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Google Ads Ownership: Agency or Client?

By: Jordan Laneve    February 7, 2023

Having worked at an agency my entire career, I have seen this situation play out in several different ways over the years. Many brands turn to agencies to manage their digital marketing efforts, including Google Ads, trusting them to manage and optimize their account. And most times, agencies are transparent, providing their clients access and insight into their Google account and its performance. But every so often, typically when onboarding a new client, we will encounter an agency that will refuse to provide access and/or transfer ownership to the client.

Why Clients Need to Own Their Google Ads Account

I would strongly encourage all clients to insist on ownership – specifically administrative access – of their Google Ads account. Even if the agency created the account and is using its payment profile, clients should require they are granted administrative access to their account. And here’s why:

  1. Setup and account complexity. Depending on the size and intricacy of your account, it can be incredibly cumbersome and costly to have to start from scratch.
  2. Historical data is enormously valuable. Having insight into historical performance, KPIs, campaign types, keywords, audience targeting, campaign settings, etc. is incredibly important when transitioning to a new agency or taking management in-house. Without this data, you are at a distinct disadvantage and will be essentially starting from scratch.
  3. Smart bidding relies heavily on historical performance. If there is no historical data in an account that relies on smart bidding strategies, Google’s algorithms will go through a ramp-up period. The learning phase can vary in length and have a significant impact on your performance and bottom line.
  4. Transparency. Agencies should operate with full transparency, providing clients with full visibility into their account, strategy, performance, etc. No exceptions.

Refusing to provide clients access to their Google Ads accounts is bad practice and, in my opinion, unethical. If you are currently working with an agency and do not have access to your Google Ads account, request that they make you an admin as soon as possible. It’s your data… and ensuring you have ownership of your Google Ads account will help you avoid losing years of historical data and having to start all over.