How to Outsource PPC

PPC advertising is an amazing way of getting your site to reach more people and sometimes, it can be just as essential as improving your online presence (although the second is better in the long run). 

But if you aren’t sure about hiring someone to do your PPC in-house or outsourcing your PPC across the world, you’ve come to the right place. 

In today’s article, we’re looking at the pros and cons of hiring a PPC specialist in-house versus working with a freelancer, what other choices you have, how much does it cost to outsource PPC, and many other interesting things. Read on to find out more!

outsource PPC

Why outsource PPC?

If you’ve taken the time to go through our other articles about outsourcing marketing services, you might have noticed that there are always two reasons we note for this. 

The first is that you might be the owner of a startup, such as an online shop, so you might not have a huge budget for hiring people to handle your advertising. If that’s the case, you can find more affordable freelancers in other countries, whether Eastern Europe, South Africa, or Asia. 

The other significant reason to look for a PPC freelancer or agency is that your account might simply be too big to manage. You might already have project managers hired for this part, but the so-called ‘grunt work’ needs to be done by somebody else. 

Finally, if you are in a highly competitive industry, the likelihood of you having to hire freelancers and people in-house at the same time is quite high. You have to do your best to find the right person, so you’ll have to go through a process of trial and error to do so. 

outsource ppc management

PPC outsourcing versus handling PPC in-house

If you yourself or someone you have on your team already has some knowledge of pay-per-click campaigns, you might feel tempted to get them to handle everything as that would be far easier and it would also give you complete control over what’s happening. 

After all, it’s easy to set up campaigns, right? Well, someone that has actually completed specialized training is likely to make the most of your budget, and that can be extremely important, especially if you are starting out. 

Also, an experienced PPC specialist, whether you hire them in-house or find them through a freelancing platform like Upwork, for example, will know what to do in terms of your brand awareness or even expanding to new markets. 

Of course, there is also the option of you training an employee for the job so that they know even better what they are doing, but do keep in mind that this can sometimes take at least a couple of months. And like with other things in terms of marketing, PPC campaigns are best started as early as possible. 

Here are several other factors you should consider when deciding between getting someone in-house and working with a PPC freelance specialist.

Your budget

If you can’t spare several thousand dollars per month for your PPC, it’s pretty clear that you can’t hire someone in-house. 

The contract per se, insurance, and all the other taxes you might have to pay for depending on the country you are based in are going to all come down to something that you can barely afford, nevermind the fact that it might also make your PPC budget lower. 

If, on the other hand, your company is large enough and has handled PPC before and there’s not a lack of finances for PPC campaigns and hiring new people, getting a PPC specialist in-house makes more sense than working with someone overseas. 

Your time

We don’t mean it’s your time specifically, but the truth is that working with a PPC freelancer automatically calls for a bit more control. Sometimes, there can be time differences between your team and the specialist simply because they’re based in a completely different part of the world. 

However, there should be at least one or two meetings per week that the manager has with that specialist just to make sure that they are on the same page and that the purpose of the PPC campaign still aligns with your business goals. 

On the other hand, training someone to handle your PPC in-house can usually take more time than starting to work with a seasoned PPC specialist. But even with the latter, there’s going to be some back and forth at least during the first weeks of your collaboration. 

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Your expertise

How much knowledge do you have regarding PPC in general? Have you set up a campaign before? What about your managers?

When it comes to how to outsource PPC services, you will have to consider that a good campaign usually calls for the use of other tools, which tend to cost money, too. 

An experienced PPC specialist will already have access to them and will have worked with them before, whether that means SEMrush, Unbounce, or AdEspresso — but you’re likely to not have to get a subscription if you outsource PPC since the freelancer most likely already pays for this. 

This is often a so-called hidden expense, so you will have to pay for these tools besides the ads themselves and the person that handles your PPC campaign. Sounds like a lot, right? 

Your competition

A good PPC specialist will be able to tell just what terms they’re supposed to focus on so that they don’t necessarily overlap with those that your competition is using, especially if targeting them costs a lot of money. 

But if you’re already using PPC in-house and it doesn’t seem to make a lot of difference and your competition has much more leverage when it comes to attracting new customers compared to you, you might need more help and you might have to outsource at least some parts of your PPC campaigns to someone else. 

ppc outsourcing

How to outsource PPC services the right way

How can you tell if the PPC specialist you’ve started working with is actually worth keeping for the long run or not?

Finding the right person can take a long time and can be quite a tedious process, especially if you intend to use freelancing platforms. However, even the latter have some features that you can use to your advantage. 

For example, you can look for top-rated freelancers in PPC and stick to them specifically. 

The right person for the job will always be someone that holds a Google Ads certification. They’ll also be able to tell you what companies they might have worked with in the past and even give you some referrals. 

Sometimes, they’ll talk with you for an hour so that they can better understand your needs and might suggest several tips right from the bat, as a sign of good faith. In any case, working with an experienced PPC specialist is what you need, no matter the type of business you do. 

A person that doesn’t hold any certification and has no experience that they can show you will most likely offer low-quality services. Even though there could be some exceptions to this rule, of course, but you might have to find ways of testing that person’s skills. 

Who should you consider outsourcing to?

If you’d like to outsource PPC, there are roughly two ways of going about things — hiring a freelancer or hiring an agency. 

There are both advantages and disadvantages to each and we’ll describe all of them in the sections below. 

Costs

As you can expect, the agency is probably going to charge more than the freelancer simply because most agencies already have a team of seasoned people they work with, so you can expect good results in a more timely fashion. 

On large campaigns, most agencies tend to charge a percentage of the entire ad budget, and it can be between 10% and 20%. 

This means that if you spend $10,000 per month, the agency could charge you anything between $1,000 or $2,000 — but it varies a lot depending on each company, your goals, what you are targeting, and more. 

On the other hand, working with freelancers is usually cheaper, although not by much. They might not charge you a specific percentage out of your whole ad budget, but they might charge you an hourly fee or a monthly one. A flat fee is usually clearer, so it might put your mind at ease. 

Your campaign goals

Your ads are not going to help you in any way if you don’t know specifically what you are targeting. 

Obviously, most people want to attract more customers and convince them to buy their products or services, but you have to understand that when it comes to PPC, it can be a whole process that entails mistakes and corrections until it becomes perfect. 

The three classic goals of any PPC campaign are brand awareness, generating leads, or actually making sales. Make sure that you clearly communicate your goal to the agency or the freelancer you work with. 

Brand awareness might be easier compared to sales or leads, as you’ll soon come to know, so if you want to split up your process, you might have to work with a freelancer for the first but hire an agency to handle the second and third goal. 

Read more: Why do companies choose to outsource work?

ppc outsource

Communication difficulties

Here’s where the agency definitely comes first and is a clear winner. If you outsource PPC management to a company, they probably have SOPs in place, so they’ll take your requirements seriously, including the one dealing with communication and keeping track of what they are doing. 

Naturally, you will still need a person that goes through their work, so a manager in-house, but one thing you do not have to worry about is them missing meetings on account of various excuses. 

With freelancers, things can get a bit tricky and it can also take a very long time until you come across someone that takes their job seriously and shows up to every single meeting. 

For this reason, you will have to first set up a clear communication schedule not only because you want both the agency and the freelancer to report on whatever they’ve been doing, but also because your goals might change from one meeting to the next or you might come up with better strategies. 

Read more: How to outsource data entry services

Other benefits

Besides PPC, another reason people often choose to work with agencies is that they specialize in other parts of marketing. For example, some might have virtual assistants that you can use for various tedious tasks, but the sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can outsource — from sales and even manufacturing to web development and design. 

If you were to look for individual specialists for all of these jobs yourself, not only would you waste a lot of time, but you’d also come across a variety of freelancers whose skills might not be the best — at least until you find the right ones, anyway. 

A good PPC agency will tell you what you can expect in terms of return on investment even before they can set up your first campaign — at least they’ll give you some ideas, if you haven’t worked with them before. 

If the agency or freelancer asks for money from the beginning without telling you what they’ll do and how they’ll help you, this is a red flag. Steer clear of them. If you want to outsource PPC and actually get something in return, work with a good-standing agency or a top-rated freelancer, not with someone that asks you for money upfront even though they’ve done zero work. 

Read more: How to Outsource Marketing

Final thoughts

If you’d prefer to work with a freelancer mostly because you can’t afford to do the same with an agency, this is possible, too. You just have to first check their certification, see if they have any reviews online, and even check whether they’ve published an eBook before. 

Ask for some referrals and take the time to get on the phone or write emails to at least a number of those people. 

Finally, if you’d prefer less hassle and you want to go through a freelancing platform to find these individuals, you can use Upwork — they even have a dedicated page for PPC advertising specialists where you can find the best freelancers in the industry. The platform also gives you the opportunity to select top-rated people based on the hourly budget you have available. 

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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