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Don’t Hire an Agency.. Until You Read This!


In this post, we’re going to talk about whether you should hire an agency or build out a paid acquisition team internally.

More often than not, brands find themselves in one of these situations:

Working with an agency: You’re currently working with an agency and things aren’t necessarily bad but you’re looking at the numbers and you’re starting to question whether bringing somebody internally makes more sense financially.

Or, Managing it in-house: You have somebody on your team who is a dedicated paid acquisitions specialist, or you’ve dumped the job on your marketing director to figure it out, and you’re thinking, “Could my campaigns be performing better?”

MYTH: Paid Acquisition is a One-Person Job

The biggest misconception that we find time and time again is that people think that it takes one person to successfully run paid acquisition campaigns. And we’re here to tell you that it takes a village, not a big village but it definitely takes a team in order to run successful campaigns.

So, we obviously are an agency and our biased, but from our experience the following is what we believe is kind of the dream team that you would have to hire internally in order to run successful campaigns.

The Gap Between Campaigns & Successful Campaigns

But before we get to that I want to say that there’s a BIG difference between getting campaigns up and running and running successful campaigns.

It’s very, very easy to throw up some campaigns.

Facebook makes it too easy to start running campaigns, to start spending money, to start boosting posts etc. What we can tell you though is that it takes a lot of expertise and time to run campaigns that are going to give you a high return on your investment and that are going to help take your brand to the next level.

So, here are the four positions that you need…

The Paid Traffic Dream Team

Ads Manager: So you first need an ads manager and this is somebody who’s going to be in the weeds day to day. They are going to be your lead point person on the success (or failure) of your campaigns. They’re going to be optimizing, bidding, budgeting and strategizing.

Ad Supervisor: So, ideally, this is somebody who is a little bit more senior, has a broader perspective of the advertising landscape. Somebody who can be a second set of eyes and really somebody to help mentor the Ads Manager, to help grow them so that they can help grow your campaigns.

Designer: I know what you’re thinking, “We already have a designer!” But there’s a lot of creativity that goes into social campaigns and a lot more than I think you realize. So, if your designers already stretched, this is literally going to break the camel’s back.

Copywriter: Again, social campaigns take a lot of creative, design and copy. You need somebody who knows how to write copy that captures your brand voice AND converts.

Creative Director: And then this is kind of like a fifth but we’ll just keep it as a fourth, ideally, somebody either the designer or the copywriter has some type of senior level position. Maybe they’re the creative director or they have more of a perspective on like what kind of creative, what type of narrative you want to use when launching campaigns.

Now, because I love a good old fashioned pro/con list we’re going to do one right now. And we’re going to start with the pros of hiring somebody in-house.

Pro’s of Hiring In-House

They’re right there! The person is in-house so they’re in the office and it’s easier to communicate, they’re literally 10-50 feet away from you at any given point in time.

Brand: They better understand your brand. They live that and only that. This is a little debatable but we’ll go with it, we’ll put this on the pro side.

More In-the-know: They’re probably more clued into all of the other marketing initiatives, marketing directives, events and goals that you have going on within your team.

Fully Dedicated: They’re only looking at your campaigns all day, so they’re super dedicated. But like that’s also a huge con which we’ll get to next.

Con’s of Hiring In-House

NO perspective: They’re only looking at your campaigns all day, and you lose a lot of perspective. Something that we see a lot is that social advertising can be a 100% a rabbit hole and when you’re in your campaigns and somethings going wrong it’s really hard to gauge whether that is normal or average or what’s really happenng. So perspective is huge and when you have campaigns in-house there is none.

More expensive: This means bringing on a full-time employee and we’re not just talking about the salary, but the space that they take up, the benefits, paid time off, and beyond that when hiring an employee you have to manage that person.

You have to grow them, you have to invest in them. And that cannot be discounted, it’s easy to because it’s a lot of the stuff that you don’t see or think about, but that stuff all adds up and it’s expensive. It can be worth it but it’s expensive.

Hiring takes a long time: It takes a long, long time to hire somebody really, really good. And chances are somebody whose really good is going to be really expensive. And if you’re not even sure paid traffic is going to work for your brand, this is a huge risk to take.

And beyond that, if you don’t really understand the in’s and out’s of how advertising works it’s probably accurate to say that you don’t have a clear set of metrics for what you’re hiring for and you don’t really know what you’re looking for in the hiring process.

Firing people sucks: The last thing is that if they don’t perform it can be extremely costly to bring an employee on and then, unfortunately, have to let them go. Nobody likes firing somebody. But after a few months if they’re just not as good as you thought they were going to be or not getting the hang of it, you’ve got to take somebody’s livelihood away and that is probably the worst feeling in the entire world. And we don’t want you to have to go through that.

Pro’s of Hiring an Agency

Perspective: We’ve mentioned it already but we cannot stress how big of a difference it makes.. When you’re working with an agency they’re going to be working with many different accounts.

It’s helpful if the accounts are aligned with what you’re doing, so eCommerce, retail, consumer products, so you can really see the trends. But that type of perspective, that type of large picture view is so helpful because if something’s working in another campaign it’s so easy to then implement that into your campaigns. If something’s not working it’s easy to edit that out of yours – without wasting thousands of your dollars too.

If something crashes or if something rises you can have a broader perspective in seeing like, “Oh okay, is this an overall trend or is this just my account?” So, we can’t stress this enough, perspective, perspective, perspective, okay done talking about perspective.

Quickly Up to Speed: Agencies can be quickly brought on board. Again, hiring somebody internally or more than one person internally can take eons. Hiring is a long, long road. If you’ve ever hired anybody you know exactly what I’m talking about. An agency can be dropped in and usually can be up and running within just a few weeks.

Beware of anybody that says they can launch campaigns in one week or less, that means that they’re probably not doing their homework and not doing a proper campaign set up.

Less Expensive: Now you might debate me on this but I do think that agencies are more cost-effective. You’re not paying for anybody’s health insurance, you’re not paying your time to monitor and develop and manage. They take care of themselves and they make you money (or at least should be)

More experienced team: With an agency, you’ve got people who’ve been working in a variety of campaigns for years now working on your accounts. That type of expertise is invaluable and something that you cannot always get from a direct hire, especially if you don’t have the budget to pay somebody who is at a senior director level. That type of person could cost you a lot and an agency is definitely way cheaper and probably even more experienced.

NO hidden costs (like software:) Another thing is there’s a lot of software that goes into managing advertising campaigns and you may not realize it. Our agency spends around $2,000+ a month on different types of software that help client campaigns perform better.

Whether it’s automation, analytics, comment moderation, competitive research, that stuff all adds up and again, it takes away from your bottom line.

When you work with an agency these are tools that you get the benefit of without having to pay for them.

Working with a team: With an agency, you’re working with a team not just one person. More brains equal more ideas, which usually equals more money (unless all of the brains are thinking the same way.)

Easily removed: If an agency is not performing you can get rid of them fairly easily. And that’s kind of a harsh way to say, end your working relationship but the risk is so much lower. It is so much easier to end your relationship with an agency than it is to end your relationship with an employee. And for your heart and for your sanity walking away from an agency is just a lot easier.

Con’s of Hiring Agency

Not in-office: An agency team is not going to be working in your office. And we do really see how that can be a big con for a lot of people. The immediacy of working with somebody right next to you everyday has its advantages. So, if you hire an agency, you want to make sure that you’re working with one that really values communication, and that should be at the forefront of what they’re presenting to you when you have that first initial get to know each other conversation.

Not as clued-in: They might not be as in-tune with the bigger picture, with what your goals are, with where you want to go, with what you’re marketing calendar looks like. But again, if you’re with the right agency that can set up a strong communication flow from the beginning, this shouldn’t be an issue.

When It Makes Sense to Hire Interally

Obviously, we are an agency so I am extremely biased but I’m also not going to sit here and tell you that certain companies shouldn’t build out an internal paid acquisition arm.

For large companies that have a recruiting team ,this is no sweat, bringing on four people is a drop in the bucket.

But if you’re a smaller company and you’re just getting started or you’re really looking to scale, bringing on three to four to five new hires is really not the type of financial burden that you need right now, nor the manpower burden, the managing burden, it’s just not the easiest way to get started.

“I’ll just have our Marketing Director do it!”

The second question that we feel like comes up quite a bit is, “Well can’t I just have my marketing director manage it?”

And if there are any marketing directors out there that don’t already have enough on their plate, please email me because I have never met any marketing director or marketing manager that’s like, “I’m bored. I have nothing to do, my job is a breeze. I wear one hat and just one.” That’s not a thing.

Don’t do that to your marketing director, they’re not going to be happy, it’s not a great way to keep great talent on your team. More than likely they’re probably already drowning in responsibilities and daily tasks, and this is not something that you just drop on somebody if you want it to be done well.

Do It Right

If you want campaigns that are going to make you money, that are going to move your business to the next level, it can’t be an afterthought. It just can’t.

It has to be a dedicated intention to get into paid traffic. And if that’s hiring an internal team of four or bringing on an agency, don’t spend the money if you’re not going to do it right because the Facebook machine will take your money. It will take all of it and it won’t even apologize for it. And it doesn’t even care if you make money.

So which will you choose?

If you’re a small to medium size business or even a large brand that doesn’t really have the hiring capacity to completely build out a new marketing arm to your existing team, hiring an agency probably is the best bet.

And again, you’re the only one who can make that decision but we thought we would equip you with all of the facts.

If after reading this you’re like, “Wow, we would love to work with an agency.”

Please let us know, we’d love to work with you. Go here to say hi.