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Earning the Google Ads Search Certification

The Google Ads Search Certification is a professional credential that showcases your understanding and mastery of Google Ads paid search campaigns. Since you’ve already successfully run a Google Ads search campaign – a little more study will prepare you to take this certification exam.

Your final certification exam taken during finals week will use your non-UNI Google account – since you will keep that account after graduation. As you prepare for the final, you can use your UNI Google account to take practice exams.

How to start preparing for the exam

Go to the Skillshop website and log-in with your UNI Google account. Then navigate to the Google Ads Search Certification section. You will find a number of study modules to work through that will cover what you need to know to successfully pass the certification exam.

Each section contains study and review materials to get you up to speed on different aspects of Google search advertising. Work through this material at your own pace – we will also discuss these modules during our final week of class.

How to take the search certification assessment

Finally, when you are ready to take the certification assessment, be sure you are logged in with your UNI Google Account and click on “Google Ads Search Assessment”.

You’ll have 75 minutes to take the 50 question assessment – that’s a little over a minute per question. You’ll answer one question at a time and once you answer, cannot go back to change your answer later. Don’t let time run out on you – because if the timer runs out you will automatically fail the assessment. A score of 80% or higher is required to pass and become certified.

If you fail the assessment (or just want to re-take it for practice), you can re-take the assessment after 1 day. Just remember to always use your UNI Google account when taking practice exams.

During finals week – you’ll take this same assessment in class under proctored testing conditions. For your final, you’ll use your non-UNI Google account. Only your score on the proctored final will count toward your grade.

Certification is good for one year.

Add Your Google Ads search certification to your LinkedIn profile

Once earned, you will receive a credential that can be proudly added to your LinkedIn profile under “Licenses & Certifications”.

You should also post your achievement to your LinkedIn network to let everyone know how awesome you are (and to let prospective employers know about your marketable certification)! I know I’ll be telling my LinkedIn network about you and your achievement!

Want to earn more Google Ads certifications?

If you’d like to earn more Google Ads certifications – you may also want to look into Google Ads Display certification, Video certification, Shopping Ads certification, Apps certification, and Measurement certification.

Link Your Google Ads and Google Analytics Accounts

If you are running campaigns using Google Ads, you’ll want to link your Google Ads acccount with your Google Analytics account to get full analytics on the activity of the clicks you pay for coming from your Google Ads campaigns.   

To do this, follow the instructions on this Google Analytics support page.

Or watch this short video:

Important Settings

When you link your Google Ads account to your Google Analytics account, there are a couple of important settings to make sure you get right.

Import Site Metrics

When you link your Google Analytics account, you’ll want to make sure that you have the option to “Import site metrics” turned on. If you’re not sure if this is turned on or not, go to Linked Accounts and find your linked Analytics web property – click on your “view”.

You should now be able to see if “Import site metrics” is turned on.

Enable Auto-Tagging

Auto-Tagging is an essential feature that allows Google Analytics to import important Google Ads data such as conversion, cost, and campaign data into Analytics reports.

Unfortunately, auto-tagging is turned off by default! You’ll need to enable it to turn it on. You can do this in Google Ads left hand navigational menu under Settings/Account Settings

Make sure both accounts share a common Google account. If your Analytics account was created with one Google account and your Ads account was created with a different one, you will not be able to link your accounts.

To fix this, simply add your second Google account as an additional user to your Google Analytics account and try linking accounts again.

Your Daily Budget In Google Ads

What is the Google Ads daily budget?

Google Ads allows you to control your costs by setting a daily budget for your ad campaigns. If you are running a search campaign, this means that Google will continue to run your text ads for search queries that trigger your keyword bdigital until your budget is exceeded. At that point, your ads will no longer be served for the rest of the day.

However – there are cases when Google may overspend. It is important to understand that setting a daily budget does not guarantee an exact spend – or even a spending limit.

Google may decide to “dip into your daily budget”!

Good old Google is always trying to help you get more clicks. According to its support site, it may “dip into your daily budget” and end up spending more than the amount you’ve told Google you’d like to spend.

“Dipping into your daily budget for other days in the month helps to optimize the performance of your campaigns and helps make sure that your ads can run a little more on days when they’re very popular.”

In other words, if there is a high volume search day, Google may overspend on your campaign to compensate for other days in the week when search volume is lower. In a statement in their Help documentation, Google poetically explains the reason behind this change:

“Internet traffic is like an ocean. Some days, there will be small waves. Other days, there will be great big ones. So, if your ads don’t show up much because of low traffic, then we’ll make up for that by showing them more when traffic’s higher.”

Ok, fine. But how much will they overspend? I’m afraid there’s worrying news on that count:

That’s right – Google may overspend 2x your daily budget to “help” you.

While this might make sense for a consistent monthly advertiser who has their keyword buys dialed in and optimized – it is frustrating for a new Google Ads user who is trying different strategies in short bursts to see what works for their business. Now a failed experiment may cost 2x what you expected it to.

I believe this should be an option – and not a default setting. Regularly exceeding daily budgets set by its customers does not create a sense of trust.

Help! I went over my daily budget!

While Google may decide to exceed your daily budget on a particular day, they claim that they will not exceed your monthly charging limit (Your daily budget * 30.4) over the course of the month. This means that if Google does overspend on one day, they might underspend on another day to compensate. This doesn’t help you if you’re running a shorter duration campaign – but it is some small consolation.

In short – your daily budget is an important tool to control your costs – but you must understand when and why Google might exceed it – and adjust as appropriate.

But what if I’m running a short campaign?

If you are running a campaign of limited duration (under 20 days), the implications of this new change are that you should either plan on spending up to 2x your stated daily budget – or set it to a lower amount as much as 50% under what you’d like to spend. Google has reportedly said that it is “highly unlikely” that a short campaign would consistently overdeliver by 2x the daily budget – but it remains to be seen how that plays out in reality.

Where can I find more information about this change?

Complete coverage of the implications of this change can be found in Ginny Marvin’s excellent article on Search Engine Land.

Google Ad Auctions Explained by Hal Varian

Google AdWords determines the price advertisers pay for clicks in realtime ad auctions on Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).  This means with every search query a user submits on Google, an auction takes place.

In this video, Google’s Chief Economist Hal Varian explains how the auctions work.

Important to note that Google gives each competing ad an “Ad Rank” that is computed by multiplying its Maximum Bid an advertiser is willing to pay with the Quality Score that Google assigns your ad/keyword/landing page.  The higher your ad rank, the higher your ad’s position on the SERP.

Ad Rank = (Max Bid) * (Quality Score)

The price you pay (p1) is directly related to the maximum bid (b2) of the advertiser below your ad – though the Quality Score of each ad (Q1 and Q2, respectively) is also taken into consideration.

p1Q1 = b2Q2

Since b2Q2 is essentially the Ad Rank of the ad below your ad, the price you pay is equal to the Ad Rank of the ad below yours divided by your Quality Score.

p1 = b2Q2 / Q1