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Date added: 17 November 2021

Update: 22 April 2024

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.

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  1. Why should you care if someone is a Google Partner?
  2. Google Premier Partner guidelines
  3. Is it worth getting a certificate?

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," in this case, the shoemaker is a little bit more selfish and leaves shoes for himself. But footwear industry aside, we met all requirements to 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 ensure that we follow official guidelines when designing campaigns for our clients. But for those 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. 

The following requirement could be debatable - having at least a 70% optimization score across all accounts we manage. 

The idea is noble - only professionals who take care of campaigns regularly 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 the 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, which would be an accurate statement. Still, out of curiosity, I decided to check what you need to do to become a Google Premier Partner. 

Google Premier Partner guidelines

It seems like since February 2022, they've been changing the rules, and 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 a history with Google;
  • maintaining high client retention year to year (which is pretty cool because this one could be a valuable metric for potential clients);
  • designing campaigns beyond search networks, which is also a good point because ads people often underestimate Display Network, but doesn't apply to every industry;
  • total investment in Google Ads or Google Marketing Platform in general.

Is it worth getting a certificate?

If you ask me, I can understand why these requirements look the way they are. Premier Partners should be the ones that manage the largest budgets for the most prominent brands. This way, you can get the experience and know-how needed to advise new accounts on how to approach certain topics.

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 many new clients and increase ad spending 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 would 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 spending will increase anyway, but I don't see how onboarding as many clients as possible would be good for them. 

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