Google has been doing some serious thinking about the GAP (Google Advertising Professional) program for at least three years.
A while ago they redid the entire learning center. No one seems to completely understand this change as all their nice videos are gone replace by text and a fewer number of lessons.
Then AdWords launched Agency Land.
And today they launch their new certification program.
Here are the main differences:
Old Days: One test and spend requirement.
Now: Two tests (one basic and any one of the advanced tests) and no spend requirement.
This seems that the individual qualification is more a resume bullet point than a way of attracting business.
Old Days: This was a qualified company. Qualified companies required 3 GAPs and a nice spend requirement.
Now: Need one Individual Qualification and spend $10k/quarter. This is a much lower threshold to become a partner than the old ‘qualified company’ logo.
While Google still offers logos for analytics, website optimizer, etc – the AdWords Reseller and AdWords Company qualified logos showed both a combination of size (more than 1 employee) and spend.
There is so much speculation around the reseller programs demise or massive change that I won’t even speculate here. It is the only section of the Advanced AdWords Book that Google legal & Google marketing asked me to alter.
Free API Credits
Here’s the really good news. Agencies will now get API credits based upon client spend. In the old days, an individual advertiser or reseller could get free quote points, but agencies had to pay for it. Now, just like individual advertisers; agencies can be eligible for credits if they have an agency page (a free listing page on Google’s site that you can create once you’re a partner).
You get 250 units per $1 spent. This is an excellent ratio of free API units. Few companies are going to need to buy additional API units (and if they do – they might need to examine their their usage first).
[update]Google called me to make sure people realized that you didn’t just get API credits by having a profile page. You still need to apply for the credits[/update]
Individual qualification has become a bullet point. Certified partners are just old GAPs with one good client ($10/quarter). The reseller program is going under major restructuring. It seems the only logical step is to make the old AdWords Resellers a program for large agencies.
There’s definitely a few tiers that is not well recognized here:
- The large agency: $1 million month or quarter. These agencies handle big accounts and are splitting the spend between multiple channels.
- The medium agency: $1 million / year, with 100 clients and 3-5 GAPs. If this agency gets 1 or 2 big clients, they might be 2-3 million/year in spend, but most of their clients are small.
- The small personal big client agency: This agency has 1-3 GAPs, but has one or two huge clients and spends $100k/month or more
- The small personal small spend agency: This agency has 1-3 GAPs, 10-40 clients per GAP, and manages roughly $50k-$250k of spend per month.
Google does not need this many tiers of logos. That I wouldn’t claim. However, having the above 4 agencies using the same Certified Partner logo that having one client who spend $3.5k/month will earn you doesn’t seem right either.
Expect to see a lot of posts about the new tests. The toughness of the new advanced tests (I haven’t taken any yet – I’m hoping they are *hard* and fair). And speculation about how to recognize those larger agencies.