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Published on September 3rd, 2010 | by Saurabh Pandey


GAP (Google Advertising Professional) Certification! Useless or Useful?

GAP- Google certified advertising professional has been a buzz word in India for about 5 years now.

I am also asked by many people about whether they should take a GAP exam and that how it could help them in their careers. Hence thought of writing down my experience and understanding here, hope it helps!

As a person who has worked in Google, cleared GAP certification, and who heads a business unit now outside of Google, I have a specific take on it’s importance for a Marketing Manager in an enterprise.

GAP prepares one to work efficiently on Google’s adwords platform, meaning it allows one to understand the mechanics of adwords, the account structure, keyword discovery, billing and campaign setting, know hows, and many things that as a Marketing Head or a Marketing Manager one could outsource or leave it for an operations expert to handle

To my understanding GAP is NOT a strategic enabler for a marketing manager, it’s great for an opertaions expert who would want to go deeper into adwords ecosystem and become an adwords specialist.

As an analogy it’s something like becoming a MARUTI CERTIFIED ENGINEER- where one is taught in detail about Maruti engines. It does not necessarily make you an expert on GM cars or does not necessarily make you an expert in understanding different types of engines (aeroplane engine, tractor engine, SUV engine etc.)

Similarly, as a Marketing Manager/Head- one would need to be have a basic understanding of Social Media, eMail Marketing, Display advertising and Search advertising  – GAP is not a conduit to know it all and can not take the career in fast track

So, if one needs to become an expert in adwords, and remain focussed in that area, clearing a GAP exam is great!

As a marketing head/manager who wants to now transition into online area, the requirement is to blend his marketing and strategic insights with strategic online practice with some tactical and operational know-how- for which GAP is NOT essential.

Marketing/Business Heads need a dashboard to track and review performance. This dashboard also enables them to build their expectations from different online marketing options (social, search, email and display)

As a marketing/business head, I personally outsource or deploy the internal specialists to handle adwords for our business unit.

So bottomline reality- for Business Managers- understanding of how internet marketing works, various options (social media, display and search marketing) and their understanding of how these work, key metrics to follow and integration of online with traditional marketing is important. Thereafter the day to day operations part can be outsourced to respective specialists (adwords specialist, social media ops specialists, analytics specialists etc.)

For people who want to become only adwords specialist- go ahead and take GAP, and grow within adwords domain. It’s a great deal! But for everyone else GAP is really NOT of such a great use!

What’s your take?

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