Who Owns Your Google Analytics Account?

website analytics

Google Account ownership can be a cause for conflict and data loss when the client and service provider decides to part ways, or your marketing expert suddenly vanishes.

This is especially true with Google Analytics Accounts. The question of account ownership needs to be addressed at the beginning of the relationship, as Google Analytics accounts and profiles are generally not transferable. I have successfully moved profiles for a handful of clients, but both parties need to be willing to hand over control. Google Support has also helped on one occasion to re-acquire access to an account once we were able to prove ownership.

Unfortunately when a client ends a marketing relationship with a firm or consultant, often they are not offered the opportunity to gain control of their own data and end up losing the account and having to start again from scratch.

How does this happen? Many SEO & Internet Marketing companies continue to create client accounts as profiles under their own company account.

Why does it happen? In some cases, it’s just “what they’ve always done” and is viewed as a service for the client. However, in many cases, it’s intentional and about power. It allows the provider to use the client’s analytics data as leverage to keep that client from ending the service. “Sure you can cancel your contract, but you will lose all of your analytics or pay-per-click data because it’s our account”. I have run across this practice many times, amazingly even from companies with otherwise glowing reputations.

A similar situation can arise when an internal employee who set-up, or has been managing your Google account(s) leaves your company. Often this person has created the company analytics account using their personal Gmail log-in, or as a new profile under their own Analytics log-in. I have run into this on a few occasions and only once have seen the former employee agree to transfer control of the company profile.

My advice is simple. Never allow your marketing or SEO firm to create a Google Analytics account for you under their Master account. Create your own Google Analytics account, or ask your SEO firm to do this for you. The actual creation of the account is simple and only takes minutes. If your SEO firm insists on having your account under theirs, I suggest you find another company to work with.

Once your account has been created, you can grant your SEO Consultant Administrative Access to properly configure the settings and set-up tracking on your web pages. You will also be shown as an “Administrator” and this access cannot be removed or changed. Using this approach ensures you retain control of the account, and if you decide to end the relationship or change consultants you simply remove their access and grant access to your new consultant without risking the loss of your analytics data.

My approach for new clients without an existing Google Analytics account is to create a new account for them, add myself as an administrator, and provide the client full instructions for logging in. I also provide basic training on understanding the dashboard and the primary reports for KPI tracking.

This same advice extends to creating a Google Ads Account. Create your own account and allow the person who will be managing the account to have Administrative Access. Most Google Advertising Professionals and Google Certified Companies will have what is called a “Client Center”, and will request access to manage your account from within this management interface. This keeps your own log-in credentials private and secure, and access can be removed by the client at any time.

Another benefit of having both your Analytics and Adwords accounts under the same log-in is the ability for the two services to share data. This makes conversion tracking more accurate and saves you time having to combine and compare reports between the two services yourself.

That said, it’s important not to make changes to your account settings, keyword bids or ad copy without first consulting with the person responsible for managing your account. You are paying for their expertise and you should trust their knowledge and let them handle the details. Certainly, you should feel free to ask questions and expect timely and honest answers.

If you have questions or concerns about your Analytics or Google Ads account or are in need of professional and experienced account set-up and management, please contact me.

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