Certifications that Matter

FiveFifty qualifies for and maintains several industry certifications that are relevant to our work. We are a Google-certified partner, covering YouTube, Google Ads, Google Display Network, etc. We’ve also got our Edge certifications from the TradeDesk, Blueprint Facebook certifications, Google Analytics certifications, and so on and so forth.

For us, these certifications really serve two purposes. First, they demonstrate our proficiency, if not full-on expertise, in the skillset at hand. Second, they indicate our relevancy and willingness to stay current to clients. At FiveFifty, we go after certifications in the tools that we actually use on the job. Ultimately, we are proud to have these certifications and proud to be listed as partners on those platforms.

The pitfall to avoid is placing too much of an emphasis on what the test suggests about a person or a company’s ability. We see a lot of applicants come out of college with certifications in Google Analytics or Google Ads, but with shockingly low levels of experience to back them up with. While we are grateful to have eager candidates apply for roles at our company, our interview process makes clear that the certifications alone are not sufficient proof that an applicant is qualified.

In many ways, we evaluate these applicants through the same lens that we believe brands should evaluate agencies who hang their hat on their certifications. Overall, sure, it’s better to have them than not. However, simply pointing to a certification does not in and of itself conclusively prove an agency has the requisite experience for an opportunity. It should be just one way someone chooses to stand out from the crowd.

Ultimately, it’s the rest of the resume that matters most. Our agency credentials are not our certifications. They’re the sum of the projects we have worked on, and, more specifically, how much we have learned from our successes and failures along the way. It’s just common sense. An agency’s actual experience and portfolio should really count for a lot more than whether or not they made the time to pass some arbitrary, one-time test.

That said, certifications play a big role in our onboarding process for new hires. We want them to learn the best practices on each platform as efficiently as possible. Our team members take part in training regimens and strive to maintain certification programs with partners.

So, we do have many certifications that have proven helpful, especially for our own continuous learning. Honestly, if you are applying to work here and haven’t considered pursuing a relevant certification or two, you definitely should. However, the certifications that matter the most to us don’t exactly fall under the purview of any governing authority or board. They’re word-of-mouth. When our clients who refer us to their colleagues and friends, we call that a certified success.