Google Partners: What Is It and How Does It Help

Are you an advertising agency or other online consultant managing Google AdWords accounts? Do you have access to all of the resources Google has to offer? If you are not utilizing Google Partners you may be short changing yourself. Everyone that has an AdWords account, or manages AdWords accounts for businesses, has access to Googles helpdesk and online help forums but would it be worthwhile to have access to additional training seminars and more? Of course it would, for both you and your clients.

Google Partners is Google’s program with in depth training in all areas of Google AdWords. Along with the study guides you take an exam to become certified in each section. There are six sections within the AdWords training; Fundamentals, Advanced, Display, Video, Mobile, and Shopping. Once you pass the Fundamentals and Advanced exams you earn your Google AdWords certification. After you have passed the other four exams you earn Google’s AdWords Specialist certification.

Google Partners benefits agencies by helping find new clients, earn company specializations and more.

Sign Up

To take advantage of all the benefits you must first sign up for Google Partners. If you are an agency you will create a Partners company account using the email associated with your company’s MCC. Your profile will have some basic information such as the name of your company, company logo, your website, and your physical location. You will also list the services you provide and any industries you may specialize in, such as clothing retail, auto sales, or services.

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Once your company has earned the Partner badge you can opt in or out of having your company appear on Google Partner Search. If it sounds simple, it is but Google will verify the email address used to setup the account and it must have standard or administrative access to your MCC. Google will also verify your web site as part of the verification process.

As an individual managing PPC accounts you can create an individual profile and associate yourself to the Google Partner account for the company you work for. This will allow you to talk with Google about accounts housed within your company’s MCC. You will need to provide your contact email and phone number along with your job role.

So now you are signed up and you are done. Not quite, it is actually just the beginning.

Google Partner Badge

After you have your company signup for the Google Partners program you can qualify for Google Partner status. To achieve Partner status you have to show your AdWords skills, meet ad spend requirements, and company agency client base growth as well as sustained growth for clients.

There are two levels of Google Partner Badges; Google Partner and Premier Google Partner. Once you have earner you badge you display a dynamic badge on your website to show prospective clients the high standards you have achieved through training provided by Google. When you hover over the three vertical dots it displays the areas of specialization your company has achieved.

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Google provides a static badge to use on printed marketing materials and social media that list the areas of specialization your company has achieved.

What is the difference between the two classifications? One area the differs is with the certificationed individuals your have within your company. With the base partner badge you must have at least one individual that is AdWords cerified where with the Premier badge you must have a minimum of two individuals the are AdWords certified. To be certified an account manager must pass Google’s AdWords Fundamental exam plus one of the specialty courses Google provides. These include courses and exams for Search (advanced concepts), Display, Mobiler, Shopping, or Video advertising.

There are also differences in the AdWords spend limits. You want to be sure the highest level MCC is reporting to your profile so the spend for all of the accounts linked to sub-MCC’s will be counted as well. You must remember that only the spend from the day you link an account to your MCC will be counted. If you link an existing account that has been running prior to linking only the spend from that day will count and not any from prior to that date. For the basic badge the minimum spend is $10k for the prior 90 calendar days and there must be spend in at least 60 of those 90 days. For the Premium badge the spend limits are higher but are based on the country and market areas.

The Benefits

Whether you are a Member or are a Google Partner or a Premier Google Partner you have access to benefits such as Google’s educational materials, AdWords account support, agency growth assistance, and other rewards.

As a Member you have product training and certifications, sales training, and Google Community membership and product updates. You also have access to phone, chat, and email support for all of your AdWords accounts. Google will work with you for improved sales.

As a Google Partner you have a few additional benefits in support and agency growth such as listing in Google Partner Search, for prospective clients to find you, and new business strategy consulting.

As a Premier Google Partner you have available executive business training and more.

Specializations to Achieve

After passing the Google AdWords Fundamentals test you have to have at least one specialization to qualify for a Partner status. Each specialization has a complete study program with a certification test to take afterward. You must score a minimum of 80% on all tests to pass, if you do not pass an exam you must wait 7 days before you can retake that exam. The Search and Display Advertising exams have 100 questions and 120 minutes allotted to take the exam. The last 3 exams have a time limit of 90 minutes  with the Video Advertising exam having 74 questions, the Mobile Advertising exam with 70 questions, and the Shopping Advertising exam with 63 questions.

For each specialization that is passed an icon is added to your Google Partner badge to let prospective clients you have completed Google’s training in that area. It is very important to remember that just because you have passed a test for a specialization it is good forever. With all the updates and new pieces Google adds to each area of advertising there is more to learn and you must be recertified every year. You may think it is time away from working with a customer account but without the proper tools you cannot give your client the results they want and deserve.

Google Partner Search

To be included in the Google Partner Search you must first earn a Google Partner or Premier Google Partner status. When a prospective client goes to Google Partner Search they select services they need, provide what their monthly budget, or Google spend, will be, along with other details before they are given a list of qualified agencies for them to choose from.

Your agency’s position in the search is determined by a number of factors including certifications and specializations earned, company performance, monthly budget limits, and more. To get the most out of Google Partner Search it is Important to stay current on certifications and have positive company growth.

The Take Away

While there is time and work to be invested in earning your Google Partner status the benefits greatly outweigh any negatives you may think there could be. How can a free education program be unrewarding? Access to a free referral department is valuable but must be used in connection with your in house sales team.

Take that first step towards improving yourself and your business, you won’t regret it.

By: Gary Harvison, PPC Consultant

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