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Digital Marketing Agency Vs In-House; Which Is Better For Business?

If you are a Marketing Manager or Director you will be familiar with the age-old question of digital marketing agency Vs in-house. That eternal struggle of balancing your internal staff with your outsource team.  

It’s no secret that effective marketers outsource specialist areas, such as design or copywriting, but outsourcing to digital marketing agencies is often thought of as a luxury. After all, anyone can do Facebook, right?

Well, we are here to have a look at the benefits of outsourcing to a digital marketing agency and the benefits of bringing it in house.

Now I know what you are thinking…these guys are a digital marketing agency…of course, they are going to say outsource. But if you have ever had anything to do with us at all you will know that honesty and transparency are our 2 chief weapons…and integrity. Our 3 chief weapons are… I’m going to stop with the Monty Python…we do it a lot and it’s not original. Sorry. But the point is, we won’t just tell you what we want you to hear.

So, here are our brutally honest pros and cons of using a digital marketing agency (like award-winning, result-getting, fabulous us) or bringing it in-house.

We have split them down by factor to consider.

1) Cost Of Digital Marketing Agency Vs In House

You might think that digital marketing agencies are really expensive, but to say you are getting a great deal of expertise and accountability they tend to work out to be fantastic value.

I can’t speak for other agencies, but here at GrowTraffic we have set costs for all our work and provide itemised quotes and invoices, so you know exactly what you are paying for and how much it is costing you per minute. (Any good agency should provide you with the same information.) We charge £60 per hour, which is fairly standard.

Now, compared with an hourly wage, that is expensive. An hourly wage is going to be anywhere between £10 and £30 per hour, depending on who you get and where.

But you have them all year round, so the cost ends up much higher. Factor in sick days, holidays, pension contribution, hardware, office space and so on, and you have got quite a large expense there.

But, like I said, you have them all year round. If you are going to do a tonne of digital marketing all the time, a salary might work out cheaper.

2) The Value Of A Digital Marketing Agency Vs In House

In the showdown of digital marketing agency vs in-house, the difference between cost and value really comes into play here.

Sure, you might have a full-time member of staff working on your digital marketing campaigns for a fraction of the cost of hiring an agency. But an agency won’t charge you every time they go to the toilet, or get a drink, or spend 10 minutes staring out of the office window (we have all done it, don’t pretend!).

The point is, with a digital marketing agency, you pay for what you get. You only pay for the work you have done, not the time it takes to do it. Leave it up to the agency to worry about people staring out of the window.

What’s more, accountability adds value.

If you hire an SEO expert, for example, who is going to monitor their work to ensure they are meeting targets? How will you know they are optimising ethically, getting the best results they can, or even doing their job at all?

How will you guide them in creating a great social media campaign or choosing the most effective keywords if that isn’t your forte?

A digital marketing agency will use their expertise to craft you a great campaign. Its success benefits them so you can be sure they will do a good job (hopefully. But if you are rolling your eyes at this point and going ‘yeah right, my last agency did nothing’ I suspect you just had a bad agency. Why not have a chat with us?)

Having said that if you have an in-house member of staff delivering your digital marketing campaigns, you can see what they are doing all the time and ask for reports whenever you want them.

Shameless plug alert! Here at GrowTraffic, we would be happy to come and work in your offices so you can see what we are doing, and you can have reports whenever you want them! We are, after all, transparent. 

3) Upskilled Staff Vs Agency Staff

We are firm believers that staff should be upskilled wherever possible. And SEO, social media management, and PPC management are absolutely skills that can and should be learned. They aren’t dark arts; they just require a little practice. And once your staff have them, they will bring continuous value to your business. Find some decent SEO training and let them crack on!

The flip side to that is that you will have a period of time whilst your teammate becomes an expert. It can be a lengthy process of getting to the point where they are making a massive impact on web traffic and sales.

It’s not, as I said, a dark art, but it does take a little practice and a whole lot of reading and researching to become any good at it and, crucially, efficient.

4) Choosing A Digital Marketing Agency Or Hiring An Employee?

Anyone who has ever recruited a member of staff will know what a nightmare it is.

From agreeing on the job role to writing the advert, to interviewing, and inducting, it can take months and months. Finding a person who has the right skills, a good attitude, will fit in with your existing team AND likes you guys just as much is such a tough job. Underestimate it at your peril! They will be with you a long time so get it right. Or, they won’t be with you a long time and you have wasted all that time and money.

Hiring a digital marketing agency is tonnes easier. Find one, meet them, check they know their stuff, see if you like them, hire them. If you don’t like them or it doesn’t work out, move on. Simple!

In the great battle of digital marketing agencies Vs in-house, agencies take the crown in this one.  

5) ROI Of A Digital Marketing Agency

This is a bit harder to measure but it is a big one.

It all comes down to what are you trying to achieve and how.

If you want content going up every day, 24/7 social media responses, online adverts, digital PR and everything else that goes with digital marketing, hiring a member of staff is going to be far cheaper.

If you know you have hired a gem who has demonstrated great results, then you are probably going to get the same results in house. If they rapidly make some improvements to your rankings, traffic, click-through rate, cost per click or any of your other KPIs, your ROI is going to be much higher than outsourcing.

However, if you want onsite optimisation, content going up every week, your social media accounts supplemented with targeted posts, or even a PPC campaign, outsourcing will give you a better ROI.

The benefit of using a content marketing agency for your digital marketing is that there is accountability, you only pay for what you have, and the staff are experts straight away.

Ready To Chat?

If, like us, you think that the champion in the battle of digital marketing agencies Vs in-house is the agencies, or you have had some bad experiences with digital marketing or SEO agencies give us a call on 0161 706 0012 or email

And I promise we will try to keep the Monty Python references to a minimum. Unless you want to join in?

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