In-House vs. Outsourced Pay-Per-Click Management

Inhouse-V-OutsourcingTorn between keeping your pay-per-click in-house or outsourcing management to a Search Engine Marketing company?

To help with your decision, here are some advantages and disadvantages you should consider.

In-House Pros

Dedicated Employee

Being able to quickly connect with someone in the office has its perks. If you constantly need ad copy messaging updated with new offers and pricing or urgently need a last minute report, being able to quickly connect with your PPC manager is helpful.

Employee Accountability

In-house PPC managers are ultimately responsible for the success of your online advertising efforts. When optimizing the account and bringing forward recommendations for improvement, your company's best interest should be top of mind. Since the account's performance can have an influence over employment, salary and advancement, you would expect him or her to do their best to exceed your expectations.

Understanding of Your Business

No one knows your company better than you. At the same time, you should expect all of your employees to have a solid understanding of how your business operates, core competencies, unique selling features, and most importantly, your customers.

In-House Cons

Finding the Right Fit

Having to find and hire your own PPC manager isn't always easy. It's common for people to talk the talk during an interview, but fail once they are put to the test. Established Search Engine Marketing companies have people and processes in place to attract and hire the right type of talent, with the right level of experience.

Covering for Days Off

Although your PPC campaign is likely active every day of the year, employees need their time off. With only one person in charge, you can put campaign performance at risk. Hopefully you can lean on another employee or yourself to monitor and implement account changes in their absence.

Losing Your In-House Manager

Hiring and getting someone new up to speed can be a lengthy process that could jeopardize your online advertising efforts. Not to mention this takes away from your time!

Outsourcing PPC Cons


It's normal for PPC specialists working at agencies to manage more than one client's advertising. Although client hours are allocated based on depth of project and management fees, it's common for outsourced management to result in fewer hours of working time on your account. But, its really more about quality over quantity!

Working with the Right Company

There is a level of risk that comes with handing your pay-per-click campaign over to an agency. To help weed out the bad from the good, look for signals like certifications, affiliations and awards.

Outsourcing PPC Pros


I know, accountability was listed as an in-house pro. But, just as an employee is responsible for the success of your advertising, agencies are also measured on your campaign's performance.

Experience & Expertise

These are possibly the biggest reasons why you should consider outsourcing PPC management. From account structure to conversion optimization and everything else in between, agency PPC specialists are true experts.

Continuity & Knowledge Sharing

It's typical to have more than one person assigned your account when working with an agency. Usually, you have a PPC Specialist (or team of specialists) executing the strategy, plus an Account Manager handling day-to-day communications and administration. A Lead Strategist or Project Manager would also oversee all activity to ensure your objectives are being achieved.


You should deal with someone who has declared pay-per-click their discipline. Working as a PPC manager in an agency isn't just a job, it's a profession. Although passion doesn't replace skill, it undoubtedly enhances it.

Agency Support

Search Engine Marketing companies benefit from dedicated agency support and vertical specialists who assist in everything from escalating ad approvals to providing competitive insight and access to new targeting tactics.

Advertising platforms are constantly releasing new beta features for testing new targeting methods. Since a client's success is an agency's top priority, you can be assured pay-per-click management companies will try anything and everything to stay ahead of the competition. Though not every new tactic is a good fit for every business, working with a credible agency can help ensure your account is eligible to be opted in when appropriate.


Employing someone full time can be more expensive than outsourcing your campaign management to a Search Engine Marketing company. Typically, a PPC management fee is 15% of the total monthly media spend.

For instance, if your monthly spend is $10,000, then your PPC management fee would be $1,500 per month. A number of additional factors including the depth of the project, media spend and the client-agency relationship can result in management fees as low as 5% of monthly media spend. Pretty reasonable if you ask me!

Regardless of in-house or outsourced management, you should have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve through pay-per-click. Be sure to set clear, quantifiable goals and objectives that you can measure success against.

About the Author: Nick Supapol

Nick Supapol leads the PPC team (and is consistently the #1 ranked ping-pong player) at Search Engine People.

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