New Google Partner Badge Requirements

June 2020 Requirements

Google announced last week that it will be changing its requirements for Search Engine Marketers to keep their Google Partner status.

[Before we begin, let us say that we love Google. Google has completely shaped the internet and the way we use it. Ranking on Google (organic listings) and advertising on Google has been a primary source of our business for over 20 years.]

What Are The New Requirements?

1. Certification

50% of users on an MCC / manager account need to be Google certified. That’s fair.

MCC stands for “My Client Center.” It allows access to multiple accounts from different clients. It used to be that only one member of the agency needed certification, now it is 50%.

Many MCCs received notice last week that they did not meet this requirement because Google mistakenly included the clients in the total number of users. This was an error and is being addressed. Only users in the MCC agency will count toward the total number of users, and 50% is not unreasonable.

2. Spend

Google used to require MCCs to spend $10,000 on ads in 90 days. Now it is $20,000. That’s… justifiable.

We empathize with agencies just getting started, but for most, $20k is bubkas. We spend more than that in a month. Sometimes in a week. And we’re not even a big agency.

3. Follow Google recommendations, with an average of at least 64% optimization score.

This could be a problem.

We think it’s great that Google has implemented options for automatic bidding and responsive ads. This absolutely helps new advertisers get into the game and start PPC campaigns with little experience. Many of these newbies grow and become some of our best clients, so, yeah. Go Google!

But Google’s recommendations are automated.

And, they tend to result in higher ad costs.

Their recommendations usually include spending too much on broad-match keywords which don’t convert. Even, frankly, when campaigns are “optimized for conversion.”

Here’s an example. We sometimes will start off a new campaign by optimizing for clicks. Then, after we’ve gathered some data, we’ll switch over to manual CPC where we can control exactly how much we bid for specific keywords, where and when the ads show, and more. 99% of the time, this results in lower cost and higher performance.

We do have one client where switching over to “optimizing for conversions” actually did result in higher conversions, at no additional cost, for 3 out of 4 of the campaigns tested.

For one low-priority, very-broad-keyword campaign, we had fewer conversions at almost double the cost. We shut that puppy down, hard.

That’s literally the only client to run an automated-bidding campaign for over a month.

The only one. Ever.

Because we are NOT robots. We analyze each and every client as an individual. We look at their business goals, their specific industry or niche, and their customers. We customize their ad campaigns, for them.

Because our client is the client, not Google.

We can’t, in good conscience, follow Google’s optimization recommendations 64% of the time. We wouldn’t be doing our job.

If you want to run customized campaigns that perform better, at a lower cost, than you’ll get from Google’s automated recommendations, Contact Us!

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