As a small business, it can be quite nerve-racking to hire an agency or individual to run ads for you on Google or Bing. As well as the agency’s fees, you have ad spend to consider, so it can take up a good chunk of your budget. Understandably, you want to make sure that you’re hiring someone who’s excellent, who knows what they’re doing, and who can provide you a good return on investment.
But how do you know if a self-declared Ads Expert fits these requirements?
Fortunately, both Bing and Google have their own programmes and directories of certified partners. These are people who have qualified through training and proven their knowledge of the individual platforms. We’ll take a look at these in a bit more detail today.
What is Google Partners?
Google Partners is a program providing Google Ads training, support, and resources to agencies and individuals. There are three main categories of membership:
A member can complete certifications and receive technical support directly from Google. They can also take part in challenges and obtain rewards by proving their expertise. Anyone can join as a member.
A Partner is the next level up. As well as all the benefits of a member, they receive additional, more advanced training and can display the Google Partners Badge on their website, proving to current and future clients that they are a true Google Ads expert. Members must meet a number of Partner Requirements to be eligible for this.
A Premier Partner must meet a higher number of requirements – including a higher ad spend across accounts – and pass further exams. This position is usually only available and suitable for larger agencies.
The Premier Partner will be changing in February 2022 and the certification will be reserved for the top 3% of members each year.
How do I Know if Someone is a Google Partner?
Google Partners are allowed to display the Google Partner badge on their website. Anyone who is a qualified partner should display this.
Some agencies may display the badge when not qualified, so you should always ask them for their Partner ID, and a link to their listing on Google. It will look something like this.
Microsoft Advertising Certified Professionals
What are Microsoft Advertising Certified Professionals?
Bing, though much smaller than Google, is still a big – and growing – player in the world of advertising. Owned by Microsoft, they have their own learning platform called the Advertising Learning Lab. Here, you can access a range of courses on everything from the basics of Bing Ads, to reporting and campaign strategy. They also offer certification as a way for agencies to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise.
A Microsoft Advertising Certified Professional is someone who has passed the Certified Professional exam.
How to Tell if Someone is Microsoft Advertising Certified Professional
Like Google, Microsoft provides a badge to be used by those who have qualified. They also make it much easier than Google for you to double-check a qualification is genuine. Simply navigate to their membership directory and type in the name of a company. If they’re qualified, their listing should appear and will give you more information about their status.
Choosing a Qualified Agency
How Can a Partner or Certified Professional Help Your Business?
Google Ads and Bing Ads are complicated platforms and you can stand to lose a lot of money in unnecessary ad spend if you don’t use them correctly or effectively. A Partner or Certified Professional can manage your campaigns so that your budget goes as far as possible. They will have all the relevant skills and up-to-date knowledge to optimise your ads, making them as appealing as possible to your audience.
Using someone with the specific qualifications means that you are less likely to waste money. You’re more likely to see a good return on your ads investment than if you run campaigns yourself, or than if you use an ad manager who isn’t as well qualified.
You may find some agencies have only one of the qualifications, while others have both. It’s worth keeping this in mind before you choose who to work with, and, if possible, having an idea of where you would like to advertise before signing a contract.
Can I Become Qualified Myself?
The short answer is yes. If you’ve got a strong interest in PPC (pay per click), have the time and motivation to do the training, and are willing to spend the minimum amount of money on your ads, then you can sign up and start earning a qualification.
However, there is a steep learning curve, and you need to spend a lot of time studying in order get the best results. As Google and Bing are always updating their platforms, there is also an element of ongoing learning. You can’t just take a course once and leave it at that.
You also have to consider the required minimum ad spend that Google requires: $10,000 every 90 days across all your managed campaigns. While this is possible for agencies with multiple clients, it’s often not a feasible budget for small businesses.
You may find that this isn’t a good or desired use of your time or budget, so working with someone who is already qualified would be a better option.
To be more cost effective and get the best results from your ads, the best option is often to hire an agency or individual who specialises in Google or Bing ads. It can be difficult to know who’s good and who isn’t, so do your research beforehand. Official and current qualifications received directly from the advertising platforms are a good way of identifying effective ad managers.