For several months I contemplated taking the Facebook Blueprint Certification exams. Similar to the Google AdWords exams, passing the tests would give us a badge recognizing that we basically know Facebook advertising at a very high level. It is a nice way to separate ourselves from the pack of people and agencies that promote themselves as Facebook experts.
You would think since Facebook advertising is such a big part of our business that this is a no-brainer, right? Not so fast. There were a few reasons that we were hesitant to embark on this exam. Reason #1: You need to pass 2 exams and they are $150 each at a special facility. You can take it on your computer but if a person walks by or makes a noise or your phone goes off, you fail. So the safe bet is to go to the facility. Reason #2: We could not really find any other local competitors with this certification listed on their website. So many agencies list Facebook advertising as a service or “expertise” but I couldn’t find the badge on any website. If no one has it, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Reason #3: I tried to contact a Facebook Business Representative for weeks to get more information and never heard back from any of my support requests related to Blueprint. That was a bit of a red flag but I took the test anyway.
I started with the practice exams they offer online. (These tests have since been removed and will be replaced with new skill assessments) There are three tests. The first is a core competencies test and then you choose what certification you want and that dictates the second test you take. I took all three practice exams. On average I missed one question per exam. That gave me a lot of unwarranted confidence and made me think that I didn’t need to study for the actual certification exam. I just knew the information because I spend hours a day making, managing, tracking, updating and reporting on Facebook ads. The success from the practice exams ultimately made me decide to go for it. If I didn’t pass, I would at least know what it takes to earn the badge and maybe learn why no one has it here in St. Louis.
Test Day! I didn’t study at all. I didn’t know what to expect so I just went for it. I had to turn my phone off, remove all jewelry and everything from my pockets and put it in a locker at 7:45am at the testing facility. The two employees of the facility both mentioned that no one has ever taken this exam there. That is one of only two facilities in St. Louis qualified to administer the exam. I had 90 minutes for 51 questions.
The questions were not at all comparable to the practice exams. They were exponentially more elaborate, difficult and tricky. Some questions had 6 options, 5 of which were correct but you had to pick the 3 answers that would make for the best possible strategy for the given scenario. Only a handful of questions mirrored the difficulty level of the practice exam. I quickly realized that this test would not be easy to pass. So I started to focus a little more and carefully read each question multiple times.
Well fast forward 70 minutes or so later and I passed. As soon as I submitted the final answer, the screen quickly told me my score and that I passed. Sweet. I am going to be honest, at this time I did not realize that I needed to pass another exam to actually receive the badge and full certification. That news hit me two hours in to my celebration.
So I looked at the upcoming openings for the testing facility and went right back in there the next day. My two new friends working there were excited to see the “Facebook Guy” again. I locked my belongings away and hunkered down for another hour plus next to other people taking the ACT, SAT or industry exam. The next test was even harder than the first but that lovely screen of affirmation popped up at the end of the exam again and boom, myself and Big Rush Marketing are officially Facebook Certified Buying Professionals.
So what now? Not sure really. I don’t know if we get any special treatment, access or capabilities with Facebook. I will update this blog accordingly if anything exciting happens. I mentioned earlier the reasons we almost didn’t do it but here are the reasons I did decide to go for it. Reason #1: Curiosity. I wanted to know what the exam was about and truly see if I know everything that I need to know to be the best agency for our clients. Reason #2: Differentiation. The marketing field is plenty crowded and it’s easy for people to say they know how to manage Facebook and all of the platform’s advertising capabilities but we have an official certification that proves we know the product at the highest level. Here is what Facebook says about the certification on their website: "Blueprint Certification is the only certification officially recognized by Facebook. It's the most advanced level in our Blueprint program, designed to test your Facebook marketing expertise through rigorous, proctored exams. Our certification program is designed to thoroughly assess advanced-level competency in the skills needed to be a successful Facebook advertiser." That seems pretty official. We now have that badge on our website and can include it in our proposals to make our business more competitive on paper.
The reason I decided to blog about this process is because there is not a lot of information available about this exam. If you’re thinking about taking it, I recommend testing every advertising objective and capability multiple times in Power Editor and Ads Manager. Try every campaign, ad set and ad option. Know how to calculate ROI on ads. Make sure you have experience with everything Facebook has to offer on the advertising side of things. Take the practice exams for a warm up but don’t let passing those give you any comfort before the actual exam. There is a huge difference.
If you want to ask me questions about the exam, hit me up. firstname.lastname@example.org.