Pay-per-click marketing is a profitable way to generate leads or sales for your business. On Google Ads, for example, businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend.
The question is whether you should manage this marketing channel in-house or outsource it to a PPC agency. There are pros and cons to both options, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all choice.
Let’s look at the two alternatives and the reasons for choosing one or the other.
Advantages of Working with a PPC Agency
PPC Agencies offer several advantages over an in-house PPC specialist:
Skills and Experience
Agencies specialize in pay per click marketing so they need to keep up-to-date with the latest trends, new advertising platforms, updates to existing platforms and other changes in the pay per click world. In-house specialists often don’t have the time or resources to stay on top of these things.
Agencies also have experience with different types of companies and marketing campaigns and will avoid a lot of the trial-and-error required for an in-house specialist to build a foundation.
PPC agencies often have direct relationships with large advertising platforms. One company may not spend enough to justify these relationships but when they’re all added together in an agency’s portfolio, they’ll get noticed.
These relationships can give them “insider” knowledge that an in-house PPC specialist wouldn’t get. Agencies may get access to new features before they’re widely released, helping lower your advertising costs or giving you early access to new advertising tools.
When you work with a PPC agency, they have a team of people working on your marketing. If a campaign takes off or something else comes up that needs attention, they can assign more people to your account to look after it.
In-house PPC management has a limit on resources. If something urgent comes up, something else has to be set aside. And if you have a single in-house specialist, it’s even worse. Sickness, vacation or any other absence will have an effect on your PPC campaigns.
Advantages of Going In-House
Hiring your own in-house PPC specialist also has some distinct advantages.
Knowledge of Business
In-house PPC specialists will be more familiar with the business than outside agencies, no matter how good the agency is at their job. Your own employees can sit in on meetings, talk to different departments and pick up useful knowledge from day-to-day.
They will also be more invested in the company’s success, taking a personal interest in making sure it’s successful.
Faster Reaction Time
Keeping your PPC management in-house gives you the ability to react faster when problems or opportunities come up. There’s no communication lag as there can be with outside agencies and you don’t have to worry about in-house staff having other clients who also need attention.
For example, if a competitor suddenly increases their bids in the middle of your peak season, you need to be able to react to that quickly or you’re going to lose business. An in-house specialist can jump on it right away but with an agency, you’ll have to reach out to them and hope they don’t have several other clients in the same market who are all calling them at once.
There are some disadvantages to in-house PPC specialists as well, most of which don’t apply when you work with an agency.
Bleed-Over with Other Jobs
In-house PPC specialists often look after more than just pay-per-click marketing. They might be responsible for SEO, website maintenance, social media, and various other things.
Even if it’s not technically part of their job, they often get tasked to help with those things. Dividing their attention will likely affect your PPC results, especially if it’s an ongoing problem.
It can be easier to budget for an in-house specialist since it’s a fixed cost, regardless of your ad spend or the performance of your campaigns. With an agency, your costs will likely increase as your spend increases and it’s often tied to performance.
But hiring an employee comes with its own costs on top of their salary. Insurance and other benefits can add between 25% and 40% to the base salary. Not to mention the paperwork, tax filings and other red tape that comes along with hiring an employee.
Using A Combination Of In-House and Agency PPC Specialists
A solution that lets you get the best of both worlds is to use a combination of in-house and agency PPC specialists. There are two ways this can work out.
Supporting Your In-House Staff
If you have an inexperienced in-house specialist, the PPC agency can provide support and advice as they learn.
The in-house specialist can be the point-of-contact with the agency. You’ll get the closer connection with an internal employee on top of the agency’s experience and knowledge.
Expanding Your Resources
If you have experienced in-house PPC specialists, they can take care of your campaigns and the agency can look after the day-to-day work that you may not have enough resources to deal with internally.
If something unexpected happens and you suddenly need extra resources, the agency can put more staff on your account without needing time for training or getting up to speed with the campaigns.
Whether you choose an in-house PPC specialist or an agency, make sure you plan ahead. Don’t expect to launch your campaigns and start getting leads as soon as you’ve hired someone or signed an agreement with an agency.
With in-house specialists, budget time for training. They’re going to need to learn about the company, any campaigns you’ve already got running, your goals and various other things. A PPC agency is also going to need to familiarize themselves with any existing campaigns, your company and the goals you want to reach.
If your business has a peak season, make sure you start well ahead of time so your campaigns can have a solid foundation. With some foresight and planning, your campaigns can be running like a well-oiled machine when the traffic spike hits.