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Google announced yesterday that it is "retiring" its Google Advertising Professionals program and that a new one, the Google AdWords Certification program, will be taking its place.

The good news: the previous $1,000 minimum 90-day ad spend required has been eliminated for individuals who would like to participate, and the minimum 90-day ad spend for agencies has been reduced to $10,000 from $100,000. That means that more individuals and agencies will have the opportunity to participate.

Additionally, Google is introducing preferred AdWords API pricing. Depending on the spend of their clients, agencies can even earn free API units.

Google hopes that the preferred pricing "will encourage agencies and developers to experiment with new strategies, expand the functionality of their tools, and build more comprehensive client campaigns without worrying about increased costs."

Finally, certified individuals and agencies will get to show off a new Certified Partner badge that includes 'Click to Verify' functionality and can opt into a Google Partner Search portal that gives advertisers the ability to search for certified entities that meet their criteria.

The potentially bad news: individuals and agencies that want to participate will need to complete a more rigorous certification process. That process demands that an individual or individual or agency employee pass a broad Google Advertising Fundamentals exam as well as one of four advanced exams.

The four advanced exams are Google Advertising Fundamentals, Advanced Search Advertising, Advanced Display Advertising, and Advanced Reporting and Analysis. In raising the bar, Google will be offering additional training materials designed "to help agencies better understand recent changes in search marketing and AdWords functionality."

As AdAge notes, the new program is a sign that Google is paying a little more attention to agencies. And while agencies will still need to meet the AdWords Certification program requirements to have fees waived, waiving the fees that existed under the Advertising Professionals program attract more agencies. And that would certainly be a good thing for Google as its relationship with the agency world evolves and matures.

Patricio Robles

Published 27 April, 2010 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2394 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

Chris Turberville-Tully

Chris Turberville-Tully, Managing Director at Inspiration Inc

Thanks for bringing this out into the mainstream Patricio.

It will be interesting to see what effect if any this has on agencies relationships with clients. We work with companies of all sizes and have never once been asked about our Google certifications.

I'm sure some companies do look and want people who are accredited but I've yet to actually have the proof sit in front of me in a meeting. Not 100% sure that the lowering of some the barriers to entry will also help with credibility.

Out of interest has anyone actually been asked directly by a client if they were accredited or what accreditation meant?

over 6 years ago

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Paul

If you look at some of the PPC roles in the jobs section, GAP is important to some, but not all.....

I have found the majority of HIPPOs who hire in house PPC folk, don’t understand PPC (or digital marketing full stop!), but may have been pitched to at some time or other and GAP may have been mentioned......

So is this good, or bad?

The fact they have lowered the 'buy in' is not good (in my opinion), I think we will see more 'qualified PPC professionals', who have not had the hands on experience to manage accounts, the same thing that has happened with small one man bad ‘SEO agencies’ popping up making claims.

over 6 years ago

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Paul

Sorry, not finished.........just on the phone to Google!

Would it not make sense to create a tiered system of Google Certification? bronze, Silver, Gold etc, then clients can judge, the size of account agencies have handled in the past, before jumping into bed with an unknown partner?

I’ve picked up two, not insignificant accounts, but only after an ‘agency’ have messed it up for the client, therefore adding more pressure to our performance, because someone else messed up!

over 6 years ago

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