Google Partners FAQs

This article addresses frequently asked questions about Google Partners, including questions on when the new program will be launched and the new badge requirements.

General questions

1. Why are you making changes to the Google Partners program?

Over the past two years, we’ve spoken to many of our partners globally to better understand how we can improve their Google Partners experience. We’ve learned a lot. Our partners have told us they want more transparency, exclusivity, recognition in the market, and a deeper understanding of their business needs.

We’ve decided to address their feedback by launching a new Google Partners program globally in 2021. You can preview the new badge requirements here.

2. Are you removing the Premier Partner badge?

No, there will still be a Premier Partner badge; however, the requirements to be eligible for the Premier Partner badge will change in 2021. 

In order to be eligible for the Premier Partner badge, Partners need to meet the new Partner badge requirements first and be selected based on a number of factors, including but not limited to: annual ads spend across managed accounts, client growth, client retention, and other information. Premier Partner evaluation is done on an annual basis, and Premier Partner status may not be available in all markets.

3. Are you removing the Partner badge?

No, there will still be a Partner badge. Learn more about the badge requirements.

4. When will I know if I’m a Premier Partner for 2021?

We’re launching the new Google Partners program in 2021. As part of the launch, we will update the list of Premier Partners. As a reminder, in order to earn the Premier Partner badge, you must meet the new Partner badge requirements and be selected based on a number of factors. Learn more about the badge requirements

Questions about the postponement of Google Partners program relaunch to 2021

1. Why is Google postponing the new Google Partners program until 2021?

As we continue to adapt to COVID-19 across the globe, we understand that this state of uncertainty can be difficult for you, your families, your business, and your customers. To help you focus on what matters most, we’ve decided to postpone the June 2020 launch of the new Google Partners program and new badge requirements until 2021.

2. Will the new Partner badge requirements change from what was announced in February 2020?

The new Partner and Premier Partner badge requirements announced in February 2020 will remain the same, but they won’t take effect until the 2021 launch.

3. Will the current Partner badge requirements change from what they are now?

The current badge requirements will remain the same until the launch of the new Google Partners program in 2021.

4. What is happening to my existing Partner badge, Premier Partner badge, and specializations?

If you currently have a Partner badge, Premier Partner badge, or a specialization (Search, Display, Shopping, or Video), you will keep your badge and/or specializations until the 2021 launch. 
 

Note: If you do not have a Partner or Premier Partner badge, or any of the Ads specializations, you will still be able to earn them if you meet the current requirements. Once you earn the badge or specializations, you’ll keep your badge and/or specializations until the new program launches in 2021. You can see your badge and specialization status in the Partners program tab of your Google Ads manager account. Learn more about the badge requirements. 

5. What happens if I lost my badge or specializations on or after January 1, 2020 PST?

If you lost your badge or specializations on or after January 1, 2020 PST, we will regrant your badge or specializations until the 2021 launch.

6. I have a Partner or Premier Partner badge, but I am no longer able to meet the requirements. Am I at risk of losing my badge?

No. If you already have the Partner or Premier Partner badge, you can still keep your badge status until the launch of the new Google Partners program in 2021, even if you no longer meet the badge requirements.

7. Do I need to worry about meeting the new badge requirements during the rest of 2020?

We are postponing the launch of the new Partner badge requirements until 2021 — therefore, the new spend, performance, and certification requirements will be postponed as well. You'll still be able to check your company's status against the new requirements in the Partners program tab of your registered Google Ads manager account and complete a Search, Video, Display or Shopping ads certification to get ready for the new program launch in 2021. 

Until then, we will provide additional materials and resources to help you prepare for the new badge requirements. Learn more about the badge requirements. 

8. Can I still earn the Partner badge?

Yes, you can still earn the Partner badge by meeting the current Partner badge requirements. Learn more about the requirements.

9. I am currently not a part of the Partner program. Can I still join the program before 2021?

Yes. Please go to our Google Partners website and follow the steps to join. 

10. How will the Premier Partner status be determined for the remainder of 2020?

The requirements for the Premier Partner badge will remain the same until the new program launches in 2021. Learn more about the Premier Partner badge requirements.

11. Can I still earn a Premier Partner badge during 2020?

Yes. Learn more about the Premier Partner badge requirements.

12. What should I tell my clients about the new Google Partners program? 

If your clients ask about the new Google Partners program, you can let them know that Google is postponing the launch of the new program and badge until 2021 to help Partners take the time to take care of themselves, their communities, and their customers due to the challenging coronavirus (COVID-19) circumstances. You can reassure them that you will keep your badge, access to trainings, benefits, and your connection with Google.

13. What is happening with the benefits we get with our badge? Are they changing in 2020? 

The Google Partner program benefits will remain the same until the 2021 launch. Please note due to the challenging circumstances of coronavirus (COVID-19), some of our current benefits may be affected. 

14. What are you doing to help small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)?

We want to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) stay in touch with their customers during this challenging time. That’s why we’re giving our SMB customers worldwide $340 million in ad credits, which can be used towards future ad spend, until the end of 2020 across our Google Ads platforms. This is part of a larger commitment from Google to support SMBs, health organizations and governments, and health workers on the frontline of this global pandemic. Learn more about the ad credits

Questions about the new Partner Badge Certification requirement (launching in 2021)


1. Why are certain users that are not part of my company being counted towards the certification requirement?

This may be happening for three reasons:  

  1. Email accounts of personal email services (e.g. gmail.com, outlook.com, yahoo.com) may have Admin or Standard level account access to your Google Partners registered Ads manager account. Google Partners identifies users for a partner based on email domains with Admin or Standard level access to your Google Partners registered Ads manager account. If you use personal email services for your users in your Google Partners registered Ads manager account, those users may be counted toward the total eligible user count for the certification requirement.

    We recommend that you replace all personal email accounts in the Ads manager account registered to Google Partners with company domain email accounts. To update your Ads manager account user permissions, go to the Tools & Settings tab. Under the Setup dropdown, click on Account access to see your users and their access levels.
     

    Notes: 

    1. You will need a Google Account to login to Google Ads. If you are currently using a gmail.com email for your Google Account, you can follow the steps in this help center article under the “Use an existing email address” section to use your corporate email address for your Google Ads and other Google product logins.   

    2. If you have a Google Analytics account, the link between your Google Ads account and Google Analytics account will remain intact, even if you remove the gmail.com user from your Google Ads account.

  2. You have given your clients email addresses under your company’s email domain. We recommend that you ask your clients to use their own company email domain address.
     
  3. You have given many users Admin or Standard level access at your Google Partners registered Ads manager account, lower-level manager accounts or serving accounts. We recommend that you review access for inactive or legacy users, giving customers the minimum access required, and other account hygiene. Please note we do not include read-only and email-only users toward the user certification eligibility count.

    Each of these issues can be fixed by following Google’s best practices for account setup
 

2. How do I validate the number of required certified users?

Instructions

  1. Navigate to Partners badge card. In the Badge status table, find the certification requirement for the 2021 badge.

  2. Under your achievement status, click on the [# of] users with updated certifications link, which will take you to the User certifications table.

  3. The top User certifications table shows all eligible users who count toward the certification requirement. If a user has been certified in Skillshop and has linked their Skillshop account to their Ads account, it will be indicated in this table with a “yes” under the column “linked in Skillshop”, and they will see an expiration date under the relevant certification column. You can also check the certification expiration dates under the different product certification columns.

  4. Under the Setup dropdown, click on Account access to see your users and their access levels.
  5. Once you are in the Account access user setting view, find the “Show users in full hierarchy” toggle in the upper left corner. Check that it’s off.

  6. Find the “Access level” column filter and set it to Admin and Standard users. This will show you the users in this Ads manager account only, and not all of the users in your full manager account tree. We recommend you note all email domains used in this view.

  7. Once you’re reviewed the user access settings in your Ads manager account and determined the email domains being used by your Admin and Standard access level users, turn on the toggle to show all of your users in full manager tree hierarchy. 

We recommend that you add a filter for each of the email domains you noted in the previous step to see the number of users who are eligible users for the certification requirement. We recommend you to review each email domain. If there are too many users, it may be easier to download the table.

 

Notes:
 
  • You’ll also be able to see the account level the users have access to by looking at the Account column to the right of the User column.
  • The total count from this account access table may be larger than the count on the Partners user table because the account access table does not deduplicate users. The Partners user table reports on unique users only.

Jump to “Why are certain users that are not part of my company being counted towards the certification requirement?”

3. How do I exclude personal emails and other non-company domains from my list of certified users?

We recommend using the allowed domains view to easily flag users that shouldn’t have access to your Ads manager account.

Instructions

  1. In the Ads manager account you registered for Google Partners, navigate to Account access.

  2. Click Security Settings and add the list of your company’s email domains. 

  3. Make sure no personal domains (eg. gmail, outlook, hotmail, yahoo, etc) are listed here. Learn more about what happens when you start using allowed domains.

  4. Once you’ve identified the allowed email domains in the Users tab, toggle to turn off “Show users in full hierarchy” view. Any users with non-company email domains will be flagged with a triangle icon. You can then remove or mark flagged users as read-only.

4. How do I remove stale users from my list of required certified users?

  1. Navigate to Account access.

  2. Turn on the “Show users in full hierarchy” toggle.

  3. Filter the access level to Admin or Standard.

  4. You can use the user email filter to view users belonging to your company (via email domain). If the user no longer needs access or hasn’t signed in recently, and if you have Admin access to your Ads manager account, you can remove the user or change their access level to read-only.
     

    Note: A Google Ads manager account must be an owner of the lower-level account to manage user access on that lower-level account. Any Google Ads manager account can be an owner of a lower-level account. Learn more about how to add administrative ownership of lower-level accounts.

5. I’m concerned about the time it will take to make the required changes. How do I proceed?

We want to be sure to give you and your company's users time to get certified before the new Partner badge requirements go live, especially in the face of a global pandemic like coronavirus (COVID-19). That is why we have decided to postpone the new Google Partners program and new badge requirements until 2021.

6. My finance or legal team need to have Admin access to their registered Partners Ads account, which means they’re included in the total eligible user count for getting certified. How do I proceed?

The new Partner badge certification requirement states that at least 50% of eligible users must be certified in Google Ads. We understand other users, such as finance or legal teams, will need Admin access, and therefore they will be in the other 50% of users.

Questions about the new Partner Badge Performance requirement (launching in 2021)


1. Am I at risk of losing my Google Partner badge if I do not have a high optimization score? Do I need to apply all recommendations and have a 100% optimization score to be a Partner?

You are not required to adopt all recommendations or achieve a 100% optimization score for the new Google Partners badge requirements. The threshold for the new Google Partners badge requirement is 70%. We introduced optimization score to help customers understand if their campaigns are set to achieve high performance and to offer actionable recommendations for improvement. We’ve found that advertisers who increased their account-level optimization score by 10 points saw a 10% increase in conversions, on average.
Note: We evaluate the optimization score without dismissed recommendations for the 2021 Partner badge company performance requirement. To see your optimization score without dismissed recommendations, go to the Recommendations tab in your Google Ads account and hover over the progress bar under the optimization score in the upper left corner. The Partner badge company performance requirement evaluates the Account optimization score.

2. What are the criteria Google currently uses to evaluate Partner accounts and campaign performance compared to what's reflected in the Recommendations?

You can find details of the upcoming changes to the Partners program here. To attain partner status moving forward, we are using the same three criteria as we do currently: knowledge of Google’s ad products, account performance, and spend.

To make the account performance criteria more tangible, transparent and actionable (as previously, partners didn’t know which actions they needed to perform to meet this criteria), we’re evolving to optimization score. Learn more here.

3. What is the minimum optimization score an account needs to maintain?  What is the timeframe that you will be evaluating?

70% is the minimum optimization score for a partner to meet the performance criteria and it’s evaluated on a daily basis. We will inform partners if they no longer meet the 70% minimum score or any of the badge requirements. We give partners a period of time to meet the performance criteria before they lose their badge, during which time we will provide them the tools to meet the requirements. After this period, partners who lose their badge will be able to regain it when they meet the requirements.

Note: We evaluate the optimization score without dismissed recommendations for the 2021 Partner badge company performance requirement. To see your optimization score without dismissed recommendations, go to the Recommendations tab in your Google Ads account and hover over the progress bar under the optimization score in the upper left corner. The Partner badge company performance requirement evaluates the Account optimization score.

4. Many people are frustrated about these changes because the automated recommendations are sometimes not in the best interest of the client based on their goals. They see this as taking control out of their hands, and not putting client interests first.

We understand clients may have nuanced requirements or multiple goals, which is why we’re not requiring an optimization score of 100%. Partners will continue to have the control and autonomy to make the right choices for their clients, while benefiting from the efficiencies the optimization score brings.

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