1. Why do I need Certification?
  2. Who can become certified?
  3. What is the difference between ‘Certification’ and a ‘Certificate’?
  4. How do I apply for Certification?
  5. How much does it cost?
  6. What will be on the exam?
  7. How do I schedule my exam?
  8. How can I prepare for the exam?
  9. When do I get my exam results?
  10. How long is my Certification valid?
  11. How was the Certification developed?
  12. How is the Certification administered?

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 the offer ‘Certification’, the 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 Non-Members
Exam Fee (includes a $50 non-refundable application fee) $400 $500
Retake Fee (if candidate does not pass the first time) $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)


(plus $50 re-certification
application fee)

(plus $50 re-certification 
application fee)

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 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 here. Once your application is approved you can download a Practice Exam with a full answer key.

7. How do I schedule my exam?

The certification exam is offered at Pearson VUE testing centers throughout the United States and select global sites. The exam is offered on a quarterly basis; registration is open year-around. Find a Pearson VUE testing center near you.

Once your application is approved, you will have up to six months (two testing windows) 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 testing locations and times.

2013 - 2014 Testing Window
Begins Ends
July 1, 2013 July 31, 2013
October 1, 2013 October 31, 2013
February 1, 2014 February 28, 2014
May 1, 2014 May 31, 2014

8. How can I prepare for the exam?

  1. Preparation Materials
    We recommend you download the Study Guide, Candidate Handbook and Exam Blueprint here. 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. We have gathered list of professional trainers here if you are interested.

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

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.

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:

  • AOL
  • BBC Worldwide
  • Break Media
  • Buzz Media
  • CBS Interactive
  • CNN Money
  • Collective
  • Comcast Spotlight
  • Condé Nast Media Group
  • Disney Interactive Media Group
  • Everyday Health
  • Freewheel
  • Gannett Company Inc.
  • Goodway Group
  • Google
  • Hearst Digital Media
  • Hulu
  • IDG
  • Liberty Advertising
  • Live Intent
  • Mojiva
  • NBC Universal
  • Operative
  • Real Media Group
  • Rodale
  • The 614 Group
  • Time Inc.
  • Tremor Video
  • Triad Retail Media
  • Undertone Networks
  • Univision Media Networks
  • USATODAY.com
  • Viacom Media Networks
  • WhitePages

12. How is the Certification administered?

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