On February 2, the new Google Partner Program was officially launched, with the search giant and advertisers alike reportedly looking satisfied with the final iteration. Recall that requirement changes were initially announced in February 2022. But Google postponed implementation due to the effects of the pandemic, giving it time to gather and incorporate feedback from pay-per-click (PPC) agencies and advertisers.
Before, the proposed changes included increasing the 90-day spend threshold from $10,000 to $20,000, setting an optimization score and requiring half of the eligible users to earn Google Ads certification.
Two years later, the modified version laid down the following requirements:
• Maintain the spend threshold at $10,000.
• Give advertisers the option to accept or dismiss recommendations in improving their optimization score.
• Ensure certification for 50 percent of account strategists per Google Ads agency, with at least one certification in each product area (Search, Display, Video, etc.) with a campaign spend of $500 or more in 90 days.
It also ramped up the benefits awaiting Google Premier Partners – those who made the top 3 percent of participating agencies in each country.
This blog discusses the updated Google Partners rewards and requirements in detail, including the drivers behind the Premier Partner status, to help you understand the work involved in making PPC management a success, from considering the risks of not meeting the criteria to planning the next steps.
• How To Become a Google Partner
• How To Become a Google Premier Partner
• Best Practices for Google Ads Agency Partners
How To Become a Google Partner
The Google Ads partner criteria fall into three categories, the spend, performance and certification requirements. Failure to meet these specifications will result in losing your Google Partner advantage and status. However, it does not mean you lose your Google Partner Program access altogether. You can still participate in the program as a member but without the following benefits:
• Rights to use the Google Partner or Premier Partner badge
• Rights to leverage the full range of opportunities to deepen your partnership with Google Ads in three key areas: Education & Insights, Access & Support and Recognition & Rewards
• Rights to advertise Google Ads Partner or Premier Partner status
Fortunately, you can work toward becoming a Google Partner anytime, earning the new badge and enjoying Google Partners rewards as long as you meet the three requirement categories:
Maintain an ad spend of $10,000 within 90 days across all clients under your manager account. This brings relief to many Google advertising agency groups, which may find it difficult to qualify for the Partner status if the threshold is doubled.
Google included this performance requirement to guide every pay per click consultant or company in achieving profitable results for their clients. The minimum optimization score of 70 percent allows you to gauge how effective your Google Ads campaigns are and enhance them accordingly.
It differs from the earlier iteration because it puts you in control of the recommendations that can help you optimize campaign performance. You can apply or dismiss them based on your assessment and your clients’ goals.
To earn or retain your Google Partner advantage, ensure half of your account strategists (capped at 100) are certified in Google Ads. Google defines account strategists as your employees managing Google Ads campaigns on behalf of your clients.
Further, your manager account should reflect one certification in each product area with a campaign spend of at least $500 in 90 days. Product areas include Search, Display, Video, Shopping and Apps.
How To Become a Google Premier Partner
A PPC agency can vie for a spot in the top 3 percent of participating paid search management companies in a specific country. This is known as the Google Premier Partner status. The evaluation of a firm’s eligibility is completed annually and based on factors including the following:
• Client growth: Combined ability to grow existing clients and acquire new ones. Metric used: Year-over-year (YoY) ad spend increase and ad spend among first-time clients on Google Ads.
• Client retention: Proven competence in sustaining client business. Metric used: The percentage of clients retained YoY.
• Product diversification: Consistent investment in results-oriented product mix beyond Search. Metric used: Percentage of spend on Display, Apps, Shopping and Video each calendar year.
• Annual ads spend: Demonstrated investment in Google Ads or Google Marketing Platform. Metric used: Spend across managed accounts each calendar year.
Once you qualify among the elite circle of Google Premier Partners, you can enjoy the following benefits:
• Ongoing access to product betas
• 24-hour advanced Google Ads support
• Executive experiences (e.g. roundtable discussions with Google leaders and sessions with other Premier Partners)
• Premier Partner Awards opportunity
• Recognition via the newly redesigned 2022 Premier Partner badge
• Google Ads credits for PPC marketing clients
Best Practices for Google Ads Agency Partners
For PPC management firms to continue receiving Google Partners rewards, they must consistently fulfill the new Google Ads partner requirements. So whether you’re a pay per click consultant, company or client, it pays to know what needs to be done to maintain your Partner status or that of your paid search management provider.
Here are a few best practices to get you started:
• Whether you’re a PPC agency or working with one, understand that Google Ads and search marketing, in general, are ever-evolving. It’s good to know how to become a Google Partner. But more important is your ability to execute the steps and stay on top of the requirements to ensure you have a high-quality partner or perform as such to Google and clients.
• Monitor your ad spend threshold. You can check your spend on the Badge status card. If meeting your spend threshold is a challenge, continue searching and identifying PPC marketing growth opportunities for your clients.
• Track your performance and improve your score. You can view your optimization score via the Recommendations page. If you score below the minimum 70 percent, review recommendations for optimizing your campaign performance. Assess if you should apply or dismiss a recommendation according to your clients’ goals.
• Meet the Certifications requirement. This is, by far, the hardest to accomplish based on trends seen by the search giant among its partners. So Google provides an estimated number of account strategists who need to get certified. If the estimate is correct, ensure your account strategists work toward certification on Skillshop, Google’s training platform.
• Google checks the criteria daily, and so should you. If you stop meeting the requirements, you are given a 60-day grace period to catch up before you lose your Google Partner advantage.
Google Partner Program: The Evidence of Excellence
The Google Partner Program enables a Google advertising agency to demonstrate its proficiency in Google Ads and deep relationship with the PPC management platform. And there is much work involved in snagging a Google Premier Partners spot or maintaining Google Partner status.
However, note that becoming a partner is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to put consistent effort into ensuring you meet the requirements. Specifically, you have to monitor and fine-tune campaign performance to keep your optimization score within the acceptable range.
Our account strategists at Thrive, a certified Google Partner, know this too well. Thrive is a paid search management agency with nearly two decades of experience in PPC. We constantly look for ways to innovate our clients’ Google Ads campaign strategy creation and execution. At the same time, we tirelessly comply with Google Partner Program requirements to maintain our credibility and drive high-performance results for our clients.
Whether you’re a client or a white-label PPC firm, you can entrust Google Ads campaigns to Thrive experts. Call us or send us a message to learn more about how you can engage our PPC services.