Chris Simmance

Top Tips on Passing the Google Adwords Display Network Exam

15th Jan 2013 PPC Blog, Google AdWords 4 minutes to read

BlackboardI recently took and thankfully passed the Google Display Advertising Advanced Exam. Which got me thinking afterwards that it would have been good to have some tips to hand for when I was preparing to take it so for my blog this month I aim to give you all a heads up on what to expect with some winning tips!

Duration and Pass Mark

The exam is 110 questions and you need to answer them all (or as many as you have time for) in 120 minutes. It should be long enough but if you get stuck on a question you can always come back to it later. I will go into that more later in the post.
The pass marks are slightly different to the Google Advertising Fundamentals Exam & Search Advertising Advanced Exam, as you can pass with 70% rather than 85% and 80% respectively. This can give you a little bit of breathing space from panic and fear when you are taking the exam!


Read, read and read a little more! The exam follows quite a lot of the information given in the Learning Centre so I definitely recommend that you read this inside and out because you won’t have access to it during the test. There is quite a lot to read if you look at all of it in one go, so I broke it up a little and took notes to summarise each section to re-revise later.

Practice makes perfect! There is no better way to prepare for the exams than with a little bit of practice with an Adwords campaign or two. Looking through an established campaign can do wonders for understanding some of the theory you will have read about. If you are lucky enough to have a colleague with experience it’s a great opportunity to get your head around some of the more tricky elements of the Display Network.

It is also worth taking some time to have a look at how a Display Network campaign looks in Adwords Editor. It gives another dimension to how to set up a display campaign. Personally, I find that the way Adwords Editor displays the campaigns helps me to understand their structure and setup more than that the way the web interface does.

Have a play with the Ad Planner, search for placements, see the data for each placement that’s available and start working out how to plan your placements. It’s a good tool and it’s also covered in the exam so worth the time.

Question types

  • The test consists of 110 different questions about elements of the Display Network including AdWords Targeting and Placements, Bidding and Budgeting and loads about YouTube advertising.
  • As there are a lot of questions related to YouTube and all the possible ways to advertise on the platform, pay attention to what the learning centre has to say and practice with all the tools on YouTube that you have access to. It is a really good idea to familiarise yourself with examples of all the different video ads’ formats.
  • Be sure that you understand placements targeting (both automatic and managed), CPM and how it competes against CPC as this features in quite a few questions.
  • The exam has also the same “case study” type of questions that are in the other two exams where you have to think, analyse and take your time. They are quite wordy and they feel like they are designed to trip you up so it helped me to break them down into smaller segments to make them more manageable.
  • All questions are multiple choice with 4 different options to choose from. You would think that this would make it easier to answer but at times it actually makes it harder. There are quite a few possible answers which are fundamentally correct or are almost the same thing. This means you should read and re-read the answer choices in this situation to ensure you don’t accidentally miss out on the point.
  • Read up on a few historical Display advertising elements such as the ‘Wonder Wheel’. It doesn’t exist anymore yet it can still appear in the test in much the same way as the Google Website Optimiser in the fundamental and advanced test.

Review, Mark and Score-Out Functions

It is always good to familiarise yourself with the functionality that you can be made use of in the test system. There is the opportunity to Mark questions to come back to later meaning you don’t have to answer any as soon as they come up if you get stuck. You are also able to right click any answers that you don’t think are correct, narrowing your choices and making finding the right answer easier.

Even if you don’t mark many questions or leave a fair few questions unanswered, I would still make the most of all the time allowed for the test by reviewing as many as you can. I had time left over and by spending some time to review a few questions I managed to find a few which I had answered incorrectly.

Overall if you make sure you read all of the literature available prior to taking the test and spend time familiarising yourself with how to build and manage a Display Advertising campaign, it will stand you in good stead for the final exam. I would always make the most of the time the test allows though. Even If you get to the end with an hour to go, that’s an hour you have been allowed for reviewing your answers!

Good luck Adwords Peoples.

Image Credits:

Man Standing Beside Blackboard from BigStock.

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