There are numerous variables to take into account including the level of expertise, the complexity of the effort, present inner resources and the management price of a stated expert.
We are going to come clean. Most of these types of posts are written by an agency of some kind and will therefore obviously have a tendency to be biased towards the benefits of external help. Some might call it prejudice, some would call it scaremongering.
This guide has been composed by an established internet marketing agency, but one trying to give as objective a view as you can. Subsequently, both choices can have significant drawbacks when those cogs don’t turn quite as easily as intended.
For a company, the obvious question is: why would you cover a possibly hefty management fee if you were able to find the time in the house and do it yourself? Especially when PPC is only a bidding strategy, and does not call for design or development abilities.
Utilizing an agency will give you the edge and save money in the long run.
How does the management fee stack up from the true PPC spend and following ROI offered by the effort?
Above all, what’s the threat profile of the bureau not hitting the anticipated ROI and because of their management fee actually removing each of the margins in the campaign?
Handling the effort in-house
Do you actually have the in-house tools to properly handle a campaign, or are you simply going to try (unsuccessfully) to squeeze more time out of an already active team? How will this affect other critical daily tasks within the business (i.e. opportunity cost)?
If you are choosing a new person to run the campaign, what are their complete expenses? Basic salary is the first indicator but what about gains, pension, greater desk expenses?
Furthermore, is this something that you are committed to for the mid to long-term? Hiring someone is simple, but if that is their only responsibility, they could grow to be an unnecessary part of your cost base should you not continue with the effort. In the UK and EU especially, you cannot then just get rid of the unfortunate spirit without going through a somewhat tough process that will probably involve additional costs such as redundancy pay.
As you can see above, assessing the cost-effectiveness of service vs in-house involves a whole swathe of variables. No two businesses are the same, and as such, employing a typical equation to this scenario is simply not possible.
Everything depends on the level of knowledge
Knowledge is power, or in the case of PPC, knowledge, and expertise will result in a campaign that outperforms one handled by a beginner. You might get lucky, but as with the majority of things in life, the more experienced practitioner will come out on top. If you are feeling confident in taking managing your PPC campaign on your own, these 6 tips for successful Google AdWords PPC campaigns will help you on your way.
Taking this into consideration when looking at how to control a PPC effort (agency or in-house), you must first look at the level of knowledge within your team.
The essentials of a bidding strategy and focusing on search terms that deliver ROI for the company are easy to grasp. However, to actually squeeze the advantages of your spend on PPC you should simply know what it is you are doing. This required level of knowledge is likely to become far greater with more complex campaigns.
As stated from the previous blog article on this issue, having an expert conduct the first research and set up the campaign is often a cost-effective way of making sure that the campaign gets off on the perfect foot. Much like an initial SEO audit, getting an expert to prepare the campaign could provide you with a sufficiently stable foundation to then handle the campaign in-house.
Again, we have noticed a plethora of fairly decent campaigns that have been set up by company owners after performing their own research so it still comes back to the level of knowledge (and time) available to you.
Just how much do you want to spend, and get in return?
There is a reason why different advertising campaigns have different associated costs. Some are very easy, only product localized campaigns whereas others may involve national or international coverage with thousands of individual products.
Broadly speaking, the more complex the campaign, the higher the budget, and therefore the greater the danger liability of an underperforming effort. It does not only come down to bid alterations.
Good digital marketing campaigns break down the barriers between departments and channels. Teams now communicate with one another rather than remaining in their silos, mixing to create greater consequences than a number of their individual parts.
As mentioned, using an agency will give you access to more than just PPC specialists at the top of their game. An amazing PPC campaign will even pull in web design experts, taking into consideration UX/UI, conversion rate optimization, content writing and remarketing (amongst others).
In the game, it’s often known as ‘marginal profits’, although you might find that an overhaul of your site’s user stream could deliver a lot more than only a marginal advantage. Access to multiple areas is what you possibly turn your back on when conducting a campaign in the house and it can make or break a campaign.
The core functions apply to the above single product effort just as far as they can go into the international effort; it’s just that the latter has more to lose. As campaigns increase in sophistication, there is a point where you want to fully commit to the process and give the campaign the very best chance of succeeding.
In cases like this, it’s worth handing it over to a group which specializes in PPC.
In the end, the chance is that if you put an agency’s effort next to one that’s been conducted in-house you’d imagine that the extra level of experience and experience would mean that the agency’s effort would produce better outcomes. All other things being equal you’d decide on the agency nine days out of ten.
The question, of course, is the agency fees.
Yes, you can assert that in-house teams have a higher level of industry knowledge, or that a PPC expert will have the ability to make sense of the effort dashboard and use some of the more advanced tools. However, you already know that. That debate is pretty clear (and well covered!).
In basic terms, how much money are you going to get in return for the corresponding expenses?
Agencies frequently have a minimal fee connected with PPC campaigns. Therefore if your funding for PPC is very modest, for the sake of discussion let us say $500 per month, then you will likely find that the agency charges will exceed the margin made from the campaign.
Don’t forget to consider your internal margins rather than revenue! In this instance, it’s very likely that having an expert set up the campaign initially is going to be the only option that will produce a meaningful ROI.
On the other hand, if the agency charge is only a small proportion of the entire budget spend and in turn, the margins out of the campaign exceed the agency fee then it makes sense. The agency provides a much higher level of experience, and may also allow you the flexibility to stop the campaign at any time.
One size doesn’t fit all
Hopefully, these ramblings have revealed that this not a one size fits all debate. There are simply too many variables.
My advice would be to base your decision on real-world facts. For instance, we often see business owners try to conduct campaigns themselves (or ask one of their team to do it) without seriously thinking about the time expenditure required. Trust us when we say that in the event that you don’t have the time, it won’t get done. You’re going to wind up spending a chunk of money for 3 months and then giving up without making any adjustments.
On the other hand, if you do have the time you might find yourself getting to grips with all the effort and raising your sales consequently. It can even indicate you could reduce spend on other marketing channels, all without having to pay a service fee.
Consider your options before making a decision. Don’t only do PPC for the sake of doing this; there ought to be a true business case put forward which will provide real information as to whether hiring a PPC specialist is going to be a viable option.
If it transpires that running the effort in-house will function in the actual world, then great, do it! Be flexible, be sensible and you should find yourself making the ideal decision. Recall — both choices can get the job done.
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