Third Party AdWords Reporting Requirement Changes From Google

Effective February 2011, Google will be implementing new policies around third party reporting requirements.

What information must be reported to all advertisers?

Partners/agencies advertising with AdWords will be required to disclose the following information:

  • Advertising budget (cost) actually spent on AdWords campaigns.
  • How many times ads appeared (impressions).
  • How many time users clicked on the ads (clicks).

Third party agencies can present this information to the advertiser via user interface, reports (emailed or hard copy), or any other way that is convenient.

Why is Google making these changes and why is it important to you?

Google’s end goal is to improve advertisers’ ROI and experience with AdWords. Today, it is common for a good number of agencies to not spend the entire allocated budget on Google search.  These agencies use Google AdWords as just one part of the lead sources, but do not disclose Google’s performance separately. This dilutes the AdWords campaign performance since Google leads typically convert at higher rates than some of the other media sources they are often bundled with.  In addition, some agencies pad their fees by pocketing more than they agreed to charge the client.  Without campaign details these situations are impossible to spot.

If your paid search campaign is not performing, there are probably some underlying issues going on. Managing an effective paid search campaign takes a lot of time and is no easy task. It includes continual testing/monitoring of multiple campaign elements, including ongoing bid optimization, landing page creation/testing, ad variation testing, etc.

If you are paying for a paid search campaign today, make sure to hold your provider accountable. Ask questions around results and make sure you are getting an acceptable ROI on these campaigns.  If they do not share campaign performance specifics, you should investigate the situation thoroughly.