Do You Know Who Owns Your PPC Account Data?

By mine we of course mean data mine

PPC Management success depends on the capturing, measurement, and analysis of data.  We use data to discover actionable insights, inform strategies and tactics, identify new opportunities, understand your competitive landscape, and guide optimization efforts. 

Failure is inevitable in any endeavor over time.  The key is to isolate what works and what does not and keep moving forward.  The process is a lot like breathing:  in with the good, out with the bad.

Forgive me as I cannot recall who first said, “Fail as fast as you can!”

Keeping Score, in terms of wins and losses, success and failure, requires mining your data.

Important stuff, right?  Yes!

Do you know who owns your PPC data

Let me ask again, “Do you know who owns your PPC data?”

Depending on who you decide to work with, the answer to this question may be, you do not own your data.  Here is how that works:

  1. You hire a Digital Marketing Agency to run your Paid Search Campaigns.
  2. The Agency needs only a flat, monthly fee from you, and they will take care of everything including the creation of new Accounts, Billing, Creative, Website and Landing Pages, etc.
  3. In the meantime, they turn off your existing Accounts (if you have some), and replace with new ones, which they own, not you.
  4. They do not link your new Accounts to Web Analytics / Google Analytics.
  5. You are not provided with even Read-Only access to the Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, or other Accounts that they have created on your behalf.
  6. They provide you with a nifty reporting dashboard that provides a pretty summary of results, but little meaningful detail. 
own your google ads data
close up freelance man hand using by pointing on tablet screen dashboard summary of business marketing stock exchange graph and chart for check trend of globalization , financial news and index of trading , business and technology concept

Why does this matter?

  1. When an agency creates an Account in your name, but does not give you access to it, the Agency owns the Account, and all data collected while they are managing it.
  2. By paying a flat monthly fee, you are allowing such a firm to charge you a management fee of up to 20% (it is buried in the flat fee).  Click Costs are charged to the Agency and are paid from the Flat Fee that you are paying them.  You never know what you are really paying for.
  3. The reporting dashboard allows them to hide poor-performers; there is zero transparency.
  4. Most companies do not cross-reference outcomes by source, and such Agencies count on you not challenging this.
  5. As a business owner, wouldn’t you like to know which Campaigns, Ad Groups, Keywords, or Products are profitably driving your business?  Which campaigns are wasting your money?

You Decide to Make a Change

“Agency, open the PPC Accounts, please.”

“I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

  1. The Agency tells you that they do not have to relinquish your accounts to you.  This can mean a loss of data covering 1+ years (the length of the engagement).  If you remain adamant about making a change, your new Agency will have to start from scratch.  In our experience it takes 6-12 months for new campaigns to mature and yield profitable results.  This is not a problem if you have access to your new account(s), but extremely costly without such access.  A lack of historical data exponentially increases the degree of difficulty for making a seamless or smooth transition from agency to another.
  2. They would love to share with you, “But our technology is proprietary.”
  3. Because they have not Linked your Search Accounts with Google Analytics there is no data which can be mined to overcome the refusal to turn over your Accounts to you.  This is especially true with Google Ads.  Google Ads Campaigns are easily tracked within Google Analytics, including performance by Campaign, Ad Group, Keyword, Ad as well as Total Cost, Average CPC, Conversions, Cost-per-Conversion, and Conversion Rate.  How much would a loss of one year or more of data be worth to you?
  4. A Lack of Transparency can be a license to steal.  In one case, where the previous Agency had Linked Google Ads and Google Analytics, we discovered that the prior Agency was reporting an Average CPC of $3 but listing Average CPC as $4 in their reporting.  Guess where that extra $1/Click was going? 
  5. They can hold you hostage.  One of our clients was asked to pay $25,000 by their prior Agency to relinquish control of their Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, and Google Analytics Accounts.
not giving you your ppc data

Whose Mine (Data) is it Anyway?

The answer is that the (data) mine should always belong to you.  Ask these questions, and get your potential new Agency to provide answers to them in writing:

  1. Who owns my accounts?  Your firm, or mine?
  2. If I choose to disengage from your firm, will you relinquish control of my Account(s) to us, so that we can benefit from the accumulated data?
  3. If we elect to stay with your firm, will you grant us Admin access to the accounts for total transparency?  In other words, will you share all data collected or just a select few?

Before you commit to someone new, make sure that you will own your own Account and Data, and that you have full access to your Accounts to ensure Transparency.  If new Agency balks, it’s time to look for another alternative.

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