You might think you’re in control of your company’s data, but depending on your relationship with your marketing agency, that may not be the case.
There are different ways to manage digital marketing accounts. Ask yourself: do you know how your company’s account is being managed?
The first thing we do when starting a project with a new client is request access to their digital marketing accounts on platforms like Google Analytics, Google Ads, LinkedIn and Mailchimp, to name a few.
Sometimes gaining access to these accounts can be difficult for us, but it can also be a problem for the client. The most common reason is that other agencies actually create—and subsequently own—your digital marketing accounts and the access to them.
This situation occurred to several of our clients. The various online accounts had been created and were now owned by their agencies, which turned out to be a problem when they wanted us to provide a “second opinion.” In one instance, we discovered a consultant was mishandling information, withholding direct access to the company’s accounts, and only sharing what little information they deemed necessary, leaving the client completely in the dark about everything else.
Although this case was extreme, there are many reasons why you should take ownership of your own data. Here are just a few:
Your Accounts May Be Managed Improperly
Because they often juggle multiple client accounts, agencies and consultants look for management tactics that make their lives easier but might not benefit you or your business.
In one case, we discovered a consultant who was operating multiple clients out of the same Google Ads and Mailchimp accounts. Although they meant to just simplify the process of managing their clients’ advertising and email marketing, sharing the accounts caused the data from the different companies to blend together, resulting in useless reporting not just for our client but for all the consultant’s other unsuspecting clients.
Every agency thinks their way is the best, but your accounts will not be managed successfully if the employee is inexperienced or their agency has bad management habits. Practices like the one above are intended to reduce an account manager’s workload, but there can be unintended consequences—that’s why it’s so important for you to be aware of how your account data is being managed.
You’re Most Likely Not Getting the Whole Picture
What we often find when clients don’t have ownership access to their accounts is that they have a limited, filtered view of what is happening with their online marketing. Consultants and agencies typically provide periodic reports but they control which pieces of data are included.
For example, imagine a florist has contracted an agency to run their online marketing campaigns. The agency chooses keywords and ad groups that they think are relevant; things like “bouquet,” “gardenias,” and “flower arrangements.” However, though the agency does have some understanding of the florist’s business, they may not know that tulips are seasonal, and that there is little business for them otherwise. Therefore, running a campaign for the keyword “tulips” outside of the March-May window doesn’t make sense.
Of course, a good agency will identify this same trend in your impressions and clicks, but if you’re not privy to raw data like this, you won’t be able to tell them what to look for. Regardless of your agency’s skill, a client’s active participation in looking at and analyzing their marketing data is massively beneficial to both parties: ignoring your responsibility wastes their time and your money.
Your Data May Be Inaccessible
Let’s say your online sales have been disappointing and the decision is made to move to a new agency. If you are the creator and owner of your marketing accounts, or if the agency created the account on your behalf, this is a piece of cake: simply end your contract and add the new agency as a manager to your accounts.
However, if your accounts were created by your previous agency under their umbrella of other clients, all your data is actually their data. You will need to start over from scratch with totally new accounts, and unfortunately, valuable information about your company’s online marketing will be lost.
If your digital marketing data is currently held by an agency, consider taking ownership of your accounts ASAP. An agency can still provide the same level of service in managing your account, but by retaining ownership of your own data, you can ensure that it is managed properly.
Current digital marketing systems allows you to provide or remove access to an online advertising account at any time, so there is no legitimate reason for an outside agency to own your accounts.
You should own your digital marketing data, and once you do, you can share it with the marketing agency or partner you choose.