Google has launched the new Google Partners program, the company announced Wednesday. This means that Partners program requirement changes have now taken effect.
Google will notify all Partners of their current status. Those that have already met the new requirements will receive their Partners badge immediately and those that have not will receive their badge as soon as they meet all the requirements.
Google initially announced requirement changes to this program in February 2020, but the launch was delayed due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which also gave the company time to integrate feedback from advertisers into the final version of the requirements.
The new Partner requirements. Agencies were not happy with the first iteration of Google’s new Partners program requirements: The company had doubled the 90-day spend threshold (from $10,000 to $20,000), added an optimization score requirement and extended the Google Ads certification criteria to half of eligible users (up from just one).
After receiving feedback from the paid search community, Google kept the 90-day threshold at $10,000 and enabled advertisers to accept or dismiss recommendations to improve their optimization score. The official launch of the new Partners program (and the associated requirement changes) was also postponed until now.
To be eligible for the new Google Partners program, advertisers must:
- Achieve an optimization score of 70%.
- Spend $10,000 across all of a partner’s managed accounts within a 90-day period.
- Have at least 50% of designated account strategists certified in Google Ads, with at least one certification in each product area (Search, Display, Video, etc.) with campaign spend of $500 (or more) in 90 days.
Premier Partners requirements. Agencies that meet Partners requirements and are within the top 3% of participating agencies in their country are eligible to become Premier Partners. The top 3% is evaluated annually; the factors that determine the top 3% include, but aren’t limited to:
- Client growth – Ability for partners to grow their existing clients and acquire new clients, measured by year-over-year ads spend growth and ads spend among first-time Google Ads clients.
- Client retention – Demonstrated ability to sustain client business, measured by the percentage of clients retained year-over-year.
- Product diversification – Demonstrated investment in results-focused product mix beyond Search, measured by the percentage of spend in Display, Apps, Video, and Shopping each calendar year.
- Annual ads spend – Investment in Google Ads or Google Marketing Platform, measured by spend across managed accounts each calendar year.
New benefits for Partners and Premier Partners. In addition to existing program benefits, all Partners that meet the new requirements will be eligible for “High-value offers,” which are $500 Google Ads credits (previously $100) for new clients. New clients will have 60 days (previously 30 days) to spend $500 to qualify for the $500 credit.
Moving forward, high-value offers will only be available to Google Partners and Premier Partners. For Members, the current promotional offers will still be available to apply to client
accounts until the end of March.
And, beginning later this month, all Partners will be listed in Google’s new Partners directory, which will be available globally to all advertisers.
Google has published a document detailing program benefits for those that would like to learn more.
Benefits just for Premier Partners. Premier Partner status is awarded to the top 3% of partners in each country. Google Ads is now offering its Premier Partners the following:
- Product betas – Receive ongoing access to the most current product betas.
- Advanced Google Ads support – Access 24-hour advanced ads support.
- Executive experiences – Attend invite-only industry events, such as roundtable discussions with Google leaders, sessions with other Premier Partners and opportunities to hear from industry thought leaders.
- Premier Partner Awards – The Premier Partner Awards highlight excellence in digital marketing and showcase Premier Partners that help drive results for clients with Google Ads.
- Newly redesigned 2022 Premier Partner badge.
Why we care. We’ve known about these changes for quite some time and now they’ve taken effect, which means that if you haven’t already met the new requirements, you may no longer have Partner status.
Additionally, there may now be a more urgent need to meet the new requirements, particularly the certification requirement: “The main requirement we have seen some Partners not meet is the Certification Requirement,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land when asked about what may be holding agencies back from earning their Partner badges. “The majority are meeting both the Performance [optimization score] and Spend requirements.”
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George Nguyen is an editor for Search Engine Land, covering organic search, podcasting and e-commerce. His background is in journalism and content marketing. Prior to entering the industry, he worked as a radio personality, writer, podcast host and public school teacher.