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Should I Run My Paid Ads In-House or Use an Agency?

Date Posted: October 25, 2023
Digital Marketing Agency

Digital Marketing Agency

Choosing between managing your paid ads in-house or partnering with a digital marketing agency is a significant decision. Your choice will impact not just your ad performance but also your overall business strategy. Both approaches come with their unique set of advantages and disadvantages. In today’s competitive landscape, making the right choice can be the difference between a successful campaign and a costly mistake.

Weighing the Cost Factor

In-House Costs

  • Salaries: One of the most significant costs of in-house ad management is staff salaries. If you’re a small business, you might get away with one or two employees. But as you scale, you’ll need more hands on deck.
  • Training: Digital advertising is a fast-changing field. Continuous learning is essential to keep up with algorithm tweaks, new ad formats, and industry trends.
  • Software Licenses: Advertising and analytics platforms aren’t free. Plus, each team member will need access to these tools, multiplying costs.
  • Overheads: From workstations to software licenses, the costs add up.

Agency Costs

  • Service Fee: Digital marketing agencies usually charge a retainer, a flat fee, or a percentage of your ad spend, so you know what you’re getting into each month.
  • Set-Up Fees: Some agencies require an initial investment to set up your campaigns.
  • Flexibility: One of the unsung benefits of using a digital marketing agency is the flexibility to scale your advertising up or down, depending on your needs and budget.

In the short term, an agency may seem like a more expensive option, but remember, the right agency brings expertise that can offer a better return on investment. When calculating costs, factor in the value of freeing up your team’s time to focus on other essential tasks.

Expertise and Specialisation

In-House Expertise

  • In-Depth Brand Knowledge: Who knows your business better than your own team? An internal group can intimately understand your brand voice, customer pain points, and company goals.
  • Quick Decision-Making: With everyone in the same building (or at least on the same Slack channel), decisions can be made quickly, without the back-and-forth emails that can slow things down.

Agency Expertise

  • Broad Skill Set: A reputable digital marketing agency comes with a host of experts in various fields—SEO, content marketing, social media, and more—alongside ad specialists.
  • Staying Current: Agencies need to be on the cutting edge to stay competitive. That means they are generally up-to-date on the latest industry trends, tools, and technologies.

Unless you already have experienced staff, ramping up in-house expertise can be time-consuming. Agencies already have the expertise and can hit the ground running.

Control and Communication

In-House Control

  • Direct Oversight: If you like to be involved in every detail, in-house management allows you to have complete control.
  • Immediate Feedback: The proximity of your in-house team allows for rapid-fire adjustments and immediate discussions, providing a quick reaction time to any challenges.

Agency Control

  • Structured Communication: Expect scheduled touchpoints, such as weekly check-ins and monthly reports, when you’re working with an agency.
  • Hands-Off Approach: You’ll need to give up a degree of control, as agencies typically handle the day-to-day management of your campaigns.

Maintaining control and facilitating effective communication is easier when running campaigns in-house. However, a reputable digital marketing agency will work to ensure transparent communication and regular reporting.

Scalability and Adaptability

In-House Scalability

  • Time-Intensive: Internal teams often have to juggle multiple tasks, making fast scaling a challenge.
  • Resource Limitations: You’ll need to invest in more team members and tools as you scale, which could eat into your profits.

Agency Scalability

  • Quick Adjustments: Digital marketing agencies have the resources to quickly adapt to your needs, thanks to their larger teams and access to advanced tools.
  • Holistic Strategy: Agencies can realign strategies across different platforms more easily, thanks to a comprehensive view of your campaigns.

When you collaborate with a digital marketing agency, you get the advantage of scalability without the headache of managing extra resources.

Making the Final Decision

Deciding between in-house and agency management for your paid ads boils down to a blend of factors: costs, level of expertise, degree of control, and scalability potential. With in-house management, you gain deep brand understanding and a higher level of control but often at the cost of time, expertise, and sometimes money. In contrast, a digital marketing agency offers specialised skills, advanced tools, and scalability options, albeit sometimes with a higher upfront cost and less direct oversight.

So, when it comes down to it, you’ll need to closely evaluate your business’s specific needs, your team’s capabilities, and your growth objectives to make the right decision. Take your time, weigh the pros and cons, and choose the approach that aligns most closely with your business goals and resources.

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