Google today launched Google Advertising Professionals, a new program for professionals who manage multiple AdWords accounts for their clients. The initiative is Google's answer to Overture's Ambassador program, which was recently expanded to include interactive agencies.
The program includes tools, training, and marketing resources for Webmasters, search engine marketers (SEMs), or agencies who manage AdWords accounts on behalf of others. Google Advertising Professionals helps participants enhance AdWords expertise, use a new account management tool, and earn a qualified logo to display to existing and prospective clients.
"The key part of the program is empowering the base of folks that have organically grown around AdWords and giving them the tools necessary to showcase themselves to potential advertisers," said Sukhinder Singh, general manager of Google Local and third party sales. "The benefit for Google is really extending our reach to potential advertisers by working with the whole community around the system who can effectively deliver the message of AdWords and help potential advertisers try pay-per-click advertising who may not do it themselves."
The My Client Center tool is a master account that provides a single dashboard for managing multiple AdWords customers through one interface and login. A Learning Center offers self-paced training lessons with the most up-to-date information on Google's advertising products and features. Lessons cover all facets of the AdWords program, including sales and marketing modules, technical concepts, and tutorials on specific features. The modules range in complexity from introductory material to advanced topics, Singh said.
"It's really a training and marketing resource for the whole ecosystem of Webmasters, SEMs and agencies that today sell and service AdWords accounts on our behalf," she said. "The program is designed to empower that group and give them the tools, training and marketing recognition necessary to drive their business."
Participants in the program who pass an annual proficiency exam and meet several other basic program requirements will be allowed to display a "Qualified Google AdWords Professional" logo on their Web sites and marketing materials to showcase their experience and expertise to new and existing customers.
Requirements include managing one or more accounts through the program for at least 90 days, with a $1,000 total spend during that period; and passing the exam. The program's rules of use include the usual legal disclaimers, along with a code of conduct: "You must perform under these Rules and service your AdWords Program customers in a professional, responsive and workmanlike manner consistent with reasonable industry standards and in accordance with these Rules."
According to the site, the online exam "is designed to differentiate AdWords experts from AdWords account holders. With that in mind, the exam covers a spectrum of AdWords concepts -- from elementary to advanced." Sample questions and training materials are available in the program's Learning Center.
"We took the exam internally and found it to be a fair representation of having a complete set of knowledge of AdWords," Singh said. "It's a fairly rigorous test."
The exam is administered by Thomson Prometric, and includes a non-refundable $50 fee. The exam can be repeated up to twice a month, with an additional $50 administration fee for each attempt. The exam consists of approximately 100 multiple choice questions, and has a time limit of two hours. A passing grade is 75 percent correct answers.
"The program that we've designed is really meant to scale across multiple segments of third parties that we work with. We invested in areas that scale and are useful to any third party we work with. Our goal was to create something that would appeal and have function for every segment of third parties we work with," Singh said.
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Kevin Newcomb joined ClickZ in August 2004, covering search marketing and other online marketing topics. He has been reporting on web-based businesses since 2000.
Before the bubble burst, Kevin was a marketing manager for an online computer reseller, handling copywriting, e-mail marketing, search marketing and running the affiliate program.
With a combination of real-world marketing experience and years of business journalism, Kevin brings to ClickZ a unique ability to deliver news and training materials that help online marketers do their jobs better.