Once you have analytics and conversion tracking set up, as covered in our previous PPC School post, you can start running some ads. There are many different types of ads you can run, on many different ad networks. So, for part 2 of PPC School, it’s time to educate yourself on how to use the different ad platforms available.

PPC 201: Working With Ad Platforms (e.g. Pulling The Levers)

It makes sense to start the education process by looking at the ad platforms that are generating the most revenue (where most businesses are investing). However, you also want to consider which platforms have the best growth rate, since that may mean that businesses are finding success there and increasing their spend accordingly.

ppc2-chart

The biggest platform and the one you should focus on first is Google AdWords. To become certified in Google AdWords, you need to pass the AdWords Fundamentals certification exam, plus one of the following:

Each certification has a study guide to help gain the required knowledge to pass the exam.

It’s important to learn each area in order to develop an understanding of the entire paid digital eco-system. Different clients or projects, each course will provide more or less help in the actual execution.

We recommend starting with Search Advertising and then building on to that with each additional certification. What you don’t use for one client or project, you may find useful for the next.

If you are working with e-commerce or mobile apps , then we recommend taking the separate Google courses focusing on these specific areas.

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While display ads often get short shrift, there is still ample reason to use them, especially for brand awareness. We have also seen Google Adwords start to innovate their platform, and DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM), to be focused on direct-response ads. Sheerly because it is a Google platform, we think DBM Certification is something that every paid media manager should explore.

If you really want to get into Paid Search or extend your potential investment/reach, then you should get certified in Bing Ads. Bing now accounts for 21% of searches.

 

We recommend starting with Search Advertising and then building on to that with each additional certification.

 

Bing is very similar to Google AdWords and makes it easy to import campaigns over. However, there are slight differences, which is why the certification is important.

One of the ways to push the limits of paid search to the highest efficiency levels is to learn about Alpha Beta campaign structure.

Facebook has quickly become the number two ad platform (and by Facebook we mean the whole company, which includes Instagram). The Facebook ads platform has changed over the years, with Facebook Business Manager now being the foundation.

While Facebook does not have any certification programs currently, Facebook has rolled out Blueprint, a catalog of courses. The courses provide introductions to the various parts of running Facebook and Instagram ads, from setup to reporting. In addition, Blueprint provides best practice courses and webinars to further build your knowledge on this platform.

Twitter actually provides a certification program called Flight School for various “flight paths” depending on how you want to use Twitter. This provides a great overview of the ways Twitter can help achieve your business objectives and expands your knowledge of what is possible with Twitter.

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While remarketing (or retargeting) is not a separate ad platform, it is very important to utilize in building campaigns. The best course for getting started with remarketing is the Google Best Practices video series that walks through the setup and optimization of remarketing.

WordStream’s PPC University provides a great overview of the PPC world with their structured course levels of PPC 101, PPC 102, Advanced PPC, Social Ads 101, Webinars and White Papers. While there is no certification, this offers a non-biased (towards one platform) view of the PPC world.

Once you have all of that down, you’ll know everything you need to know! Right? Well, sort of. There is still much more you can learn if you want to become a true expert. And the industry is constantly changing, so even if you know everything now, you’ll soon fall behind if you don’t keep learning. That’s why we’re going to have a Part 3: Advanced Digital Media. Stay tuned.