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We're Google Partners now... and here's why I think it's worthless

There’s an old proverb in Polish “a shoemaker goes barefoot” that could be applied to us getting Google Partners certification after all these years.

google partners worthless
Slawek

Slawek

Founder of Digiffic.com. I've been working with PPC campaigns since before it was cool. Not that it wasn't cool back in the day. It's just way more cooler these days.

There’s an old proverb in Polish “a shoemaker goes barefoot” that could be applied to us getting Google Partners certification after all these years. It’s interesting that in English they say “the shoemaker's son always goes barefoot”, like in this case the shoemaker is a little bit more selfish and leaves shoes for himself. But footwear industry aside, we met all requirements, so we can display the badge on our website.

Why should you care if someone is a Google Partner?

It’s always valuable to pass tests on Google Ads best practices and make sure that we follow official guidelines when designing campaigns for our clients. But for those of you who don’t know, there are more conditions to meet before you become Google Partner. One of them is managing ad spend budgets of at least 10 000 USD a month, which is fine, because spending a couple of hundred dollars isn’t enough to know all tricks that make us experts in ads. 

What could be debatable is the next requirement - having at least 70% optimization score across all accounts we manage. 

The idea is noble - only professionals who take care of campaigns on a regular basis and optimize them to be more effective will become Google Partners. But there’s a catch. The score is based on some factors that don’t have to mean more money for the client, but surely mean more money for Google.

  • “Increase budgets to get more conversions” (even if it means higher CPAs and we don’t want that);
  • “Add new keywords” (even if these suggested keywords are rubbish);
  • “Enable partner sites in search campaigns” (even if we hate partner sites).

Just to name a few suggestions Google wants us to implement. Do this and you’ll see optimization score go up by 20, 25 or even 30%. Does it always make sense? Not really. Does it make your client spend more on Google Ads? Sure as hell. 

One could say that it’s not obligatory to be a Google Partner, and that would be an accurate statement, but out of curiosity I decided to check what you need to do in order to become a Google Premier Partner. 

Who can be Google Premier Partner?

It seems like since February 2022 they’re changing the rules and in order to get the ultimate badge you need to be in the top 3% of all partners in a given country and by being in the top they mean:

  • Ability to acquire new clients for Google Ads campaigns and increase spending across existing clients - measured separately for first-time Google Ads clients and clients who have history with Google;
  • maintaining high client retention year to year (which is pretty cool, because this one could be a really valuable metric for potential clients);
  • designing campaigns beyond search network, which is also a good point, because ads people often underestimate Display Network, but isn’t applicable to every industry;
  • total investment in Google Ads or Google Marketing Platform in general.

Does it make sense to get certified?

If you ask me, I’m able to understand why these requirements look the way they are. Premier Partners should be the ones that manage the largest budgets for the largest brands. Only this way you can get experience and know-how needed to advise new accounts how to approach certain topic.

But only if 3% of Partners get to name themselves Premier, it could lead to a situation where only the most aggressive entities are rewarded. Those that onboard a lot of new clients and increase ad spends on accounts they take care of. It’s hard to see these requirements as pro-clients. On the other hand, it seems like they are very much pro-google. 

I guess, for our clients it will be better if we stayed out of this Premier Partner badge and focused on growing their businesses. This way we’ll keep high retention and our ad spends will increase anyway, but I don’t see how onboarding as many clients as possible would be good for them. 

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