Google announced a big update for advertisers this week via email. Starting Monday, September 30th, Google will begin replacing their Google Certification Program with Google Partners, which according to Google, will include improvements that make it easier and more meaningful to get certified in Google advertising solutions like AdWords.
How this will affect certified professionals
• Beginning September 30, 2013, access to your GCP account will be read-only.
• You’ll need a Google Partners account to take exams and get certified.
• Taking exams and getting certified will be free. (Currently $50 USD per exam)
• Your GCP exam history and AdWords certification status will transfer to Partners when you join using the same Google account.
• Certifications earned through GCP will remain valid through the expiration date.
How this will affect Google Certified Partner companies
• Beginning September 30, 2013, a Google Partners account will be required to manage your company’s profile on Google Partner Search. You’ll be able to manage both your individual certifications and company profile using the same Partners account.
• Certified Partner companies will remain listed on Google Partner Search until November 13, 2013.
• To continue being listed on Google Partner Search after November 13, a company must qualify for the new Google Partner badge.
• Current Certified Partners will not automatically qualify for the new Partner badge.
• Use of the old ‘AdWords Certified Partner’ badge for promotional or other purposes won’t be permitted after November 13.
So not really much here besides the $50 exam fee removed for advertisers looking to put that pretty Google Adwords Certified badge on their LinkedIn or resume. Could this be a reaction to Google’s search-ad prices declining since the 4th quarter of 2011? Maybe. But overall, it’s simply an effort to make becoming Google AdWords Certified, easier.
Sure they’re losing $50 per exam (one fundamental exam every 2 years and one advanced exam every year) or $150 every 2 years, but that is chump change compared what they’ll make if they convert even 1% more of professionals to Partners status by offering the exam for free.
For a long time, many advertisers have been incredibly intimidated to take the GCP exam. There are a number of third party sites dedicated to helping users Google Certification Practice Test that now seem useless, because you can take the test for free using Google and learn from the test itself.
It is important to note that these improvements seem to only be for Google AdWords and the Google Certification Exam, and not for Google Analytics and the Google Analytics Certification Exam. Unfortunately there will likely not be a free test for the Analytics exam going forward, as Google does not see a direct ROI as a result of Analytics Certified Professionals like they do with AdWords Certified professionals.
Will you be taking the exam stress free knowing that you’re not financially invested in passing? Thanks for reading & share this with your Google-y friends using the links below!
Other Google AdWords news: Google AdWords Announces Call-Only Campaigns