I’ve been to quite a few Google organised events in the last five years and they never fail to surprise and thrill me, yesterday’s Google Partners Launch was no exception. In fact it raised the bar, in more ways than one.
Making the Move Towards Great
For some time now industry insiders have recognised that the previous AdWords accreditation has slowly been losing its shine. Not only were genuine agencies able to display the badge and claim to be a partner but individuals with enough exam passes were able to claim the status as well, regardless of their actual skills and experience. On the surface it was possible for a competent amateur to look as good as the most gifted professional.
The all new Google Partners accreditation does away with that and separates the wheat from the chaff. There is now a definite distinction between the experts and the amateurs. In fact, to hammer home that point, Google announced that 65% of previous accredited parties had not been moved onto the new platform. 65 in every 100, that’s a huge figure and shows how serious Google is about ensuring its products are delivered by the right people.
The UK Leads The Way
Among the speakers at the event were Mark Howe, Managing Director of Agency Operations in North & Central Europe and Product Manager Tim Frank. They spoke at great length about the opportunities ahead for the agencies who have managed the transition from the old badge to the new badge. There were also several interesting points made about the quality of the work produced by agencies operating out of the UK. Together with some compelling statistics about on-line spend amongst UK residents - over £2,000 per year per capita, it further reinforced the idea that the agencies in the room were the ones worth working with.
Bigger on the Inside….
…no, I’m not talking about The Tardis, I’m talking about the venue for the Partner Launch. As Rachael and I stood outside on the Stoke Newington Road, we did wonder what kind of an evening we were in for. The shop front resembled a run down 70’s ‘art’ cinema, very different from the geek-chic that visitors to the Google offices at Central St Giles will be familiar with. But there was nothing to worry about. Once inside, the building, with exposed brick walls and uneven wooden flooring, had been well and truly Googlified™!
There was a pulled pork counter serving hot food, a deli table with a huge selection of anti-pasti, coffee served from behind a moped, a frozen yoghurt stall with a huge selection of toppings to choose from; who knew smashed Crunchie and blueberries would taste so good, and a regular supply of ‘mini-food'; burgers, fish and chips, pizza. But none of these generated the sort of queue normally associated with panic buying or Stone Roses tickets, and I’m not talking about the Bar that served sixteen different types of Gin, I’m talking about the t-shirt printing counter!
Not ones to let all that effort go to waste we, of course, threw ourselves into the event acquiring a couple of t-shirts, a tote bag and a chocolate milkshake that Willy Wonka would have been proud of along the way…he’s probably on the Google payroll now that I think about it.
Raising the Bar
Of course the main reason we were all gathered at this fantastic event was to celebrate the new Google Partners platform and gain some insight into what Google has planned for 2014. It’s clear that the new platform has raised the bar in terms of offering and delivering excellence. This is great for clients and agencies alike as it highlights, with no ambiguity whatsoever, the agencies that are doing the right things, and gives those agencies benchmarks they can measure themselves against and targets they can aim for.
The presentation was wrapped up by Fintan Gillespie, Performance Industry Head for Google UK. His four areas to focus on in 2014 were both encouraging and enligthening:
- Audience at the Core
- The Multi-Screen World
- Export with AdWords
- Giving Users Choice
These four points all had one thing in common, an emphasis on understanding your audience, whether that’s who they are, where they are or what they are looking for. As Fintan pointed out, attention is an increasingly scarce resource and it’s recognising this and finding ways to win that attention which will separate the best from the rest.
So what does this mean to clients and businesses? Well in short if you’re currently working with an agency you need to see if they are still a partner. Google has updated the badge so it’s easy to recognise on an aesthetic level. The old badge is no longer allowed to be displayed. You can also visit the Google Partners page and see exactly who has made the grade. I’m happy to report that High Position’s transition from the old accreditation to the new, was seamless and that we are proud to continue working with our account managers at Google to provide an outstanding Paid Search service. And if you’re in any doubt, #lookforthebadge.
A brilliant article and a fantastic debrief by Mike Scanlon and Rachel Bilby, shows where Google is heading in 2014 and there were some really important insights especially around branding and engagement. The feature above was such an interesting read and the first hand account was intensely engaging so well done to you both.
A big well done to High Position and other agencies who will now proudly display the blue Google partner badge!