A Guide to Free Digital Marketing Certificates and Courses
Whether you’re learning digital marketing as part of ongoing professional development, looking for a career switch or running a business, there are luckily many free courses and certificates out there to choose from.
As well as learning new marketing skills, with some of these you’ll get a shiny certificate to add to your CV or LinkedIn profile.
Here’s my round up of the best and most well-recognised digital marketing certificates and courses, covering topics from social media to analytics to content marketing.
- Google Skillshop
- HubSpot Academy
- Facebook Blueprint
- Pinterest Academy
- Twitter Flight School
- Shopify Compass
- Google Fundamentals of Digital Marketing
Previously Google Academy for Ads (and before that Google Partners) Google Skillshop offers official learning resources and certificates based on Google’s digital marketing products such as Google Ads, Google Analytics and YouTube.
Use the study guides in each section to swot up first, and then take a multiple choice exam to test your knowledge and earn your free certificate. Or skip straight to the test if you already know your stuff!
- Google Ads Search Certification
- YouTube Creative Essentials
- Google Analytics Individual Qualification
- Google Shopping Ads Certification.
Watch out for: Tricksy questions such as selecting multiple answers, time-limited exams, delay before you can retake if you fail an attempt
Top tip: Some certificates come with “knowledge check” assessments you can take before the full exam to see if you’re ready – make use of these!
HubSpot is an inbound marketing platform, and as well as offering free training on how to use their own product, the HubSpot Academy also offers a number of courses on more general digital marketing topics.
Some are certified courses and others not, covering topics such as content marketing, email marketing and social media.
- Social Media Strategy Certification Course
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Inbound Marketing
- An Introduction to Ecommerce Marketing (not certified)
- Developing An End-to-End Instagram Marketing Strategy (not certified)
Watch out for: Some of the courses are more focused on HubSpot’s own platform – you can usually tell from the title!
Top tip: Use the handy filters on the course page to find the right category, course duration, topic and level – as of writing this there are 28 pages of courses to browse!
Facebook’s free online learning platform covers both Facebook and Instagram, from beginner level to more advanced topics. Although the certificates are paid for, the online courses themselves are free and a great opportunity to brush up on your social media skills.
- A Beginner’s Guide to Instagram for Business
- Get Started with (Facebook) Pages
- Tell Your Business Story
- The Essential Guide to Facebook Ads
- Business Manager course
- Boost Your Marketing with Facebook Pixel
Watch out for: There are a LOT of courses and sub-topics, and the platform is a bit convoluted to navigate: there are two main hub pages where you will find the courses. Here at https://www.facebook.com/business/learn and more advanced courses such as Business Manager and advertising here.
Top tip: Join Facebook’s official ‘Boost With Facebook UK’ group for announcements, tips and learning
Pinterest is so vastly underrated by small businesses, yet has had a massive increase in user engagement under lockdown, and is constantly introducing new features, in particular for ecommerce businesses. They introduced Pinterest Academy, their free e-learning tool, late last year and have been adding new content regularly.
- Setting Up a Pinterest Business Account
- Creative Strategy
- Launch Your Pinterest Campaign
- Creative Inspiration
Watch out for: It’s not as in depth as some of the other online learning platforms just yet – some of the modules are quite short – but still valuable bitesize content that will help you to improve your Pinterest marketing.
Top tip: Put your Pinterest learning into practice and check back for new courses, as this one is still pretty new
Twitter Flight School
Twitter’s Flight School learning platform is focused on advertising rather than general business tips, so bear that in mind if you’re looking to learn more about organic Twitter strategy (better courses for that below…).
Only the Video topic has a certification (or ‘badge’) at the moment, but the rest of the learning content is still valuable if you’re looking at running ads on Twitter for your business or clients.
- Twitter Ad Fundamentals
- Getting Started With Twitter Ads Manager
- Creating and Executing Video Campaigns
Watch out for: The Video Badge exam feels a little salesy at times, so be prepared to answer questions on the different types of video ads as well as creative best practices.
Top tip: Use the ‘test out’ feature if you want to go straight to the exam – this lets you prove your knowledge and skip the otherwise required course content.
Shopify have long been my go-to for ecommerce and online retail learning, through their extensive collection of resources such as ecommerce guides and podcasts. Slightly newer, though, is Shopify Compass, a collection of online courses to help you launch and grow an online business.
The course catalogue covers a wide range of both digital marketing and ecommerce topics, with regular live webinars (and playbacks of past webinars) also available. This one’s definitely all about the practical learning, and there aren’t currently certificates available. Perfect for online businesses or those wanting to start one.
- Ecommerce Email Marketing 101
- SEO Training for Beginners
- Google Ads for Ecommerce
- Grow Your Business with Instagram
- Use Storytelling to Drive Your Brand (webinar recording)
Watch out for: As with HubSpot, some of the courses and webinars are naturally more focused on using the Shopify platform – again, this is fairly obvious from the course titles.
Top tip: Seriously, the past event recordings are not to be overlooked. Recent webinars have covered COVID-19 strategies, current trends and some great guest speakers.
Google Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Certificate
I’m slightly biased on this one but the Google Fundamentals of Digital Marketing certificate (in the UK part of the Digital Garage programme I work on) provides a great entry-level option for digital marketers and business owners.
The free course consists of 26 modules covering topics from SEO to paid search to websites. Each gives you a badge building towards the full certification, so it’s easy to track where you’re up to. The Digital Garage website curates other courses both from Google and other resources, but the Fundamentals one is a great place to start, and you get a certificate accredited by The Open University and IAB.
- Build Your Web Presence
- Get Discovered with Search
- Deep Dive Into Social Media
- Get Started With Content Marketing
- Turn Data Into Insights
Watch out for: You need to complete all modules to get the certificate – when you sign in you’ll be able to see how many badges you’ve completed so far.
Top tip: Digital Garage in the UK as well as some other countries is currently running free live training on digital marketing topics – a great way to build on your knowledge or get started