Google on Monday announced that that its Google AdWords API will soon be available for free to its ad agency partners. Previously, Google charged for API access.
The AdWords API allows developers to create applications that communicate with the AdWords platform. Such applications, typically used by ad agencies, allow things like the automatic generation of keywords, ad text, and URLs, and the integration of AdWords data with ad inventory management systems.
In conjunction with the change, Google said it is ending its Google Advertising Professionals (GAP) program and replacing it with a new Google AdWords Certification program for ad agencies overseeing AdWords accounts on behalf of advertisers.
Google's goal is to make it easier and more appealing for ad agencies to utilize its tools and APIs. Doing so may also mend some fences: Ad agencies' objections helped derail Google's planned partnership with Yahoo in late 2008.
The company also wants to help establish more meaningful metrics for establishing the expertise of those working with AdWords.
"We've had a lot of great feedback from agencies and today we're announcing changes designed to offer them better training and more rigorous certification in AdWords proficiency, and to lower costs for those who help advertisers get the most out of AdWords," said Penry Price, VP of global agency development, in a blog post. "We're also making it easier for advertisers to find certified agency partners to work with them on digital advertising."
The new AdWords Certification program will offer: training material to help ad agencies understand search; more challenging certification exams that have been designed to test the application of knowledge rather than rote memorization; advanced-level exams for establishing expert knowledge in search advertising, reporting, and analytics; and an improved Certified Partner online badge designed to provide advertisers with clearer information.
Google said it will begin accepting applications from agencies seeking preferred AdWords API pricing on May 26, 2010.