|GAP Program is Going Away|
Being replace by certified partners
Google has been doing some serious thinking about the GAP (Google Advertising Professional) program for at least three years.
A while ago they redid the entire learning center.
Then they launched Agency Land.
And today they launch their new certification program.
Here are the main differences:
Old Days: One test and spend requirement.
Now: Two tests (one basic and any one of the advanced tests) and no spend requirement.
This seems that the individual qualification is more a resume bullet point than a way of attracting business.
Old Days: This was a qualified company. Qualified companies required 3 GAPs and a nice spend requirement.
Now: Need one Individual Qualification and spend $10k/quarter.
This is a much lower threshold.
While Google still offers logos for analytics, website optimizer, etc - the AdWords Reseller and AdWords Company qualified logos showed both a combination of size (more than 1 employee) and spend.
Here's the really good news. Agencies will now get API credits based upon client spend.
In the old days, an individual advertiser or reseller could get free quote points, but agencies had to pay for it.
Now, just like individual advertisers; agencies can be eligible for credits if they have an agency page (a free listing page on Google's site that you can create once you're a partner).
Big Agency Support?
The AdWords Reseller program has been in turmoil for a few months. This new structure makes no difference between an agency spending $3k per month with one GAP and one spending $10 million a month with 20 GAPs.
Will the resller program be restructured for large agencies or will a new tier emerge?
Link to official blog post at Google [adwords.blogspot.com...]
Individual requirement changes seem reasonable to me.
Editing this - according to the site I now have to log into, I'm apparently no longer qualified, even though I passed the test last year and was not due to take more exams until next year? Can't say I'm crazy about that. Is this seriously the way it's supposed to work, AWA?
Just to clarify - a bit more is needed for the free API quota points than to pass the test and have a profile page.
That is the first step. The second is to go through the application process which you can find more about here: Preferred API pricing [google.com]
Thanks to RustyBrick for clarifying (via twitter) that existing GAPS will need to recertify within six months.
I'm not planning to.
This is lame. No way am I giving G any more money. Mid-Big spenders should be given credits for these new tests.
I don't even care so much about the money. But forcing existing GAPS into early re-certification is a BS move. I have three major client site launches this summer; I don't have time to deal with this. I've passed the exam four times; most recently last year. Was not supposed to take it again until next year.
The bottom line is, the certification program isn't that valuable to me. I don't get clients from it (and in fact I turn away far more than I accept) The $100 vouchers are nice, but they're not deal breakers. Frankly, the real experts probably need the certification program less than Google needs the experts. I'm glad they're cleaning up the program, because it really needs it. But unless they offer me something that really means something, and has value (like premium access to *real* support for my clients, for example) - it's not worth reworking my schedule for.
I've heard the new test will have the following questions:
1. Should ROI-focused advertisers spend on the Content Network?
Correct Answer: (c)
2. Name three free Google tools that obviate the need for 3rd-party SEM tools.
Answer: Conversion Optimizer; Website Optimizer; Ad Planner
3. If PPC = 2 and SEO = 2, what does PPC + SEO equal?
4. Quality Score is
a) A mechanism that ensures advertisers make their ads & websites as relevant as possible to user intent;
b) The PPC equivalent of the Spinal Tap amplifier that 'Goes To Eleven' to juice Google's revenues when needed;
c) A system whose true workings are understood by 3 engineers at Google and no one at Google you'll ever get to talk to;
d) All of the above
Test Answer: (a)
Correct Real-World Answer: (d)
Shorebreak, LOL...especially at 4-b.
it is more attractive for person to have individual GAP, since there is spend limited,but they need to pay twice than before, for that already pass the GAP, their qualification will expire in 6 month, and as a rebate, google send us the free voucher
here is my email from google gap team
but when i attend the new test, since it is a litter hard, you should install a softeware,which prevent you from searching the answer when u do the test lol
[edited by: eWhisper at 12:22 pm (utc) on Apr 27, 2010]
[edit reason] Email quotes aren't allowed. Please see TOS. [/edit]
It seems that everyone is getting these free vouchers.
API credits will be more available.
No one can accuse Google of making this move for the money.
It seems that they want to simplify the entire process; yet make it harder to become certified.
I'm a fan of making it harder and giving more free API credits. Those are good moves.
Until Google really promotes this program as an option (and increases the awareness of the program) then its functionality will be limited.
schmertifications are too often for posers.
besides time required and the never ending changification of the cert process, here's another thing that stops me.
G allows trademark poachers to maintain a super high ctr account history and uses that "metric" to give them an advantage to screw the merchants that i serve as a consultant. why would i pursue being "certified" by someone who behaves this way. i have clients ask me why the "ppc affiliates" are doing better than their own ppc - i wish G would wise up and realize how their actions are hurting real ppc budgets everywhere. it is beyond my comprehension why G requires you to prove ownership to use Analytics, but anyone can point their AdWords account at any site they want.
if G cared about stewardship (aka if consultant certification meant anything), G would allow the site owner, at the very least, to be able to opt into a system that allows them to enter the allowed adwords account numbers who can drive G ppc traffic to their domain.
if i had a G cert hung around my neck, i'd be ashamed to have the trademark / domain name ppc poaching conversation that i have had hundreds of times with my clients.
i sound like a whiner, i know. i love adwords and the consulting i do for it - but there's this one burning hole in the process - poachers rewarded for high ctr, when they should be banished.
we're pointing to the same domain, they copy my ad text, so the only difference between me and them is their high account ctr cuz all they do is aim at tons and tons of merchants, only bidding on name traffic, never doing any product ppc. and for this, they are rewarded.
within a high ctr poacher account, how hard is it for G to see dozens and dozens of campaigns and ad groups all pointed at multiple domain names where the keywords are just the many site's domain names...
so G, if you've read this far, please use the "define:" shortcut on google...
if you want to foster an attitude where certification is relevant, then you must show you will not willingly put your certification partners at a disadvantage. we don't need an advantage, we 'get' the benefits of education.
but "impinged by the certifier" just ain't in my character. so i have zero interest in pursuing certification.