New Google Partner Announcement

Google has announced the launch of an updated partner program for Google AdWords. The program is primarily designed for advertising and digital agencies looking to highlight their level of expertise in managing Google AdWords accounts for clients. However, just like the existing program, any individual can create an account to show that they are certified. The announcement includes the launch of a new partner badge for companies that have met Google’s certification requirements. There are also some additional changes that certified individuals and companies should know.

Google-Partner (1)

Google-Partner (1)

Badge displayed for illustrative purposes only.

For Individuals

From 30 September 2013 your existing account in the certified partners portal will become read-only and you will need to join the new program at www.google.com/partners. The best option is to join the new program using the same email address you previously used as this will automatically transfer your certification history into the new program.

If you have already taken the exams, then you don’t need to resit them, as they will remain valid within the new program (as long as you signed up using the same email address). Get details on creating your individual profile.

The other changes for individuals are that Google recommends using an MCC login for the new certification program to access the complete set of certification features. If you are migrating an existing individual account (as previously discussed), then don’t stress about this, you will be able to add “backup” email addresses within the new portal (and you can use this to add your MCC account if your current email address is not associated with an MCC account).

Don’t know about MCC? MCC stands for My Client Centre and is an umbrella account that can be used to manage multiple client accounts using a single login. If you are managing multiple accounts and are not using an MCC, you can sign up for free at www.google.com/adwords/myclientcenter/.

Previous Certification

New Certification

Pass Fundamentals Exam

Yes

Yes

Pass an Advanced Exam (either Search Advanced or Display Advanced)

Yes

Yes

Cost per Exam

$50 USD

Free

Separate login required for exam testing centre

Yes

No

Recommend using MCC login for full certification program experience

N/A

Yes

For Companies

From 30 September 2013 you will need to setup a company profile within the new certification portal. You have until 13 November 2013 to create your new profile for your company, you also have until this date to meet the requirements to use the new Google Partner badge. Get details on how to create your company profile.

If you are currently a GCP (Google Certified Partner) for AdWords you will not automatically qualify for the new badge, so make sure you meet the minimum requirements listed out below. After 13 November 2013, the old badge will be leaving us and we won’t be allowed to use the old badge on our websites or marketing material, so it is definitely important to meet the new requirements to keep the badge and certification.

Previous Certification

New Certification

At least one team member certified

Yes

Yes

MCC account

Yes

Yes

Minimum managed advertising spend ($10K over last 90 days, with spend on at least 60 days)

Yes

Yes

Website

Optional

Yes

Google+ Page (also needs to be verified)

Optional

Yes

Follow best practices (e.g. meet minimum reporting requirements)

Yes

Yes

Maintain and manage client campaigns (Google automatically checks accounts to ensure service being provided)

No

Yes

Take Google’s Partner Pledge to help businesses succeed

No

Yes

Most of the requirements are the same, but you will notice a couple of new items. Firstly, Google will start monitoring MCC accounts to ensure agencies are actually managing accounts for the clients. This isn’t something to frighten us and there won’t be someone from Google looking over your shoulder when you manage accounts. Google will simply look for automatic signals in your MCC to ensure everybody is doing the right thing. For example, if an agency is charging a client, but never logging into their account or making any changes, then Google will potentially be able to pick this up and tell the agency to make sure they are actually managing and improving the account.

Overall, the changes, including the integration of the exams into Google’s own portal are a welcome addition to the certification program and should make the certification process much more streamlined for agencies. Depending on your location not all features will be available today, so stay tuned for more updates to the portal and the program.

What do you think of the new certification program and badge? Let us know on Google+ or in the comments!