As an agency, we run into situations all the times where we have to rebuild the client’s account because the previous agency is unable or unwilling to release their account. It is possible that the previous agency built it in their agency MCC shell, but there are still ways to release that account. Regardless of the circumstances, it means you have to start over and build a brand new history.

Who Owns the Ad Account?

If your account is currently being managed by an agency or someone else, it would be a good idea to ask them who owns the account data?  Some agencies believe the client should own their own while others believe the agency should own the account. In my opinion, the years or months you invested in advertising can provide key metrics about your account that are very valuable. These metrics can provide insights to optimizations, and negative keywords can significantly reduce your CPL or boost your ROI. Even a poorly managed account can provide information about what was or wasn’t working, which can be beneficial if a restructure is necessary.

Unfortunately, not all relationships work out, even in the world of advertising. So, what happens if you decide to break up with your agency? Do you get to take your account with you or will you have to start over? After all, breaking up with an agency or employee is hard enough without having to worry about account ownership. It is better to get account ownership straightened out before you need it.

Is the Data Proprietary?

Our client reached out to their previous agency and asked if they could send over the negative keyword list, but the agency told them the negative list was proprietary. While it is possible that the prior agency was using a shared negative keyword list, every account has its own set of irrelevant keywords.

For example, in this client’s new account they spent $13,390 in 5 days and we had already found $1,004 in negative keywords. Although we were able to include obvious negative exclusions keywords during the initial build, there was no way we would be able to catch them all without data. So, you can see why historical data is so valuable.

Things like negative keywords should not be proprietary when you are spending $40,000 per month. Some agencies may believe their method in managing the account is proprietary and may not want to hand this information over to a competing agency. Sometimes they use third party software to build their campaigns and so they cannot give you access to the account. Agencies like Hanapin believe you should own your own data.

What is your Access Level?

In an ideal world, you would retain ownership of your advertising account and would grant access to the next account manager or agency. If you are a larger agency with multiple ad accounts, it would be a good idea to create your own MCC and link all your accounts under this main profile.  If you only have one Ad account, you should have Admin access to your own account and grant Standard access to the agency. This means if any point you decided to part ways, you can revoke access to that agency. Keep in mind, anyone with admin privileges can grant and terminate access to other emails.

Access Denied

Recently we had an issue where a client received a research email from Google about a particular email that was created by a former employee five years ago. There was no record of this email or password anywhere. Since I had admin privileges to the account, I was able to create new email access, grant admin access, and then give this new information to our client. However, you can see how this scenario could be problematic.

Another agency asked a question in the Google forum about an employee who revoked access to all emails before they left the company and now that advertiser no longer had access to their own account. It was unfortunate that this happened to the advertiser, and even though they were paying the bill, it appeared they had a difficult time getting access to the account.

Transparency is Accountability

If you have access to your account, you will have the ability to view the data and ask questions. You may not have a full understanding of all the metrics and maybe this is one of the reasons you chose to hire an agency to manage the account on your behalf. Not having access means you have to trust that the agency is managing the account in the right way. Many agencies have a good understanding of PPC, but they do not always know your business as well as you do. It is important that the agency and advertiser are as transparent as possible and work together as a team to improve the account.

For example, if your Google ads account is properly linked to Analytics, you should be able to see the Search Queries data. This gives you information about which keywords are spending the most money and if they are generating any actions or revenue. One keyword shows $518 in cost and has no reported transactions in the last 30 days. However, this keyword is triggering phone calls and has positive ROI if we factor in the previous month.

If you see (not set) this means that Analytics recognizes that traffic is coming from a Google Ads account, but the account may not be linked, auto-tagging is disabled, or there is another problem like a URL redirect. If you are in a situation where the agency considers the account data proprietary, then they may not be willing to link these accounts. However, this may be worth the discussion to see if your agency is willing to link these accounts.

Closing Thoughts

Hanapin is not like all other agencies. We believe in transparency, delivering value, and that the client should own their own account and data. Although we never like to see clients leave us, we know it is going to happen from time to time, and we make that transition a smooth as possible.