Google AdWords Agency Transparency: Yes, we expect to tick all boxes without a problem

Andrew Girdwood has recently posted on E-Consultancy that Google are going to be tightening up the terms and conditions it has with it’s agency partners.  Such partners include internet marketing agencies such as ourselves, as well as traditional advertising agencies and even PR companies with search budget to control (“control” perhaps being a little over optimistic in some cases!)

Bubbles in the ice
Creative Commons License photo credit: net_efekt

(Please note that this refers to Google AdWords (aka PPC) not organic rankings (SEO, though it would be nice if SEO regulation were more practical)

The particular issue Google is looking to address is transparency.  According to the post, Google will require agencies to disclose actual spend to clients.  That’s worth repeating “disclose actual spend”.

No really, there are many agencies that don’t do this.   It includes a lot of the cold-calling-guaranteed-no.1-rankings-type companies, but also a lot of companies who operate on a “Cost per action” model or indeed a flat budget model.  It will also include some large traditional companies who you may respect.

However it is done, the point is that mark-ups can sometimes be extreme (even up to 90% in the worst case), all without the client’s knowledge.

Meeting the New Guidelines

According to the article Google claim less than 1/3 of agencies will meet the revised transparency guidelines.

I am very confident that we will more than meet the guidelines as we have always disclosed this information (so may be that puts us 10 years ahead of the curve).  Further we provide all our clients with access to the account so they can see for themselves that there is no cloak and dagger going on. (See our terms of servicewhich we view as a selling point, rather than back-side protection)

Ownership of the accounts may also be an issue they seek to address.  It wouldn’t surprise me if they seek to clamp down on the many agencies who seek to provide a barrier to moving on, by retaining the client’s account (something we did once in our much younger days before we realised it was childish and pointless!)

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7 thoughts on “Google AdWords Agency Transparency: Yes, we expect to tick all boxes without a problem”

  1. Guest says:

    This new policy will obviously have a very detrimental effect on companies who run Adwords for clients on a pay-per-click or cost-per-action model (as it completely exposes their profit magins). Agreement with this policy implies that you disgaree with those models and believe that accounts should only be managed on a fixed-fee basis, is that the case?

    • Tim Barlow says:

      We don’t run our accounts on a fixed-fee basis, we charge a % of clicks but are open about what we are charging.nnOn the issue of exposing profit margins, my personal perspective is that hiding profit margins (or charges to be more accurate) is not how I wish to conduct my business.nnI appreciate that revealing these details has the potential to cause problems for others but overall I feel that hidden costs are a bad thing for the industry.

  2. Guest says:

    Ok. Thanks for response. I tend to agree!

    • Tim Barlow says:

      There I was thinking you were going to give me a hard time, who ever you are 🙂

      • Tim Barlow says:

        (What I was really doing was fishing to to find out if you simply found our commenting system a bit confusing, rather than trying to make you feel guilty about not revealing your identity)

        • Guest says:

          Haha, pressing “reply” isn’t very confusing… I think I get it now… assuming this appears in the correct place!

          • Tim Barlow says:

            It’s in the right place but you are still mystery man/lady 🙂

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