Best Practices – Google Account Setup for Clients for Web Developers and Agencies

September 24, 2011DavidFeatured Articles

In the first article in this two-part series I talked about best practices for setting up Google Accounts for personal use and for business use.  In this second part I am going to discuss best practices for developers and agencies for setting up and managing Google Accounts for their clients. Before you read this article, you may find it helpful to review the first article as this article continues with example scenarios used in the first one.

When we last left John Doe, he had a Google Account for his two blogs — his personal use, ( and a second Google Account for his company (– for business use.

Scenario III – Google Accounts and Google Product Setup for Clients (Scenario I and II are in the first article)

So all is well and then finally John gets a client!  He wants to manage Google Analytics for this client and the client also wishes to give AdWords a go, as well.  The first thing John then does is creates a Google Account for the client (or better yet — has the client create his or her own Google account). Further, John works with the client to setup a Google Analytics account for the client under the CLIENT’S Google Account.  Again — John is tempted to simply add the client’s domain to the Analytics profile on one of his Google Accounts — but he doesn’t.  So when John works with clients he follows the following concept:  each client has a separate Google Account for EACH of the clients domains.  And if nothing else, at a minimum, each client has his or her OWN Google Account and NO client properties are mixed with either of John’s Google Accounts.

If John works with a very large company, that has multiple web properties, then it naturally makes sense that each web property has it’s own Google Account.  But if it’s a smaller client, one could consider grouping a clients web properties into one client Google Account.    The big disadvantage of having multiple client properties grouped into ONE client account is that there’s very little privacy between accounts — such that if an employee from property 1 accesses this client’s “global” account, he or she will be able to see the data from property 2.   In some companies this isn’t an issue, but if sharing and data secrecy/privacy is going to be an issue, then surely create separate Google Accounts per domain.

On the subject of helping clients create accounts, I like to create video tutorials for my clients to use.  You can clearly point clients to setup videos on YouTube and the like, but I like to make sure my clients get focused information.  Further, when you have your own personalized video about how to setup Analytics, for example, it’s easy to include in that video the instructions for adding you and your (business) Gmail account as a shared user (and the video also makes for good marketing).

Google Analytics:  John’s  client is now successfully setup with a Google Account and has Analytics configured. In order for John to access the client’s Analytics account, he needs to be added to the Analytics account.  For the purposes of this guide John is going to be added as an administrator to the account, and John instructs the client how to add him as an administrator.  Note that only Gmail addresses can be used to get shared access to an Analytics account, so John gives the client the Gmail account of his business to use as the address for sharing (

Google AdWords:  John’s client now wants to start advertising using AdWords.  There are two general ways to setup the AdWords account.  The first way is for the client to simply setup the account (with John’s instructions/guidance), and the second way is for John to create the account for the client using the MCC interface.  MCC is Google’s “My Client Center” and it is a hub for developers and agencies to use to manage multiple client AdWords accounts.  Without an MCC account, John would have to have a new GOOGLE ACCOUNT for each client AdWords account he wanted to log into as a shared user.  Yes — that’s right — I said GOOGLE ACCOUNT.  Whereas with Analytics John can use his business Gmail address as his access address for tons of client Google Analytics accounts, A GMAIL ADDRESS CAN ONLY BE ASSOCIATED WITH ONE ADWORDS account.  Thus, since John’s business Gmail address ( is already associated with the AdWords account that John uses to promote his own business on his business Google Account’s AdWords account, he CANNOT use this Gmail address to login to any of his clients AdWords accounts.  Thus, the two options John has are to 1) create a new Google account (and hence a new Gmail address) for each client AdWords account he wishes to access, or 2) to simply signup and use the free MCC.

A note about AdWords accounts: because adwords accounts are sometimes shared, there’s a consideration to having clients use domain-based email accounts as their AdWords logins.  For example, your client, XYZ Widgets at, may have a Google Account with Analytics and Gmail (, and may not want people to have this username and password.  Thus, for AdWords this client can create a new email at their domain, e.g. to provide a level of insulation

A second note about AdWords: as of this writing, you CAN setup AdWords accounts such that the client enters their billing information — so this way YOU mange AdWords, but the client gets the bills for the clicks and you are not having to collect money from clients (at least not to pay for the AdWords clicks).  Also, clients CAN “breakup” with you and leave your MCC account with their data intact.  Naturally before you’d advise a client to sever their account with your MCC, I STRONGLY urge you to check with Google’s latest policies so you know what you can and cannot do.

Take-Home Messages:

1. ALL clients should have their OWN Google Accounts, and clients with multiple large websites should strongly consider having separate Google Accounts for each of these properties — especially when sharing access will be necessary.

2. Use the Gmail address from your business Google Account for Analytics sharing with clients (e.g. you accessing their data).

3. Use the MCC to streamline AdWords management, and consider domain based emails ( for AdWords username/signup.

As with everything Google, this information may change, so please check-in with Google and do some research before you jump in.  And as always, please feel free to comment below to add your experiences, thoughts, and best practices!

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