With the announcement of Google Venture backed PPC Agency Trada abruptly closing its doors this week, it got me thinking that a post about what to do if your PPC agency suddenly disappears might be a good idea.
After a few minutes of sheer panic, you are going to need to start working on a solution to this time sensitive problem. Before you start looking for a new resource to manage your accounts, here are some questions to ask of your internal team:
Do we have access to our PPC accounts?
All agencies and professionals do not handle this in the same way, so it is important to know both if you have access to your paid search accounts and if so, are you the account holder or was your account set up under the agency’s master account?
If you have access, that is a huge step in being able to have someone else take over managing your account. This will be simplest if the account is actually held by you, the client. You can simply turn off access to the former agency, and grant it to the new provider. If you’re not so lucky as to have this set up, find out if:
- You have your AdWords account number – if you have this, you should be able to work with AdWords directly to be able to get control of the account.
- You have a login of some kind to the account – if you have this, you will have access to the account number (it is in the upper right corner of the screen when you’re logged in). With this you can again, contact AdWords and get control of the account.
- The account is billed directly to you – if you are the one being billed directly by AdWords, account recovery is simpler. You should see your AdWords account number on your credit card statements.
What if you don’t have any information about the account?
It is always a good idea to contact AdWords to try to have them help to sort this out. They do want to help in these situations. I contacted AdWords while writing this post to get their advice. They said to call and they will work through a recovery process with you. This process is easier if you have some account information.
If you don’t have a login, account number or billing information, be prepared with all of the email addresses of the persons at the agency with whom you have worked. One of the ways AdWords verifies account access when you call in is to ask for the login email on the account. If you have a list of emails from your former provider, that could also help in AdWords locating the account. Of course, the name of the person (if a consultant) or the firm/agency may also help in this process.
AdWords Support can be reached here: 866-246-6453.
Support is available from 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.
Update from AdWords: If you do not have some piece of information about your account, like a login email or account number or billing details, you will most likely not be able to have the account shifted to your control. I know this seems harsh, but from AdWords point of view, accounts are owned by those who have at least one of these credentials. They are in a tough spot here too, because they have no way of knowing if you should really have access/ownership of an account if you don’t have at least something to show that you’re connected to it. This is all the more reason to make absolutely SURE you do not find yourself in this situation of having zero knowledge or access to the account that was created or is managed by an outside provider.
Steps To Protect Yourself From Account Lockout
Again, agencies and consultants have different preferred setups for their accounts. I’m not saying any one is better than the other. BUT, as the end client who is depending on and paying for the traffic, you must make sure that you have some kind of rights to the account in the event that you need to make a change in its management.
How can you do this?
- Insist on knowing the AdWords (or Bing Ads, etc.) account number.
- If you can, have the billing set up directly with your company – if you control the billing it will be a much faster account control recovery process!
- Make sure that someone in your organization has a login to the account. It does not have to be an admin login, but at least some type of access to the account. Again, this makes recovery or transfer smoother.
- Keep a record of this information securely on your server and in hard copy somewhere where you can find it easily. Staff changes – don’t let that be the reason you can’t find crucial information about your account.
Before you hire anyone to work on your behalf in AdWords, or any paid search platform, be sure to talk to them about what kind of access you will have to the account. Ask them if they will provide for you the account numbers and some level of login access to each account. If they are at all squirrelly about this topic, my advice would be to move on to another provider. This is how I would answer the question about account access:
Client access to their AdWords account is something that we believe is critical. If we are setting up a new account for you, we will provide you with all account details for your records. We will also set up logins for client contacts to be able to access the account. Generally, we prefer that these logins be at the Standard or Read Only level so that we can be sure that no one else is modifying the account while we are responsible for it.
All that being said, we have clients with Admin level logins rather often. At the end of the day, we are working for you and whatever level of access you want, we will grant. We do have clear rules about making changes in the account, but like just your company web site, this account is first and foremost yours. We view the relationship as you trusting us to be your expert in creating, managing and optimizing paid search efforts on your behalf.
For more guidance on choosing a great PPC provider, check out my post “Breaking Down the Too Good To Be True Offer – PPC Edition“.