This question is typically asked because these are the two major players in capturing search engine traffic. It’s important to remember that PPC is a lot more than just Search PPC (the type of PPC campaign that gets you traffic from search engine results pages).
Therefore the real question is, “Should I do Search PPC and SEO?” to which our answer would be yes. Search PPC gets about 15-20% of Google’s traffic, and in certain categories such as commerce, these percentages are higher due to Shopping ads. Even if you’re doing well with your organic listings, thanks to your SEO efforts, there’s a lot of opportunity in PPC.
Strap yourselves in for a (perhaps) unusual answer! Doing PPC ‘in-house’ refers to a business creating and managing their own PPC campaigns without outside help from a consultant, freelancer or agency. This might be the business owner, the marketing manager or even a dedicated PPC person(s).
PPC is a discipline in itself, and it requires strong marketing knowledge and expertise around it. If your in-house resource is not a qualified PPC expert and experienced marketer who does nothing other than PPC in their position, you should not be doing it in-house. Furthermore, one could argue that even if you hire the best PPC talent to join you in-house, they will still not be as productive as a good agency and decrease in efficiency over time. Why? Staleness, in a word. Our founder and managing director spent a total of 1.5 years (out of a 15-year career up until 2020) working ‘client-side’ or ‘in-house’ before starting WSI Paid Search. As much as he appreciated learning ‘the other side,’ he found that his skills were going stale, his passion for PPC was waning, and he was, in essence, bored. This is because most PPC knowledge comes from experience. As most PPC professionals do in the world, working agency side allows for a huge diversity of projects, challenges, and learning opportunities thanks to working with different clients, talented teammates, inspiring leaders, partners such as Google, and so forth. Simply put - the agency environment breeds growth, creativity and productivity just by existing. No amount of courses, networking or other initiatives can replicate this environment for in-house PPC’s.
The main benefit most businesses consider when doing PPC in-house is control and oversight. Whilst full of good-intention, this is often the cause of their biggest down-fall; why do you want to control something entirely, with no external input or fresh eyes, which you are not a dedicated expert in? It will lead to poor direction, wrong decisions and sub-optimal results.
We understand you might expect an agency to debate in favour of businesses using an agency for their PPC needs. Please consider that we are not advocating for using us in-particular, but providing balanced thoughts about the concept in general. We believe that the best situation is not one or the other entirely (in-house or agency) but a harmonious hybrid of the two, with one supporting the other. Sometimes this might mean doing things mostly in-house with outside consulting help, and other times it might mean the agency doing most of the work with in-house collaboration. It allows the business to provide direction and inputs and save time and money to focus on more value-added things.