On October 2, Google launched its brand new program, Google Partners, in an effort to weed out marketing agencies not truly committed to their clients and correlate all highly-qualified companies to highly-qualified leads. In addition, Google has remade the AdWords platform in an attempt to bring several products under one overarching umbrella and rolled out a new Google Analytics Academy – all to help businesses demonstrate their credibility to potential clients.
Becoming a Partner
Like most Google tools, it is pretty straight forward for an agency to apply to be a partner. First, the company itself must be set up, and then each employee within the company can sign up and affiliate themselves with the agency. Companies must then wait to be granted “Partner Status.” This requires the agency to have at least one employee who is AdWords Certified, have spent a minimum of $10,000 in a minimum of 60-90 days, and have a “My Client Center” (MCC) older than 90 days. For most established companies, reaching partner status shouldn’t be hard.
After reaching the partner goal, a “Partner Badge” becomes available in your profile. Google plans to have an embeddable version available soon. The badge, which should not be tampered with, will be an easy means to show clients and potential leads that you are a trusted company.
Increasing your Partnership Status
Employees can enter any AdWord Certifications, and as we first suspected, Google will be using these certifications to verify high-quality agencies and will then help the companies find more clients. Therefore, the more employees you have who are AdWords certified the more leads will be connected to your profile.
“Google certifications let potential clients know that Google considers you an expert in your field. You only need to pass the required number of exams in each track to be certified.”
Right now Google Partners is only focusing on AdWords Certified Partnership and currently has no plans to incorporate Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ).
Other features of Google Partners
Google Partners is collecting all previous sites, such as Google Academy, Engage for Agencies, and sales and marketing toolkits and putting them under one roof. Currently, Google Partners is only available for companies based in the U.S., Canada and Poland, but AdWords Certification is now completely free worldwide (it did cost $50 per attempt).
By November 13, a new certification program will roll out. Justin Cutroni, the Digital Analytics Evangelist at Google, explains in his blog that the new certification course will feature more engaging video lessons, followed by a text lesson that corresponds with the video, interactive practice questions, as well as a support community for question and answer forums.
Why Does this Matter to us?
Our PPC master, Kevin Adams, explains, “Google has decided to shelve the underwhelming Google Engage Program in lieu of their new ‘Google Partnership Program.’ While the sales materials of Engage seemed decent, the incentives to sign up for the program – primarily to showcase your agency online to new businesses – were wholly unsuccessful. Google has clearly put thought into the change in direction, so we believe that should result in at least the occasional extra client for diligent agencies.”
How Does this Affect Clients?
Google now has the potential to squeeze out any company following bad practices, by holding companies to more formulated guidelines. Though these implementations seem small now, Google’s influence in one area grows like a snowball rolling down a mountain. WrightIMC can only guess that Google is going straight to the source by trying to shut out bad companies by impacting their abilities to gain new clients.
Businesses searching for a PPC management agency can now see that any online marketing company without the easily-acquired “Partner Badge” doesn’t have the ability to effectively manage their accounts. Existing clients who find themselves associated with a bad marketing company, as well as potential clients on the hunt for a marketing company, will be eager to find a legit agency that Google wholeheartedly supports. Google Partners has the potential to clean up a lucrative and competitive market. That’s good for the sustainability of AdWords.