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Ethical to withhold data from clients?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

The question is pretty straightforward. "Is it ethical for agencies to withhold keyword lists, performance reports or any other data from the clients for whom they're running AdWords campaigns?" 

 

Our answer would be "no", it is NOT ethical for agencies who run AdWords campaigns for clients to withhold keyword lists and full performance reports from their clients under the guise of "extensive R&D"...

 

Very curious to know how others feel.

 

Thanks! 

 

Russ

2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Ethical to withhold data from clients?

[ Edited ]
Rising Star
# 2
Rising Star

Hi Russ,

It should be fine, as long as the client gets some benefit out of the R&D. However, the client should be made aware at some point or the other, as all the data belongs to him. I'll wait to see if there's a different opinion around this.

Cheers,
Sumanth

Sumanth Sridhar

Re: Ethical to withhold data from clients?

[ Edited ]
Badged Google Partner
# 3
Badged Google Partner

It is not ethical to Withhold Data. The client owns the account, the agency manages. Any withholding of data or claims of RD is total BS.

 

Google has updated it's policies recently in an attempt to make that PRETTY CLEAR..

 

The New Google Third Party Policy Statements make it pretty Clear about Transparency
https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6086450?hl=en

 

 

Snippet from Policy:
Transparency requirements

For advertisers to fully realize the benefits of advertising on Google, they need to have the right information to make informed decisions. Therefore, we require all of our third-party partners to be transparent with information that affects these decisions. In addition to meeting the requirements outlined below, third parties must make reasonable efforts to provide their customers with other relevant information when requested.

 

 

Google advertising cost and performance

At a minimum, you must provide your customers with monthly performance reports that include data on costs, clicks, and impressions at the Google advertising account level. When sharing Google advertising cost data with customers, report the exact amount charged by Google, exclusive of any fees that you charge.

If you provide other reports on cost or performance beyond the minimum requirement described above, those reports also need to apply specifically to Google advertising products. For example, if you provide your customers with daily cost and performance reporting at the keyword level across all advertising networks, then you're also required to provide reporting on daily cost and performance specifically for AdWords keywords.

Share your Google advertising cost and performance reports in a way that makes it easy for your customers to access the reports, such as by email or via your website. Alternatively, you can meet this reporting requirement by allowing your customers to sign in to their Google advertising accounts directly to access their cost and performance data. Learn how to share account access.

 

Editorial Note from me:

That's the Policy and pretty clear,  However It is not clear if Google will or does hold Premiere Partners accountable to the same requirements.....

Re: Ethical to withhold data from clients?

Participant ✭ ✭ ☆
# 4
Participant ✭ ✭ ☆
I would tend to agree with you, Russ, and Eric, on this. The account really should be (and is - if managed properly) the client's, so withholding information is silly. Sometimes there are cases where putting together a report or analyses can take time (a few days, maybe) but declining to share information is shady.

Re: Ethical to withhold data from clients?

Rising Star
# 5
Rising Star
Totally agree with Eric & Amy. An AdWords account is the property of the client and withholding any data or reports from them is not ethical at all.

We have to ensure that the client is made aware of this fact and that they can leave our services as an agency and still retain the account with them.

Cheers!

Shashank
Cheers,
Shashank Singh, AdWords Rising Star |
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Re: Ethical to withhold data from clients?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thank you everyone! I got the same reaction from the G+ community. 

 

I'm not going to report this other company because by my reading of the Google policy, technically all they're really responsible for is providing the minimum, which they have. 

 

However, it seems pretty clear that all of you and all of the G+ responders believe that a higher level of transparency is warranted, necessary and right. I agree wholeheartedly. 

 

I will however be letting my client know about the responses you've given here, because I believe the agency doing their work now is of dubious character. What started this was her asking me to analyze their performance, which is impossible comprehensively from nothing more than a top-level data screenshot from the dashboard. When I suggested she ask for the keyword list and performance report, they replied by saying they don't give that to clients, prompting my question here.

 

Thanks again everyone! Really helped :-)

 

Russ