IAB Digital Media Buying & Planning Certification

  • Secure a Competitive Edge Among Media Buyers & Planners With the Industry’s Only Globally Recognized Credential

    When creating digital advertising campaign recommendations today, there is a vast multitude of channels, ad units, technology platforms, and partnerships available to select from, making planning and strategy more complicated than ever before. The IAB Digital Media Buying and Planning Certification demonstrates that media professionals have the base-line knowledge needed to perform in their role while meeting their client’s or brand’s needs in an effective and intelligent manner.

    The program provides a deeper trust for clients who place their brand investment in the hands of their media agency representatives. The credential is also for marketers looking to showcase their understanding of the digital ecosystem to peers and employers.

    This Certification instills confidence in media professionals, as well as their employers, when they demonstrate their comprehension of digital media and how it correlates to their strategic role. This program helps build careers and candidates secure jobs in the competitive marketplace.

    The IAB Digital Certification Programs have become industry benchmarks for success in Media Sales, Data, and Ad Operations. These credentials are globally recognized and have garnered more than 9,500 participants from 300+ of the industry’s leading media companies.

    Who is the program for?

    The IAB Digital Media Buying & Planning Certification was created for media and marketing professionals of all career levels across media buying, media planning, strategy, and analytics. This includes coordinators, managers, directors, and executives. See program eligibility requirements.

    Digital Media Buyers and Planners work closely with Advertisers and Publishers to deliver exceptional service throughout the media buying lifecycle. They accomplish this by developing media objectives, creating strategic digital media plans, negotiating terms and conditions, and optimizing campaign performance while purchase audience targeted advertising space to deliver a designated marketing initiative. Successful and knowledgeable media professionals should have a fundamental understanding of these six areas covered in the exam:

    1. Collaborating on Campaign Briefs
    2. Executing Campaigns
    3. Managing Campaigns
    4. Creating Media Strategies
    5. Developing Digital Media Plans
    6. Educating Stakeholders
  • IAB Digital Media Buying and Planning Certification raises your professional stature by demonstrating your knowledge of the most important concepts, guidelines, and best practices in digital media planning strategy, allowing you to serve you client’s needs to the best of your ability.

    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 maintaining your credentials through recertification.

    Getting Started

    1. Make sure you review our FAQ page (with 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 3-5 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 Blueprint.

    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 (coming soon) and submitting documentation to maintain certification every 24 months after your exam date.

    Questions? Email: [email protected]

  • Digital Media Buyers and Planners work closely with Advertisers and Publishers to deliver exceptional service throughout the media buying lifecycle. They accomplish this by developing media objectives, creating strategic digital media plans, negotiating terms and conditions, and optimizing campaign performance while purchase audience targeted advertising space to deliver a designated marketing initiative

    Candidates are considered eligible for the Digital Media Buying and Planning Certification exam if they meet one of the following criteria:

    Option 1:

    • Two (2)-years of work experience in Digital Media Buying and Planning

    Option 2: 

    • One (1)-year of work experience in Digital Media Buying and Planning and a minimum of 10* hours of continuing education or professional training in digital media; preferably Media Buying and Planning.

    Option 3:

    • A minimum of 30 hours* of continuing education in digital media; preferably Media Buying and Planning from an institute of higher education or professional training program

    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.

    Cost: $500 IAB Members / $600 Non-IAB Members

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

    • 1. Why do I need Certification?

      With the increasing number of platforms, channel options, technologies, and complexities in media strategy and planning, we created IAB Digital Media Buying and Planning Certification program so professionals can demonstrate to their clients, peers, and employers that they have the base-line knowledge required to preform in the advertising roles.

      For clients, the credential creates an immediate level of trust, in knowing that their partner understands the tools, data, channels required for brands to succeed in today’s digital world. For individuals and employers the program builds confidence and strength in media teams,since Certification holders have proved they are competent in their role by an established third-party.

    • 2. Who can become certified?

      The exam is designed for digital media buyers and planners with at least 2 years of relevant experience, however, individuals from related roles can fulfill the requirement with continuing education in some cases. See eligibility requirements.

    • 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?
      IAB Members 4A’s Members Non-Members
      Exam Fee (includes a $50 non-refundable application fee) $400 $500
      Retake Fee $175 $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. How Do 4A’s Members Receive Special Pricing?

      If your organization is a 4A’s Member you will receive a special price of $400 on the exam application, $100 off. This special price should automatically appear on your order when you check out. If you don’t see this price please email [email protected] from your work email and we’ll assist you.

    • 7. What will be on the exam?

      The two-hour exam contains 100 multiple-choice questions covering six (6) basic areas:

      1. Collaborating on Campaign Briefs
      2. Executing Campaigns
      3. Managing Campaigns
      4. Creating Media Strategies
      5. Developing Digital Media Plans
      6.  Educating Stakeholders

      We recommend you download our Digital Media Buyers and Planners Certification Exam Blueprint for more information from our Study Resources.

    • 8. 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].

    • 9. How can I prepare for the exam?

      Preparation Materials We recommend you download the Exam Blueprint from our Study Resources.

    • 10. 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 four exam categories, which can be printed for you at the testing site. The Commission on Certification will send you an official notification of pass/fail status by email within four weeks after the testing window closes.

    • 11. 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.

    • 12. 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 (coming soon) for more information. For questions, email [email protected].

    • 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 and non-IAB Member companies also participated in developing the certification. Here are some of the companies that participated:

      87am MEC Optimedia
      AMP MediaVest UM
      Digitaslbi Mindshare Vivaki
      Carat OMG Zenith Media… and more

      The IAB Digital Media Buyers and Planners 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 Media Buying & Planning 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 Media Planning and Buying Certification Resources

    Download each document by clicking on the title.

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