Why Does Scorpion Think Your Data is Theirs?

I received a disappointing email today from a law firm who I’ve been helping assess the efficacy of their current marketing efforts with Scorpion.  Our discovery process centers around performance through Google Analytics and I find again and again agencies who have failed to a) add GA to their clients’ sites (FindLaw is notorious for this) b)refuse to provide any access to the account or c) fallaciously believe that the law firm’s data actually belongs to the agency.  The latter is the case we are dealing with for this Scorpion client.

But let’s stop first and make these points very clear.

  • Your site’s data is your data.  Not your agency’s.
  • You should control how it is configured (even if they do it for you).
  • You should control who has access to it.
  • You should be able to take it with you if you leave your agency.
  • You should be able to kick your agency (or ex-agency, or ex-employee) out of the data if you want.

And if anyone is hesitating in any way to provide you with access to your site’s performance you must ask yourself:

What are they trying to hide from me?

Imagine investing in a 401(k) plan without knowing what your annual rate of return was?  Well that’s what you are doing if you don’t have access to your GA account.  And don’t rely on your agency to tell you how well your agency is doing with your agency’s proprietary reporting platform.  Everything you need to know can (and should) be housed in GA – putting you in full control of both the data and the analysis.

Now back to my client’s email:

You told me that I needed to get control of the Google Analytics account. I made the request to Scorpion and they provide “view access” for my gmail user account.  They said that they cannot transfer G.A. because it is a mixed account.  Ignoring the technical feasibility of the transfer, it doesn’t appear that they are willing to transfer the account.
My question- is view access to G.A. account sufficient to obtain valuable information for future effort?  Unfortunately, I don’t have permissions to delegate views to others.
<sigh>
And to the law firm’s last question…. is view access to GA sufficient?  The answer is usually no….  because depending on the configuration of the account, you can’t even view all of the data.  But would Scorpion really hide critical information from you through their configuration of Google Analytics?  You bet they would.  In the graphics below (taken from another Scorpion client), note how the limited Client Access doesn’t show data on things like….. conversions.
scorpion-hiding-data
Kind of important if you are dropping $75,000 monthly on Google Adwords don’t you think? Wouldn’t you want to be able to see if people are actually calling? filling out forms? chatting?  Without that conversion data, you just have to rely on what your agency tells you.
As far as Scorpion’s explanation that “they cannot transfer G.A. because it is a mixed account” goes… remember, we put a man on the moon in the 70s, we should be able to provide appropriate access to a simple website tool. And Google Analytics has had this functionality for years.  Mockingbird does this for all of our clients, as have most of our reputable agency cohorts.  And Scorpion, if you are stuck…. here’s Google’s guide to their User Permissions.

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