IAB Digital Marketing and Media Foundations Certification

IAB Digital Marketing and Media Foundations Certification

Digital Marketing and Media Professionals: Get a leg up in your career

Digital Media is an ever-changing environment. Clients expect you to understand the basic landscape and employers require that you stay on your top game to succeed. With IAB Digital Marketing and Media Foundations Certification you can build client credibility, and get that leg up that others new to the industry do not have.

The IAB Certification Program is the only globally recognized, professional certification created specifically for digital media and advertising. Empower yourself in today’s digital market with a program that measures the knowledge regarding the digital media buying lifecycle.

A solid understanding of digital marketing and media ecosystem will set you up for success in a range of digital advertising departments (e.g. media buying, selling, ad operations, data solutions, marketing, etc.). This program is for those new to the digital spectrum, while helping candidates build their careers and secure jobs in the competitive marketplace.

Learn all about Certification and ask questions about the program at our monthly informational webinars with Q&A

  IAB Members Non-Members
Exam and training package
Includes 8 hours of exam prep training and exam
Must meet Option 1 Eligibility Requirements
per person
per person
Exam Fee
includes a $50 non-refundable application fee
$400 $500
Online Exam Prep
8 hours of training
per person
per person
Retake Fee
if candidate does not pass the first time
$125 $175
Cancellation fee
with > 24 hours notice
exam fee refunded
Cancellation fee
with < 24 hours notice, i.e. “no show”
$95 if outside U.S. or Canada



See what they're saying

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“I'm very happy to have gone through the program...”
  — Rob Noonan Sales Director, Digital Shopper Marketing, Conversant Media
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“Becoming IAB certified was a goal of mine...”
  — Farrah Shultz Digital Media Account Executive, Triad Retail Media
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“This is a great program and helps distinguish certified professionals as the best in the business...”
  — Anna Patterson Digital Media Specialist, Cox Media Group
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“I have learned so much and I'm so thankful that my company felt this was important...”
  — Mandilyn Thompson Account Executive, Time Warner Cable Media Sales
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“The industry needs this kind of certification...”
  — Marcos Christensen Senior Director Latam South Cone, comScore, Inc.
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“This is definitely a certification I am recommending to my peers...”
  — Tracy Dedeaux Digital Sales Manager, WVUE Fox 8
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“I have marketed myself and the companies that I have worked for with my IAB Sales Certification...”
  — Alison O’Brien Nexstar Broadcasting
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“The IAB Certification has allowed me to understand the standards set in place...”
  — Jinger Guerrette Account Executive, Time Warner Cable Media
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“It keeps you up to date on digital information and what is happening in the industry...”
  — Cheryl Baeszler Digital Sales Manager, Cox Media
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“It’s a great program and would highly recommend it to my colleagues across the industry.”
  — Rich Fimbres Senior Multimedia Sales Representative, Bloomberg Media
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“I found the exam and preparation stimulating and challenging. As such, I'm proud to be IAB-certified.”
  — Mark Warlaumont Director of News and Digital Media Sales, Bright House Networks
View all testimonials

How the Program Works

Digital Marketing and Media Foundations Certification raises your professionalism by demonstrating your knowledge of the most fundamental 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.

Getting Started

  1. Make sure you review the Candidate Handbook, FAQ page 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 two business days, with an approval of your application and instructions to on how to schedule your exam.
  4. Schedule your exam through your IAB Profile. The exam is administered through Pearson VUE.
  5. Review for the exam with our Study Guide and Practice Exam.

The Exam and Certification

  1. Show up to your exam with two (2) IDs that match your application name. 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 in the month following the date you sat for the Exam. Candidates who do not pass will also receive formal notification from the Certification Commission.

Questions? Email: [email protected]

The DMFC program is an entry-level program geared towards ad professional with less than one year of work experience in digital media. Candidates are considered eligible to take the Digital Marketing and Media Foundations Certification exam if they meet any of the following four criteria below.:
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.

  • Option 1: Minimum thirty (30) hours of continuing education or professional training in digital media/advertising.
  • Option 2: A student currently enrolled in the IAB Education Foundation’s iDiverse program
  • Option 3: Minimum of four (4) months of work experience in Digital Media.
  • Option 4: Minimum of six (6) months of work experience in non-digital/traditional media – and – a minimum of 15 hours of continuing education or professional training in digital media/advertising.

Applicants must electronically sign a Consent Statement as a condition of accepting the application and meeting the eligibility requirements. In addition, eligible candidates will also be required to submit a signed Code of Ethics that all certified individuals must abide by and uphold.

*Note: 50 minutes equal one hour of continuing education/training

Digital Media, as defined by Wikipedia, is any media encoded in a machine-readable format. Digital media can be created, viewed, distributed, modified and preserved on computers. Computer programs and software; digital video; web pages and websites, including social media; data and databases; digital audio, such as mp3s; and e-books are examples of digital media. Digital media are frequently contrasted with print media, such as printed books, newspapers and magazines, and other traditional or analog media, such as film or audio tape.

You have questions, we have answers. Review the below questions before starting your certification application.

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 Advertising professionals have the baseline knowledge to effectively manage and execute campaigns. 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 advertising professionals with ideally less than one (1) year 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 the certification cost?

IAB Members Non-Members
Exam Fee (includes a $50 non-refundable application fee) $500 $600
Retake Fee $125 $175
Cancellation fee (with > 24 hours notice) $0 (exam fee refunded)
Cancellation fee (with < 24 hours notice, i.e. “No Show”) $75 ($95 if outside U.S. or Canada)
Recertification (includes $50 non-refundable application fee) $175 $225
Additional Certificates $25.00 each

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 six basic areas:

  1. Comprehending the Digital Advertising Ecosystem
  2. Gathering Pre-Campaign Information
  3. Executing the Campaign
  4. Monitoring the Live Campaign
  5. Identifying Troubleshooting
  6. Campaign Reporting and Analysis

We recommend you download the Digital Advertising Foundations Certification Exam Blueprint for more information.

7. How do I schedule my exam?

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 online through the IAB portal or with Pearson VUE via phone. The certification exam is offered at Pearson VUE testing centers throughout the United States and select global sites. The exam is offered on a continuous basis; registration is open year-around. Find a Pearson VUE testing center near you. We recommend scheduling your exam as soon as possible to assure the best selection of testing locations and times.

8. Do you accommodate people with disabilities? e my exam?

Yes, we do. 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].

9. What is suggested to prepare for the exam?

The IAB certification exam is built off of our Exam Blueprint. It is the backbone of each certification exam. We highly suggest that you use the Exam Blueprint as a basis for preparing for the exam. Please visit our Study Resources section to download additional preparation Materials: the Candidate Handbook, The Study Guide, and Practice Exam.

For some certification programs the IAB offers training webinars geared towards exam preparation. You can find more details on training options HERE.

10. When can I expect to receive my exam results?

Exam results are given immediately at the testing site. The IAB will send you an official notification of pass/fail status by email within four weeks after the end of the month you are testing in. Along with the exam results, all exam takers receive a diagnostic report and keyword analysis via email. Successful candidates will receive a printed certificate by mail shortly after.

11. What if I fail the exam?

If you fail the exam, you are able to retake the exam after 90 days your initial exam date. You will need to sign up for a retake through your IAB profile. You will be subject to the retake fee and are allowed to retake the exam twice.

12. What Exclusive Benefits Do IAB Certification Holders Receive?

Once you pass the exam, your certification will be valid for two years.

13. 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:

Dentsu Aegis Network
Dun & Bradstreet
Experian Marketing Services
SAS Institute

14. How is the Certification administered?

The IAB Digital Advertising Foundations 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.

15. How do I contact IAB Certification?

You can email our Certification team at [email protected]. If you have a question about classes or prep courses, please email [email protected].

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.

19. 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 the exam. If your local IAB is not participating in the iAB certification program, you may begin your certification application through the IAB portal. All certification products are offered in USD.

1. Scope of the Certification Programs

To see the scope of the IAB Digital Advertising Foundations 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. Submission of application is confirmation of compliance to the IAB certification policies.

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 third party 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 Marketing and Media Foundations Certification Resources

Download each document by clicking on the title. The date listed indicates the date of the most recent version; be sure you are using the most updated version.
Study Guide
Candidate Handbook
Exam Blueprint
Practice Exam

Digital Media Training

For those who wish a more structured “classroom” approach to exam prep, the following IAB training class is also available:

New: IAB Digital Marketing & Media Foundations Certification Classroom Training now available

The IAB also offers a number of Exam Prep and training programs. For a list of upcoming classes, please visit our training & seminars calendar.

The Commission on Certification and the IAB Digital Marketing and Media Foundation 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.