From September 30th Google will replace the Google Certification Program, introduced in 2010 with a new Google Partners program. Partners will include improvements that make it more meaningful for agencies to get certified in Google advertising solutions like Adwords. According to the email Google have just sent me, the key points are:
How this will affect certified professionals
- Beginning September 30, 2013, access to your GCP account will be read-only.
- You’ll need a Google Partners account to take exams and get certified.
- Taking exams and getting certified will be free. (Currently $50 USD per exam).
- Your GCP exam history and AdWords certification status will transfer to Partners when you join using the same Google account.
- Certifications earned through GCP will remain valid through the expiration date.
How this will affect Google Certified Partner companies
- Beginning September 30, 2013, a Google Partners account will be required to manage your company’s profile on Google Partner Search. You’ll be able to manage both your individual certifications and company profile using the same Partners account.
- Certified Partner companies will remain listed on Google Partner Search until November 13, 2013.
- To continue being listed on Google Partner Search after November 13, a company must qualify for the new Google Partner badge.
- Current Certified Partners will not automatically qualify for the new Partner badge.
- Use of the old ‘AdWords Certified Partner’ badge for promotional or other purposes won’t be permitted after November 13.
So apart from some re-branding, little seems to have changed with the eligibility criteria. Partners are still required to have a minimum spend of $10k in at least 60 of the last 90 days and one qualified individual to maintain their listing. I agreed with Brad, when he suggested that it would have been good to provide some differentiation between agency tiers. No sign of that with this change.
The update making the headlines will be Google dropping the $50 exam fee for individual qualification. There’s no reason now why clients can’t demand certification from the professionals working on their accounts, let alone at agency level. Anything that makes the online industry more professional is a good thing.
Other interest will be around Google’s new partner search section, which will provide free advertising for agencies, with an enhanced listings page. At time of writing, only are only 5 UK agencies listed there; iCrossing, Marin Software, eSearchVision The Search Agency and Forward3D. United States only lists Marin Software, Finch UK, ROI Revolution Inc. and iProspect.