Google Empowers Ad Agencies With Certification And Partners

By Brandon Teoh

Not many advertising agencies are aware that they can actually leverage on Google Adwords ecosystem to sell advertisement to their customers.

When Google Adwords first kicked off in 2003, it was designed to accommodate small businesses and those who wanted to manage their own campaigns through a ‘self-service’ portal. As a matter of fact, when Google first got into the business of advertising, it helped customers to manage their advertising campaigns. The self-service feature came afterwards.

Google Adwords only came to Malaysia around year 2008. Later on, Google Adwords introduced this feature known as My Client Center (MCC) which allows a single account to manage multiple accounts – the same way an advertising agency manages multiple accounts for their customers.

The whole Google Adwords ecosystem consists of a few key components such as:

GCP (Google Certification Program) program: It’s a globally recognised stamp of approval – a program that the interested individual needs to sign up with to take the GCP exams and be GCP certified. It is open to anyone. It’s a certification program for local agency or individual.

Google Engage: It is a separate program that provide supports to agencies. Only agencies are allowed to join this program. Engage will leverage on CGP for certification.

Recently, Google Malaysia announced the GCP Challenge – a campaign to attract more people to become GCP certified.

On 30 Nov 2012, Google announced the Premier SME Partnership (PSP) program – designed to bring digital marketing to more Malaysian SMEs by fostering a network of partners dedicated to providing specialised services that help SMEs grow.

In a nutshell, PSP helps experienced Adwords providers connect underexposed businesses with the expert help they need to reach new customers online, by creating, managing and optimizing their online advertising campaigns – only a select group of highly qualified providers can become PSP.

(L-R: HK Song, CEO of CBSA,
Sajith Sivanandan, Country Head for Google Malaysia,
Alfian Abu Talib, CEO of TM InfoMedia)

Google Malaysia announced that three premier partners had already been selected for the program. These partners include Yellow Pages by TM Info-Media Sdn. Bhd, PanPages by CBSA Online and Active Media.

Key benefits of becoming PSP include :


  • Dedicated marketing management
  • Co-branded marketing materials & promotions
  • Program Badge
  • Customer Acquisition programs
  • Performance incentives
  • Sales training & support
  • Product updates & incentives
  • Technical / operations support
  • Strategic support
  • Partner management and support


Preventing abuse
Over the years, the Google Adwords ecosystem has been subjected to misuse and abuse. Google found that there were non-PSP agencies who had sold on Google’s name but didn’t deliver. These culprits misinformed customers with claims such as the followings:


  • Claiming to be from Google
  • Harassing or bullying customers to sign up
  • Deceptive pricing – the agency may not use the correct advertising budget as agreed with customers
  • Guaranteeing ad placement – it’s not possible to guarantee ad placement on search results pages. Adwords ad position is determined by an auction and changes dynamically with every new search.
  • Claiming Adwords will affect your organic or natural search ranking – Adwords advertising has no impact on your ranking in search results – the two are completely separate.


PSPs will provide customer with regular reports to help customer to track the performance of campaigns on monthly basis. PSPs are expected to charge value-added services professional fees on top of the cost of advertising which in this case is the costs-of-clicks.

Nonetheless, Google advised that Adwords ads can take a few months to ‘tune’ to the optimal performance level. Essentially, three indicators are important as measurement of Adword campaign effectiveness. These are:


  • Impressions – the number of times the ad appeared
  • Clicks – the number of times users clicked on the ad
  • Costs – the total amount spent on Adwords


The lure of Online 
Malaysia has over 18 million Internet users, and more than 60% of Malaysians search online before purchasing a product or engaging a service. According to a new PayPal survey conducted by GfK to measure the changing ways that consumers shop and pay, Malaysians plan close to half of all their holiday shopping online this year, potentially saving up to 36 hours of their precious time, than if they were to shop without planning.

Hence, opportunities for SMEs to connect with customers online are huge. Malaysia has roughly 700, 000 SMEs out of which only 100,000 are online and active and only a small fraction of those advertise on the Web. In fact, many SMEs want to go online but they are restrained by limited resources and expertise.

Google Adwords helps SMEs to gain better outreach. There are over 3 billion searches on Google Per day. Google Adwords allows advertisers to target ads by geography in order to perform targeted campaign.

By 2013, more people will access the web via smart-phones and tablets than via desktop. Mobile is the way of the future given than it is gained 5x growth in mobile search over past 2 years whereby 20 billion apps have been downloaded on Google Play alone. Advertisers are advised to take advantage of mobile with hyperlocal geo-targeting and click-to-call features.

In the Adwords ecosystem, there are currently 2+ million popular & niche sites known as Google Display Network reaching to 80% of Internet users worldwide.

And let’s not forget that Adword ads can also be published on the YouTube network where there is 800 million viewers per month – 72 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube every minute!

HK Song, CEO of CBSA online was quoted as saying that CBSA was selected as PSP partly because it has 100 over sales person servicing the SME industry on daily basis, currently there are about 6000 customers advertise on their network and it has a total staff strength of 500 in the whole of ASEAN.

“Transforming from a purely paper-based Yellow Pages publication to now being present in digital forms, our own story is a classic example of how Internet is a defining force in shaping the future of doing business in Malaysia,” said Alfian Abu Talib, CEO of TM InfoMedia.

“SMEs don’t yet advertise much,” said Sajith Sivanandan, country head for Google Malaysia who also added, “they should!”

Google Premier SME Partner program is a global initiative of Google and is operational in 37 countries worldwide.

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