Google Partners clarifies why clients may be listed as ‘eligible users’ toward new certification requirement

“We strongly recommend that any user who can edit campaigns should be certified,” Google.

There is a lot about the coming changes to the Google Partners program eligibility requirements that agencies aren’t happy about. Among them, the requirement that at least 50% of the eligible users listed in their manager accounts will need to earn Google Ads certifications (up from just one certified user with standard or admin access). The new requirements, announced last week, are set to take effect by the end of June.

The issue isn’t that the certifications are regarded as weak indicators of a user’s proficiency with using Google Ads products to create value for clients, though many hold that view. The concern about this new threshold is that the list of eligible users in manager accounts often includes numerous client representatives and others who aren’t involved in campaign management. (You might be surprised to see who’s on your list of eligible users in your manager account.) In response, Google added a bit more around the eligible user requirement on the help page late last week.

The new certification requirement: The new requirement states, “A company needs to have at least 50% of its eligible users earn updated certifications from Skillshop. A company must also have at least 1 user certified in each channel they have spent in.”

Why users may be listed as eligible and how to change that. Google outlined three reasons client accounts may be included in the eligible user count:

  1. They use personal email accounts. If clients or others “have personal email domain addresses” to access your manager account. Google recommends agencies “replace all personal email accounts in the Ads Manager account registered to Google Partners with company domain email accounts.”
  2. They use email addresses with your company domain. If you’ve created client emails on your agency domain, you’ll likely see them showing on this list. Google says to “ask your clients to use their own company email domain address.”
  3. Many users still have access. It may just be that you’ve given many client representatives access to your Ads Manager account, lower-level manager accounts or serving accounts and need to do some housecleaning. Google also notes that read-only and email-only users aren’t counted as eligible users, so this may be an option for some on your list.
  4. Finance and legal team members. Google acknowledges that legal and finance team members often need admin access to manager accounts. That, it says, is why just 50% of eligible users need to be certified: “We understand other users, such as finance or legal teams, will need Admin access, and therefore they will be in the other 50% of users.”

How to check your manager account’s list of eligible users. Assuming your agency is currently in the Google Partners program, from the left-hand menu in your manager account, click “Partners program.” Under the “Badge status” section, click “View details.” In the second column of the “Certifications” section, click the hyperlinked sentence indicating how many users have current certifications. Then you’ll see the “Users that count toward the Partners certification requirement” listed at the top of the page. A second list of “Users that don’t count toward the Partners certification requirement” is below that.

How to change user permissions. If you want to make changes to your user permissions after reviewing this list, click the “Tools & Settings” tab in the menu at the top of the page. Click “Account access” under the “Setup” dropdown.

Why we care. On the plus side, there’s likely to be widespread attention paid to cleaning up and tightening access methods in manager accounts. There are simple ways to still give clients access they need (and deserve), whether or not you’re agency is in the Partner program. Even after tidying, though, the new requirement is going to be a hassle for many agencies that still see value in the program and want to comply by the end of June.