We are sometimes asked to carry out a Google Ads audit for a business that has doubts about how their current agency is performing. Perhaps the reports they get have been difficult to understand or, in the worst case, non-existent – which actually breaks Google’s own rules on client reporting.

In some cases, the client has a non-admin login to the account, so we have been able to carry out an audit. Sometimes, the client has no access to their account, and we are limited to what we can learn from Analytics.

So, we complete as much of an audit as we are able to and report back to the client,  who decides they would like to transfer their business to us. That’s when the most stunning problem comes to light.

The current agency tells the client that they don’t own their own Google Ads account – the agency owns it! Or the agency cannot handover the account because it has been built inside the agency’s own account and can’t be separated.

There are a few reasons why this stinks in my opinion:

  1. If you don’t have access to your account and it cannot be transferred to you or a new agency, then you don’t own the account structure.
    This means that your new agency will have to rebuild your account from scratch. Assuming that Analytics and Google Ads have been properly linked, your new agency will be able to pick up a lot of information from Analytics – keyword lists, campaign and Ad group structure etc. But there is still going to be a lot of effort needed to rebuild the account. We generally estimate that a simple, medium size Google Ads account will take twice as much time to build as it does to run it each month; a complex, large account will take even more time to build.
    That translates to extra cost for you – the real owner of the account! But it gets worse…
  2. If you don’t own your account, and it cannot be transferred to you or a new agency, then you don’t own the performance history data.
    If your account has been even reasonably well run, you will have built up a good account performance rank and keyword quality score. These have a significant impact on how much you will pay for clicks and how often your Ads are displayed.
    Even if it is possible to copy over the account structure, you will lose your beneficial account performance history, and will have to build up your reputation all over again. That means you are almost guaranteed to see a drop in performance for a few months.
    The only time this has not been an issue for a client is when the account is quite small and has been so badly run, that the performance history has no value – we have seen that situation a couple of times!
  3. Possibly the most important reason you need to own your Google Ads account is to give you control.
    All your online activity is important to your business – too important to let someone else control it. It’s your money being spent to grow your business. You should be able to take a look under the hood if you want to; you should be able to ask someone to carry out an independent audit if you want to; you should be free to move to a new supplier for whatever reason you want to, without being held hostage by your current agency.

Any business relationship starts with hope. You are excited to start using a new lead generation channel; the agency is excited to be working with a new client. But in the real world, relationships change over time for all sorts of reasons, and you need to be able to change who you work with if you want to.

Of course, you have to trust your agency to do the best possible job for you, so they need to be able to make decisions about spend and account changes without constantly referring back to the client. But you can give your trust without relinquishing control.

A good agency never sets up a new Google Ads accounts in their own name. It will be set up in your name and you will be given full access to it. You will have the ability to view your data and ask questions – even if you never do; you will be able to ask a third party to look at it.

The agency will add your account to their Client Centre (MCC) so they can manage it on a day to day basis, but you can remove their access if you need to.

Zanzi goes one step further and we include a statement in our client contracts stating that the client owns all the IP (intellectual property) in the campaign material and content and licenses its use to Zanzi Digital for the purposes of managing the campaign only.

If you would like to know more about this, please give me a call on 01865 595 260, or email Jayne@ZanziDigital.co.uk