Should you outsource Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads or keep them in-house?

That's what we sought to find out when we talked to PPC experts who've seen success with their campaigns.

We’ll be discussing this topic, and others about PPC in our fireside chat via Google Hangout on July 29. Don’t forget to RSVP!

Budget and CPAs

To know if you should outsource PPC or do it in house is very simple. For example, if the total spend in a month is $10,000 and the cost of keeping a full time team to take care of it is $2,000 and the outsourcing company only takes 0.8% of the total spend($800), it is a no-brainer. It will save you time as well as money to outsource.But if the costs are almost equal, it is better to do it in-house because you will have more control and the experiments will run faster.

Shreyans Jain, Digital Marketing Manager at EduPristine

The question here boils down to how much your cost per acquisition is. Say you are in a very competitive niche, like divorce attorneys, or software download. The CPC costs there can be huge, more than $50 per click! For a small businesses this can be a very steep cost and alternative online advertising is an option. In such scenarios online advertising agencies are a good fit because a) they can use their experience to achieve better CPC costs b) use the connections and contracts they have with publishers and ad networks and figure out a solution that is better than advertising via Google Ads.

If you have an online shop agencies can be put to good use, as more often than not, advertising a big assortment of products can be very challenging by someone without knowledge in the field. In general the cheaper your cost per click is for the relevant keywords you target, the more sense there is to do your work in-house.

If you are outsourcing your marketing efforts the single most important question you need to ask is - What is your plan of action and when can I see it. This will guarantee their professionalism, put a schedule that can be monitored and you will have a written contract of sorts presented to you, so if something goes wrong you can claim explanation or refund if needed.

Oh and a pro tip - use a CPC agency that is local. There are many international online advertising agencies with excellent portfolios, but there is nothing better than to sit down and talk with the people, directly responsible for your online success.

Martin Milanov, Digital Marketing Expert, Fair Point GMbh


For most small business owners, we recommend outsourcing - particularly if they don't have any previous PPC experience. Google makes it very easy for business owners to get started with AdWords, but the complexity quickly escalates from there. For someone with little experience in PPC, the end result is typically a poorly optimized campaign that isn't driving results.

When looking for a consultant to outsource to, a good place to start is Google's Certified Partner database. Once you've found a partner that looks good, ask them if they have experience in your specific industry and if they do, what kind of results they saw with that client. You can also ask what size of budget they usually work with. For examples, if they're an agency that typically works with $10,000+ monthly budgets and you're looking to start off with a budget significantly smaller, they might not be a good fit because they won't have experience in dealing with the needs of small businesses.

Tim Kelsey, Director of Client Marketing Services, Pronto Marketing

Unless you have been trained in running a PPC campaign, you should outsource it. Do what you do best and let the pros do what we do best. Questions to ask a vendor: What do you want to get out of your PPC? How do you want to do it?

Rachel Pennington, Campaign Manager,

There are plenty of horror stories of in-house marketers doing PPC that are not certified or know what they are doing. You could easily overspend if you aren't targeting the right keywords and filtering out negative keywords. If you don't have someone in-house that is certified in AdWords then you should either outsource it or hire someone that is certified. Without an experienced professional, you may end up with a campaign full of low quality scores, which requires your bids to be higher than others just to get the same placement.

If outsourcing, ask the vendor if they are AdWords Certified and/or a Google Partner as well as for some case studies. If they are not at least certified it would filter out any illegitimate agency offering PPC as a service. Then ask about the budget of the campaigns and whether it will bring you the impressions, clicks and conversions that you need it to. Also, based on the products and services you are selling, ask if it is feasible to have a positive ROI that justifies PPC.

Matt Boaman, VP of Product Development and SEO, EZSolution

Unless you have been trained in running a PPC campaign, you should outsource it. Do what you do best and let the pros do what we do best. Questions to ask a vendor: What do you want to get out of your PPC? How do you want to do it?

Rachel Pennington, Campaign Manager,

Size of Campaign and Speed to Market

You have to consider two aspects: size of campaign and speed to market. PPC campaigns are complex. If the size of your campaign justifies hiring a full-time person dedicated to manage it, in-house may be an option. If the speed to market is not an issue and you can wait at least 6 months for an in-house campaign manager to learn PPC campaigns, then an in-house manage may be an option.

Alternatively, outsourcing to a company that specializes in PPC campaigns can be an effective option. By outsourcing you can launch immediately and don't have to hire and dedicate a full-time campaign manager. This can result in higher ROI, since the outsourced company has more experience and specialized domain knowledge. When considering the outsourcing route, look for the following traits: dedicated resources to manage PPC campaigns, transparency, ability to analyze large data sets, and knowledge of your industry.

Tom Bukevicius, President, Supero Media Corporation

Budget, Time, and Experience

When to Do it In-house:

When to Outsource:

(from a few minutes a month for a small, simple business, to having a

full-time team for a large enterprise)

If Outsourcing, ask these questions:

Brock Murray,Web Marketing Specialist, seoplus+