The Big Question – Outsourcing PPC to an Agency

How important is it for someone to know PPC? Let’s say how important is it for your driver to know driving?

Most business owners I have met are skilled and/or talented enthusiasts who have converted their passion or idea into successful businesses. If your company sells leather bags, the one who set it up is likely to have known how to build leather bags rather than how to sell it. This is where you need people who are experts in marketing/psychology. Let’s say you hire somebody in marketing. You can tell how well or not he is doing by looking at the sales figures. But let’s say you hire somebody to build your website. How do you know if he has done a good job or not? How do you react when your techie friend says to you, ‘how on earth can you have a webpage without meta tags? And why aren’t you collecting people’s first and last names separately?’ (Coz it helps in sending personalised emails to your customers). How do you know how to react? You are dead confused right? When you start getting conflicting information from experts on a subject you don’t have clue you sometimes find it better to withdraw because you aren’t sure of what you are doing.

Let’s look at some of the challenges of getting somebody in house. First you need resources to interview candidates. Second you don’t know how much a person actually knows about PPC. In agency, there hardly goes a day when we don’t seek any external help on our accounts. A person working alone on a PPC account is likely to have nobody to consult if required. But let’s say you have sorted everything out. Here is your big question.

An outside agency is going to charge you £300-£1000 minimum management fee where as a good PPC expert will claim a salary of at least £2000 per month + taxes. Unless your budget exceeds £30000 / month hiring somebody in house is likely to be more expensive.

In addition to this, if the hire turns out to be a bad hire, then it will become difficult for you to lay him off. In some cases, because you don’t understand PPC yourself you might even find out how well or not he is doing.

You might be surprised at this question and thinking, ‘well it’s simple. Higher the ROI, better his performance. Umm… unfortunately it doesn’t always work like that in PPC. While ROI is the most important matric we consider after any marketing channel there are several other things you can do with PPC. You can use PPC to build awareness, to conduct market research, to test your offline marketing tagline, test website domains and several others. An in house PPC manager is likely to find him overburdened with the variety of jobs he has to deal with.

Not as easy ..ummmm. What do you do?

Even if you outsource it how do you know if the agency is doing a great job? Well the difference is that agencies are better placed in PPC management because of the work environment and contacts. You are not sure about your agency? You can change your mind in 24 hours and terminate the relationship. Try somebody else. Can you do the same if your hire goes bad?

Another concern with PPC is that what works today might not work 6 months down the line. What if this dynamically changing industry is overpopulated by your competitors who are all in the race to beat competition? What if no matter what you do getting a positive ROI proves impossible?

Ask yourself ‘how heavily does your business rely on PPC?’ Say you have been running PPC for the last 5 years and have a very promising account history. You have been spending loads of money with agency or have had problems communicating with the agency?

Let’s keep it simple.
• Do you pay an agency more than what you’ll have to pay to a new hire?
• Do you have resources in house to monitor PPC expert’s performance?
• Are you well prepared to redeploy if the project fails?

If the answer to these three questions is yes then it’s safer for you to consider taking PPC in house.

If not,

Research the company well before you outsource it. Although an in house resource will be much better placed to understand your business, companies that specialise in your industry sector are better at understanding your business. In some cases, in fact, they might be better as they also have access to industry level ROI data which perhaps you don’t. Do you know what your competitors are spending or what their ROI is? Although any agency is unlikely to share this information with you, they can however use this knowledge to advise you on how well or not your business is doing.

Here is what most successful companies do. Get a resource in-house who understands PPC and can translate your business objectives into PPC targets and work with agencies to shape up your goals. While an in house PPC expert will know your business he would not be burdened with bulky, complex accounts. Working with an agency will get you best access to updates latest resources and the in house PPC manager can be deployed for other jobs as well. If the account performance dips you can always use your PPC manager’s knowledge to know what went wrong. You have the freedom to switch agencies whenever you want and you have somebody who understands what’s going on with your account!

Good Luck!

Rick Tobin
Managing Director

Over 20 years dedicated PPC experience working with some of the world's biggest brands.

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