Recently, I got a new client and ran into a major obstacle in the onboarding process that left both the client and I frustrated. Not only that, it delayed launching new campaigns and made not only the onboarding process more difficult, but all management for the ad accounts moving forward more complicated.
As a standard part of every onboarding process, I requested access to their Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts. This is typically a pretty simple step, but we quickly ran into issues when we realized…
The client didn’t own their own accounts!
All of that set up, optimization and historic data (that they paid for with their previous agency) was lost because the advertising agency owned the accounts, not the client.
Of course, the client had thought nothing of it previously because it’s not their job to know how to set up digital ad accounts. That’s on the agency.
At Granular, we want to make sure that our clients are protected (and we’d love not to have to run into this issue so much), so we want to make sure you are educated on why it’s important to own your own accounts and what to watch out for.
Often when a company is ready to start advertising or starts working with a new agency, things start to move very quickly. New accounts are created, ads are launched, data is collected. But taking the time to ensure the company owns all of their accounts is more important than you may think. In fact, it may be critical to the future of the business.
As a business, it’s important that you own all of your online content, like your website, blog, analytics, and even your advertising accounts. When an agency or individual employee owns your accounts, it can cause a lot of issues in the future that you may overlook in the moment.
Let me walk you through a few scenarios I’ve experienced…
The In-House Marketing Manager Scenario
As people do their work, they are most often thinking about the most efficient way to get things done, and not necessarily the long term ramifications. So when your internal marketing manager needs to build a Google Ads account, they do it, without much thought, so they can move onto the next step.
That may work fine until that person leaves the company. When they leave, they will still own and have access to your company’s accounts if they created them under their own emails. Employee turnover is often unexpected and leaves the company with very little time to react and correct these types of issues.
Sometimes, through a long process and with the help of a rep, you may be able to remove the creator of the account and transfer ownership, but this is usually a long and fruitless venture. This is especially detrimental with Facebook, which does not allow transfer of ownership for ad accounts. In most cases, you would lose all access and historic data and need to start over with a new account.
If you keep the original account, you run the risk of an ex-employee having access to your account and possibly intentionally, or unintentionally posting ads or page posts in your accounts. This is obviously something we want to avoid, so it’s important to take the necessary steps in the beginning of the process (more on that in a minute).
The Digital Advertising Agency Scenario
Now let’s say you start working with a new digital advertising agency. Most agencies are going to want to impress you, get things running quickly, and make the client’s life as easy as possible. Sometimes there are more nefarious intentions of controlling your accounts and handcuffing you to work with them. Either way, agencies will often set up accounts for clients because it is easier, faster, and gives them more control.
If you ever stop working with that agency, chances are they are not going to give you access or ownership of your original accounts, especially if you are going to a different agency. Therefore, you will most likely lose those accounts, all of the historic data, and all of the work put into them.
Of course your new agency or marketing manager can rebuild accounts, but the loss of historic data will never be recovered. Results from previous tests, historic quality scores, machine learning that has already happened; all of this will be gone. All of this loss of data will make future initiatives more complicated and potentially less effective.
Also, when you own your own accounts, you control the payment of invoices. Sometimes, an agency will add their own credit card to an ad account and secretly charge clients more than they are actually paying in ad fees. Avoid this by being the financial contact for your account and cross-checking agency invoices against the spend amounts in the ad account. Obviously, there will be a fee to working with an agency, but that shouldn’t include an upcharge on your ad spend.
Granular’s Recommended Way Forward
- Create a company email address that multiple people can have access to, which will act as a master log in, like firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Use this email address as a log in to set up all of your accounts.
In this scenario, multiple layers in your company can have access to this main account so that the ownership does not hinge on one person. From here, you can give other employees and partners access to your accounts through their individual emails.
If you no longer work with one of these employees or partners, you can simply remove their access via the master login. And if one of the main players with access to the master log in leaves, you can simply change the password to that account.
As a company, when you’re ready to start advertising, some of these seemingly small details can easily get overlooked. However, taking the time to set up these accounts correctly will be very beneficial for your business in the long run.
If you need help navigating this, or want to be partnered with an agency that cares about your business, not just ours, contact us! We’d be happy to help.