IAB Digital Media Sales Certification

  • Digital Advertising Sales Professionals: Stay Competitive In Your Career

    Media sales changes quickly. Clients expect you to understand their needs and employers require that you stay on your top game to succeed. With IAB Digital Media Sales Certification you can build client credibility, increase your salary potential, and enhance your career credentials.

    This is the only globally recognized, accredited professional certification created specifically for digital media sales. Empower yourself in today’s digital market with a program that measures the knowledge needed to create effective digital advertising campaigns.

    Created To Instill Deeper Trust With Clients

    Advertising buyers and agencies told us that they wanted an industry benchmark to easily differentiate those professionals who are truly educated in selling digital media. We listened. In 2012, IAB gathered leaders in digital advertising to create the highest industry standard for digital advertising sales, the Digital Media Sales Certification. Since its launch in June 2012, over 7,500 sales professionals from dozens of leading companies have earned this prestigious certification.

    This program is for sales and account coordinators, managers, directors, and executives. It helps candidates build their careers and secure jobs in the competitive marketplace.

  • How the Program Works

    Digital Media Sales 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

    IAB Digital Media Sales Certification: How it Works
    Time Warner Cable Media sales team celebrates their IAB Certification at SXSW 2015
    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 Study Guide and Practice Exam (approved applicants only). You can also see our list of third-party trainers for additional training.

    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. 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 eligible to take the Digital Media Sales 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:

    • Two (2)-years of work experience in Digital Media Sales.
      Digital Media Sales is defined as the selling of digital media inventory. It can also include the selling of services that enable agencies and marketers to optimize the planning and buying of digital audiences.

    Option 2:

    • One (1)-year of work experience in Digital Media Sales– or –
    • Two (2)-years of work experience in Digital Media Non-Sales– and –
    • A minimum of 15* hours of continuing education or professional training in digital media.

    Option 3:

    • Two (2)-years of work experience in Traditional Media Sales– or –
    • Five (5)-years years of work experience in General Non-Media Sales– and –
    • A minimum of 30 hours* of continuing education in digital media from an institute of higher education or professional training program

    Option 4:

    • Undergraduate or Graduate Degree in Digital Marketing (or Digital Advertising or Integrated Marketing Communications, with a significant number of classes in digital advertising/marketing) from an institute of higher education, plus one year work experience in General Sales or Media.

    *Note: 50 minutes equals 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.

    • 1. Why do I need Certification?

      Advertising buyers and agencies told us that they wanted an industry benchmark for digital sales professionals, to ensure a deeper level of trust in the process of creating digital media packages. The Digital Media Sales Certification was created to fulfill this demand. It provides a standard for advertising salespeople to demonstrate their general knowledge and commitment towards their trade and provides a higher credibility for buyers. Candidates achieve credentials, knowledge, and confidence in how they do their job. Certification enhances their marketability in the industry.

    • 2. Who can become certified?

      The exam is designed for media and sales professionals with at least 2-5 years of relevant experience. See eligibility requirements here.

      • Digital Media Salespeople
      • Traditional Media Salespeople
      • Other Digital Advertising Professionals
    • 3. What is the difference between ‘Certification’ and a ‘Certificate’?

      This is the first industry-led, professional certification program for the digital media 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
    • 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. What will be on the exam?

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

      1. Comprehending the Digital Advertising Ecosystem
      2. Selling Digital Media
      3. Managing Digital Advertising Campaigns
      4. Analyzing Campaign Performances

      We recommend you download our Study Guide and Candidate Handbook for more information from our Study Resources. Once your application is approved you can download a Practice Exam with a full answer key.

    • 6. 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].

    • 7. How can I prepare for the exam?
      1. Preparation Materials We recommend you download the Study Guide, Candidate Handbook and Exam Blueprint from our Study Resources. A 25-question Practice Test is available to all candidates after their application has been approved, and will be included in your acceptance email.
      2. Training In most cases training is not a pre-requisite for taking the Certification exam. However many candidates have found that a class helps them prepare.
        • IAB Online Digital Media Sales Exam Prep now available – learn more here.
    • 8. 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.

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

      IAB Certification Holders receive exclusive discounts to events and conferences.

    • 10. 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 [email protected].

    • 11. 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:

      BBC Worldwide
      Break Media
      Buzz Media
      CBS Interactive
      CNN Money
      Comcast Spotlight
      Condé Nast Media Group
      Disney Interactive Media Group
      Everyday Health
      FreewheelGannett Company Inc.
      Goodway Group
      Hearst Digital Media
      Liberty Advertising
      Live Intent
      NBC Universal
      Real Media GroupRodale
      The 614 Group
      Time Inc.
      Tremor Video
      Triad Retail Media
      Undertone Networks
      Univision Media Networks
      Viacom Media Networks
    • 12. How is the Certification administered?

      The IAB Digital Media Sales 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.

    • 13. How do I contact IAB Certification?

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

    • 14. 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.

    • 15. 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.

    • 16. 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].

    • 17. 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 Sales 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 Sales Certification Resources

    Download each document by clicking on the title.

    Digital Media Training

    For those who wish a more structured “classroom” approach to training the following digital media training resources are also available:

    1. New: IAB Online Digital Media Sales Exam Prep now available
    2. Academy of Digital Media
    3. Certified Sales Training

    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 Media Sales 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.

    Academy of Digital Media (formerly The Laredo Group)

    The Academy of Digital Media is the industry’s training company and has trained over 120,000 media professionals and over 2 decade in the trenches with sales teams  The Academy of Digital Media is dedicated to helping media sellers master their sales skills and learn the complexity of digital media through in-depth courses and webinars. Media sellers need to be fluent in industry knowledge and standards across the display, video, audio, mobile and native advertising ecosystems as well as demonstrate confidence in industry best practices for campaign delivery and measurement, mastering how data is used in ad targeting and the articulate their programmatic opportunities. In addition, media reps must continue to develop and hone their consultative sales skills.

    The Academy of Digital Media provides training in various formats – public open-enrollment seminars, customized in-house instructor-led training, on-demand and live webinars, elearning courses, or a hybrid of in-person and webinar training.

    The Academy of Digital Media has specific courses developed to pass the Digital Media Sales Certification (DMSC) exam as well as a prep/review course. These courses are available to be delivered onsite or as on-demand webinars. Note, these courses follow the IAB’s certification exam blueprint and are the perfect resource to prepare to pass the exam. Additional courses are available and qualify for recertification credits.

    Contact [email protected] or call 561-771-6209 to discuss corporate or group training programs or www.academydm.com for course descriptions and schedules. NOTE, all courses count towards Digital Media Sales Certification eligibility requirements.

    See Additional Advertising Sales Training Resources


    The Commission on Certification and the IAB Digital Media Sales 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.

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