In an email to Google Partner Program members around the world, Google announced changes to the Program structure and badge criteria. The changes were initially slated to take place June 2020  , but due to the pandemic will now go into effect beginning in February 2022. This means Partners will have a year to meet the new Program requirements.
New requirements. Google said that Partners requested two major changes to the requirements in consideration of the current economic situation and to make badge criteria more transparent:
- Partners can either dismiss or apply recommendations to achieve a 70% optimization score  . While the optimization score requirement was slated to take effect in June, it previously only allowed for application of recommendations. However the Google team took search marketers’ feedback regarding the ability to dismiss recommendations for clients where it may not have made sense to accept. “We know that our Partners know their clients and accounts best,” a Google spokesperson told us.
- The spend threshold will remain at a 90-day spend of $10,000 US across all of a partner’s managed accounts. Before the pandemic, the Partner badge requirements were set to increase  to $20,000 every 90 days. However, the Partners team listened to ad mangers’ feedback and kept the requirement at $10,000.
Partners also told Google that not every Ads manager on teams should be eligible for certification  . In response, advertisers will be able to tell Google the number of account strategists in their companies, and “at least 50% of the account strategists you’ve identified will need to be certified in Google Ads” to meet the new requirements. For instructions on how to see the certification status of individual users, see the bottom of this help page  .
More clarity for advertisers. Along with the changes to requirements, the email said Google wants to provide more clarity around program benefits. To do this, the company is developing new benefits in three main categories to support Partners in the move toward the new requirements:
- Education & Insights
- Access & Support
- Recognition & Rewards
“The new Google Partners program is exciting for our Search team as it shifts the criteria toward overall account health and employee education by an increased focus on optimization score and account strategist certifications.” said Donny Nordmann, Director, Search at Rise Interactive.
Why we care. Google’s delay of the Partner Program requirement changes was a smart move to help the search community during unprecedented times. With many agencies and search marketers being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting changes in the business landscape, Google took feedback to improve the changes they planned to make to the Program.
Google has also noted that the advanced notifications means advertisers have a full year to meet the Partner Program requirements. Any Partners holding a Partner or Premier Partner badge, will be able to retain their badge status until then: “To recognize the efforts of the large number of partners who are already meeting our new badge criteria, we’ll start extending the new Partner badge in June 2021. The new Premier Partner badge will be available to the top 3% of partners when the new program launches in February 2022,” said the email announcement.
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