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How to decide between managed advertising services and in-house management

You’re looking to run a new advertising campaign on social media, but aren’t sure the best way to go about it. Do you get your team to add this to their to-do list or do you find a managed services agency who will do the work for you?

And then how do you know how reliable an agency is in actually getting the work done and meeting all of the goals you’ve set?

Enter the debate for managed services vs. in-house. What is each one good for, how do they differ and when do you choose one over the other? We broke down each of these questions to help clear your mind.

Managed services vs. in-house — what’s the difference?

specialized agency can manage paid social campaigns for you. When you hire an agency, it provides a defined set of services along with a corresponding price tag. This is what we call managed services.

In-house advertising means the operation and management of your campaigns are done within your organization without assistance from an outside source.

Related: How much does social media advertising cost

Managed services benefits

Hiring an outside source to manage your campaigns means that you will have experts in social media advertising managing all of the planning, buying and optimizations required for your ad campaigns. Having a team with a track record in paid social working on your business ultimately leads to better performance.

These experts can guarantee not only results, but also the price of your campaign. Choosing the right agency to partner with gives you the confidence to know you aren’t spending a penny more than is needed for your campaign to meet all of the goals you set.

All of the work these managed services teams do requires a ton of time. The time that your team can now use to work on other items in your marketing funnel.

In-house advertising benefits

When should you consider using in-house over managed services? When you already have the expertise and your main concerns are transparency and limiting costs.

Having your team work on your campaigns means you can see all the levers being pulled at all times. The best-managed services agencies to provide you with the same level of transparency, but in-house is another way of being able to see what is going on as there would be total transparency.

If cost is an issue, staying in-house makes it a mute point. This might mean more money to be spent on the campaign itself — increasing the budget rather than needing that money to pay for outside services. There are no extra fees for your own people working on your campaigns.

Knowing that your team has the knowledge and experience to run a successful advertising campaign would be another reason to stay in-house. Why would you look to outside sources when you have the talent right in front of you? Having seasoned experts in the field means you don’t have to go looking for a managed services agency to match your values.

RELATED: How to choose a social media advertising agency

How to decide between hiring a managed services agency or staying in-house?

Questions to ask before going with managed services

Choosing to go with managed services means asking the right questions to ensure you’re partnering with the right agency. The last thing anyone wants, brand or agency, is for the values to not match up and result in a failure to meet the desired results within the budget.

We’ve put together a list of questions to ask when deciding on which agency to use.

  1. Do they offer full transparency? Are you able to see everything going on within the account, whether they perform all operations inside your own accounts or give you access to the accounts they use?
  2. Do the solutions they offer match-up with the top five goals you need from this agency?
  3. Do the tools and software they use make a discernible difference in your campaign results? What other insights can they offer you besides numbers?
  4. Do they draw the right insights from your campaign? Do they understand which metrics best illustrate how your goals are being met?

The answers to these questions will indicate whether or not you’re choosing the right agency and if you should keep shopping around. There are many agencies in today’s paid social landscape, you don’t want to make it a matter of simply choosing one out of a hat.

Questions to ask before choosing in-house advertising

As far as keeping all of the advertising work in-house, there are also some questions you should ask.

  1. Does your team have the expertise, experience and track record to run campaigns with outstanding results and delivering under budget?
  2. Will your in-house team be able to drive insights from the campaign to perform the optimizations needed?
  3. Will you be saving money that could be put towards your advertising budget by staying in-house with the team you have available?
  4. Do you have the right tools to create, manage, optimize and drive the best results in-house?

Check if the answers to these questions reflect positively on your team overseeing your advertising campaigns compared to the questions asked above for managed services. Whichever list has more positives and could drive more positive results is the service you should choose.

RELATED: Why you should review your YouTube agency

Choosing only the best

Ultimately, the best choice is the one that best aligns with your company, goals and budget. It all boils down to finding a team, whether your own or an outside group, that has the capability and tools to deliver the right results.

If paid social advertising is a new concept to your team, it may be best to find a managed service agency that can accomplish all of the goals you wish at the right price.


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