Become An Ad Expert: An Effective How-To Guide

become an ad expert
Table of Contents

The ad industry is one of the most competitive and lucrative industries in the world.

Becoming an ad expert requires years of experience, certifications, and a wealth of knowledge about digital marketing ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and other forms of advertising.

Let’s consider the market as it is right now. 

Ever since the internet gave us a new way of doing business, the global ad spend went up to roughly $586 billion in 2020, despite the market being slow. By 2023, this expenditure is expected to grow up to $691 billion per annum

ad spending in million us dollars
Source: Statista

Unfortunately, this also means that the market is becoming more saturated, hence increasing competition for small and medium business (SMB) marketing.

So, what’s the solution? How do you make your mark in such a competitive market? And are you already too late?

No worries! In this article, we’ve devised a strategy that aims to help you become an ad expert fast and efficiently.

What Is an Ad Expert?

Advertising specialists, or ad experts, are individuals who can create, manage, and implement informed advertising and marketing strategies effectively. The strategy mostly involves studying market forces and trends to tailor your current strategy or devise new ones accordingly. 

As an ad expert, you should be able to lead marketing campaigns on your own and/or delegate authority, as needed.

Key areas an ad expert you’d be coordinating would be:

  • Marketing programs
  • Brand monitoring
  • Product catalog designs
  • External communications
  • Email marketing
  • Social media, and more

Creative services, media strategies, and social media awareness functions of the company are all under your authority.

On the road to becoming an ad expert, there are two crucial questions you need to keep on answering:

  1. Do people remember your ads or the brand?
  2. Are people buying your product/service?

Once you can answer with a solid “yes” most of the time, you’re on your way to becoming an ad expert!

Things to Master as an Ad Expert

As an ad expert, you will be someone who is an expert on a few ad platforms or SEO. You need to master every social media and search engine as well.

Key skills of an ad expert should be:

  1. Copywriting
  2. Creative website and media designing 
  3. Key marketing tactics on different platforms
  4. Making informed decisions based on industry analytics
  5. Communicating ad results to relevant departments so they can understand
  6. Driving A/B testing and make adjustments to marketing campaigns
  7. Managing ad budget
  8. Optimizing campaign performance

Remember, you will need more than just entry-level knowledge to be qualified as an ad expert. Almost everyone knows about entry-level tactics or at least can learn fairly easily with a quick internet search. 

Although the elements mentioned above are rather self-explanatory, point (c) warrants more explanation. It is easy to get lost in navigating and understanding different ad platforms because of the sheer volume of things you need to process. 

What’s so complicated, you ask? 

Marketing is an iterative process. It’s one thing to learn how to create an ad; however, managing it properly and knowing what tweaks to make after which market stimulus is the tricky part.

I’m Google-Certified – Isn’t That Enough?

There are several free online programs offered by Google, CMI, HubSpot, and more. While it is a good idea to get certifications from these programs, they are considered to be the bare minimum in today’s day and age. While these certifications help, the free versions are not enough to make you an expert – just someone who knows what they are doing. 

We aren’t discouraging you from getting Google-certified. We’re just being real with you (#sorrynotsorry).

Just know that even with these courses, you have a long way to go. 

How to Become an Ad Expert Today

Now, for our guide. There are five steps to becoming an ad expert in our experience. 

  1. Start learning one platform at a time. This should take you about 30-40 days.
  2. Get certified, but be ready to pay for it. With the right program, you should be done in about 7-14 days
  3. Gain experience. Congratulations! You’ll start applying your knowledge, see it in action, and would be an ‘ad expert in training’ at this point. 
  4. In a few years, you might make it a consistent (i.e., you don’t need to think about it at all) habit to stay up to date with relevant platforms and their algorithms.
  5. Keep on learning. 

By step four, you might start getting recognized as a great ad expert – and perhaps, even get a few awards along the way; however, that wouldn’t be the end of your journey. As a marketer, you will then need to stay up to date with the latest market trends and evolve your strategies and your skills.

Let’s consider these steps in more detail. 

  1. One Advertising Platform at a Time

No one ever became an online ad expert by trying to learn every platform at the same time. It’s like trying to get to a destination by taking a long, complicated route. You’ll get lost fast.

You should consider the following order for best results and quicker retention. Of course, if you study each platform in-depth, you will find yourself spending months on the same one. The trick is to know when you have enough knowledge and move on. After all, you are on the clock.  

In this step, familiarize yourself with the basics of marketing on each platform and then move on. You’ll learn the details through courses and experience.

     a. Your Own Website – SEO & SEM

There are several marketing techniques you will need to get familiar with here. The reason why we recommend going through the hassle of learning about Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing is that there are many techniques here that Facebook Ads specialists, Instagram, LinkedIn marketers, and even print media marketers must learn about. 

In essence, by learning about SEO and SEM techniques, you will actually be halfway through the process of learning the basics for all other platforms.

Remember, SEO focuses on optimizing your website to get more organic traffic from SERP (search engine results page), while SEM improves organic and paid search visibility at the same time.

statistics of content marketing digital marketing marketing automation usage

Source: Statista

Start by focusing on Content Marketing or repurposing content and moving towards Marketing Automation. 17.4% of ad experts across the globe believe these two are the most effective marketing techniques out there. 

  1. Facebook Ads

Marketers all across the globe have used Facebook ads to their advantage, marketing not only to customers but also to other businesses, owners, and executives. A prime indication of how marketers have increased spending on the platform is that in Q3 of 2021, total ad spending across the globe amounted to $28.5 billion; much more than what any other platform can boast. 

Although the platform has introduced more tools and types of ads over the years, Facebook lead generation campaigns have managed to remain the most preferred ad tactic by many, solely because of the ease of use, versatility, and cost-effectiveness it offers. 

Start here and then move on to other ad types, i.e., image ads, video ads, carousel ads, instant experiences, collections, dynamic ads, link click ads, and location ads. You can expect more innovative ad solutions to be introduced on Facebook, given their history of innovation. 

  1. Instagram Ads

After you’ve learned the basics of Facebook, Instagram shouldn’t present much of a challenge. We recommend using the Facebook Business Manager (FBM) to your advantage, as it allows you to manage Facebook and Instagram ads from one platform.

  1. LinkedIn Ads

Although LinkedIn isn’t the most widely used platform, it is definitely the best one for maximizing B2B marketing and reaching out to professionals. 

When learning to market on LinkedIn, you may want to take your time. Although most marketing tools are similar to those found on Facebook, the approach to advertising on LinkedIn is very different. You need to adopt a professional tone here in every post, article, and ad. 

Hence, we have highlighted the importance of content marketing in the points above. As an expert writer, you would be better able to write content specific to the platform you are marketing on. 

  1. Other search engines

After the big four comes YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, and more. The following graph shows the leading platforms you should familiarize yourself with and their prevalence with ad experts, as of January 2021. 

social media platform ad share of respondents

Source: Statista

  1. Invest in Training

Once you have familiarized yourself with the necessary platforms, you should understand that there is only so much that you can do on your own. You will need to analyze your training needs and invest in some training. This may take anywhere from a day to a few years, depending on the courses you choose. 

Start with the free ones, and try to build a rapport with the trainers. See which ones you connect with the most. You can enroll in several ads certifications offered by Google. The basic ones are free, while the rest will cost with respect to their content and level of training. 

google certified screenshot

Source: Google Skillshop

Of course, this is just for Google Ads.

Move on to other courses once done. Some of the most interesting courses include:

  1. Content Marketing Institute Online Certification
  2. HubSpot Content Marketing Certification
  3. Hootsuite Social Media Marketing Certifications
  4. Cornell University Digital Marketing Certificate Program

The Cornell University marketing certificate goes over almost every platform in great depth and also includes practical exercises for you to learn on. With this course, you can cut the next step by half and achieve your goals quicker. The course is relatively expensive, though.

  1. Getting Some Hands-On Experience

So by now, you’ve just spent the last few months learning all you could about the intricacies of marketing. Your level of knowledge at this time should be enough to have people call you an ‘ad expert in the making.’ However, learned marketing knowledge can take you only so far. To properly retain what you’ve learned and become the ads specialist you’ve always wanted to be, you need to gain some practical experience.

More companies are looking for budding ad experts like yourself. Not only does it offer a cost-effective way of hiring ambitious individuals, but it is also an excellent way for organizations to train future assets. 

This form of marketing is known as experiential marketing. At this stage, you will learn how to attract a diverse range of audiences, things that can go wrong during the marketing process, and reinforce your real-time decision-making skills – something that knowledge alone can’t offer. 

By working as a freelancer or with a firm, you get to learn how to:
  1. Create and manage brand awareness
  2. Form relationships
  3. Analyze and evaluate business activities and make informed decisions
  4. Increase sales directly with your actions (the most satisfying part of the road towards becoming an ad expert).
  5. Make strategies to increase brand loyalty
  6. Target specific buyer personas, and much more.

Perhaps you’ll even win a few awards while at it!

  1. Create Your Own Brand & Market Yourself

Depending on your dedication, you can become an ad expert while working in the field within a year or a few years. Usually, it might take up to 3 months for your ad knowledge to show its true colors, followed by at least a month to understand what is going on. 

Here’s a table of what a typical journey towards becoming an ad expert looks like for most people. 

Level of Perceived Expertise in Marketing
The very beginning I know nothing
You start getting familiar Hey, this is pretty easy… I don’t know what the fuss was about.
You make your first ad Oh boy… 
You start your first course Oh, I didn’t know that.  
You end your first course I’ve learned a lot, actually. I’m ready to tackle the real world!
Your first job.  Yes, just as I learned. 
The first results What the… I know nothing!
Tweaks and second results Getting a hang of it…
Further tweaks and campaigns NOW, I know a lot. 
Your first protégé and own brand I am an ad expert. 

The journey has a lot of ups and downs and as evident from the table above. The journey will continue, and you won’t realize you have already become an ad expert until you either start training someone else or create your own brand. 

Working for yourself will give you a much better perspective on the results you are getting, and the fact you are starting from the beginning gives you a better idea of how skilled you are. Again, the goal is not just to bring clients over to your website; you need to convert them as well. As an ad expert, as a brand owner, you are responsible for the conversions as well.

  1. Never Stop Learning

There is no such thing as being ‘done’ with the learning process. The digital landscape is ever-evolving, and there is no upper cap to how much of an ad expert you can become. Prioritize but never neglect. 

Take Google, for example. When you think SEO, you think of Google, even though it’s not the only search engine out there. This is mostly because of the vast difference between the traffic of different search engines, as illustrated by the graph below. 

market share for google bing yahoo baidu yandex
Source: Statista

And despite Google’s algorithm currently being a success, it keeps on updating its algorithm. This means that your current knowledge of how to rank on Google’s first page needs to keep being updated. 

Then, there are trends. Remember when the Tide Pod challenge and Fidget Spinners were trendy topics? The Tamagotchis also had their moment. Do you see any of these trends popping up anywhere today? 

So, keep on learning and updating yourself. As they say:

Keep Fighting that good fight bro - Rambo Thumbs | Meme Generator

Getting Ready to Cultivate the Seeds (Leads) You Sow

As an ad expert, you get to create experiences right from the second a person is exposed to your ad all the way to when (and how) they come to your website, where they click, what they add into their cart, the checkout process, and their experience after the purchase. The way you manage the buyers’ journey will show whether or not you have become an ad expert or not. 

Ad specialists keep on coming up with newer ideas to yield better results and stay ahead of the competition.

With the abundance of digital marketers out there, the competition is becoming fiercer.

Now is the time that you start your journey towards becoming an ad expert. 

If you get confused at any step and have questions or think you don’t have the time to become an ad expert yet, you need experienced individuals to guide you.

If you’re not quite ready to become an expert but still need a social media management software that will help you boost your Facebook posts, run ads on Instagram, or target audiences on LinkedIn, check out eclincher

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