Opinion: Google Partners Program incentives should include actual client goals

By Kirk Williams

I received an email yesterday about new challenges and rewards in the Google Partners experience, so I headed over there to see how things are going these days.

Have you visited the Google Partners Rewards experience? It simplifies the steps for how “points” are obtained by agencies and shows you exactly what you can do to gain those points (and what those points buy you. Google-branded Tile anyone?).

According to the page, you can earn points by these seven “challenges:”

  1. Audience challenge
  2. Search automation
  3. Display automation
  4. Non-last click adoption
  5. Host a live stream event
  6. Participate in a training
  7. Team certifications and specializations

Expected culprits like certifications and training achievements give agencies ways to gain points for swag-winning fun, but some of those categories for swag-winning points have of a more ominous tone to them.

For instance, incentivizing an agency to add Search or GDN automation into a percentage of accounts so they can get that Google ping pong table doesn’t begin to hit upon actual client goals. This is to say nothing of whether or not that automation is, at this time, even what is needed by that account.

The fact that Google isn’t incentivizing agencies on what is best for their client accounts is sadly no longer a surprise to me, but it does remind me of conversations I’ve had with many PPCers (including Googlers) over the years. Conversations which often involve the wish for Google’s agency and rep program be re-centered around what is best for individual account goals, rather than what will accomplish Google’s internal purposes.

Admittedly, Google is a business and therefore has its own incentives to hit (though much argument has been had in recent years on the line they walk between business and service, especially in light of EU rulings and other concerns. An argument I won’t even try to wade into in this short post, especially since I get confused by it myself).

That being acknowledged, I don’t mind saying that incentives offered to agencies which may or may not align with an individual client account is a significant concern for me – both for my clients, my own business and the industry itself.

Ultimately, I believe that what is in Google’s best interest, my agency’s best interest and the client’s (you remember them, the ones who fund *all* of this) best interest is all the same – client account success.

Clients measure success differently, which complicates the matter. But it’s 2019, and we have data coming out of our ears and more likely than not, we have specific goals for many accounts we manage. Not an agency? Guess what; in-house teams have goals as well.

What if we all worked together on what our clients actually wanted to accomplish.

Google Partners Program reward swag

Is there an alternative?

Rather than give agencies arbitrary point numbers based on which percentage of their accounts have some sort of automation in them, why not have a section in every account where the client goals are added and …read more

Read more here:: marketingland.com-sem

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