Google Ads Partners Program Requirements Are Changing For 2021

Sam Carr

Sam Carr

February 17th, 2020

Sam Carr is a content marketer at PPC Protect with 10 years of digital marketing experience. With a keen interest in ad fraud, Sam shares all his insights on the PPC Protect blog.

google invalid clicks report

Launched in 2013, Google’s partner program is often seen as a “must-have” for any SEO or PPC marketing agency. Not only does the partner program require agencies to pass certain exams to prove that they know what they’re doing, but they also have to spend a certain amount on Google Ads every month.

This partner program was introduced to help agencies improve their reputation and to give their clients more confidence in their abilities. But having been around for nearly seven years now, Google has just announced that it is making some of the biggest changes to the program since its inception.

If you’re currently a Google partner then you better pay attention, a lot of requirements are changing and in order to keep your badge, you’ll have to make some big changes.

To give you an idea of what’s changing and what this means for agencies, we’re taking a look at the upcoming changes and what you can do to stay a partner. The first and most important question is: when is the change coming and how long do agencies have?

When Is The Google Partner Change Coming?

The news of the upcoming changes was released on 13th February by Google with the full changes coming into effect in “2021”. Although there is no official date as to when the change will happen, many official Google resources keep referencing the “2021” as the transition date.

What Are The New Google Partner Changes?

There are three main things that are changing when it comes to the new partner program and can be split into certifications, spend, and company performance. Here’s what you need to know about each one.


The first major change is to do with certifications and how many your employees hold. Currently, you can become a Google Partner with just one member of staff holding the certification, but under the new changes, you’ll need to have at least 50% of your staff that use ads manager accounts certified. For some businesses, this means getting just a few more certifications, while for others, it means getting hundreds of staff certified.

Google describes eligible users as anyone who has an admin or standard level access to your company’s or ads manager account, or any other linked account. This shows that Google wants to ensure the people who spend their time working with Google ads accounts regularly actually understand what changes they are making. The bad news is that even if you’ve been doing PPC ads for 20 years, you’re still going to have to sit their NEW Google ads certifications before the June deadline.

Ad Spend

Currently, Google Partners must spend a minimum of $10,000 on Google Ads within 90 days across all of their managed accounts. Under their new requirements, Google Partners will have to spend $20,000 on Google Ads over 90 days.

This change alone will have a big impact on how many agencies are partners and there will likely be a big decrease. Doubling your ad spend in 4 months’ notice is possible, but for some agencies, it won’t be. If you’re quite a bit off the $20,000 minimum, then you should be spending the next 4 months trying to sign as many clients as possible or increase the monthly ad spend of existing clients.

Company Performance

The final new change coming to the Google Partners program is the performance of the agency and how well they are retaining clients. In the past, Google has judged an agencies performance based on how well they retain clients and sign up new ones.

However, with the new requirements, agencies performance will be monitored by whether they follow Google’s optimization score recommendations. This means PPC managers and executives will have to be actively pursuing Google suggestions in order to maintain good performance.

If you’ve ever looked at the Google optimization recommendations, then you should know how terrible they can be. Well, now it looks like Google is forcing you to accept them unless you want to wave bye-bye to your partner status.

To give you a quick summary of the new Google partner changes, here’s a handy table:

CriteriaPartner Badge [current] Partner Badge [2021]
Certification A company needs one user certified in Google Ads who has admin or standard access to the company’s Google Ads manager account or any account linked to the company’s Google Partners registered Ads manager account.

Learn more about making user certification count towards a company’s Partner badge.
A company needs to have at least 50% of its eligible users earn updated certifications from Skillshop. Learn more about the Google Ads certification.
Spend Meet a 90-day ad spend requirement of $10,000 USD across your managed accounts to show that your company has a healthy amount of activity. Meet a 90-day ad spend requirement of $20,000 USD across your managed accounts to show that your company has a healthy amount of activity.
Company performance Meet the performance requirement by delivering solid overall ad revenue and growth, and maintaining and growing your customer base.

Partners evaluates the client accounts linked to your manager account during an 18-month period. Partners require at least 12 months of spend activity in your manager account.
Meet the performance requirement by using Google Ads effectively to set up and optimally run campaigns to maximise outcome.

Access your ‘Recommendations’ tab to see the actions that you can take to improve your performance.  Note: We evaluate the optimisation score without dismissed recommendations for the company performance requirement.

If you’re still unsure about the upcoming changes, then don’t worry. All current Google partners should receive an email from Google stating if they have achieved the new requirements or not. A recent partner on Google posted the email he received from Google which clearly shows that he doesn’t meet the new requirements as not enough of his staff are certified.

google partners new requirements

Hopefully, this email should give you an idea of the requirements you’ve already met and the improvements you need to make. If you’re still unsure about any of the new requirements then you should definitely contact your Google rep for advice on how to achieve them.

Get A Free Traffic Audit

Do you know how much of your budget is being spent on invalid clicks? Your campaign performance could be being reduced by as much as 30%. You won’t know until we’ve run our free traffic audit.

Start Your Free Audit

How many invalid clicks do you get on your account?

How much spend is wasted on fraudulent clicks?

Are your competitors wasting your budget?