If you are looking into hiring a pay-per-click (PPC) manager to look after your PPC advertising you have probably heard about Google Adwords Certified consultants.
What does it mean to be Adwords certified? Let me explain.
What is a Google Adwords Consultant?
I should start by mentioning that I am a Google Partner however this won’t alter the neutrality of my explanation and descriptions below.
A Google Adwords Partner is someone who has met a number of requirements set by Google to demonstrate advanced knowledge of the Adwords system and how to use it for client accounts. The idea being that if you can meet these requirements, Google has some assurance that you will be proficient in the management of client Adwords accounts and suitable for recommendation.
At the time of writing, the minimum requirements are as follows:
- Pass the Adwords Fundamentals exam.
- Pass at least one of the other, more advanced exams (there are 5).
- Manage at least $10,000 of advertising spend in Adwords in the last 90 days.
To verify that someone is in fact certified by Google they will be able to provide an official link to a Google Partner page hosted directly on the Google.com domain. If they can’t, they may be lying.
Also, to maintain the certification status the exams must be retaken on a fairly regular basis. Managed ad spend must also be maintained.
Is the work of an Adwords Consultant guaranteed?
I’d love to say it is but Google doesn’t really have any control over a Google Partner out in the wild. While our specialised management accounts (called an MCC or My Client Centre account) are monitored somewhat, we are free to implement any PPC management strategy.
Personally, I have never known a Google Partner who didn’t deliver a professional standard of account management to their clients. However, there are likely to be examples of poor performance if you go looking.
There are no guarantees but the likelihood or problems with a Google Partner are low.
As a Google Partner we are also supported by Google if we are willing to accept their assistance from time to time. Google are also enthusiastic about seminars and training sessions as a way of keeping their partners engaged. I certainly enjoyed the event that I attended at Darling Harbour in Sydney a few years back.
My concern about the certification process
The certification exam is done 100% online. What’s more, there is no reason why someone else can’t do the exam for you. While I’m not suggesting that cheating is rampant, it is possible. You may even see ads online where less than scrupulous account manager’s are looking for someone to do the exam for them (in their name).
I hope Google finds a way to close this loophole in the certification process as it would add another layer of trust for those of us who do the right thing – and actually know our stuff.
If you are looking for an Adwords account manager then I’d certainly encourage you to make Google Partner status part of your list of expectations. It doesn’t hurt and assuming you hire a genuine Google Partner you should be in very good hands.
Going forward I certainly intend to keep my certified status current. If nothing else it forces me to stay up-to-date with the latest documentation, new features and best practices.
Google Adwords is an ever-changing tool that requires time and experience to master fully. Hiring someone with this advanced knowledge may be the best marketing decision you’ve made in a while.