Taking The Microsoft AdExcellence Exam

I’ve got a hot tip for you PPC folks out there. For a limited time, Microsoft is offering free AdExcellence certification. Just use the promotion code on the linked page. The code is only good for 850 uses or until June 30, 2011 so you better act fast. If you’ve ever put off doing your AdCenter certification, now is the time to do it.

I just took the certification myself, since working as an in-house PPC guy has let me lapse on my certification updates. Since the last time I took it, Microsoft canceled their program and then un-canceled it, and added new elements like the Bing/Yahoo search alliance and AdCenter desktop. So it was a pretty different test than the one I took before. Here are some tips for those of you who are about to take the test.

First, the basics. The test is 100 questions long, and you have ninety minutes to complete it. Test content covers AdCenter basics, account optimization strategies, billing information, and a couple questions on AdCenter Desktop. Most questions are a four-option multiple choice, but there are a significant number of questions that involve highlighting a specific section in the AdCenter web or desktop interface. You need to get at least 80% of the questions right in order to pass the test and receive your certification.

I’ve been working in AdCenter accounts for a couple years now, so I was already pretty familiar with the program. If you’re not, you should brush up on your AdCenter knowledge by watching their free tutorial videos here:


If you’ve worked in an AdCenter account for at least a couple of months, you should be fine. But, you may want to familiarize yourself with the interface and any features that you rarely use (I was tripped up by a couple questions on incremental bidding).

Overall, I didn’t think the test was that difficult, although there were certainly a lot of questions about obscure AdCenter functions and billing policies that would trip up even the most seasoned pro. But on the other hand, there were also a lot of questions that stated something like “which function does XYZ” and gave an answer option of “the XYZ function.” Also, there was at least one question that asked when an advertisers pay in a pay per click account (hint: it’s called “pay per click” for a reason). Your mileage may vary, though – I’m sure that Microsoft mixes up their questions for every test taker.

All in all, I think it was a pretty worthwhile experience. It’s always good to have another certification to put on your resume, especially in this industry. Good luck on the test, and be sure to use that free credit while it’s available!

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
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