Looking to Earn (or Keep) Your Google Partners Badge? The Requirements, They Are A’Changing

Scheduled to launch in February of 2022, the new Google Partners program is getting a bit of a facelift. While the requirement categories will remain the same, some changes are coming for the specific prerequisites. The Google Partners badge will be earned using three components: performance, spend, and certifications.

Performance

You may have noticed that Google Ads now calculates your optimization score and has an entire recommendations tab devoted solely to helping you boost that score. Recommendations span the spectrum from refining ad assets and utilizing all the different ad types available to increasing budgets and employing Google’s various smart bidding options. As you apply or dismiss recommendations, you will see your score increase. When the new program launches, your Google Ads manager account will be required to maintain an average optimization score of at least 70%. 

Spend

The ad spend requirement will remain the same as the current requirements — a 90-day minimum click spend of $10,000 across all managed accounts.

Certifications

As Google Ads’ list of obtainable certifications continues to grow, evolve, and change in response to their ever-expanding offerings — so does the Google certification platform. Skillshop (formerly known as Google Academy for Ads) is Google’s new, one-stop training hub for everyone who uses Google products. Skillshop is where you find all of the courses, e-learning modules, and certification exams for everything Google. 

Fun fact: with Google’s recent addition of app campaign certification, a digital marketer can be Google certified in six separate areas. 

What’s the difference between Google Ads certifications and the Google Partners badge? The primary difference is that individuals can earn Google Ads certifications, but only companies can earn a Google Partners badge. Companies can only become Google Partners by meeting the Google Partner status requirements and not by simply registering for the Google Partners program.

Let’s focus on the Google Ads certifications component of the Google Partners badge. Qualification for a Google Partners Badge requires that 50% of the company’s account strategists registered with their Google Ads manager account be certified in Google Ads fundamentals. Google defines an account strategist as “employees of your company who manage Google Ads campaigns on behalf of your clients.”  

In addition to the fundamental certification requirement, half of the company’s registered strategists must also obtain at least one certification in a Google Ads product-specific area (search, display, video, shopping, and apps) with campaign spend. It is important to note that the Google Ads Measurement certification does not count toward the Partners badge. 

Google previously determined the number of account strategists based on the user certification table’s user count. This method was an inefficient way of determining the strategist count as this list often includes users not considered account strategists or even company employees. For example, some agencies give their clients corporate email addresses for their Google Ads account access.

Fortunately, Google listened to its Partner feedback on the account strategist counting methods and made some well-received updates. Companies can now set the number of account strategists on the Company Details page of their Google Ads manager account:

As an example, let’s say you set the number of account strategists for your company in the 50-99 range. Google will require that 25 — half of the lowest number in the range — account strategists be certified in Google Ads to qualify for the Partners badge, with at least one certification in areas you have campaign spend.

If your company currently meets the badge requirements, they will remain the same until June 2021. Starting in June 2021, Partners who meet the new requirements will be allowed access to the new Google Partners Badge. 

Head on over to Skillshop and get started on your Google Ads certification journey. I guarantee that you will learn something new with each certification you earn.

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