In-House vs Agency: Pros and Cons of Paid Media Performance


Giving paid media the investment it deserves doesn’t come easy to the pocket — it’s a cost you need to substantiate every quarter. If you don’t have the right pieces in place for instance a creative feedback loop and end-to-end measurement, it can be challenging to ascertain the impact of your campaigns. One big question hovers over your head -assess your options: in-house vs agency (paid media performance)?

There are advantages as well as disadvantages of bringing paid media in-house. The right move is based on your strategy and available resources.

Usually, a substantial amount of time and money is needed to run an in-house paid media program. But when done appropriately, this structure can be a flexible, efficient revenue generator.

Then again, hiring an agency comes with its own set of communication and budgetary trials, but you immediately get entree to marketers with platform expertise and a built-in peer network of collaboration and idea-sharing.

For marketing leaders who are fairly new to their role, this can be the most important decision. Which is right for you?

Option 1: Keep your paid media in-house

Hiring an in-house paid media team can be a key pain point for marketing leaders. Today’s labor market is starving for marketing talent. The increase in remote work has empowered companies to hire marketing staff from anywhere in the world. But competitors have the same opportunity.

As per the research by Robert Half in June 2021, 54% of senior managers in marketing and creative conveyed that they were hiring for new positions in the second half of 2021. In the same survey, 75% of marketing leaders conveyed that turnover has increased on their team since Jan. 1, 2021, largely due to restricted opportunities for employees’ career growth.

Once a specialist is employed, ongoing professional development is a serious affair. Do they attend industry webinars regularly and research main platform updates? Do they have a group of peers to discuss experiences, results, tests, and bounce ideas? These undertakings are important in keeping up with best practices and being at the forefront of new trends. Companies with in-house teams should produce repeatable processes for this type of professional development to hedge against turnover.

Option 2: Hire a performance marketing agency for paid media

If an in-house paid media team doesn’t suit your budget, but you are still required to generate leads and sales, contemplate hiring a performance marketing agency. Usually, working with an agency is an upfront relationship with a time-bound contract and scope of work that spells out accountabilities and deliverables. It could be observed as less risky than hiring in-house.

However, agencies are not inexpensive. Large agencies normally charge between 15-20% of total ad spend. A slightly smaller agency may charge 10-15% while requiring an account minimum. If you are shelling out several thousand — or several hundred thousand — dollars on your paid media campaigns each passing month, those fees sum up very quickly. That’s the reason why it’s critical to work with an agency that understands your strategy, your industry, and your digital marketing channels.

How can a performance marketing agency offer assistance?

Five frequently-asked questions answered

Here, in this blog, we provide an inside look that allows you to make a more informed decision as you consider whether to hire an agency or build your own paid media team.

Question 1: Is my agency team committed to my account?

Serving too many clients ends up in poor results and employee burnout. That’s the reason why at Arista Systems we limit the number of clients that we handle to facilitate close, responsive relationships.

The right communication between agency and client is key to forestalling problems before they arise, building trust, and curtailing urgent calls or emails.

Question 2: How can the agency stay abreast of what is happening in the client’s business or industry?

Usually, on a week-to-week basis, there are not going to be major industry changes. But when there are, we’re prepared to dig in and take action. Periodical business reviews, for instance, are a chance to step back and let the client share a longer view about what’s changed with their business and how their industry is changing.

Arista’s close relationship with major advertising platforms also offers the agency an upper hand in terms of new product developments.

Question 3: How do you know it’s time to make a campaign adjustment?

It can be enticing to make instant changes when a campaign appears to be drifting. When new tools bubble out from key players like Google or Facebook, the enticement to dive in headfirst can be almost tempting.

Handling ad platform changes is one area where agencies have a benefit over in-house teams. Within performance marketing agencies, marketing specialists and account managers are continuously trading ideas and speaking about industry trends, new features, and new platforms.

Question 4: How important is communication?

Client communications are meant to be taken seriously. If a client is disengaged, it can be hard to help them. There are times when a tight schedule may prevent communicating with an agency representative. While the random rescheduled phone call is part of doing business, agencies thrive on communication to understand your strategy and act on opportunities. Clarity is the indispensable aim of these conversations.

Question 5: Keeping in mind the available huge amount of data, what is shared with clients? How do you disclose bad news?

A good agency bears the best interests of the client in mind. Reports and deliverables are shared depending on how campaigns have impacted the overall digital marketing objectives. At times, this means delivering bad news.

Eventually, every campaign will have a down month. In several cases, it could be a market trend or competitors being more aggressive. There are a lot of things that happen outside of a business’ control. An agency’s responsibility is to comprehend why, and what the response should be.

The Bottom line

The choice between in-house vs agency comes down to certain key factors

Build an in-house paid media team if you desire to:

  • Fully devoted paid media specialists in lock-step with your marketing strategy
  • To capitalize on hiring, retaining, and training marketing talent
  • Flexibility to adjust campaigns day-to-day

Hire a performance marketing agency if you desire to:

  • Cross-channel and platform expertise
  • Have entree to ancillary resources like creative and analytics
  • Gain value from agency marketer peer network and benchmarks
  • Reduce technical work for your team, allowing them to focus on strategy

Which will you decide? Let’s start a conversation!

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