Read about the minimum requirements that anyone who provides you with Google AdWords services needs to meet to be compliant with Google’s policies.
After being an AdWords Partner and managing client accounts for nearly six years I’ve worked with a lot of clients whose ads have previously been managed by other agencies.
In the best case scenario when changing management agency, the client has Admin access (or can get it) to their AdWords account so they can give access to the new agency and terminate the previous one.
This means that the account history is preserved and the client can benefit from the new agency having access to information about conversion costs and campaigns that have been run in the past.
Part of good AdWords management is monitoring the account and regularly adding negative keywords to stop the client paying for inappropriate clicks. Having access to the account means being able to view the negative keywords that have been added to the campaigns and ad groups (if the former agency was doing their job well!)
However there are cases where the client never had an AdWords account to login to, for example when an agency gives them a log in for their customised system instead.
I understand that this approach by agencies can be beneficial in the case that the client only gets to to see the important stats, and doesn’t feel the burden of information overload. But if they wish to change AdWords agency often their keyword data, conversion data, ad copy, bids, negative keywords and other data from their account history is unavailable. Which means they have to start from scratch when working with a new agency. This certainly isn’t ideal when you’re changing agency because you’re not happy and yet your new agency can’t get any insights at all into what worked or didn’t work with advertising budget you’ve already spent.
Google wants businesses to work with AdWords Partners and receive quality AdWords services that help grow their business (that’s what we at CWC want too!).
Late last year Google updated their Third Party Policy and changed the minimum requirements for information that AdWords managers need to provide to clients.
The details of Google’s Third Party Policy are listed later in this article. Here is a summary of the key points that I think AdWords advertisers need to know.
1. The policy relates to all third parties that manage Google advertising on behalf of clients. This includes AdWords Partners and anyone else that offers you AdWords services, including your brother-in-law, your designer and your business coach.
2. A third party must provide your AdWords client ID when requested. We’re hoping this means that you can contact Google if needed and get access to your account history, even if your Agency has only given you access to the data that they provide via their interface.
3. At minimum, each month an agency that you’ve outsourced ongoing management to must provide you with data on the cost, clicks and impressions in your account. They must also provide reasonable additional information when requested.
4. When a third party charges a management fee, they need to be clear in informing you what it is.
At CWC our clients pay the advertising fees directly to Google and we invoice them separately for our management fee. This is made clear in our quote. However some agencies pay for the advertising spend and invoice the client for a total amount each month. In the past they could sell their service as being based on “monthly spend of $xxx” and the client might now know how much much was spent on advertising and how much was the agencies share. This practice is no longer compliant with Google’s policy.
5. Google’s prohibited practices include “claiming false affiliation with Google”.
If a telemarketer calls you and says that your ad campaigns aren’t being managed well, ask them “how do they know?” Google would never share your private account information with an independent third party so if a telemarketing agency implies that they have access to your private AdWords account data, you can report them via this link.
AdWords agencies have specialities and different agencies are suited for different types of clients. In fact a lot of the AdWords Partner agencies in Australia and New Zealand have a great relationship with each other and refer clients and prospects as needed.
If you’re an AdWords advertiser, or planning to be, the purpose of this article is to make you aware of Google’s compliance requirements, so that you can ask the right questions when you’re choosing an AdWords agency to work with.
Whoever you choose, I strongly recommend you choose a Google Partner.
You can probably tell by this article that I’m passionate about AdWords and providing high quality AdWords services to our clients. If you’re looking for a new AdWords Partner to work with, contact us for an honest opinion about your campaigns.
Please read below for more details about Google’s third party policy and why it’s important. Or feel free to leave a comment if you have questions.
Until next time
Google’s Third Party Policy
Google’s Third Party Policy details how agencies or individuals (third parties) must act and their obligations when providing AdWords services to customers.
There are three elements to Google’s Third Party Policy:
- Account Set-up Requirements – how customers’ Google advertising accounts need to be arranged.
- Transparency Requirements – information that agencies/managers have to share with their customers.
- Prohibited Practices – things that agencies/ managers can’t do if they purchase or manage Google advertising on behalf of customers.
One Advertiser Per Account
An agency must set-up a separate AdWords account for each end-advertiser, with each account having a unique ten digit AdWords Client ID number.
Having a separate account for each end advertiser is essential for AdWords to work properly for that customer. This is due to the need to maintain the integrity of the AdWords Quality Score which is an important factor in determining how much an advertiser pays for clicks and ad position.
Account history is one of the elements that determines Quality Score. If an account contained campaigns for a number of customers the account history would be an average of all these customers’ campaigns. Meaning the Quality Score for some advertisers would lower than would be the case if their account was separate, reducing the effectiveness of their AdWords advertising.
Also, accounts that combined campaigns for a number of customers could limit the number of times advertisers’ ads are shown, as AdWords will only show one ad per account for a particular keyword.
Google require that a third party must provide their customer with the customer’s AdWords Client ID when requested by the customer.
With the AdWords Client ID a customer is able to contact Google directly with any concerns about a third party and their AdWords account’s performance. Google can investigate the account and assist the advertiser with their concerns.
Google require all third parties to be transparent with their customers, providing information that advertisers need to be able to make informed decisions so that they can fully realise the benefits of advertising on Google.
In addition to the following mandatory reporting Google also require third parties to make reasonable efforts to provide their customers with relevant information when requested.
Google Advertising Cost and Performance
At a minimum third parties must report monthly data on:
at the Google advertising account level.
- The exact amount charged by Google, exclusive of any third party fees must be clearly reported.
If a third party provides additional information, beyond the minimum requirement above, the corresponding specific amounts for Google advertising products must also be reported. Eg if a third party reports total daily advertising cost (including Facebook, TV, AdWords etc) the corresponding daily AdWords cost figures must also be reported.
Accessing AdWords Reports
Third parties must share Google advertising cost and performance reports in a way that makes it easy for their customers to access the reports, for example by emailing the report.
A third party can meet this requirement by allowing customers to sign into their Google advertising accounts directly.
Where a third party charges a management fee, separate from the direct cost of AdWords, the third party must inform the customer of the management fee.
The minimum requirement is for third parties to inform new customers in writing before each first sale and disclose the existence of this fee on customer invoices.
Sharing the Disclosure Notice
So that potential advertisers know what to expect from working with a third party Google requires that third parties share Google’s “Working with a third party” disclosure notice.
- Third parties should have a link to the “Working with a third party” disclosure notice in a clearly discoverable location on their website.
- In addition during a new sales or renewals process third parties should make clients aware of the disclosure notice on their website by emailing a soft copy or posting a printed copy.
Third parties must not make false, misleading or unrealistic claims.
Google want advertisers/customers to make informed decisions about working with third parties, such as the services a third party is offering, the costs of these services and the results the advertisers can expect.
Examples of prohibited practices given by Google:
- Claiming false affiliation with Google
- Guaranteeing top ad position on Google
- Claiming that ads will appear in Google Search at all times
- Representing free Google products as pay for use products
- Making false statements about how AdWords costs are calculated
- Offering unlimited clicks
Harassing, Abusive or Untrustworthy Behaviour
Google want advertisers to get the same quality of service from a third party as they would get from working directly with Google. As such Google prohibits the use of harassing, abusive or untrustworthy acts and tactics with potential or existing customers.
Examples of Harassing, Abusive or Untrustworthy Behaviour provided by Google:
- Repeatedly cold-calling potential customers
- Putting undue pressure on an advertiser to sign-up or stay with an agency
- Offering AdWords vouchers in exchange for payment.
Melinda aka Mel is a Premier Google Partner, AdWords & Analytics Consultant, Speaker and Trainer and co-owner of Click-Winning Content. Mel provides results-driven services to Australian businesses and is committed to never using an acronym without explaining it first. She also likes grand slam tennis, cracked pepper and Melbourne sunsets. Please connect at the links below.