Certification Overview

The IAB Digital Media Buying & Planning Certification (DBPC) is a defining industry credential for digital media buying and planning professionals. Individuals who earn the certification have demonstrated their knowledge and competency in the content areas outlined in the DBPC Exam Blueprint, and are dedicated to upholding high standards of ethical and professional practice in the industry.

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.

Successful and knowledgeable Digital Media Buyers and Planners should have a fundamental understanding of these six areas covered in the exam:

  • Collaborating on Campaign Briefs
  • Executing Campaigns
  • Managing Campaigns
  • Creating Media Strategies
  • Developing Digital Media Plans
  • Educating Stakeholders

Need some help preparing for the exam? IAB Canada offers a full-day virtual course on Digital Media Buying and Planning.


The Certification Process

1) Contact IAB Canada
Before starting the application process, IAB Canada Members can contact IAB Canada to pay for your exam. Paying with IAB Canada will reduce the exam fee from US dollars to Canadian (i.e. instead of paying $500 USD you would pay $500 CDN).

Non-Members can start their application directly on the IAB US Website and skip down to step 3.

2) Apply for Certification

After obtaining your discount code from IAB Canada, all applicants will need to apply for certification on the IAB US Website.

During the application process you will be asked to submit your payment for the exam, here you will enter discount code which will reduce your fee to $0 since you would have already paid (contact IAB Canada to obtain your unique code).

3) Schedule your Exam 

The exam can be scheduled and taken at anytime at one of the many Pearson test centres throughout Canada. You can find your nearest test centre here.

4) Study!

Prepare for the exam with by reviewing the IAB Digital Media Buying and Planning Candidate Handbook. You may also be interested in attending one of our Digital Media Buying and Planning in-person training courses which covers all of the topics that appear in the exam.

Taking the Exam

The 2-hour computer-based exam is offered in a controlled test centre (Pearson VUE). When you arrive at the testing facility you will need to provide two (2) IDs that match your application name.

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

  • Collaborating on Campaign Briefs
  • Executing Campaigns
  • Managing Campaigns
  • Creating Media Strategies
  • Developing Digital Media Plans
  • Educating Stakeholders

You will be given a pass/no pass mark immediately at the centre with the certification mailed to you a few weeks after.

Exam Costs

IAB Canada is offering its members preferential rates compared to the standard IAB US rates, see the pricing below. If you are not yet an IAB Canada member but would like to join, please click here.

IAB Members Non-Members

Exam Fee
$400 USD $500 USD

Retake Fee (if candidate does not pass the first time)
$125 USD $175 USD

Cancellation fee (with > 24 hours notice)
$0 (exam fee refunded)

Cancellation fee (with 24 hour notice, i.e. "no show")

*Please note that the Certification fees are in Canadian dollars. Please contact us to retake any of the exams.

*Group rates are available, contact us for more information

All candidates that apply for the DBPC certification will have 6 months following their application date to successfully complete the DBPC examination

Verifying A Certification

The Certification Department of IAB shall release the name and certification status of those who have successfully completed the Digital Certification examinations and who have met all certification requirements upon request. Please email Certification Department of IAB at certification@iab.com with the candidate’s full name, company and title.


The IAB Digital Media Buying and Planning Certificate expires after two years. To maintain your certification, all candidates must first demonstrate continued work in Digital Ad Operations, as defined as a minimum of 12 months total employment out of the previous 24 months in addition to one of the below options.

1) Accumulate 24 continuing education credits via conferences, learning sessions, webinars, training, etc. It’s easy to earn credits. Credits must be related to the competency requirements of the Digital Ad Operations certification examination. See what qualifies.


2) Retake the exam. You should apply at least three months before their certification is due to expire in order to have sufficient time to schedule and take the exam in a test window.

To apply for re-certification please contact IAB at certification@iab.com