There has been a lot of talk in the official Google Analytics Group for Qualified Companies about the effects that the recently launched Google Analytics Qualified Individual program is (and may continue) to have on the legitimacy of the authorized consultant program.
The argument is that until this program was launched, there was a very select group of companies that met the guidelines set out by Google to be an authorized company and now that the individual program has been released we will now see a mass influx of the Google Analytics Individual logo on websites, hence devaluing those that are authorized companies.
Why is this a problem?
It is felt that an unsuspecting public that does not understand the difference between the two programs will begin to equate the programs as the same. Qualified companies who have worked very hard for their status will in many cases, seem to be on the same playing field as every individual that passes the test and receives a similar looking Google badge.
In reality a ‘qualified company’ has gone through a much more arduous process as a company than a single individual who simply passed the test. (I wrote about the implications of the Google Analytics Qualified Individual program previously.)
Differences in Requirements Between a Qualified Company and Qualified Individual
Wondering what the difference is between a Google Qualified Company and a Qualified Individual? Here is a chart that will allow you to compare!
|Google Authorized Analytics Company
|Google Analytics Qualified Individual
|Successful completion of the online course or IQ test
|At Least 2 Members
|A grade of 75% on an online test
|Inclusion of a link to a page or pages on your website content prominently describing Google Analytics services.
|Ability to attend and pass Google Analytics technical training sessions. These take place (in English) at a Google office – typically lasting a few days and held annually in both Mountain View, CA and London, UK
|Commitment to providing detailed product and market feedback on a quarterly basis
|Professional Indemnity/Liability insurance
|Confirmation to commit to a minimum of 3 Google Analytics engagements per month
|Highly Desirable Requirements
|Have at least one dedicated person for Google Analytics support
|Have at least one Google Advertising Professional certified employee
|Offer technical support for both Google Analytics and Urchin software
|Maintain an electronic customer support ticketing system to manage customer support requests
Suggestions To Help People Understand the Distinction
There are various levels of suggestions that can be made to help maintain the integrity of the GAAC program and also help educate those that are searching for the right fit for their own company. At the heart of the issue is the fact that the new GAIQ logo will mean that every designer, marketer could hypothetically add this badge to their site therefore diluting the value of the GAAC program.
Here is a list of suggestions that we would recommend that could circumvent this issue:
- Don’t offer a logo or badge for completing the GAIQ course
- Offer a logo but make it uniquely different in style and brand from the badges given for the Analytics, Adwords and Website Optimizer course.
- Offer a logo to GAAC’s that lists the number of qualified individuals that have past the test and are affiliated with that particular company. (this would also encourage the company to use the ‘individual’ program more!)
- Offer a script which describes exactly what the program is when the logo is hovered over.
- Employ a team at Google with the goal of scanning the internet for people posting the logo without proper credentials. To help this issue Google could also add a section to their site to ‘report’ people posting the logo without having passed the proper tests.
Enforcing the new analytics program is going to be a challenge that will need to be addressed by Google in the coming months. This will need to be done to help ensure the continued confidence in both programs and also help delineate between them.
I applaud Google for being innovative enough to continue the growth of the Google Analytics program and continuing to improve the following and quality standards of the program by introducing educational programs the way that they have.
Ensuring the programs are clearly understood and promoting both as unique unto themselves is the next challenge for Google.