TLDR; If a marketing company forces you to use their analytics or ad accounts, there’s a good chance they’re pocketing a significant portion of your ad spend, so be extremely diligent in finding out about additional costs.
When looking for a marketing company, one of the most important costs people are often unaware of are the hidden costs pulled directly out of your advertising spend or media buy.
In general any marketing company that does not allow you to use exclusively your own Google or Facebook ads account, or won’t let you use your own Analytics is doing this so they can take a cut of every dollar you think you’re spending with Google, Facebook, Pandora, etc. And these marketing companies go to great lengths to prevent you from seeing this cut by creating some form of proprietary reporting platform that simply rolls the costs in, or by only giving you manual reports where they can adjust the numbers you see to hide their cut.
Any time you are looking for a marketing company that wants to only report to you using their platform, or that requires all your media buy and ad spend goes through them, be concerned! Diligently read every word of your contract with them and ask directly what their cut is of the ad spend. Some of even the most well known digital advertising companies take nearly 50%, so you’re paying basically double for the traffic they drive to your site, on top of any base fee you pay.
One point we’ll cover in greater detail later is the idea that a marketing company will make up for that additional cost by making your dollars go farther, or through some form of discount with Google and Facebook. To my knowledge no company gets a special discount with Google or Facebook to make up for these costs, so they are passed wholly and entirely to you as an expense, and this expense often makes up the entire difference between a profitable e-commerce ad campaign and one where you’re losing a little money on every sale.