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?