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Why You Shouldn’t Let Marketing Agencies Own ANY Of Your Accounts
TL;DR: Many business owners don't realise that marketing agencies have a vested interest in keeping your business as small as possible. After all, the more clients an agency has, the more work they have, and the more money they make.
As a business owner, you likely understand the importance of maintaining a strong online presence. After all, potential customers are more likely to find you online than they are through any other medium.
This is why it’s important to work with a marketing agency that can help you manage your accounts and keep your website up-to-date. However, you should never let an agency own any of your accounts. Here’s why.
Establishing an online presence for any business is a tall task!
You need to create countless accounts such as social media and blog accounts, services for analytics, ad accounts and even your web hosting.
Depending on your company’s experience and the size of your organisation, you may decide to outsource your marketing to a marketing agency or freelancer.
However, no matter what you decide to do, it’s essential to keep ownership of your online accounts. When we refer to online accounts, we are talking about the below:
- Google Ads
- Google Analytics
- LinkedIn Ads
- LinkedIn Company Page
- Facebook Ads
- Facebook Company Page
- Google My Business Listing
- Website Hosting
- Domain Registrations
- SSL Certificates
- & many more
When it comes to outsourcing work to a marketing agency or a freelancer, there are two different ways you can proceed when setting up your accounts.
One way is to create the accounts in-house and thus have complete control over them. The second way is to allow the digital marketing agency or freelancer to create them on your behalf, and therefore, ultimately giving them control over your accounts.
At WEBO Digital, we strongly advocate that our clients create their own accounts in-house and then provide us with the necessary access to conduct activities on their behalf as their marketing partner.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean that we don’t provide support with the processes of getting these accounts set up, but by creating them yourself, you will have control over your service accounts from the beginning and potentially save your organisation a great deal of time, headaches and more than likely, money down the track.
We have heard horror stories from our clients that have said, looking back, that one of their biggest marketing headaches was to discover that a third party actually owned their various accounts and/or conducted work under their umbrella accounts.
When they wanted to end the relationship with that particular person or agency, the most challenging thing was to get access to their accounts again without losing everything. It almost always ends up with the former service provider claiming ownership of IP or similar, and the client ends up with nothing.
All gone…years of Google Analytics/AdWords data, website visitor activity analysis and much more of this type of data is essentially no longer able to be accessed and the client is left to start again from scratch!
Why Digital Asset Ownership Matters 🤸♀️
The world is increasingly turning to digital sources to access content, go shopping, and read the news.
As mentioned in the article about social media users, the average internet user spends six hours and forty-two minutes on the internet and roughly two hours and twenty-two minutes on social media every day.
With the surge of online activity around the world, it’s crucial to have an online presence. The need for an online presence can be seen when examining the number of online sales in 2019. Whereas, Oberlo stated that global e-commerce sales amounted to more than $3.5 trillion dollars.
As the global e-commerce trend continues to grow, companies rely more and more on social media, advertising, analytics, and their overall website to attract customers and sales. The use of all these services (Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Google Analytics, HotJar etc.) all require online accounts to be set up and will be owned by an individual.
There are many problems with allowing third parties to have ownership over your online accounts or keeping them under an umbrella account at their agency.
As the famous saying goes, ‘‘Possession is nine-tenths of the law” an agency that possesses your accounts may choose to not hand them over to you if you ever bring your working relationship to an end with them. Or even decide to delete all of your valuable information before they give them back.
Let’s take a look at how this can affect your accounts below.
You Can Lose Your Own Accounts! ❌
When a third party (marketing agency or freelancer) own any of your accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Ads and Analytics, domain, web hosting), they own the account and its data.
They have the power to make decisions regarding your accounts and the information kept within them.
Google strongly recommends that businesses own their own accounts. According to their Google Ads Help page, they state you should always be an administrator of your account and allow for the agency to be a manager of the account.
Another article talked about when an individual that just bought a hotel found out they didn’t have rights to the domain name for the website. The old owner dragged their feet and barred the new owner from making any new additions to the website and hotel, ultimately restricting her business (Leonardo).
WEBO Digital has seen this first hand. After a customer had difficulties with their old agency, they decided to work with us. However, they did not own their domain name or the WordPress account that was home to their website.
The previous agency was threatening to delete all of their client’s information, meaning that we at WEBO Digital would have had to start from scratch. Starting from scratch would have resulted in the customer’s website being down for some time and losing out on hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of sales.
Luckily, we were able to work with the agency to retrieve the domain and website and save our client from a massive headache.
These examples are only a few of the many that people around the world have undoubtedly encountered. Losing your social media accounts, websites, or domains is only part of the issue. In the next section, we will talk about the problems with data if a third party owns your accounts.
Problems With Data 😡
The reason companies may outsource these tools is to speed up the production of content, work with experts and make sure their digital marketing gets the attention it needs to thrive and be successful.
The problem with this comes when you outsource the work without having ownership of the accounts needed to carry out the work.
An article by Forbes raises a great question about outsourcing these projects. Forbes asks, “Are you seeing what’s happening behind the scenes?” More times than not, the answer is no.
Understanding Your Data 🤔
Let’s take Google Ads as an example.
When you don’t understand what’s going on with your Google Ads account, you run the risk of not understanding what your company is trying to accomplish and how you are trying to achieve your ads strategy. Additionally, you are unaware of the process.
In that case, you will increase your chances of experiencing poorly-performing campaigns, miss out on revenue and ultimately result in headaches for you and your company.
Losing Your Data 👎
A more significant issue in the worst-case scenario situation is when you lose all of your data!
We are all too familiar with this and have seen countless people lose all of their analytics and data because the previous agency owned the rights to it.
The loss of our client’s data meant that the years of ads they had run and the data they had collected on keyword success rate and click-through rate were lost.
The loss of this information meant ten years of significant data loss and approximately $20,000 in damages.
Here’s another example of how losing your data can cost you from PPC Hero. The old agency was not willing to hand over the negative keyword list claiming that it was proprietary. When the new agency took over, they found that “In this client’s new account, they spent $13,390 in 5 days, and we had already found $1,004 in negative keywords.”
It can be costly not understanding your data and losing it when things end badly with an agency. The only way to counteract these situations is to be proactive about them. You being proactive means owning and controlling your accounts. Having control and ownership of your ad accounts as well as others is what we talk about in the next section.
Having Ownership 😁
When we talk about having ownership and control, we mean that you or your organisation should be opening all accounts and buying all services in your name with your email. By doing this, you will be assigned as the administrator of the account.
Let’s take Facebook as an example. When you open a Facebook Ads account or a Facebook page, you will be assigned as the admin. Admin ensures that you can have complete access to every feature, and most importantly, you are the only one that can assign and change the roles of others. Being able to assign roles is the critical part here, as it allows you to put agencies in “managerial” roles.
The distinction between being an admin and editor (referring to Facebook roles) means that if you ever need to part ways with an agency or social media manager, you can easily restrict their access and keep everything the same. Thus saving you time, money, and a lot of headaches.
WEBO Digital’s Commitment 🤝
WEBO Digital is an agency that manages media accounts around Australia, and we are committed to disseminating information that matters.
We believe that owning your accounts is critical for keeping your organisation secure from any mishaps. As outlined above, not owning your accounts can result in massive headaches if you have to part ways with a marketing agency.
Owning your accounts means that you can make sure that you have access to your data at any time. It also means that you will have complete control of what is happening and never have to worry about your information being held ransom or, even worse, wholly deleted.
The possibility of losing data or losing your accounts should be convincing enough for you to think twice about when an agency tries to tell you that they need to own your accounts or that it will be easier if they own your accounts.
We at WEBO Digital are committed to having our clients own their accounts. We understand the value of years spent collecting data. No company should be pressured into giving up ownership of their ad accounts or any other accounts.
The bottom line is that these accounts are and should always be the property of the company and/or the business owner!
If you have any doubt in your mind that something is not right with your current situation, please reach out to us, and we will be more than happy to discuss and advise accordingly!
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