Whether you’re new to working in marketing or a seasoned veteran, improving your marketing knowledge with a certification can boost your career and take your marketing skills to the next level.
Learning technical marketing jargon or collecting LinkedIn profile badges might not seem like the way to get ahead in your career, but a marketing certification rounds out your education and shows clients or employers you have the skills they need.
Many general certification courses cover marketing fundamentals, giving you the right tools to market a small business, impress corporate clients, or anything in between. And if you’ve worked in marketing for a while, you can use specialized certifications to gain new knowledge about anything from search engine optimization to influencer marketing. Learn about the marketing certifications we’re loving and why.
Types of marketing: Key skills and capabilities
Expert marketers can deploy different sets of skills in just the right proportions for each client. Here are some of the skills marketers use to make sure they’re communicating the right marketing messages to the right audience.
Search engine optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the skill that boosts websites to the top of web search results. SEO involves two sets of skills: technical and on-page SEO. Developers and web designers usually look after the technical aspects of SEO, which include load time and mobile-friendliness. That leaves marketing professionals to focus on on-page SEO: developing optimized content and using keywords strategically on a webpage to show search engines that the page is relevant to a particular search query.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing harnesses the power of social media to generate brand awareness, spark direct interactions between brands and customers, and target ads to specific demographics. Certifications in social media marketing teach you how to use Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok, and other social media platforms to drive website traffic, conversions, and sales.
With an average return on investment (ROI) of $36 for every $1 spent, email marketing — sending mass emails to people on an email list — is the most profitable form of marketing. Understanding the principles behind email marketing strategy can help you push this ROI even higher. Email marketing skills include encouraging people to subscribe, managing email lists, and writing subject lines and email copy that convince recipients to click and then buy.
Branding and positioning
Branding sits at the intersection of marketing and design, so it suits marketing professionals with a creative side. Branding and positioning are different but complementary skills: Branding is creating a distinctive identity through a logo, colors, advertising campaigns, and storytelling strategies, while positioning is influencing how customers perceive your brand in relation to other brands. Branding shows you’re different from the competition, while positioning shows you’re better than the competition. Positioning includes deeply understanding what the customer needs, developing and communicating a value proposition, and conducting competitor analyses to determine how your brand fits into the market.
Digital advertising is the promotion of products and services through online channels, including websites, apps, search engines, and social media. Digital advertising professionals work with video ads, banner ads on websites, paid search, pay-per-click (PPC) ads, native ads in apps, and email marketing. Effective digital advertising includes crafting messages, communicating them, and then checking their effectiveness through tools like website analytics and A/B testing.
Database marketers use large quantities of fine-grained customer data to target different segments of the customer base. Database marketing professionals can use data from previous purchases, demographics, and customer support requests to tailor their marketing campaigns to different audiences, which can increase conversions by up to 760%.
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Top 5 marketing certification courses
These five certifications will help you expand and polish your skills in your marketing field of choice.
1. Digital Marketing Pro by the American Marketing Association (AMA)
Best marketing certification for marketers aiming for senior positions
The American Marketing Association’s Digital Marketing Pro is a dual certification run with the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI). It includes both the Professional Certification in Digital Marketing and the PCM (Professional Certified Marketer) program. Content covers digital marketing strategy, Google Ads, Google Analytics, Meta Ads, and content marketing for business.
These digital marketing certifications are especially valuable to employers looking to fill senior marketing roles. According to the institute’s website, 68% of graduates credit DMI courses with helping them get promoted, and 62% say that they received a raise because of the certification.
You’ll need to renew your PCM certification every three years.
- Course length: 30 hours, self-paced
- Exam length: N/A
- Cost: $1,440, with payment plans available
2. Google Ads certification
Best marketing certification for Google
Google accounts for around 29% of the U.S. digital advertising market — the biggest market share of any company. Knowing how to advertise on the world’s largest search engine is a must. Google’s training course offers a range of individual beginner-level certifications to develop your digital marketing skills across different aspects of Google Ads, including measurement, search, offline sales, video, apps, and display advertising. If you have a website or are planning to build one, consider enrolling in the free Google Analytics certification to learn how to analyze web and app data.
We recommend starting with the Google Ads Search Certification to understand how this search engine ranks content before applying this information to other strategies like apps and sales.
A Google Ads certification is only valid for 12 months — you’ll have to recertify once a year to keep your skills fresh.
- Course length: 2 hours, 12 minutes
- Exam length: 75 minutes
- Cost: Free
3. Meta Certified Digital Marketing Associate certification
Best marketing certification for Facebook
The self-paced Meta Certified Digital Marketing Associate certification teaches you how to use Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp to market a business. Modules include building an online business presence using Facebook and Instagram, connecting with customers on WhatsApp and Messenger, creating targeted ad campaigns, and understanding Meta’s data and privacy policies.
While Facebook doesn’t have an audience as large as Google, it’s still a powerful marketing tool because it’s better at targeting specific demographics. More targeted advertising and outreach lead to less effort wasted reaching out to people who aren’t interested.
You’ll need to get recertified every two years.
- Course length: 4 hours, 5 minutes
- Exam length: 90 minutes
- Cost: Preparation for the certification exam is free; the exam costs $99
4. Create a Brand Strategy by LinkedIn Learning
Best marketing certification for brand strategy
Brand strategy courses such as LinkedIn’s Create a Brand Strategy teach branding and positioning. This LinkedIn course focuses on discovering the brand’s unique value and character, connecting with customers, and refining your branding strategy. More than 130,000 learners have taken the 4.7-star-rated course.
Upon completion, LinkedIn provides a certificate that you can save, print, and display on your LinkedIn profile.
- Course length: 54 minutes
- Exam length: N/A
- Cost: Free with a LinkedIn Premium subscription, or you can buy the course separately for $34
5. The Strategy of Content Marketing on Coursera
Best comprehensive content marketing certification
Content marketing attracts visitors to your site through content — whether in written, visual, audio, or video formats — that really speaks to them. The Strategy of Content Marketing, offered by UC Davis on the Coursera platform, is an intermediate-level online content marketing certification. The course covers how to develop an SEO and content marketing strategy, types of content, copywriting techniques, and content marketing ethics. You can print the certificate or display it on your LinkedIn profile.
- Course length: 21 hours
- Exam length: Untimed assessment tasks
- Cost: If you take the course in audit mode (without graded assessments or a certificate), enrollment is free; the certified version costs $49
Stay ahead of the competition with a formal marketing certification
In today’s competitive marketing industry, cutting-edge marketing skills can be the difference between company growth and stagnation. Marketers can keep their companies thriving by participating in marketing certification programs, learning the new skills the certifications offer, and converting those skills into state-of-the-art marketing strategies.