Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Administrator Exam Guide

Salesforce recently released the Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Administrator exam in November 2019. Since I am on my 9th Salesforce certification, I felt it was fitting for this to be number 10. I had actually applied to take this as a Beta test but sadly was not chosen. This post is written as a guide to help me self-study and also provide the details of the exam after I have taken it. Also take a look at the Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Consultant study guide if you’re on the track to get certified on all things SFMC.

The questions are typical of the other Salesforce exams. Nothing really stands out that is different from the other Salesforce Certifications:

  • 60 multiple choice questions
  • 105 minutes to take the exam
  • 67% needed to pass (get at least 41 questions correct)
  • $200 to take the exam
  • $100 to retake the exam if you don’t pass the first time

There is a Marketing Cloud Administration trail on Trailhead that you can take to help prepare. It says it takes about 7 hours to complete. If you are completely new to Marketing Cloud then take your time and go through all the modules. If you have some experience with Salesforce Marketing Cloud, then you should be able to breeze through most of the modules in the trail quicker than the estimated time.

Marketing Cloud Admin Trail on Trailhead

Usually when I prepare for an exam, I use the Exam Outline and weighting percentages as a study guide. We can cover each one below:

  • Digital Marketing Proficiency: 13%
  • Subscriber Data Management: 18%
  • Setup: 38%
  • Channel Management: 16%
  • Maintenance: 15%

Since this is an Admin exam, it’s obvious that the Setup section is heavily weighted at 38% where as everything else is relatively equally weighted at around 13-18%. We will use a top-down approach with the most heavily weighted to the least. This is not to say that you should ignore the other sections, but instead prioritizing your studying and comprehension.

Setup 38%

Based on the Exam Outline and from experience with other Salesforce exams, most of these questions on the exam will be scenario-based. Salesforce wants you to understand how to use the Marketing Cloud platform and not just memorize terms.

  • Given a scenario, implement the configuration of business units, users/permissions, and security/passwords.
  • Given a scenario, determine how to configure integrations.
  • Describe the features in Setup Home.
  • Describe Marketing Cloud extension products.

Given a scenario, implement the configuration of business units, users/permissions, and security/passwords.

You’ll need to know how to Manage Business Units including the creation of the business unit and allowing access to users to certain business units. You will pretty much need to know how to create business units including the Subscription Settings of whether or not to unsubscribe from all Business Units or just a child Business Unit. Also more importantly, you need to understand the need and reasons to have different business units.

Business Unit Setup in Marketing Cloud

This also ties into Managing Users and Roles as you’ll need to know where to go in Setup to do this. If you are an old-school SFMC user, notice the emphasis on the “Setup” section rather than Email Studio > Admin. It appears that Salesforce wants to closely integrate with how CRM has a Setup section.

Creating New Users in Salesforce Marketing Cloud

You’ll need to know the out-of-the-box Roles and Permissions for this exam. I would begin with the Marketing Cloud Roles documentation and understanding each permission tied to the role.

Roles and Permissions in Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Given a scenario, determine how to configure integrations.

The main integration I think this is referring to is Salesforce Marketing Cloud Connect. It may ask questions about installing the managed package and certain settings that need to be updated to be able to integrate between Salesforce CRM and Marketing Cloud.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Connect Managed Package

I’m not sure how much the exam will dive into Installed Packages but it doesn’t hurt to brush up on how to create packages inside Marketing Setup for API integrations and custom apps.

Describe Marketing Cloud extension products.

The extension products, I believe, are referring to add-ons such as Google Analytics 360 for Marketing Cloud. There is a module on Trailhead you can take to get some more insight on that if you do not have experience with the Google Analytics 360 Integration.

Subscriber Data Management: 18%

Even though this is only weighted 18%, I think the Subscriber Data Management and understanding Contact Management and Contact Data is important to your success in not only this exam, but maintaining your Marketing Cloud instance.

  • Given a scenario, describe the contact model.
  • Given a scenario, evaluate data quality.
  • Explain preference and profile center concepts.

Given a scenario, describe the contact model.

Understand the Subscriber Key and Contact Builder including Data Designer. You’ll also need to understand how and when to use Contacts in Journey Builder versus Journey data. You’ll also need to know about Synchronized Data Extensions when using the Marketing Cloud Connector. Also brush up on data retention policies for data extensions.

Given a scenario, evaluate data quality.

If you don’t know already, learn about the different data types available in Marketing Cloud. Learn about import errors and what can cause the rows to be skipped. There will be scenario based questions on ensuring you keep the data out of the clouds for privacy purposes and also question on keeping the data in the right format.

Explain preference and profile center concepts.

You should know the difference between the out-of-the-box preference center versus having to build a custom preference center. Send logging will also come up in the exam, so learn about what can cause sends to not show up in a Send Log.

Channel Management: 16%

The channel management section is where you need actual hands on experience with the different “studios” — Mobile Studio, Email Studio, Social Studio, Advertising Studio and of course Journey Builder. When I took the test, I felt like there were about two questions for each channel and maybe 3-4 questions about journey builder. So in total around 12 questions in this section.

  • Given a scenario, describe the configuration of Mobile Studio.
  • Given a scenario, describe the configuration of Email Studio.
  • Given a scenario, describe the configuration of Social Studio and Advertising Studio.
  • Explain the concepts and typical use cases of Journey Builder.

Given a scenario, describe the configuration of Mobile Studio.

Understand the different products within Mobile Studio – Mobile Push and Mobile Connect. You’ll need to know what messages counts toward Super Messages — which can include mobile push, SMS messages, email messages, etc.

Given a scenario, describe the configuration of Email Studio.

There will be a lot of scenario based questions about Email Studio and where to access reports. Brush up on where to access reports in either Analytics Builder or in the tracking section of Email Studio. Also look into how to automate sending of the reports.

Given a scenario, describe the configuration of Social Studio and Advertising Studio.

There were a couple of scenario based questions on Advertising Studio around Facebook, Twitter, and Google. For Social Studio, learn the different definitions around workspaces and tenants.

Explain the concepts and typical use cases of Journey Builder.

It seemed to me like the bulk of the questions were around Journey Builder. There were some scenario based questions around how to set up a journey and which activities to use — Engagement Split, Random Split, Decision Split, etc.

Maintenance: 15%

Even though the maintenance section was weighted at 15%, I didn’t feel as if there were many questions on my version of the test. Or perhaps I may have just mentally put it into a different section — for example there were some questions on data extraction that could have fit into the Subscriber Data Management part.

  • Given a scenario, describe solutions for data extraction and report generation.
  • Given a scenario, monitor a Marketing Cloud account and provide system availability.
  • Given a scenario, evaluate benefits of additional Marketing Cloud products.

Given a scenario, describe solutions for data extraction and report generation.

There were at least 2 questions about reporting and data extraction that stumped me or made me pause and second guess my answer. Make sure you understand how to generate a report and have it automatically send to someone. There were a couple of scenario based questions on how to troubleshoot or create an automated report.

Given a scenario, monitor a Marketing Cloud account and provide system availability.

There was maybe one question that I remembered that had to do with monitoring the Marketing Cloud account. It was around using the trust side and using your MID on that site.

Given a scenario, evaluate benefits of additional Marketing Cloud products.

I wasn’t entirely sure what additional Marketing Cloud products that this outline was referring to — it could be about the integration Google 360 Analytics or it could be referring to other products such as Datorama.

Digital Marketing Proficiency: 13%

The lowest weighted section was about digital marketing proficiency. Overall there was maybe 2 questions that I felt fell into this section, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t brush up on this. Each exam is different and yours may have more questions on digital marketing proficiency.

Describe governance and compliance in relation to digital marketing.

At the very least, understand CAN-SPAM requirements and staying compliant in regards to email and SMS texts. This isn’t just good to know for the exam, but can save you a lot of hassle in real world scenarios.

Recognize security best practices for data, permissions, and PII.

There was mention of Field Level Encryption (FLE) and needing to keep data private and secure. There was also a question on Tokenized Sending so keep that in mind when you’re studying.

Describe Marketing Cloud product inventory and product offerings.

This also ties in with the section on the benefits of additional Marketing Cloud products in the Maintenance section. To me, these were one and the same.

Update: Passed!

Just passed the exam on my first attempt! I was surprised with the number of questions about Einstein Analytics and Einstein Engagement Scoring that I didn’t know. There were probably 2-3 questions about Einstein where I had to guess. There was also a question or two about Google Analytics 360 Integration that I was unsure about too.

On the exam, I wasn’t surprised to see that there were also quite a few scenario based questions, so you really need to have experience using Marketing Cloud instead of just memorizing terms. For example, how do you troubleshoot an import error where a file cannot be found from an FTP where the filename has seconds and milliseconds.

Typical Salesforce Exams where they will try and trip you up using names of products that either don’t exist or are on the CRM side. I had a couple questions mention an Audit Trail which is only available on the Sales and Service Cloud and not Marketing Cloud. Edit: turns out there is an Audit Trail available in Marketing Cloud. Thank you to Denise below commented and let me know.

Lastly, make sure you eliminate wrong answers first. If there are 4 multiple choice answers and you had absolutely no idea what the answer was then you have a 25% chance of getting it right. If you can eliminate one wrong choice, then your chances increase to 33%. Eliminate 2 wrong answers and then you have 50/50 chance of getting the answer right.

Check out the Salesforce Certification Coupon Codes page to see if there are any current discounts. Good luck and let me know in the comments if this guide was useful to helping you pass the exam.

7 comments

  1. Actually I just got done a trailhead module that says that Audit Trail is available in Marketing Cloud and it is even more informational into what a user has done in Marketing Cloud than in Salesforce.

    Track Account Activity with Audit Trail
    Part of keeping your Marketing Cloud account secure is knowing who is performing what actions in your account. After you assign the proper roles and permissions to your account users, any Marketing Cloud Security Administrator can track user actions using the Audit Trail feature. The basic version of Audit Trail is available to all Marketing Cloud accounts and provides 30 days of information for all users in your account.

    User authentication
    IP addresses
    Changes to users, roles, and user permissions
    Changes to Security Settings, such as logins, password changes, and logouts
    There is also an advanced version of Audit Trail which captures changes to user agents, session IDs, and business units—plus, changes to content and data for Email Studio, CloudPages, MobilePush, and MobileConnect.

    1. Good to know! I found it here: Audit User Logins and Changes.

      It looks like there are two versions: Basic and Advanced (paid offering).
      Basic Audit Trail: user logins, permissions, security settings
      Advanced Audit Trail: data extensions imports exports, cloud pages, group connect messages.

  2. Hi,

    Thank you for sharing!
    I have failed my first attempt of the exam with a few points.
    I will retake it soon.

    I also had the question related to “how do you troubleshoot an import error where a file cannot be found from an FTP where the filename has seconds and milliseconds.” I was not sure about my answer. Can you remember your answer for this question? It would help me a lot!

    Thank you very much.

    1. If you use the date variables in the Import Activity, such as %%year%%, %%day%%, %%month%% and the filename has seconds or milliseconds, then the filenames won’t match. For example:

      importfile_%%year%%%%month%%%%day%%.csv
      becomes:
      importfile_20200216.csv

      If you drop a file with hours and seconds like:
      importfile_20200216092430.csv

      The file that the import activity is looking for is different than the actual file being dropped. You’ll have to update the filename being dropped or set wildcards in the Import Activity for the file it’s looking for.

      1. %%second%% is a valid personalization string in Filename pattern – based on the documentation, the potential issue could arise when we are dealing with a larger file size – so you could try reducing the file size and debugging for the same file name pattern.

        https://help.salesforce.com/articleView?id=mc_as_create_a_file_transfer_activity.htm&type=5
        See #1 (note in the box) mentioned in link above

        However I was not able to find a personalization string for milliseconds though.

  3. Roughly how many questions came up on MCC in the Setup section?

    I’m not sure how much of my study I should dedicate to each of the scenarios. Do you have ballpark percentages of each of the 4 scenarios that came up in the exam?

    Cheers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *