I often hear questions that surround the concerns and/or benefits of hiring an in-house AdWords specialist versus hiring an outside agency to provide your AdWords and PPC management. Both of these options feature distinct benefits and both of these options have their concerns. The trick is to bridge that gap and to find the solution that works best for your individual business, because we all know that every business is not built the same.
Let’s open up that can of concerns and benefits
To get a great, experienced, certified AdWords manager, you are going to want to hire one of the best. These managers usually have all around experience both working for an agency and in-house for previous companies. Hiring in-house will require a competitive salary.
In the Denver market, you will expect to pay $60,000/year for an individual with this level of experience. In California, New York or other competitive markets, you are looking at a minimum of $85,000/year. You will not get the quality of service hiring an intern or paying just over minimum wage, although that seems to be a common misconception. You will need to be competitive with local agency salaries to attract the quality you are looking for.
Agency costs seem to be all over the map and have a variety of pricing models. Generally, you will be spending about 20% of your ad spend on top of your actual media advertising costs. Some agencies offer flat-rate management fees, so you will have more control over your spend. For lower-budget campaigns, an agency is naturally a better choice, but if your campaign has a higher budget, in which management fees will exceed the cost of paying a
You really cannot get more transparency than hiring an in-house AdWords specialist. They will be working on your account directly and you should be trusting them to make all the decisions and changes. You will be able to view this performance, in-account, at any point.
Transparency depends entirely on the agency’s model. Some give you full access to your account and some don’t. Obviously, there is a concern on the agency side regarding client changes in the account, therefore a lot of agencies prefer not to work out of an account that the client has access to. Client changes can severely affect the performance of the campaign, so this is standard practice.
Some agencies will send you a simple report weekly or monthly and some will provide the client with a dashboard that is typically a nicer clone of the campaign, where you can see all keywords, costs, ad text and performance at any time and pull your own reports. This is the best level of transparency and one you will want to look for when seeking out an AdWords agency.
Having someone there, working directly for you and your campaigns is the Holy Grail of excellent communication. If you need a change, want to take a different approach or want to test something new, it gets handled immediately without the runaround of trying to get in touch with someone to make it happen.
Depending on the agency, there may be a little runaround in getting the communication you need. Typically, the larger the agency, the more levels there are in reaching your end result. Do you have an account manager? Is the account manager the one actually managing the campaign?
Who is your contact and how many levels are there in between your contact and the person actually managing your campaign? These are the questions to ask when choosing an agency. Ideally, you want your contact to be the actual human being managing your campaign. In this scenario, you will get many of the benefits of an in-house campaign manager.