ppc account access denied

This blog post has been prompted by a worrying scenario that cropped up for a potential customer this week.

The customer called me and said they’d like to get going with a brand new PPC campaign. I asked the usual questions about their business and industry, what they wanted to achieve, and why they wanted to use PPC. As we’d spoken about a brand new campaign I was surprised when the client told me that that PPC was already their most effective channel for generating leads in a highly competitive B2B market.

“But why create a new campaign?” I asked. “If you’re having such great results, I can work within your existing account and you’ll keep all the precious history you’ve accumulated.”

“Ah” was the reply.

This client had been working with the same agency for over 5 years. The agency had set up the account, managed the advertising spend and now, at the end of the relationship, felt that it belonged to them. The client was free to leave. His account wasn’t. Ouch.

The historical value of Google Ads

When you run an account there are a number of factors that influence your quality score/ad rank. Important amongst these are the historical performance of your ads. Engaging ads that people interact well with are given bonus points (in non-technical speak) for that engagement. Google learns this about the account, and starting a new one will strip this element away.

Were they right?

Personally, I don’t think so. I think the Google Ads account is part of the business it was built for. No-one like to see a client go, but when they do I don’t have any reason to hold them to ransom with their account. I’ll ensure that it’s handed over professionally to the client or the new agency in the event that we go our separate ways.

What to do if your agency won’t give you (back) your account

  1. Don’t panic. Speak calmly to the agency and explain your position.
  2. Check your contracts and set up emails – is there anything in writing that would give you legal standing?
  3. If they won’t give you the account in full, try for access for a limited time so that you can export the data.
  4. If you can’t get access then ask that they perform the exports or keywords, ads, negatives, targeting and with performance metrics for last month, last 3 months, last 6 months, last year, previous year.
  5. If they still wont play ball, then you’re probably at the point of setting up a new account. Get help to make sure this is done to give you the best possible start.

How to prevent agencies holding you to ransom

Always create the Google Ads account and give your agency access, not the reverse. It doesn’t really matter if you get it “wrong” – most things (except timezone and currency) can be fixed later by the agency once you have given them access.

Make sure any contracts or agreements are explicit in ownership.

If your agency really insist on ownership, ensure you have agreements about access to all your account data at the end.


Can we help? If you are having difficulties with this situation we are happy to try and talk to your existing agency to get the right data exported. We can also help you get a new account started but don’t worry – we never take ownership of Google Ads accounts – that’s a part of your business.