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Do you know who owns the digital accounts for your business?

As a digital marketing agency with clients from many industries, we’ve noticed that this seems to be an issue that’s becoming increasingly more common for businesses.

More often than not, we find that a lot of our new clients seem to have no idea who actually ‘owns’ the various digital accounts for their business. What’s even more concerning is the fact that most clients are completely unaware of how crucial this is and the effect it can have on their digital marketing.

What is a digital account?

A digital business account can be any online or electronic account that is used by or for your business. Some examples of digital accounts include Google Ads, Google Analytics, Google My Business, Facebook Business Manager and social media accounts.

If you’re a business owner, we urge you to ask yourself these key questions:

1. Do I know who ‘owns’ my digital business accounts?

  • Do I have ownership of these accounts? Is it the business, an employee at my business or is it an agency that owns these digital accounts?
  • Is there an ‘antenuptial’ in place in case of a ‘divorce’? In other words, what happens when the person or agency who owns the accounts is no longer with the company?


2. What access do I have to these digital accounts as a business owner?

  • Am I able to access these accounts? Do I know the level of access I have to my business’s digital accounts?
  • Do I know how to access these digital accounts if needed?


3. What level of access should I have as the business owner?

  • As the business owner, best practice is to have complete ownership and full administrative access to all the digital accounts that are linked to your business.
  • If you do not currently have full access, you need to ask yourself why.

Why is this so important?

Historically, digital marketing agencies have claimed ownership of the digital accounts they set up on behalf of their clients. Unfortunately for a lot of businesses, this is still common practice for some agencies today. This means that access to accounts often get lost when the specific agency or individual who set up the accounts leaves the company.

Many people don’t realise that it is nearly impossible to move ownership of social media business pages from one person to another. So, when the person who has ownership of the page leaves, the page is often lost. In this case, another entirely new page will need to be created from scratch. This also means that all the valuable data that existed within these accounts will also be lost. This could be a massive problem for any business.

In this past week alone, we’ve had two issues related to ownership of accounts with new digital marketing clients. The first issue was with regards to a client’s Google Ads account. With the second client, the issue was about the ownership of their Facebook page and Facebook Business Manager account.

Example 1: Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts

In the first scenario, our new client wanted to move their Google Ads account from their previous agency to our agency due to poor performance. Because the previous agency owned this account, however, they had to transfer ownership to us. And of course, as we often find, the agency refused to do this.

Their reasoning for not wanting to give us access was the fact that they created the account and according to their company policy, they do not transfer accounts they created. At Launchsite Digital, however, we believe that if you, as the client, pay us to create an account for you, the account belongs to you. Therefore, you should have full access to your own account, even if you decide to leave our agency.

Fortunately in this specific case, there was not a lot of valuable data in the first place. So, creating a new account and losing the old data did not make a significant difference to the client’s campaigns. Regardless, it could still have been interesting to have the data for benchmarking and tracking progress in the future.

After countless emails and phone calls back and forth, we finally managed to convince the previous agency to give us access to the client’s Google Analytics account at least. What was very concerning, however, was the fact that they then gave us access not only to this client’s account, but also many of their other clients’ accounts. Whether this was done knowingly or unknowingly, it is an incredible breach of data privacy.

We immediately removed our client’s account from this list of client accounts. And we created a new separate account for them, following best practice of how it should have been done in the first place.

Example 2: Facebook Accounts

In the second scenario, a new client of ours needed to give us access to their Facebook page and Facebook Business Manager account. It appeared, however, that their business page on Facebook was created by a Facebook Business Manager account. And this account was set up by an employee who left the company more than two years ago.

In other words, the Business Manager account now ‘owns’ the Facebook page. And the Business Manager account is owned by a past employee whom the company no longer has access to. Barring a very long legal process and a possible trip to Ireland, it is nearly impossible to gain back ownership or access to this Facebook page or Business Manager account.

Best Practice for digital accounts

It is best practice that these digital accounts are created by the business. Even when working with an agency, the agency should walk you through the process of setting up the accounts. And as the business, you then simply give the agency access to the accounts. In the event that you are not the owner on set up, it is imperative that you, as the business, are granted full administrative access to all business accounts.

We suggest using an email account such as digitalmarketing@brandname.co.za that is owned by the business and not by an individual. It is also recommended that at any given time, more than one employee should have full access to these accounts.

Get in touch

In conclusion, it is very important that you understand not only who ‘owns’ your business accounts, but also who the people are that have access to your valuable company data. If you have any questions or if you would like to find out more about the digital marketing services we offer, get in touch with us at Launchsite Digital.


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