Is your marketing firm a Google Partner? Does it matter?

What Is A Google Partner?

A Google Partner is an ad agency that has met certain thresholds put in place by Google to have or display this status. They’ve obtained certifications, specializations, shown consistent performance, and manage a certain spend amount.

If you see the badge on a website, and you see a blue band that says Google Partner, that means they have more than $10,000 on average in ad management over a 90 day period. A Google Partner also has to pass the fundamentals exam and a specialization exam. Then they have to score higher than 85% on that. The specializations have to be in something like Search advertising, Video advertising, or Display advertising,

Specializations

Our company’s specialization is search advertising. We’re a search advertising specialist and Qualified Google Partner. That means if you go on our website, you’ll see a Google Partner badge, you can click on that, and it’ll bring you to a page Google put together showing you more information about our agency.

To get a specialization, which is a requirement of the Google Partner badge, you have to take a 100 question test, within 120 minutes, and you have to score higher than 85% on it. That has to be done on a yearly basis because of changes to the system. The yearly testing allows a partner to retain their partner badge.

Premier Partners

You may see a Google “premier” partner badge on some ad agencies. This is on a lot of firms that connect their software to a lot of accounts. If they have hundreds or thousands of companies advertising on their system they’ll be able to obtain this premier partner status. There isn’t any published threshold for the amount of money a premier partner has to have in management, but it’s usually going to be a firm that has hundreds of clients.

Pros & Cons of Premier Partners

There’re some pros and cons to working with an agency that’s managing hundreds or thousands of clients. One pro is that they do have experience, and they’re going to be able to set you up fairly quickly. They’ll probably also have some sort of monthly phone call, or reporting that they’ll automatically send you. A con is you may not get much individual attention. When you’re working with a regular Google Partner, it doesn’t mean that they’re any less qualified. They’ve met the same certifications and testing standards. They may just be managing fewer companies.

When you’re working with a smaller partner, you may get better customer service. That’s because you’ll be able to talk to them more frequently, or you’ll be able to go to their office and speak with them.

Full-Service Ad Agencies

Something to consider when you’re spending a lot of money on marketing with a full-service marketing firm is that they may not be a Google Partner. That agency could be outsourcing work to another firm, or they may be doing it in house, but they don’t have the certifications.

That doesn’t mean that they’re not capable of doing a good job, but it does mean that you could have a Google Partner tie in with that. A Google Partner can supervise your spend, or help your ad agency out with your online advertising campaign.

Cons of a regular Google Partner

A con of a Google Partner is that they’re not usually going to be able to help logos, or making websites. They may not be able to help you out with all of your marketing needs, like making brochures or business cards. That can also be a pro because the Google Partner focuses on your ad spend every day, so they’re not distracted by many other things.

Another con of working with a Google Partner is that you don’t know if your account executive or the people working on your campaign are all certified in search advertising. That’s something to ask about. Once the company obtains the status all of the employees don’t have to be certified. If you’re working with someone, they may have a working knowledge of online advertising, but they may not actually be certified themselves. In most cases, your account executive will be certified but it doesn’t have to be the case.

The last con of working with a Google Partner is that you may pay a premium for services. That’s the case with Premier Partners as well. In most cases, that cost is justified though, because a good Google Partner can save you money on your advertising campaign. A campaign run in-house, or an ad campaign set up by a small digital marketing agency may not have it set up properly. They may not have something like conversions set up properly, and you’re going to waste more money than if you would’ve gone to a partner to start with.

Pros of a regular Google Partner

A pro of working with a Google Partner is that it should give you some level of comfort that they should know what they’re talking about. If a dozen or so clients have already chosen that company, and they have a proven track record, and Google has said, “Yes, this person is valid.” That should give you some level of comfort. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ask questions or find out more about where your money’s going. Ask about how much your conversions are costing, your clicks are costing, where your ads appearing, what times are they appearing. Those are all things you should be asking them. You shouldn’t just trust because they’re a Google Partner that they’re going to know everything about your business.

Running an ad campaign isn’t one size fits all. Some large company in a big city may not understand the dynamics of a local business. They may not know the customer behaviors of a local area. It does benefit you to reach out to local Google Partners, or search engine marketing experts that have a feel for what customers are doing in their area.

Performance Requirements

A Google Partner does have to meet a performance requirement by Google. They evaluate this on an 18-month basis. You have to grow ad spend in their client base. If you’re not doing that over time, they can take your Google Partner badge away. This happens in the case of ad agencies that aren’t performing, or they’re wasting their client’s money. Those clients are going to leave for other companies, and that can negatively impact the original Google Partner.

There are certain programs and training that Google offers ad agencies so that they can grow and learn about changes to the systems.

Specializations Continued

The main specializations to look for when you’re evaluating an online marketing company, or online advertising agency, is a search specialization, display, video, and shopping. There was a mobile one, but they’re discontinuing that.

Search Advertising

Search advertising is the main specialization that most companies should have. If not all of them have. That’s ads on the search engine results, in Gmail, or anywhere text ads can be shown.

Display Advertising

The display specialization is tied to when you see ads, banner ads, on general websites. It might be on foxnews.com, any website you frequent. Those ads are going to be a part of the display network. There are over 3 million websites in Google’s display ecosystem. If you sell dog products, you can put it on dog websites. A political company could put things on political websites. It’s really a way to target people more proactively, not when they’re searching for things, which is a little bit more of a react and response strategy. Display advertising is more proactive, reaching out, putting ads in front of people.

Video Advertising

Video advertising specialization is really about YouTube. You can have display ads show up on YouTube as well. If you’re doing video advertising on YouTube, it’s beneficial to have that specialization.

Shopping

The shopping specialization is solely focused on e-commerce. If you’re not selling things online this shouldn’t be that important to you. If you’re only selling products online this would be something to look for.

Let me know if you need help!

If you have any questions about online advertising, or if your agency needs any help, email me at [email protected] I would be glad to help you out as best I can!

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