Seems you can’t stop Google from making major announcements this month. From changes to Google local business listings (now Places pages) to seemingly the entire company dropping facebook – you know because Google’s so concerned with privacy, it’s been non stop. Another biggie dropped today – one we knew has been coming for almost a year.
Since 2004, Google has offered a PPC certification program for both individual paid search practitioners and companies called the Google Advertising Professionals program. We’ve been proud to be part of this program as a Qualified Google Advertising Company – the only such firm in West Virginia and one of the few in the Western PA (Pittsburgh) – East-Central OH (Columbus).
Today, they announced that this program has been replaced with the Google AdWords Certified Partner program. That’s why you’re seeing this new logo throughout the non-blog portion of our site now:
Google AdWords Certified Partner
This morning, Google made the rounds announcing the PPC certification program switch. So what are the differences? Basically, they boil down to the following:
- More stringent testing. In the old Google Advertising Professional program, there was just one test. Now, there are four:
- Google Advertising Fundamentals Exam. This basically replaces the old one. To qualify as an individual in the new program, you must pass this exam plus one of the following:
- Search Advertising Advanced Exam. 102 version of the Fundamentals exam.
- Reporting & Analysis Advanced Exam. Google Analytics, AdWords conversions, and other related features.
- Display Advertising Advanced Exam. Content network, YouTube, DoubleClick AdPlanner, and more.
- Ad spend threshold lowered. Qualified companies previously needed to manage $100,000 per quarter; the number is now $10,000.
- Free API usage for custom management tools.
- Certified Partner search. Google’s offering a more refined service that allows PPC advertisers to more easily find certified firms based on a range of factors.
- Extra $100 vouchers for new advertisers to introduce AdWords to them. If that sounds like you, give us a call at 800.979.3177.
- New, somewhat prettier logo.
Free AdWords Audit
On the surface, this is all more interesting to paid search marketing agencies than anyone else. As someone who’s been through the tests, I can tell you though that they’re much more stringent than before; Google even developed its own browser for the exam that hides all other programs on your computer so that you couldn’t, say, hypothetically of course, keep open other windows to look at your accounts or AdWords help to review your answers.
Pitch time. If you’re a new advertiser looking for a Certified Partner, get in touch. And if you’re an existing advertiser wondering if you couldn’t boost your ROI with someone new, don’t forget about our free AdWords audits. Never a cost, never an obligation, always total confidentiality.