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What To Look For In An AdWords Certified Partner

The most important thing to look for in an AdWords certified partner is above all honesty. An honest professional will take the time to discuss your business, and your advertising goals. They should create comprehensive reports, communicate directly with clients, and always be flexible in their approach. Ultimately, “best practices” are what works best for you.

Every client is different, with specific challenges and opportunities unique to their business. When considering hiring an agency or certified partner, here are some things you should always keep in mind:

1. What is your advertising goal?

Every situation is different. Your ultimate advertising goal is to make a profit, but an honest certified partner will tell you the truth: Nothing happens overnight, marketing is an ongoing process. You need to have a plan, and your expectations must be reasonable.

Making sure that there are no policy issues with the site, products / services, or ad copy should be a priority. Someone with experience will be able to know what to look for, and offer suggestions as to how to resolve those potential issues, before your account gets suspended or (god forbid) banned outright.

If you are a start up, your goal may be to increase brand awareness as the first step in developing your customer base. If your target market isn’t even aware of your existence, you shouldn’t reasonably expect immediate engagement. A good certified partner knows that you have to first accrue impressions before you can get any clicks, or conversions.

If you have a more established business with historical analytics data, or perhaps even an existing AdWords account, an initial AdWords account audit should be conducted before any account management agreement is reached. An experienced certified partner should have enough historical data to analyze and offer some immediate insight. If you have already established profitable revenue channels, you will want to find a partner who can help you achieve sustainable growth.

Is the goal of your advertising clear from the evidence available? If not, then communication is key. You want a certified partner who can offer solutions, and work with you to execute a long term online marketing plan.

2. What do you want to “see”?

As the business owner, you are going to perceive your business differently than everyone else. Customers, employees, and vendors alike. What you see in regards to your business online is important to you. However, an experienced certified partner may have a different perspective. While it’s important that a search engine marketer understands what you want to see, (which messaging “works” for you) their knowledge of people and user behavior online should be considered.

For example: You sell gears, and as an industry insider you know that gears is the proper technical term for your product. You Google ‘gears’ and you see that your ads are all using the term ‘widgets’ to describe the product. You contact your account manager and tell them that you only want to see “gears” being used to describe the product in all of your ads.

An experienced certified partner should be able to immediately offer an explanation as to why they used that particular language in the ad text. What matters most is what your customers want to see, and the data should reflect that. If calling a ‘gear’ a ‘widget’ in the ad text is more engaging to your audience, and there are measurable results, then a certified partner should be able to demonstrate their reasoning.

3. How do we find a compromise that works for everyone?

Sometimes there is a disconnect between the want, and the reality. An ethical professional should be forthright, and willing to admit when the current approach is not working. However, an experienced marketer will always have more than one solution to offer.

An experienced search marketer is going to “follow the money”. For example: They may find that display network targeting is actually more profitable to your particular business than search network targeting.  Would you be willing to compromise by not seeing a particular ad for a particular keyword on the Google SERP’s, if it meant doubling your Return On Ad Spend?

When optimizing for phone call leads in particular, compromise is crucial. Call extensions, Google call forwarding numbers, and call tracking are an absolutely necessary tool for an experienced search marketer. Would you compromise on what phone number is shown with an ad if it doubled your phone call volume?

When it comes to selling products, it’s important that an experienced certified partner provides you with a value formula to demonstrate the ROAS. If you want to sell high-end Ford trucks, you may want to see “Ford Trucks” In the ad, and target only ‘Ford truck’ keywords. However, ‘Ford dealers’ may be the all time best performing underlying search term. A more generic “Local Ford Dealer” ad may be the best performing ad. How do you know from that search term and ad copy combination which specific type of Ford a potential customer is looking for? Would you be willing to compromise by selling twice as many cars, even though you would rather sell twice as many trucks?

Beware of:

When it comes to hiring an agency, keep these things in mind:

Beware of long term contracts!

While it may take some time to see the desired results, under no circumstances should you sign a long term (year+) contract. A 90 day trial agreement would not be unreasonable for an ethical certified partner to manage your account. That would give a professional enough time build something of value, while still allowing you flexibility if things don’t work out.

While we would like at least 90 days to test, analyze, and optimize an account – All our client agreements are month to month.

You should always have access to and control over your account.

A certified partner should have a My Client Center account. An MCC will allow them to do things that a single AdWords account cannot. The only access you should grant to a partner or agency is by accepting the invitation to join their MCC.

If you already have an account that you have managed yourself, then you should still remain the owner. There is no reason why access should ever be taken away from you.

If you are a brand new advertiser, an MCC owner can create a brand new account for you. However, they should immediately send you an invitation to become the owner of the account – Before any credit card and billing information is entered!

Never provide your credit card information, and control your own spend.

Even if you have never had an AdWords account, with a little help you can and should always enter your own billing information when creating an account. Always control ownership of your account and your credit card details. Over time you may have to update an expired card, or otherwise change the CC. An ethical certified partner would much rather help walk you through the process, than have access to your CC information. It only takes a few minutes and a little communication to protect yourself in the long run.


Finding a credible certified partner to manage your online advertising may seem like a challenging task. However, it’s no different than choosing a vendor or supplier for any other aspect of your business. Communication is key.

An AdWords specialist should have the experience and ability to be flexible, and adapt their skills to the clients needs. In times when the goal  is not realistically attainable, they have to be able to communicate that to a client, and offer solutions to work towards meeting that goal(s) over time.

They should always provide you with reports and documentation to prove that their approach is driven by facts reflected in the available data. An honest professional will always be up-front and honest about advertising costs, and provide you with access to your account(s). You should have nothing to hide if you are acting in your clients best interests. 🙂

If you are interested in discussing the possibility of working with Thomas Creek Concepts to achieve your business goals, contact us, we’d love to hear from you! Or, if you want to explore other possibilities, check out the AdWords Certified Partner Search.