Google postpones Google Partners program changes slated for June

The new badge requirements will not go into effect until 2021 due to COVID-19 disruption.

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In February, Google announced sweeping changes to the requirements for agencies to qualify for the Google Partners badging and certification program. Those new requirements were set to take effect in June. Now, amid the upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic and shelter in place orders, Google is postponing the changes until 2021.

“We hope this change helps give you and your customers the time you need to adjust to the ongoing developments,” the company said in an email to agencies Wednesday afternoon.

If qualified on or after Jan. 1, 2020. In addition, agencies that have had active badges or specializations at any time this year will be able to keep — or regain — their Partner status until the new measures go into effect next year.

That means, for example, agencies that may have lost — or face losing — their Partner status this year because they can’t meet the current spend threshold as clients cut ad budgets during this time will be able to keep their status.

New badges. Agencies that don’t have a badge or a specialization — Search, Video, Display or Shopping — will be able to earn them based on the existing criteria until the new program launches in 2021. Google did not specify the 2021 launch date.

Why we care. This is a good move by Google both in goodwill and as a practical matter. Agencies, like many other businesses, are facing severe business challenges with the prospect (or reality) of layoffs, losing clients and ad spend cuts. Now, at least, they don’t have to worry about bringing in a minimum of $20,000 per month in ad spend, having 50% of eligible users certified or overly fret about optimization scores to keep their Partner badge status, which is largely a sales tool.

Google has pushed out other timelines, including ads API updates, parallel tracking for Video amid the coronavirus pandemic. It is experiencing staffing challenges of its own and has alerted advertisers that ad reviews and some ad support options may be delayed or unavailable.

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About the author

Ginny Marvin
Ginny Marvin was Third Door Media’s former Editor-in-Chief (October 2018 to December 2020), running the day-to-day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin wrote about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, MarTech and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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