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5 Best Digital Marketing Certifications

Kim Lindros
Kim Lindros

Digital marketing is a fast-growing career path with a solid outlook for years to come.

  • Digital marketing is a growing industry, with new skills needed on a routine basis. To remain competitive, certifications should be earned through top e-learning providers.
  • The most popular types of credentials in digital marketing include Google AdWords Certification, Hootsuite Social Marketing Certification and Facebook Planning Professional.
  • Most certification programs are self-paced with examinations provided at the end of the lessons. Typically, fees range from $100 to $1,000.

Do you have the skills and certifications to help you get ahead?

One of the hottest career sectors today is digital marketing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, market research analysts and marketing specialists are among the top 20 occupations with the most new jobs forecast through 2026, and an average salary that tops $62,000.

A digital marketer develops strategies for marketing a company's products and services over the web, and runs campaigns for brand awareness and to convert leads to customers. Marketers rely heavily on social media platforms, e.g., Facebook and Twitter, to do their jobs as well as utilize email and text message campaigns. In addition, marketers analyze web metrics and should be well versed in search engine optimization techniques and tools. 

But digital marketing isn't always about bringing in new customers or business; it's also about connecting with those you already have. You use the same channels, such as social media, to stay in touch and keep customers current on what your company can do for them. 

Top five certifications, by the numbers 

The following table lists top digital marketing certifications and the number of open positions on a single day that call for the certification specifically or experience with the technology. This isn't a scientific analysis in which every job description is examined, just an overall glance at search numbers.  

Job site search results

Certification SimplyHired LinkedIn Jobs Total
Facebook Certified Planning Professional* 93 41 134
Google AdWords Ccrtification 175 134 309
Hootsuite Social Marketing certification 35 19 54
HubSpot Content Marketing certification 77 46 123
PCM - Digital Management 38 46 84

* Searching for "Facebook Blueprint" resulted in 478 hits.

The following sections provide details of the top digital marketing certifications according to job site searches as well as other certifications offered by the various companies. 

Facebook Certified Planning Professional 

The Facebook Blueprint Certification program offers two certifications: the Facebook Certified Planning Professional and the Facebook Certified Buying Professional. Both certifications aim at those who manage Facebook Pages and who target audiences for the biggest impact. From there, the Planning Professional focuses on optimizing reach and frequency, determines campaign KPIs, plans strategy and budget, and measures campaign performance.  

You have to pass two exams to earn either certification, which are available through Pearson VUE. Each exam costs $150, training is free, and the certifications are valid for one year. 

Google AdWords certification 

Google AdWords certification is soaring in popularity these days, followed closely by the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) credential. If you use Google tools to set up, measure, manage and optimize marketing campaigns, consider the Google AdWords certification.  

Two exams are required – the AdWords Fundamentals exam and one more on search, display, mobile, video or shopping advertising – both of which are free. To take any Google exam means first signing up for the Google Partners program, which also lets you register for free training; from there you can certify as an individual. The Google AdWords certification is good for one year.

Hootsuite Social Marketing certification  

The social media and platform company with the catchy name – Hootsuite – offers six certifications. The Hootsuite Social Marketing certification covers core concepts related to social media marketing. Other certifications include Hootsuite Social Selling, Hootsuite Advanced Social Advertising, Hootsuite Platform and a few specialty credentials.

Hootsuite encourages candidates to take a series of free online courses before sitting for the Social Marketing exam, which costs $199. The credential doesn't expire. The certifications teach both beginner and advanced marketing skills for those who plan to advertise on social media sites. The self-paced lessons are done online with a 60-question examination given at the end of the course. 

HubSpot Content Marketing certification 

HubSpot, a maker of software for inbound marketing and sales, offers a bunch of training and certifications through HubSpot Academy. The HubSpot Content Marketing Certification recognizes professionals who create and promote content for the purpose of bringing in new customers. The associated course covers tips and best practices for building a content library of valuable assets. Other certifications include HubSpot Inbound Certification, HubSpot Email Marketing Certification and HubSpot Sales Software Certification. 

To earn the HubSpot Content Marketing Certification, take the associated online course and then the exam. It's all free. For details, see the FAQs. 

PCM Digital Management certification 

The American Marketing Association Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) program takes a more formal approach to its certifications than other featured companies in this article. The organization created a body of knowledge for the PCM Digital Management certification, which includes topics on planning, branding, pricing, public relations, social media and more.

A related credential through AMA is the Digital Marketing Pro. A study guide costs $99 for AMA members or $149 for nonmembers. The exam costs $99 (members) and $299 (nonmembers) and is available online. To maintain the credential, you must recertify every three years by earning approved marketing continuing education units. 

What else? 

The Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) program has several digital marketing certifications, such as the Analytics Business Practitioner and the Campaign Business Practitioner, to name a few. The company's digital marketing skills assessment helps you baseline your current skills and determine your next step regarding certification. 

Salesforce marketing certifications – the Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Social Specialist and Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Email Specialist – may appeal to professionals who use Salesforce for marketing campaigns. 

Finally, if you lean on Twitter to further your digital marketing campaigns (or want to), check out Twitter Flight School offerings. Twitter doesn't offer certifications at this time, but you can take free courses and earn badges for your efforts. 

The Content Marketing Institute offers six courses to those who want to advance their skills in the field of content marketing. Topics covered include planning, audience, conversion and metrics. Once you're finished with the self-paced lessons, you can take the examination and receive your certification.

Marketing Motive offers another potential certification that you should obtain as part of beefing up your digital marketing credentials. Their platform allows you to get unlimited access to 35 courses streamed live by expert marketing professors. Your certifications can be designed based on your interests with options that include web analytics, conversions and social media marketing. Beginner and advanced certifications are both available through the e-learning portal from Marketing Motive.

Another solid source for the best certifications is through the Digital Marketing Institute. The company offers certifications based on the marketer’s current experience level. Options include Pro, Master and Expert. Certification programs run between one week to two years based on your enrollment. The certification programs are delivered 100% online, and can be done through micro modules to make lessons go smoothly and quickly.  

Image Credit: WDnet Creations/Shutterstock
Kim Lindros
Kim Lindros,
business.com Writer
Kim Lindros is a full-time content developer who writes about security, technology and business. She spent nearly 10 years in tech support and as a network administrator before transitioning to tech publishing. With a background in project management, she has run large multifunction teams to produce entire book series, online curricula and on-ground training classes. She has also contributed to several books on Windows technologies and applications, and IT certification.