Do Google Ads Certifications translate into apartment PPC results?


In this series, Respage CEO Ellen Thompson discusses the latest trends in the multifamily industry and how apartment communities can generate greater results.

While it’s mandatory to have a certain number of Google Ads Certified employees to maintain our Google Ads Partner status, this alone isn’t enough1. Nonetheless, many multifamily marketing suppliers place great importance on their team’s certifications, with some even requiring their sales team members to be certified.

But do these certifications really contribute to better results on Google Ads campaigns that advertise your apartment communities?

Probably not.

Let me tell you a few reasons why Google Ads Certifications alone aren’t enough if you want to generate more apartment leads.

1. It's really easy to pass the certification test:

The certification test questions are based almost entirely on training materials that proceed the test. My son, Jackson, passed the Search certification exam with no prior Google Ads experience and within 2.5 hours of deciding to rise to the challenge.  It’s also easy to cheat on the Google Ads test. Unlike the Meta certification test which is a paid, intimidating, virtually proctored exam2, you take the Google Ads test on the “honor system.” Not only are the questions available online, but you also get a very long time to complete the exam—so you have plenty of time to “verify” your answers. And if you don’t pass it, you can take it the next day. It’s also free, so you can take it as many times as you need to pass.

2. The test doesn’t cover how to setup or manage a Google Ads campaign:

The training material that supports the Google Search test takes about 2 hours to complete. But it only scratches the surface about how Google Ads work. Instead, it focuses on what has changed in the Google platform over the past year and what Google is prioritizing (this year, it’s automated bidding and recommendations, among other things). It doesn’t show how to use the dashboard, let alone set a strategy or set up conversion tracking.

It takes many months to feel completely comfortable in the Google Ads platform and years to master strategy, campaign setup and management, and conversion tracking. Like any other skill, nothing substitutes for putting the time in to learn and gain mastery.

3. The test is out of date:

I took the test last in December 2022. The test referred to Broad Match Modifier keywords and enhanced text ads, which were phased out in February 2021 and June 2022, respectively. To get some questions right, you have to suspend reality and pretend you are taking the test two years ago. Need I say more?

4. Your apartment PPC campaigns might be fully automated anyway:

While we use a blend of automation and human touch, many suppliers that offer multifamily PPC rely on systems that automate PPC setup and management. There are also several industry newcomers that are offering software-only platforms that completely automate account management3.

In these cases, only a handful of team members who work on the automation algorithms are impacting PPC management, and they need to know a lot more than what the certification test covers to create a system that will outperform a human manager.

Looking beyond Google Ads Certification when evaluating PPC services

TL;DR— Being Google Ads Certified is a great badge on your Linkedin profile. But in practice, the knowledge and skill needed to run a successful PPC campaign is well beyond what is considered a passing grade for the certification exam. 

We’re not going to stop collecting our certifications (or telling you that we have them), but next time someone tells you that they are Google Ads certified, you’ll know what that really means. As you’re evaluating Google Ads management companies, better questions to ask are how long the Account Manager you’ll be assigned has been using Google Ads, and how they measure results. Hint: the latter answer should focus on how they’ll help you set up and track conversions.

Having Google Ads Certifications might give a sense of credibility to a supplier, but it doesn’t guarantee that they have the necessary knowledge and skills to run successful PPC campaigns for apartment communities. As such, while Google Ads Certifications are still an important credential, they’re not the only criterion to consider when choosing a partner to manage your multifamily PPC campaigns.

  1. I’m Google Ads certified. I completed my recertification in Search and Display in December which you can see here
  2. I know it’s harder because I wanted to see what everyone was complaining about, so I studied for (and passed) that one too! 
  3. I highly recommend you do not use these unless you have an in house PPC expert who can inform the strategy tweak the setup. Most of our multifamily clients don’t.

From the desk of Ellen Thompson, Co-founder and CEO of Respage >> Since its founding, Respage has helped over 10,000 communities attract, engage, and retain residents. Its platform assists properties in generating leads, automating leasing, and managing reputation and social media. Thompson is also the Founder of Results Repeat, a digital marketing agency that has helped hundreds of companies create a digital presence and use SEO and paid marketing to generate more business online.


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