A digital marketing certification could be the difference between landing a new job or losing the opportunity.
83% of employers are reporting a difficulty with recruiting, with one third of respondents citing a “lack of needed technical skills.” Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics echoes the same sentiment with this graphic on labor force participation rates between individuals with a certification or license, and those without:
What is the value of professional certification vs a degree?
As the world of marketing continues to evolve, so do the ways in which professionals can stand out from the crowd and get ahead in their careers. The Harvard Business Review’s data suggests that skills-based hiring is on the rise. So while historically, a degree has shown to pay off, trends are indicating that employers are reducing degree requirements in favor of hiring candidates with a specific skill set that pertains to the job.
Think about it. Traditionally, degrees are offered in business administration. But that’s so broad. Nowadays, many schools are offering degrees in marketing, but again, that’s fairly broad. There’s direct marketing, guerilla marketing, and of course digital marketing. But even under digital marketing there’s SEO, paid media and even web design plays a role in conversion rate optimization.
The industry of digital marketing is constantly evolving, and with that comes the need for marketing professionals to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices, and different certifications in digital marketing can help you do just that.
What are the top FREE digital marketing certifications?
There are many different digital marketing certifications available and choosing the right one can be difficult. To help you make the best decision for your career, we’ve compiled a list of the top 12 free digital marketing certifications in 2022.
You might be thinking, “You get what you pay for” or “Employers won’t see value in a free course.” But not only does the data allude to the contrary, these free certifications are offered by some of the most well-known companies, such as Google, HubSpot, and Hootsuite.
#1 – Introduction to Social Media Marketing by Meta
This course is offered by Meta, under that corporate umbrella are the social media behemoths, Facebook and Instagram. This course is one of the most beginner-friendly, yet in depth at a workload of about 15 hours. Though the course is offered by Meta, it actually covers all social media platforms, including TikTok, Youtube, etc. The course is free to enroll.
The course is currently rated 4.9 out of 5, though a few critical reviews have noted that this course is a little bloated and targeted to beginners. If you want a course that can review the basics in an hour try the next one,
#2 – Social Media Marketing Foundations by LinkedIn
This course offered directly by LinkedIn takes just one hour to complete. The course is taught by top marketing consultant, Brian Honigman. Many courses offer a broad approach while Honigman illustrates how to create a social media strategy based on the goals of your organization. This course is free to enroll, and a LinkedIn Learning Certificate will be issued upon completion.
#3 – Social Media Advertising by University of Colorado Boulder
This course focuses on small business advertising on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Offered by the University of Colorado Boulder, it’s quite in-depth at an estimated workload of 11 hours. It’s free to enroll.
#4 – Google Ads Search Certification
Google’s Skillshop is a platform that can help you take your digital marketing skills to the next level. The Google Ads Search Certification is one you should start with. Google Ads are a core strategy for many businesses because you can target customers who are in the decision-making process, e.g. If you’re an online shoe store, you can target ads to individuals searching for “blue running shoes.”
All Google Skillshop courses are 100% free.
#5 – Google Ads Display Certification
Next up is the Google Ads Display Certification. While CTRs have diminished in the last decade, display ads are still an integral part of advertising for many companies, especially hotels. For a quick overview, see our blog post on Best Practices for Display Advertising.
#6 – Google Video Ads Certification
Last up is the Google Video Ads Certification. If you’re unfamiliar, Google owns the largest video platform – YouTube. The demand for video marketing is increasing as users’ attention is currently drawn towards short-form video via Instagram Reels, TikTok, and YouTube Shorts.
#7 – Search Engine Optimization Fundamentals by the University of California Davis
While Google does not offer a SEO of their own (perhaps to keep some ambiguity around their ranking factors), the Search Engine Optimization Fundamentals Course is highly touted, currently rated at 4.8 out of 5.
#8 – Digital Marketing by Hubspot
# 9 – Social Media Marketing by Hubspot
Hubspot’s Social Media Marketing course is one of their most popular, packed with 4 hours of great information. We’d also recommend reading over our guides:
- Guide to Social Media Marketing in 2022
- How to Promote Hotels on Social Media in 2022
- Social Media Strategy: How Much to Spend and Where?
#10 – Content Marketing by Hubspot
What better way to learn about content marketing than from a company that actually practices what they preach? Hubspot’s Content Marketing course not only covers 6 hours of information, but they actually go in-depth on how Hubspot uses blogging to rank #1 for various terms in Google.
#11 – Marketing Cloud Administrator by Salesforce
In general, the more specialized the skillset, the harder it is to find candidates. Marketing cloud admins are a great example, ZipRecruiter.com shows an average salary of $96,000, with top earners (90th percentile) earning $133,000 a year. Compare this to your average Digital Marketer who earns approximately $62,000 a year.
Salesforce offers a number of free courses, but we would highly recommend the Marketing Cloud Administrator course if you want to stand out from the pack.
#12 – Digital Marketing Expert – American Marketing Association
Lastly, we’ll include the Digital Marketing Expert course by the American Marketing Association (AMA). Perhaps the most in-depth course on the subject with 120 hours of self-paced learning. While their courses are technically free for members, it is as low as $29/yr for undergrad students. Other than free courses, they also offer a number of other benefits.
Do companies offer reimbursement for training and certifications?
According to a recent poll on behalf of Fortune, 14% of workers say their company offers some sort of reimbursement for training courses and online skills. Because of the pandemic, new enrollment in online courses has exploded and as such 10% of workers have said that their companies have rolled out reskilling opportunities in the last 6 months.
Check with your company before enrolling in paid courses, and if they don’t currently have a program, perhaps send management these reasons why their company should start offering employees professional development certificates.
Alternatively, companies could onboard new employees with a new certification or training program of their own. There are various Learning Management Systems (LMS) that can accomplish this, or courses can be posted on platforms like Coursera or Udemy.
It’s important to have every advantage you can get whether you are looking for an entry-level or management job. One way to set yourself apart from the competition is by refining or acquiring new skills, and certifications are a great way to do that. Not only will certification give you the skills you need to succeed in the ever-changing world of digital marketing, but it will also make you more marketable to potential employers.