The digital advertising world now has its answer to the legal profession’s bar exam and Wall Street’s Series 7 certification, courtesy of the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The trade group will offer an official certification for digital media sales executives starting next month.
To receive the IAB’s imprimatur, digital salespeople must pass a test that covers general comprehension of the digital advertising ecosystem, selling digital media and analyzing campaign performance. The exam will be administered by Pearson Testing Centers, with the inaugural test scheduled for June 11 at Pearson centers worldwide. The cost will be $350 for members and $450 for non-members.
The certification program stems from the IAB’s research into knowledge gaps within the field, including through its annual “Interactive Ad IQ Survey” developed with Ernst & Young. The findings suggest that many people on both the sales and buy side are struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of change surrounding interactive ad platforms and technologies.
“The certification program will help raise the level of professionalism in the digital field by allowing salespeople to demonstrate their knowledge of the complex interactive environment,” stated Michael Theodore, vice president member services at the IAB. With the digital sales certification launched, the IAB said it plans to create similar training and programs for other professions in the industry.
It won't be easy to cram for the digital sales test. There is no formal coursework associated with it, although there is a sample quiz. The IAB says it is designed for salespeople with two to five years of experience, and it recommends that candidates “have a strong command of current industry issues, players, and operations, as well as a broad understanding of every major digital platform.”
Among specific topics the test will cover:
-Differentiating the benefits of digital versus traditional media
-Describing digital advertising formats
-Defining key digital advertising tools and technologies
-Calculating media mathematics
-Adhering to compliance standards/policies
-Understanding differences in digital ad formats
-Prospecting for new clients
-Aligning digital advertising products with client objectives
-Comprehending internal and third-party research