How to Use An Agency to Help Your In-House Team, Not Replace Them

By Kayla Kurtz | @one800kayla | Senior Digital Advisor at Hanapin Marketing

So you’ve got a team of multiple people (for our purposes, team = more than one person) managing your paid search campaigns, but you’re getting the feeling there is something missing. Not that your team isn’t doing what they can or should, but perhaps that everyone is missing…something. Our team has been fortunate enough to do some exciting work recently with a few brands that got to that place – some who even have incredibly robust in-house paid search teams. So then how are they happening upon working with us, you might ask?


Here are some things that can trigger in-house paid search teams (good, bad, or indifferent) calling up an agency for a little team augmentation:


Houston, we have a problem… – This is usually the most no-brainer situation for a paid search team to call in additional assistance, but if something in the account has gone sideways – who ya’ gonna call? An agency. It can be really easy to overlook simple errors the longer you’re managing an account (more on this later) and especially at a time when nerves are rattled due to poor performance. If it’s possible to get someone in there quickly to take a look and either point out the issue or help eliminate it, seems like an easy call.


Bright, shiny things – The nature of paid search is such that new features are rolled out rather frequently. The nature of paid search managers is to always be looking for the next thing to propel their campaigns forward. It isn’t always a good time to pause day to day management to explore those new opportunities, and lining up with an agency to work alongside you and help uncover/implement those opportunities can help you maintain efficiency and growth.


Time is of the essence – Even in well-oiled in-house situations, new initiatives can come from the top unexpectedly and with somewhat expedited timelines. That doesn’t mean your bids stop requiring attention or that ad copy tests cease their need to be swapped out. What it does mean is that you have to prioritize and risk missing an objective, or you get someone to come in and wear one of the hats for you. That’s where the agency can stand alongside you and help.


I don’t have time for this… – Perhaps it’s the opposite of the above situation, where your team has received a from-the-top initiative to jump on and they would rather work on that than knock out some keyword research. Why not put an agency on retainer to handle those tasks so you can focus on the bigger picture? These kinds of tasks can cause those new features mentioned above to be looked over as well, simply due to time constraints. Determine a list of tasks that are repeated each month and take 40 hours to complete – from conversion code auditing to competitor research – and find a team you can trust to carry them out for you while you keep attention on those non-repetitive tasks.


A new broom sweeps cleaner – One very unfortunate truth to PPC campaign management is that it can be somewhat dangerous being directly tied to one account. If it’s in lead generation, the management team may not be prepared to assist your brand if you want to expand to products offered via ecommerce (and vice-versa). You can forget to go back and check the basic settings in the account because you’ve always managed it and you “know they’re right.” Things get reset and despite being behind the wheel 24/7, we don’t always know how. I’ll keep my conspiracy theories about the engines keeping us on our toes to myself for now, but it’s always a solid choice to have a fresh set of eyes come in to take a look around. Worst-case scenario? They tell you the team has done a great job and there are minimal areas that require attention of any kind.


There’s a man down – In very unique situations where an integral in-house team member has left a brand, an agency can fill that seat temporarily to make sure the paid search efforts take no steps back in the interim. Generally speaking, this is a team leader of some sort and the agency is able to not only jump in and assist with implementation of day-to-day activity, but also work on strategy and lead the team that remains. That gives the brand plenty of time to find the best-fit replacement for that missing team member, rather than rush to get someone in the position.


What are some situations where you (as the in-house person) have worked with an agency to complement your management? If you work on the agency side – what are some other reasons brands have approached you for assistance, not necessarily fully outsourced management? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below and thanks for reading!