Administering an existing AdWords account

Summary

When you link an existing AdWords account to a manager account, the original account remains unchanged and its account history remains intact. The original users of the newly linked account still have access to the billing and sign in information.

You can also link another manager account to your account, which lets you manage and view data for all of the AdWords accounts that are linked to that manager account.

An individual AdWords account can be linked to no more than 5 manager accounts, and your managed account structure can be no greater than 6 levels deep.

Manual steps

  1. Obtain the AdWords Customer ID number (which appears in the top corner of AdWords account).
  2. Sign in to your manager account on AdWords UI.
  3. Click the Accounts tab.
  4. Click the Performance sub-tab.
  5. Click the + Account button.
  6. Choose Link existing accounts.
  7. Once you've reviewed the terms for linking accounts, enter the AdWords account's Customer ID number in the client accounts field. To link multiple accounts at once, enter one Customer ID per line.
  8. Click Continue, then Submit. The AdWords account will receive an account notification and email that invites them to link to your account.
  9. You'll see a pending notification for the (soon-to-be) managed account in your manager account's Pending invitations, which can be accessed from the side navigation. Once the invited account accepts your invitation, you'll receive an email confirmation and the account will be automatically linked to your manager account. Keep in mind that when you link an existing AdWords account, it won't have administrative ownership by default.
  10. Any user with administrative access on the invited account or on a linked manager account with administrative ownership can accept your invitation by clicking the gear icon, then selecting Account settings from the drop-down menu. Then, they'll select Account access from the side navigation and click Accept invitation.

Automatic steps

  1. To extend an invitation from a manager account to a new account, you must be authenticated as the manager account or another manager account that is higher in the hierarchy, and you will need to know the client account's customer ID (see this Find your customer ID reference).
  2. You will use the ManagedCustomerService.mutateLink method to request linking a new AdWords account to an AdWords manager account through the AdWords API. To build the parameters for your mutateLink call, create a ManagedCustomerLink object in which you set the manager customer ID to the ID of the manager account that is extending the invitation, and the client customer ID to the ID of the account to which you'd like to extend the invitation. The link status will be PENDING.
  3. Build a LinkOperation, adding the ManagedCustomerLink from the previous step as the operand and ADD as the operator.
  4. Make your call to ManagedCustomerService.mutateLink adding the LinkOperation instance as one of the operations sent to the service. This is the call that extends the invitation to the client account.
  5. Invitations that have yet to be accepted can be retrieved with ManagedCustomerService.getPendingInvitations, from either the client or manager account. This is how you can check whether the invitation is still pending from the perspective of the AdWords manager account.
  6. The client can accept the invitation through an API call, too. For this, the effective user must be an administrative owner of the client account.
    1. If you have such credentials, your code can directly accept the link on behalf of the client account by using ManagedCustomerService.mutateLink again in a similar fashion to steps 2, 3 and 4, this time setting the link status to ACTIVE on a SET operation.
    2. If you don't have the right permissions to the client account but your software is a web flow triggered by the new client account's owner, you could use the OAuth web app authentication model to request they authenticate with OAuth2 for your software to act on their behalf when calling ManagedCustomerService.mutateLink as described in the previous step. For instructions on how to configure your AdWords API library and your software for multiple user authentication, follow the instructions in the GitHub repository for your choice of client libraries.
    3. If you don't have valid credentials to accept on behalf of the client account and your software is not a web flow with the client's administrator as the user, you will not be able to accept the invitation automatically, and you will likely need to implement a waiting system that will check the pending invitations periodically to see whether the client has accepted or not manually in order to start working on the newly linked client account.

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