Recently, in a PPC Chat, the merits of both in-house PPC management and hiring a third party PPC agency to do PPC management was thoroughly discussed. By the end of the discussion/debate I was convinced the in-house argument didn’t hold water. Since I work for DragonSearch, an agency, one would think I hold a bias, but I tried very hard to listen to the merits of in-house PPC management. While there are certainly some good points to be made about in-house PPC management, an agency clearly has an edge. In particular, there were at least six reasons why I think a company should hire a PPC management company over hiring in-house.
An in-house PPC manager has a multitude of responsibilities that are not associated with PPC. This differs in every company, but often in-house PPC managers wear many hats. Not only does a friend of mine run her company’s PPC account, she also hosts webinars, deals with payroll, and reports to management about employee productivity, among many other things. All of this takes the focus away from PPC. PPC needs constant attention if it is to be done correctly. PPC management companies have no responsibilities other than optimizing their accounts and employing the tricks of the trade.
Where in-house PPC managers have a host of other responsibilities, PPC management companies can concentrate on the art of PPC. A large part of this is recognizing and working with global search trends and constantly keeping oneself updated. Agencies have time to dedicate to learning the nuances of the industry. Since there are always changes in Adwords and Adcenter, there must be time dedicated to learning about these changes and how they can affect an account. I personally read industry articles and blogs for at least a half an hour a day to stay on top of things and get fresh ideas. I would think that an in-house manager’s time would not be so flexible.
There are no office politics to worry about at PPC agencies. We have our work to do and a budget to adhere to and it’s that simple. I am told that in-house managers often have to fight for resources. I could not imagine having to deal with the effects of a different company department taking funds or manpower out of PPC efforts, but apparently it happens. When it comes to manpower, it’s nice to know here at an agency that all these little things are a non-issue. Additionally, I think I would find it more difficult to convince a superior that more money needs to be put into PPC efforts than I would find it to convince a client. As an agency PPC manager it’s my job to tell the client how or where to spend money and if it is worth spending more whereas office politics can make it hard to ask a superior for more money for a “department.” In this sour economic time, I am sure all departments would like more money to operate. All of this discomfort can be avoided when working with an agency.
The day-to-day grind of PPC management can sometimes get bogged down by the details if allowed to. The phrase, “Can’t see the forest for the trees” comes to mind. This happens when one gets too involved with analyzing minute details instead of reacting to them. When this occurs there is nothing more valuable than another professional PPC brain to offer a fresh perspective. This is where an agency has its finest advantage. A team of informed specialists, all with slightly different philosophies, can brainstorm about how to set and accomplish goals far better than someone who has multiple responsibilities beyond PPC.
Further, just in case one of our team members misses a change in Adwords or notices a new trend in search queries, there will certainly be someone that does catch it on the team. My coworkers and I are in constant talks about the latest and greatest PPC innovations and strategies. I just don’t see an in-house PPC manager having this benefit.
When I think of an in-house PPC manager, I think of my friend who will remain nameless. She was an employee who was just asked to do PPC for the company at the same pay rate because she had the time to “take on another task.” She is very smart so she took it upon herself to learn Adwords, but it took her months (and asking a friend a lot of questions) to finally get the hang of it. In those months some costly beginner mistakes were made too. Still now, the level in which she operates is nowhere near the level in which we here at DragonSearch operate. I doubt that she will ever find the time to optimize her PPC account to increase online sales. Her company would have to pay to train in the beginning to learn how to do it correctly, and then find a way to keep her updated with trends and changes. Plus, her office manager had to also invest time in learning enough about PPC to understand and act upon the reports which my friend was making. I am not even going to mention the obvious cost of an employee, the fact that said employee will need considerable computer access, and everything else that comes with that.
I’ll use my anonymous friend as an example again. After a few months and getting the hang of it, she moved on from that company, and with her went just about all of the company’s knowledge of the system. They no longer had anyone that knew anything about Adwords and no one who knew what tested successfully and what did not work. She told me before writing this that she thinks the company hired a PPC agency to do their PPC management after she moved to avoid going through the training period again.
Simply put, experts who do PPC advertising all day long just know more about the industry. They know how to take advantage of changes, act upon trends, manipulate the system, and crunch data. They have the time to study, and the know-how to implement strategy. With all this said, why would you hire in house?