Over the years I’ve seen a large number of businesses bring their Google AdWords campaigns in-house…with varied success.

For certain clients, it is without a doubt the right move having ‘Brand Advocates’ working ‘Full Time’ on their campaigns. But from a business perspective, what are the aspects that justify this as the right move? In my opinion there are three main criteria to consider if you’re thinking of bringing Google AdWords in-house:

1. Size of the Team
If the team you need consists of one person, don’t do it. Does a pro-athlete surround themselves with the very best in their field – or do they choose to train alone? Don’t believe the best SEM’ers out there will want to work on your brand without people to bounce ideas off and collectively learn from. We’re often an introverted and awkward group, but when we’re lone wolves we get bored, lose our creativity and the winning edge you employed us for grows blunt (sorry to upset those client-side lone wolves out there).
The other thing to think about when they’re a team of one is this – what happens to your accounts when that person is on holiday, is ill or becomes disinterested? Your campaign will suffer and you’re unlikely to know about it.
To attract the best talent, you need a team that will collectively learn and grow together. But more importantly, to drive the best results, you need a minimum team size of three. Also, employ a team with slightly different skills, for example an Excel wizard, a creative maestro and a data geek.

2. Cost Savings
The next thing you need to consider is the cost of bringing on a full-timer. And not simply comparing an employee’s monthly salary against an agency’s monthly fee, as that doesn’t paint a true picture. Here’s what’ll happen cost-wise when you use an agency rather than bringing someone in-house;

  • Direct Costs – No superannuation, payroll tax or recruitment fees. No need to pay for holidays, sick days or maternity cover. No hardware or software costs.
  • Indirect Costs – No need for a seat or square meters in rent. No training requirements or drain on IT and other internal resources.

Conversely, if you’re building an in-house team, you can assume you’ll be taking on all of the above costs.

3. Reporting Structure and Management
Is there a place for this new unit to sit within the business? Paid search is marketing and this new team should not report to the General Manager, Finance Director or Head of IT. It needs to sit within a larger marketing unit working on bringing the brand and campaigns to life. Remember that paid search is not only a great acquisition driver but also a capture channel for other media. This new unit should report into someone who understands the medium and can manage a team with a skill-set different from their own.

So hopefully, if you’re thinking of bringing paid search in-house, you’ve considered these criteria and you’re ready to start building your new team. The key mistake many still make at this point though is in the interview process.

If you don’t know the interview questions to ask, how can you sort the wheat from the chaff? Is your external or internal recruiter suitably skilled to conduct a technical interview? Can you talk build templates, bid modifiers, match stacking or RLSA? If not, you need help in recruiting the right team.

A final and very important point for you to remember is this: just because they’ve got the right blue-chip companies on their CV doesn’t mean they have the right skills.

 

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