Digital advertising: When to outsource and when to use in-house

The age of the Internet has transformed the way we live. From the way we work to the way we shop, everything we do has gone fully digital.

If you are a marketer, the whole world has now become your customer base thanks to the digitization of nearly every area of life.

But to extend your reach as far as possible, you have to master the art and science of digital advertising.  

Digital advertising allows you to target the right people for your products or services as it affords you the opportunity to target your ads where they hang out. Research shows that the average adult spends 5.9 hours a day online, so you know where they spend most of their time.

Digital advertising allows you to target the right people for your products or services as it affords you the opportunity to target your ads where they hang out
Image Source: Kleiner Perkins

This means your prospects and customers are spending more time on the Internet than they do watching TV, listening to the radio, or reading a newspaper. Effective as these mediums are for reaching your audience, they can’t do it as well as digital advertising.

Taking your advertising digital has other advantages as well. Let’s look at the top 3.

1. Enables you to track and measure results.

One of the biggest advantages is that it allows you to track the performance of your marketing efforts. This is important as it helps you understand what’s working and what’s not, therefore giving you an opportunity to adapt and optimize your strategy.

2. Highly targeted.

The advancements in technology have given the savvy marketer a lot of tools to increase the efficiency of their marketing. The greatest benefit, though, is the ability to gather data about your prospects. That data helps you run highly targeted and relevant ads. And that is the key to increased conversion rates.

3. Easily affordable—and scalable.

Despite easily reaching larger audiences than traditional advertising, digital advertising can be less expensive on average than its counterpart. For example, you can run a Facebook ad for as little as $5 a day.  

With that being said, you might often be faced with a difficult question when it comes to handling your own digital advertising.

Whether you’re thinking of scaling your business or simply streamlining operations, you’re likely to encounter the question of whether to keep your digital advertising endeavors in-house or to outsource them to an agency. Here are a few factors to consider helping you make an informed decision.

The pros of in-house digital advertising.

Is having an in-house digital advertising team better than outsourcing? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of in-house to see what it really entails.

A team that completely understands your brand.

Having an in-house digital advertising team gives you the advantage of having a team of marketers who are completely dedicated to your brand. This gives them an edge in that they will be able to convey your brand voice and message better than an outside agency.

Easy to monitor and control.

It is easier to monitor an in-house team than it is an outsourced one. This makes it easier to follow up on projects.

When it comes to cross-department communication, it becomes easier and faster also as the loop is shorter. With an agency, the chain of communication is longer, meaning the process of implementing or changing a campaign can be slower.

Access to product experts.

Especially if you are selling a specialized product or service, your advertising team will need access to the experts in that field. This is easier with an in-house team as your experts are readily available for them.

The cons of in-house digital advertising.

Expensive to maintain

If you are to have a team dedicated to digital advertising alone, you will have to be prepared to foot the bill. Not only can it be expensive to hire qualified personnel, but you will also have to consider:

  • Office space

  • Equipment

  • Professional development costs

Particularly with the way the digital marketing space is evolving, you’ll face upgrading costs—in terms of staff and equipment. And when you think of scaling, you will have to increase your staff expenditure.

Compromised quality

Especially if members of your digital advertising team are responsible for other duties as well (as is often the case with in-house digital advertising teams), the quality of work can be compromised due to the juggling of many tasks.

If you are to have a team dedicated to digital advertising alone, you will have to be prepared to foot the bill. Not only can it be expensive to hire qualified personnel, but you will also have to consider:
Image Source: The Manifest

Outsourcing—the pros.

While outsourcing your digital advertising may look like detaching this part of your business, it can actually makes business sense.


Outsourcing your digital marketing can save you money. When you outsource, you don’t have to pay full-time employees (including their benefits), or invest in equipment. You only pay for what you need.

Saves time

Designing, running, and optimizing digital ads is time-consuming. By outsourcing, you free up precious time that can be used for other tasks that are at the core of your business.   

Eliminates tunnel vision

One of the advantages that you get from outsourcing your digital advertising is that you eliminate tunnel-vision. An in-house team may risk being biased as they're a part of the culture and atmosphere of your business. However, an outside person can bring fresh ideas as they will be looking at your business from the outside in.

Access to a wider skill set

Because an agency specializes in providing digital advertising solutions, they have every skill set required to pull off successful campaigns. And because they are dedicated to the particular service they provide, they tend to be on the cutting edge of technological changes and advancements.

The cons of outsourcing your digital advertising.

Outsourcing your digital advertising does have some limitations that you'll want to be wary off before deciding to outsource.

You have less control

By outsourcing your digital advertising, you give up a bit of the control you would otherwise have if you use an in-house team. This means you can’t access your project when you want to and you can’t make changes on the fly.

Danger of incompatibility

Outsourcing comes with the risk of partnering with an agency that doesn’t understand your vision, has poor management, or has poor communication systems. This can negatively impact your relationship and even impact of your campaigns.

Digital advertising—when to outsource and when to keep it in-house.

It can be confusing to know whether to outsource your digital advertising or to keep it in-house. However, a general guideline you can use is:

  • Keep on going, non-campaign based projects in-house

  • Outsource specialized projects

By carefully considering and weighing your options in line with your business goals, then making the decision of whether to outsource or keep your digital advertising in-house becomes easier.

Wrap up

Digital advertising is a critical component of every business’ growth strategy—it’s a non-negotiable. Remember these main points of concern as you make your decisions:

  • Professionals may be able to respond more quickly to the fast changing digital advertising environment.

  • Professionals have access to a wider skill set.

  • In-house teams will require ongoing professional development programs.

  • In-house teams provide more internal control.

Whether you’re keeping your digital advertising in-house or outsourcing it, check out our favorite marketing tools for teams. They’ll help you ride the digital marketing wave successfully.

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