A Change in AdWords Third-Party Management Policy (for the better)

Last week, Google announced the launch of a new third-party policy for AdWords, expected to take effect November 2014. At Mockingbird, we’re big proponents of being transparent with our clients and making sure they own and have access to everything we do for them. For us, the improvements are reinforcing what we already do. For others, though, it may be a wake up call.

What’s the current third-party management policy?

Here’s a cliff notes version of Google’s current AdWords policy, as summarized from their Third-Party Policy page. Third-party managers…

  1. Must provide advertisers with monthly data on AdWords cost, clicks, and impressions.
  2. Must provide the Google Disclosure notice to small and medium-sized clients.
  3. May not engage in unclear, deceptive, or harassing sales practices.
  4. May not misrepresent their relationship to Google.
  5. May not make improper guarantees about Google to clients.
  6. May not violate Google’s branding guidelines.
  7. May not improperly use AdWords accounts.

In a nutshell – don’t be sketchy. You are a third party Google AdWords marketer, not Google. You are charging clients money to manage this account. You can’t guarantee that with your help they will win the Internet.


Google’s changes to the policy (as discussed here) include the addition of the following points:

  • Management fees – If you charge management fees, which you probably do, you must disclose them to your client.
  • Customer IDs – a customer ID is how Google identifies your AdWords account. You must provide this to your client so they can speak directly to Google about their account.

In a nutshell – seriously, don’t be sketchy. If you’re charging people money to manage their AdWords account, you have to tell them. You also need to give your clients the ability to talk to Google directly.

3 Questions to Ask About Your Third-Party AdWords Manager

To protect yourself from a potentially less-than-stellar third-party AdWords manager, we recommend you ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How much money are you spending on ads, and how much are you spending on the management of those ads? Keeping in mind that you get what you pay for when it comes to professional management services, if the numbers seem ridiculous, they probably are.
  2. How many clients are you getting from this advertising? 1? 2? 200? How does this compare to your cost per client in your other marketing channels?
  3. Are you allowed to access your own AdWords data? If you can’t, that’s a good indication you should run for the hills.

If you’re having issues with a third party manager and want to tell Google about it, you can fill out a complaint here.
If you’re having issues with a third party manager and want to hire a new one, you can read more about us here.