If you have ever advertised with AdWords, you may have had a 3rd party (agency, internet marketing company, media company) managing your account, and if so, you might not actually know how much you’ve spent on the click costs themselves. Soon, this will change…
Google recently announced a change to their third-party policy that will take effect in November 2014. The changes are designed to create more transparency between 3rd parties and their clients. Many third parties, particularly larger companies, charge their clients a flat monthly fee for PPC. That fee is split between the 3rd party and Google. In this model, in some, if not most circumstances, you may not have known how much was going to Google vs the 3rd party. Personally, I encountered many instances where advertisers (based on my recommendations) asked the 3rd party for information regarding their account – things like total clicks costs, avg. cost per click, their AdWords ID number, etc… These requests were denied. In November, this is supposed to change.
The two changes to the 3rd party policies surround management fees and AdWords IDs. The change surrounding the management fees may have a very significant impact on the industry. For as long as I can remember, a standard third party policy was that we had to provide our clients with at least the following on a monthly basis:
– Click Costs
By default, as an advertiser, if you know that you’re paying the third party $x and your click costs are $y, you could obviously figure out how much the 3rd party was receiving as far as a management fee. However, there have clearly been many 3rd parties who have either been immune from this policy or who have just not abided by it. The fact that Google is now telling us that we have to explicitly disclose the management fee suggests that they’re taking this policy much more seriously than ever before.
The second change, although beneficial, doesn’t seem as though it will have as large of an impact. Merely having your 10-digit client ID wouldn’t give you access to the account. As one rep at Google told me, an AdWords account that a 3rd party manager creates is their intellectual property. Just because the account is built for a specific advertiser doesn’t mean the advertiser ‘owns’ that account. It just looks as though an advertiser who has their ID would have the ability to complain about a 3rd party partner and associate that complaint with a specific account.
At Fidelity, we’ve always strived for the utmost amount of transparency with our clients. We will always try to give clients direct access to their accounts. Many clients don’t particularly seem to care if they have access, but we just want to show them that we have absolutely nothing to hide. Clients have always paid Google directly for the click costs and paid us separately for managing the account. That way, there is never any confusion about what we’re receiving vs what Google is receiving. Clients also receive a detailed monthly report with both quantitative and qualitative analysis.