Digital Agencies: Include Analytics Access In Your Agreements


I’ve been on several speaking circuits this year (thus why I’ve been posting less than usual lately) but finally back in the office and settling into a more normal routine.

At recent events I’ve been talking to agencies in areas of communications that traditionally didn’t always have access to analytics (for ex., PR and creatives) and have gotten a recurring question. So I wanted to address here on the blog so I can reference in the future.

The recurring question is simple: “so, access to analytics and how that will help improve my results, share success and iterate programs sounds great …but our client won’t give us our own credentials (or alternative: we’re scared to ask for access).” Here’s the thing: no matter what part of marketing, media or PR you are in access to analytics is a requisite to do your job well.

With that, agencies should include access to a brand’s analytics as part of their onboarding process listed out in agreements. It should be a formal request. This will set appropriate expectation for brands and ensure the necessary privacy docs / NDAs are signed prior to ramping up (agencies: this will make your life a lot easier!). For brands it is also an indicator, although certainly not a guarantee, that your agency has a mature measurement process in place and has expectation of access to data. I would personally be weary of agencies who don’t ask for access.

If you are a brand and granting access to analytics makes you uncomfortable to a specific agency, they’re probably not the right agency for you or you’re perhaps not ready to hire an agency. After all, a solid agency should be considered a trusted partner that’s vested in your businesses and success.

I can imagine some brands hiring a very tactical agency on the cheap that they want to direct totally and have focused on only one thing. But even for this, the agency shouldn’t be satisfied here to be treated tactically and as a hired gun for one thing. They should work to get access to analytics as a way to help understand the situation better and ultimately create goals around / sell new services and tactics. It’s my opinion putting this into agreements helps set you apart as a tier-1 agency from the start.

While on the agency-side I always had this in my agreements and rarely had pushback. And even if I did, I was able to clearly explain why it was necessary for brands who were still new to data-driven decision making. Smart clients know access to analytics is something that benefits the agency-client relationship in both directions. It’s the sign of a true strategic partnership and trust between teams and anyway I don’t understand how any marketers implement any tactics without everyone having access. Bonus: if you’re an agency seeking some best practices for reporting, start here.

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