Pay per Click (PPC) is one of the most lucrative online advertising and marketing platforms available. It delivers high returns on investment and creates a major presence within search engines. PPC offers instant targeted traffic to your online company. One of the biggest questions large and small businesses ask is: should marketing be run in-house or should you hire an expert? There are multiple factors that must be considered before making such an important decision. The following article explores whether you need a PPC management firm for your new business.
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Agencies create strong relationships with large advertising channels and can consult their internal Google, Bing and social media teams on how to manage specific aspects of your account. Agencies have insights that are not shared with advertisers that may end up giving you a competitive edge.
An agency with staff who are immersed in PPC best practices are typically fully-certified in analytics, display, and search. Agencies can dedicate significantly more resources to an account than an in-house marketing team. Also, a PPC management firm will put fresh eyes onto an account, which is something that in-house staff cannot do.
One of the greatest benefits of using your internal marketing professionals or even yourself, as an owner, is an intimate knowledge of your brand and your industry. Although PPC agencies have some knowledge of most industries, as they typically work with a variety of clients, they will never have the in-depth exposure that you possess. In-house marketing employees understand why certain decisions are being made and how they will impact the paid search campaign. This is not something that can be learned quickly by an agency, although over a longer term it is possible.
Since the agency is not located in-house, there will be considerably more communication needed between you and the firm. Also, there will be a learning curve to bring the external agency up-to-speed on your specific account and the requirements. Never assume an agency understands fully and exactly what is expected of them. Clear and complete communication is key to the success of this relationship.
One of the most important considerations when determining whether to hire a PPC management firm is the cost. If you decide to build an internal team of PPC professionals, this will equate to adding headcount which includes salary, benefits, taxes, vacation time and a variety of other financial liabilities. While you may end up paying an agency a percentage of the advertising spend or a flat monthly rate, the initial cost is always far less expensive than hiring an entire team. Even over time, while in-house employees could grow the business significantly and offset employment costs, management fees are usually far less costly.
In-house employees are not typically surrounded by paid search professionals. Their exposure is limited to those with which they work. Although the Internet offers tutorials and blogs on almost every subject, this is not the same as being surrounded by PPC professionals with years of experience. Therefore, if a detailed question should arise, they may not find the answer on the Internet and may not have anyone nearby to ask. Depending on the situation, this could hurt the business overall.
One benefit of utilizing your internal team is that employees of a company have a vested interest in the outcome of their actions. The success of your organization is a primary focus; the better the company performs, the better they will develop and progress. A PPC management organization may not possess that same identity or sense of ownership since they work with multiple clients. While they will still execute the campaigns properly, that “extra fire” might not be evident in their work.
While every business is different and has different goals, reporting is critical to all companies across all industries in making decisions,
tweaking online campaigns and determining successes and failures. As a small company, do you have time to track and react to all this information? As a large company, do you have the resources to dedicate to generating and analyzing PPC successes and failures? This all depends on the focus of the business. A small business owner may better utilize time by researching keywords or posting in online forums. A PPC management firm is familiar with managing reports and producing accurate documentation of the performance of your campaigns.
Another major downside to utilizing your in-house marketing team is a lack of knowledge in PPC management. You will most likely have to train them on PPC since most marketing professionals are not fluent in this concept. There will certainly be a learning curve and an expense associated with bringing your team up to speed in this narrow field. You may not even have the integral knowledge to train them effectively.
Your Business Model
In addition to lacking an emotional connection to your brand or product, a newly hired PPC management firm will not have intimate knowledge of your business model since they cannot access proprietary information unless you release it to them. If so, you must instruct them how to interpret such data. An in-house staff does not need to worry about such matters.
Many new businesses opt for a hybrid approach that combines keeping your PPC campaigns in-house while employing a firm through a retainer. This option is often implemented on a project-by-project basis or through a specific number of hours per month. The greatest advantages of this option include:
This approach allows you to keep full control while bringing in an agency when you need assistance with special projects. Their services can be utilized on an “as needed” basis instead of using an ongoing management model.
In many instances, you will need a “second set of eyes” to provide a fresh perspective. You can direct your firm to conduct an audit or offer a strategic recommendation based on similar situations in which they have encountered in the past.
One potential challenge you should consider:
The in-house and external management firm must work in harmony, as expected. Unfortunately, in many cases, the in-house team feels threatened by the agency and may not communicate information cooperatively. To mitigate, systems must be implemented so the in-house team does not feel threatened and both teams are working in conjunction to reach a common goal.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution so every PPC management program presents benefits and challenges. Do not limit yourself to the two traditional models of in-house vs. PPC management firm. Conduct your research and determine which option is the best for your business and PPC management style.