IAB Digital Ad Operations Certification

  • Stay on Top of Your Digital Advertising Operations Career

    The skill sets required for Advertising Operations professionals are evolving rapidly. With the proliferation of more platforms and channels, ad units and formats, metrics and tools, standardized knowledge is absolutely necessary to perform on the job in Ad Ops.

    Now more than ever, Ad Ops leaders need to work intelligently in order to make campaigns run efficiently. IAB Digital Ad Operations Certification proves you and your team understand the latest practices, tools and terminology required to succeed in the marketplace. This is the only accredited program in the industry for Ad Ops, acknowledged by the American National Standards Institute.

    Additionally, Ad Ops roles are increasingly becoming more customer-facing. This credential creates confidence in your business practices and most importantly in your clients. The program helps Ad Ops leaders build their careers and supports candidates in securing jobs in the competitive marketplace.

    IAB Digital Ad Operations Certification is available worldwide and to anyone working in digital ad operations at Advertising Agencies, Digital Publishers, Trading Desks, Demand and Supply-Side Platforms, Exchanges and Brands organizations. The program is for coordinators, managers, directors, and executives.

    Built on Past Certification Success

    In 2012, we launched the IAB Digital Media Sales Certification and within its few years the program attracted more than 6,000 individual participants from over 300 companies across the industry. Based on this success, we strategically focused on the role of Ad Operations as the next opportunity for a Certification program.

    IAB and the Commission on Certification have leveraged this expertise to create a program for this unique job function that tests the applicant’s baseline knowledge and ensures continual learning throughout their career with a rigorous recertification procedure.

    Both the IAB Ad Operations and Sales Certification programs have received accreditation by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

    To see the scope of the IAB Digital Ad Operations Certification program, click here.

  • How The Program Works

    Digital Ad Operations Certification raises your professionalism by demonstrating your knowledge of the most important concepts, guidelines and best practices in interactive advertising.

    The program requires that you meet the professional standards set by the leaders in the digital advertising industry, by taking an administered exam, and then maintain your credentials through recertification.

    Getting Started

    1. Make sure you review the Candidate Handbook, FAQ page (test dates, cost, etc.) and Eligibility Requirements.
    2. Start the 15-minute application process here. You will pay for your exam at the end of the application.
    3. If you are eligible, we’ll email you within 1-3 business days, with an approval of your application and instructions to on how to schedule your exam.
    4. Schedule your exam with Pearson VUE. Look up a local testing center here.
    5. Review for the exam with our Exam Blue Print.

    The Exam and Certification

    1. Prepare for your exam with two (2) IDs that match your application name, a functioning webcam, and a quiet/clean workspace on the day of exam appointment. Test results will be given immediately at the end of your exam with pass or fail grade.
    2. If you pass, you’ll receive an email notification from the Certification Commission within a few weeks. We will mail you your certificate within four (4) weeks after the end of the testing window. Candidates who do not pass will also receive formal notification from the Certification Commission.
    3. Renew your credentials by meeting our recertification requirements and submitting documentation to maintain certification every 24 months after your exam date.

    Questions? Email: [email protected]

  • Candidates are considered eligible for the Digital Ad Operations Certification exam if they meet the following criteria:

    • A minimum of two (2) years of work experience in Digital Advertising Operations.
    • Digital Advertising Operations is defined as those work processes that enable, transact, track, measure and evaluate the buying and selling of digital media inventory for publishers and agencies.
    • It can also include operational roles in the companies and for the services that enable publishers to optimize the selling of digital media and agencies and marketers to optimize the planning and buying of digital audiences.
    • During the certification application process, eligible candidates will also be required to submit a signed Code of Ethics that all certified individuals must abide by and uphold.
    • 1. Why do I need Certification?

      The digital advertising marketplace grows more complex daily, making it more critical than ever to master the latest trends and changes. This program ensures that Ad Operations professionals have the knowledge to make campaigns run efficiently. With the proliferation of more and more platforms and channels, ad units and formats, and metrics and tools, standardized skills are absolutely necessary to remain competitive.

    • 2. Who can become certified?

      The exam is designed for digital ad operations professionals with at least 2 years of relevant experience. See eligibility requirements here.

    • 3. What is the difference between ‘Certification’ and a ‘Certificate’?

      This is the first industry-led, professional certification program for the digital ad operations industry. While many training companies say they offer ‘Certification’, they often really mean a ‘Certificate’. ‘Certification’ is different than ‘Certificate’ programs in the following ways:

      Certification Certificate
      Results from an assessment process Results from an educational process
      Awarded by a standard-setting organization Awarded by institutions
      Indicates mastery/competency as measured against a set of standards by an exam Indicates completion of a course or series of courses other than a degree program
      Standards set through industry-wide process (job analysis/task analysis) that results in an outline of required knowledge and skills Course content set by trainers
      Has on-going requirements in order to maintain; holder must demonstrate he/she continues to meet requirements Is the end result; demonstrates knowledge of course content at the end of a set period in time
      Source: http://www.cfre.org/apply/certificate-vs-certification/
    • 4. How do I apply for Certification?

      Start your application here. If you meet our eligibility requirements, your application will be approved in 2-3 business days and you will receive a notification from [email protected] authorizing you to schedule your exam with Pearson VUE.

    • 5. How much does it cost?

      If you are interested in corporate rates for sales teams please email [email protected] with:

      • Your name and title
      • Company name
      • Number of sales people to be certified
    • 6. What will be on the exam?

      The two-hour exam contains 100 multiple-choice questions covering seven basic areas:

      1. Executing Campaign Launch
      2. Managing Live Campaign
      3. Managing Emerging Technologies
      4. Creating, Maintaining, and Documenting Product Offerings
      5. Managing Incidents
      6. Inventory Management and Integrity
      7. Managing Client and Partner Relationships

      We recommend you download our Candidate Handbook and Digital Ad Operations Certification Exam Blueprint for more information.

    • 7. How do I schedule my exam?

      The certification exam will be offered in your Pearson VUE Dashboard, remotely, in your personal workspace of your choosing. The exam is offered on a continuous basis; registration is open year-around. Find a Pearson VUE testing center near you. Once your application is approved, you will have six months from your acceptance date to schedule and take your exam. All scheduling needs, including rescheduling or cancellation, are completed with Pearson VUE via phone or online. We recommend scheduling your exam as soon as possible to assure the best selection of times.

      American with Disabilities (ADA) Accommodations: IAB complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). To request special testing accommodations, please submit the ADA Accommodations Request Form along with supporting documentation to [email protected].

    • 8. How can I prepare for the exam?

      Preparation Materials: We recommend you download the Candidate Handbook and Exam Blueprint from our Study Resources.

    • 9. When do I get my exam results?

      Exam results are given immediately at the testing site along with a brief diagnostic report on each of the exam categories. The Commission on Certification will send you an official notification of pass/fail status by email within four weeks after the testing window closes. Successful candidates will receive a printed certificate by mail shortly after.

    • 10. What Exclusive Benefits Do IAB Certification Holders Receive?

      IAB Certification Holders receive exclusive discounts to events, conferences, a digital Adweek subscription and more. Learn more here: iab.com/certbenefits.

    • 11. How long is my Certification valid?

      Once you pass the exam, your certification will be valid for two years. A specific amount of continuing education and/or training is required to recertify. See Recertification Guidelines for more information. For questions, email recerti[email protected].

    • 12. How was the Certification developed?

      IAB developed the program in partnership with Professional Testing Inc., a leader in certification program development in a number of industries and professions. Many IAB member companies also participated in developing the certification:

      Disney Interactive
      NBC Universal
      The Rubicon Project
      Theorem Inc.
      Tribune Digital
      Universal McCann
    • 13. How is the Certification administered?

      The IAB Digital Ad Operations Certification is governed and administered by the Commission on Certification. The Commission on Certification is responsible for all decisions related to certification. The certification program operates separately from other IAB programs, products and services.

    • 14. How do I contact IAB Certification?

      You can email our Certification team at [email protected].

    • 15. How do members of International IABs participate?

      IAB works alongside International IABs to offer the Certification program for their members. Please reach out to your local IAB about participation and information on registering.

    • 16. How do I verify that a person is an existing Certificant?

      The Certification Department of IAB shall release the name and certification status of certificants who have successfully completed the Digital Certification examinations and who have met all certification requirements, upon request. Please email Certification Department of IAB at [email protected] with the candidates full name, company and title.

    • 17. How do I request a duplicate copy of my Certificate?

      Certificants can request a duplicate certificate or request a new certificate due to name change by emailing the Certification Department of IAB at [email protected].

    • 18. How are Certification Decisions made?

      The Certification Commission Policies guide all decisions on certification and are disclosed in the IAB Certification Program Policy Manual.  Certification personnel are required to follow the procedures in administering and operating the certification program. See IAB Certification Policies.

    • 1. Scope of the Certification Programs

      To see the scope of the IAB Digital Ad Operations Certification program, click here.

    • 2. Publication of Policies

      All policies affecting applicants, candidates and certificants shall be published in the Candidate Handbook and on the Website.  It is the responsibility of each individual involved in the certification program to comply with the current policies of the Commission.

    • 3. Commitment to Impartiality

      The IAB Certification Commission is committed to acting impartially in relation to its applicants, candidates and certified persons. Representatives of the Certification Commission understand the importance of making decisions related to certification in accordance with its policies and procedures, and exercise due diligence in doing so.  The Certification Commission will make public the policies and procedures affecting applicants, candidates and certified persons, and will fairly and accurately convey information about the certification program to all stakeholders.  The Certification Commission will understand threats to impartiality, which include, but are not limited to self-interest, activities from related bodies, relationships of personnel, financial interests, favoritism, conflict-of-interest, familiarity and intimidation. The Certification Commission will periodically conduct a threat analysis to determine the potential, both real and perceived, of an individual or an organization to influence the certification processes or benefit from them.

    • 4. Training & Support Services

      The Commission on Certification and the IAB Certification program do not endorse any training provider, product or resource, nor do any IAB products or resources imply assurances of success on the Certification exam. IAB personnel provide training and education programs, certification prep courses, and other products and services.  Training personnel do not participate in any certification activities.  No IAB employee, contractors, or third-party vendors involved in marketing, administering, or training of the certification program is allowed access to the examination or any of the activities directly related to item writing and review.

    • 5. Code of Ethics Complaints

      The Commission will establish and enforce a Code of Ethics applicable to all certified individuals. All applicants, candidates and certificants must agree to uphold and abide by the Code of Ethics as a condition of earning and maintaining IAB Certification. Any individual may file a complaint against a certified digital professional by emailing the Certification Department of IAB [email protected].  Only complaints that follow the published procedures of the Commission will be considered.

    • 6. Administrative Complaints

      Any individual applying for certification or recertification may file a complaint of an administrative nature. Administrative complaints include dissatisfaction with services including, but not limited to: not responding to inquiries with 48 business hours; not adhering to published deadlines; not providing information affecting applicants, candidates and certified persons such as fees, refunds, exam registration information, requirements for certification and recertification, Code of Ethics, etc., failure to administer the examination, or general dissatisfaction with services related to certification. Any individual may file an administrative complaint by submitting the Complaint Form to the Certification Department of IAB at [email protected].  Only complaints that follow the published procedures of the Commission will be considered. Complaints related to examination content, examination administration irregularities, and alleged violations of the Code of Ethics are handled through separate complaints processes.

    • 7. Challenging the Exam

      IAB shall provide candidates with an opportunity to provide feedback on the examination content and procedures regarding:

      • The technical accuracy of the examination
      • Fairness in the administration of the examination.

      A candidate who has a concern about administrative procedures at a testing site or who has observed a breach of security or other improper conduct during a test should submit a report in writing to the Certification Department of IAB within 5 calendar days after taking the examination. A candidate who has a question or a concern about the reliability, validity, and/or fairness of the test may submit the Complaint Form to Certification Department of IAB at [email protected] no later than 5 calendar days after taking the examination. IAB will not consider reports about improper test administration procedures or test content which exceed the 5 day deadline for doing so, or are not submitted in writing.  You will not be allowed to take notes out of the testing center, so submit your concerns to IAB following the exam. Only complaints that follow the published procedures of the Commission will be considered.

    • 8. Appealing Exam Results

      Candidates who fail the exam may appeal their results within 30 days of receipt of the score report and must make this request in writing by submitting an Appeal Form to the Certification Department of IAB at [email protected]. The Appeals Committee will review the response record and the determination will be communicated to the candidate within 60 days. The decision of the Appeals Committee shall be final.  Scores that are cancelled are not subject to appeal.

    • 9. Due Process

      The Commission respects and upholds the right of its certificants to due process in circumstances in which a negative or adverse decision is made on the standing and status of the certificant.  Due process shall apply in instances affecting an individual’s ability to earn and maintain IAB Certification status.

  • IAB Digital Ad Operations Certification Resources

    Download each document by clicking on the title.


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