I’ve been seeing a disturbing trend with digital marketing agencies: agencies “owning” their client’s Google Ads account. If the client and agency part ways, the client loses ownership of their own Google Ads account.
In my opinion, this is an unethical business practice that only serves to hurt clients.
Here are the reasons why you, as the client, should always “own” your Google Ads account:
The history in your account is tremendously valuable.
Imagine if you had to fire your Google Ads agency and start with a brand new Google Ads consultant. One of the first things the new consultant is going to ask for is access to your current Google Ads account. They will want to see the types campaigns that you’ve run and which ads were successful and which ones weren’t. They’ll want to assess the keywords you’re targeting and how much you’re paying for clicks and conversions. They will want to view the “audiences” you’ve created. They will want to know the geographies and demographics you’ve targeted. The list goes on. All this information is extremely valuable to creating new campaigns and optimizing your existing ones. If you don’t have this data, you’re starting at a disadvantage. Simply put, you and the agency won’t be able to look back at what worked and what didn’t.
You’ll spend more on the same ads if you have to start from scratch with a new account.
Google favors history. Older accounts have keywords and ads that have built up quality-score over time. Quality-score is a relevancy metric defined by Google on a scale from 1-10, the higher the better. With higher quality-scores, you are often paying less for clicks to your ads than competitors with low quality-scores. If you lose all of your Google Ads account history and have to build up your quality-scores from scratch, you lose this significant advantage and pay more than you need to for clicks to your ads.
You’ll have to do all of your Google Ads setups again if you have to start from scratch with a new account.
When you launch a brand new Google Ads account, there are many initial setups that need to happen. Conversion actions need to be created (defining the user-action goals of your Campaigns). Linking to other accounts like Google Analytics and Google Search Console need to be done. Remarketing code needs to be added to your website to create remarketing audiences. The list goes on. If you start from scratch with a new Google Ads account, all of this needs to be redone. If you are hiring a new consultant to run campaigns and manage your Google Ads account, this will likely equate to increased fees that you’ll need to pay to the new consultant to redo these items for you.
If you don’t own your account, your agency can do whatever they want with your Campaigns, including using them for a competitor.
I’ve seen this tactic employed by a few of the larger “agencies” that work with small businesses. They will “own” their client’s Google Ads account or run ads within the agencies’ Google Ads account on behalf of the client (also terrible for the client). If the client disengages, they will simply find a new client in the same industry and duplicate their former client’s campaigns for the new company.
Here’s how to check whether or not you “own” your Google Ads account:
Sign in to your Google Ads account https://adwords.google.com/um/signin > Tools > Account Access > Check your access level – it should be “Admin”
Also, go to the “Managers” tab and see whether or not your agency is the “Administrative owner” of your account.
My advice to you: if you’re running Google Ads campaigns and don’t know who owns your account, find out. If you are not top-level administrative owner (with full access to add and remove users) I would request this access ASAP.
Note: all Ice Nine Online clients own their own Google Ads accounts.
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