The new program's main feature, the management program "My Client Center," provides search marketers with a single hub from which they can monitor multiple client accounts. For search engine marketing and advertising agencies, this eases the tedious and time-consuming process of constantly logging in and out of different client accounts.
Another new element is the "Learning Center," a free service open to the public, which contains information about AdWords. The center's "Lessons Catalog" covers general information, setting up an account, account analysis, billing, troubleshooting and optimization, advanced optimization, and maintenance and management.
The third of the new components is a certification logo, which multi-client AdWords customers can qualify for. To become certified, participants must pass an annual proficiency exam, use a My Client Center account, and spend a minimum of $1,000 in a 90-day period. The two-hour, 100-question exam, administered by Thomson Prometric, costs $50 and can be taken a maximum of twice per month.
Salar Kamangar, Google's director of product management, said the company created its advertising professionals program in response to requests from Google's rapidly growing third-party customer base. "We've seen tremendous growth from third parties of all sizes," said Kamangar, adding that the new program "fosters this ecosystem that's already grown up around AdWords."
Smaller third-party providers told Google they want to be able to sell their search engine marketing expertise to potential clients, according to Kamangar, who said that a certification logo was the best means to help them achieve this.
The Yellow Pages industry, from which search engine marketing grew to a certain extent, has a similar certification program called "Certified Marketing Representative." That certification is considerably more intense and expensive, requiring prospects to take classes and go through field training, among other things, before becoming "certified" to buy ad space in the Yellow Pages.