Google Announces Premier Partners Designation for Agencies

As a PPC-focused agency, we’ve always hoped that our story would be easy to differentiate from the roughly several million wannabes who would like to dabble a bit in Google AdWords. If that differentiation were to come in part with the blessing of Google itself, we thought, so much the better.

Google’s push to encourage some standards in AdWords campaign management, and the beginnings of a drive to establish relationships with those who consider themselves qualified campaign practitioners, date all the way back to 2004, when they rolled out a certification called Google Advertising Professionals. We were worried about that at the time. It set a low bar, and vastly increased the number of wannabes floating around with some kind of badge.

[Even to this day, prospective clients have fairly often “grilled” me (as if this is the toughest thing in the world to achieve) as to our Google Partners status. Trust me, getting a badge is not a difficult feat. Doing great work and driving clients to profitable growth is, on the other hand, quite rare. It’s a competitive world for clicks, talent, experience, and perseverance. Agency profit margins, say the bean counters, go down when the big agency pays its people sufficiently to retain them. Agency profit margins, say the bean counters, go down when the account managers are given sufficient time to focus deeply on a small number of accounts, instead of staggering under the load of many accounts. So, you do the math. If you’re not sure an agency is putting a great PPC account manager on the job and giving them sufficient resources to do a great job, then chances are, they probably aren’t.]

Later, in 2010, Google updated the initiative to refer to Qualified Companies, not just individuals. I wrote about that here, placing it in the light of some remarks I’d made in my book in 2008. It had always struck me that Google had a long way to go towards formalizing its ecosystem relationships. Enterprise software companies like Microsoft, by contrast, had decades of head start on the concept of supporting Value-Added Resellers around the globe. Resellers aren’t the same as marketing professionals managing campaigns, but the analogy still holds up well enough. Google’s partner relationships remained a bit informal, and a bit chaotic. That’s to be expected. AdWords itself is only a teenager, dating back to 2002. There isn’t a single institution on Earth that can claim to have a 20-year track record serving clients in this discipline. And some of the best in the business today are relatively small, like us.

The partner badging initiatives stumbled along and eventually morphed into the current, improved version, Google Partners. Yet the bar was still low, and everyone and his dog was popping up as a Google Partner. Plus, as a Google Partner, we were surprised to see our support levels waxing and waning. Would Google eventually see this chaos and begin to invest more resources back into a select group of partners?

Happily, the answer is yes. Google has launched a higher tier of Partner (complete with badge) for companies that “manage a substantial portfolio of Google advertising campaigns” and “deliver great results for their customers”: the Premier Google Partner designation.


Page Zero is proud to be a Premier Google Partner. We’re appreciative of Google’s support at this pivotal time of explosive growth in digital advertising, marketing, content, and functionality. We’re going to put that relationship to work to give our clients every ounce of the top tier support they deserve.