experience with the platform I suspect that I’ll do some HubSpot certifications to better learn about their processes and see how they expect their customers to implement best practice. If the HubSpot Academy is anything like the quality of their product and services offering then I’d hope to learn from one of the biggest marketing products currently available.
Udacity Cost: FREE* Location: Online URL: https://eu.udacity.com/courses/all
What is it: Udacity is among a collection of online learning platforms (think Lynda etc) that are offering courses in various technical disciplines. They have partnered with providers like Google to offer small free courses that hopefully lead users on to bigger ‘nanodegree’ courses which cost to complete. Some of the relevant free courses which I feel could be of use include A/B Testing, Web Accessibility, Intro to Psychology, Website Performance Optimization, Building High Conversion Web Forms, and A/B Testing for Business Analysts. The free courses last typically 2-3 weeks and there isn’t any certification but the courses look thorough and developed by authoritative providers like Google, HubSpot, Mailchimp and Facebook. A typical curriculum is made up of different 30-45 minute sections made up of different videos. They actively link to examples and have quizzes to test your knowledge.
Who is it for: The course spread is aimed mainly at developers, programmers, data scientists and technical professionals but there are some relevant courses in digital. As marketers we are required to increasingly know more about the wider scope of users, experience, journey optimisation and technical implementation. I feel that marketers could learn elements of this and apply it to their jobs with the help of a developer. Developers who work on elements of marketing would also find this useful so front end changes happen with SEO, conversion and the user are always considered.
Conclusion: Though Udacity’s model offers freemium content with the eventual up-selling into one of its nanodegrees, I think their free course offering has some interesting elements. Any seasoned digital marketer won’t find it of any huge benefit but for a newcomer or someone who knows certain limited elements of digital (SEO/PPC/Email) then this can provide some foundation knowledge in other disciplines. I think the idea that a course can last 2-3 weeks is based on how much time you’re willing to invest, realistically you could complete a course in a single day. The real value to the digital courses in Udacity though are the fact that they’re provided by Google and other reputable partners.