14 Jan How does the new AdWords Google Partner program work
Starting mid-November, “old” AdWords certifications (i.e. certified partner) have been replaced by the new Google certified partnership program. We did anticipate this news in September in this blog.
During holiday season, I had the time to evaluate the program a bit deeper. Hence, I did notice many interesting ideas, as well as some improvable aspects.
First of all, I would like to say that I was actually convinced to have done all that was required to qualify for the new program, by subscribing to www.google.com/partners/?hl=en and filling the relevant section with my personal information. Still, this was not enough, and the reason for two companies recently contacted me on a Google appointment to help old certified partners migrate to the new platform suddenly was made clear to me. Independent workers are required to fill in the “company” section as well, or they will not to be added to the partner database. In fact, that section contains some data required for partner search, such as physical address of the service provider, minimum budgets, languages and countries of operations.
It always remains mandatory to have passed at least 2 certification exams, including the fundamental exam (which requires at least 85% of correct answers), to be renewed every two years, and another one to be chosen among the advanced exams on the search network (minimum 80% of correct answers) or on the display network (70% of correct answers), both requiring annual renewal. The exams are still free and they are the same as for previous certifications, with the only exception of the specific Google Analytics exam, subject to different release procedures (www.google.it/intl/it_ALL/analytics/partners/index.html).
In total, it’s about one hundred questions with 4 pre-set answer options that you need to complete within maximum 2 hours. To pass the exams, you will have to read their relevant documentation before (otherwise many terms often occurring in the questions might be unclear), access the Google online test centre (which is linked also from the partner program website) and download a special browser that locks all other activities on your computer, while you are completing the test.
Further to complete personal and professional information, the client centre used by the certification applicant should be active since at least 60 days and the minimum budget handled over the last 3 months should exceed 10,000$.
Finally, the main innovation of the program is that you are required to pass an automatic test of minimum optimisation of managed accounts, based on the campaign performances of your client centre. The control panel even specifies that, the higher the achieved optimisation score will be, the higher your profile will appear in qualified partner searches.
As far as one can see, frequency and type of changes done to the campaigns, use of negative keywords, advanced targeting in the display network (especially with reference to demographic data and, probably, re-marketing and re-targeting) and various other unspecified criteria are involved. One may assume that conversion tracking might be among the most important ones.
Further to this kind of “meritocratic” visibility (which is not usual for most of Italians ;-), the partner centre contains a range of videos and guides concerning different aspects of AdWords optimisation and the system automatically records those read/viewed.
The result of all these efforts, which you cannot always see in real time (it took me about 24 hours to complete all procedures and to have all various updates confirmed), it comes in the form of a partner sheet looking like this: www.google.com/partners/#a_profile;idtf=011709121687999425732;. It also enables you to add the program logo on your website, which also mandatorily requires a link to the Google rules for third-party partner certification (at least this is how it was in the old program).
In case I missed something, or mistaken any detail, please comment… 😉