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Today’s post is by Account Manager Lisa Becker, our Google Analytics champion who knows a thing or two about other platforms as well.
For most search engine marketers, Google AdWords is the “bread and butter” of accounts – as well it should be considering Google dominates the global search market with roughly 84% market share. That said, the Bing Ads platform, formerly known as Microsoft adCenter, is becoming an increasingly attractive option for clients who want to expand their reach and exposure in search before advancing to display advertising.
As such, it becomes more and more important that we SEMs know the ins and outs of the platform to fully take advantage of all it has to offer. This was exactly my motivation for recently becoming Bing Ads-certified, and I’d strongly encourage all search engine marketers to do the same. In order to help others on the path to Bing Ads certification, I’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to study for and take the exam.
But before we get started, a little background: the good news for anyone who is already Google AdWords-certified is that the Bing certification process will be a breeze in comparison. First off, the Bing certification exam consists of only one exam with 100 questions as opposed to Google’s separate fundamentals and advanced exams required for certification. Secondly, the Bing Ads exam allows a time period of 2 full days and 11 hours to complete the exam, during which you can save, enter, and exit as many times as you wish. Additionally, the exam does allow other screens to be open while the test is underway, thus allowing test takers to reference the platform or a search forum on tough questions. Last but certainly not least, becoming Bing Ads certified is FREE. That’s right, I said free (so long as you use the code provided at signup).
Tips & Tricks for the Bing Ads Certification Exam
1. Fully utilize the tools at your disposal.
This may sound obvious, but in preparing for your Bing Ads Certification, you should use ALL of the materials in the Bing Ads Training Hub. This should be the first step you take in your preparation for the exam – only after which you should proceed to next steps. Here you can read the full texts on everything you’d ever want to know about Bing Ads as well as watch a series of training videos created to illustrate the concepts.
Personally, I’d recommend watching the videos first since reading the text from start to finish can be a bit, *ahem*, boring. The videos are a great way to jump into the concepts that will be covered on the exam, and you can always go back and read any of the texts where you feel you need further explanation or supplemental information.
2. Practice makes perfect.
When I’m learning something new, I find that the information sticks in my mind much more successfully when I’m actively doing rather than passively reading texts or even watching a video. While I don’t want to undermine the importance of reading the texts and watching the available training videos, don’t forget to pause from time to time to actually test out the concepts you’re learning. The memory of setting up a campaign, configuring targeting options, changing billing settings, pulling reports, etc. will be much more valuable to you come exam time than just rote memorization of the study materials.
If you don’t already have access to an account, set up a test account, look around, and practice the strategies of managing a Bing Ads account. Just remember to keep your campaigns paused, and you will be able to play around and familiarize yourself with the program as much as you like without being charged a penny.
3. Quiz Yourself.
It can be difficult to know how and what to study since Bing itself does not provide any practice questions. After searching far and wide on the interwebs for practice questions, I’m convinced that the best resource to use is a paid subscription to iPassExam, which provides a list of practice questions for the exam broken down into the same themed sections as the actual exam. I’ve found the practice questions to be very relevant; many actually appeared on the exam in one form or another. While this isn’t a free resource, I definitely think it’s worth the small fee that the site charges and, given that the test itself is free, this is the only expense you’ll have on the path to certification.
Utilizing these practice questions was particularly helpful for me while tackling the exam section on ‘adCenter Desktop’, which is a platform that is no longer in use and has been replaced by Bing Ads Editor. Make sure to pay special attention to this section while studying and take note of any former features/layouts not reflected in the Bing Ads platform that you may be tested on.
4. Request backup.
Lastly, because the exam doesn’t require a screen blockout while it is in-process and allows a 2+ day window from the start time, you can easily use the platform to walk through any processes you’re uncertain about, look up a question, send an email inquiry to a colleague, or reference questions on iPassExam or your own notes. Use the resources you have at your disposal and mark any questions you may want to remember to double-check before submitting the exam for scoring.
Good luck on your exams! You can thank me when you have your new Bing Ads certification under your belt.
– Lisa Becker, Account Manager