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Google Announces New Approach to Working with Ad Agencies

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Penry Price, Google's Vice President of Global Agency Development today announced changes in the search engine's relationship with advertising agencies on the Official Google Blog. No, Google isn't offering "cashback."

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What Google is offering ad agencies is "better training and more rigorous certification in AdWords proficiency ... to lower costs for those who help advertisers get the most out of AdWords. We're also making it easier for advertisers to find certified agency partners to work with them on digital advertising."

Thanks. Thanks a bunch.

Google is retiring its long-standing Google Advertising Professionals (GAP) program and replacing it with a new Google AdWords Certification program for those managing AdWords accounts on behalf of advertisers. The new program provides agencies and their employees with more up-to-date, comprehensive, strategy-focused training and certification on the latest tools and best practices for managing AdWords accounts.

This includes:


  • New training materials to help agencies better understand recent changes in search marketing and AdWords functionality, available via webinar series, learning center, or on-site training at Google

  • More challenging certification exams to test practical application of knowledge and best practices rather than simple recall of knowledge.

  • Advanced-level exams to highlight competency in search, display, reporting and analysis

  • A redesigned Certified Partner badge, which includes a "Click to Verify" element so advertisers can view the partner's profile page for additional information.

But wait! There's more!

Google is also helping advertisers to find Google Certified Partners.

How can they do this? They're letting Google Certified Partners opt in to Google Partner Search, an online, searchable directory that helps advertisers identify Certified Partners that meet their criteria.

In her post, Price said, "Small and medium-sized advertisers who haven't previously used an agency have told us that evaluating potential partners can be a daunting task, so we think Google Partner Search will be especially valuable for them."

Of course, your mileage may vary.

To show up in advertiser searches through Google Partner Search, agencies must opt in and fill in details about their core attributes and capabilities. Searches can be filtered by location, agency experience within a particular budget range, the types of services provided and the industry verticals an agency serves. Advertisers can then evaluate the list of Certified Partners that meet their criteria and contact the partners who seem best suited to their needs.

Of course, there are no guarantees.

Now, Google also announced "preferred AdWords API pricing." So, there actually is something to get excited about even for the most skeptical ad agencies.

The Google AdWords API allows agencies and developers of search engine marketing tools to build applications that interact directly with the AdWords platform. This enables them to use these applications to manage large AdWords campaigns more efficiently and creatively.

The catch? Qualified Google AdWords Certified Partners who manage client AdWords accounts get free use of the AdWords API based on "managed client spend." To learn more about preferred pricing and how to apply, go to Google's preferred AdWords API pricing site.

Okay, so it's not cashback. But it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

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