Pay Per Click Advertising, Anybody Can Do It – Fact or Fiction?

By jameszol
Published on November 6, 2007

Is it possible for us to stand on the fence with this one? We think it is Fact AND Fiction…

We are members of the American Marketing Association (AMA) and they send out a magazine publication called Marketing News. In the October 15, 2007 edition there was an article entitled “Search & Deliver” and the sub-heading was awesome: As Search Engine Marketing moves in-house and large firms get gobbled up by the likes of Ogilvy, experts weigh in on why independent SEM firms still, and will, thrive. The author, Paula Andruss, is a freelance writer that appears to do decent research and is an excellent writer. Her articles have been published in previous Marketing News publications so the AMA trusts her writing and research on a variety of subjects. (I have to admit that it’s nice to see a third party write about our industry…it’s refreshing!)

Here are some great excerpts from the article:

” “Anybody can go to Google, sign up for an AdWords account and start an ad campaign on the Internet, but to really exploit search for as much as you can get out of it, you really have to be an expert,” says Ken Mohn, vice president of search marketing for Pepperjam…

A JupiterResearch executive survey reports that 42% of marketers will outsource search camapigns in 2007, while 17% have moved that function in-house, up from 12% who moved search management in-house in 2006.

One of the main reasons search agencies will endure is that they can provide varying cost and service levels for different sizes of clients…

Ron Belanger, Boston-based vice president of agency development for Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo! Inc. says “…middle-market accounts [anything that is not a Fortune 500 company] are finding that the level of service and customization they’re getting from the independent search firms are exactly the kind of service, price points and dedication they need.”

Belanger continues [later in the article] “…Tutorials such as Yahoo’s Ambassador program and Google’s AdWords professional program have lowered the barrier to entry for search specialists. However, those curricula are simply not extensive enough to take full advantage of search functions in a competitive marketplace…

Those are the skills that an agency can bring to the table – or the person you’re going to have to pay $125,000 a year to come in and do it in-house for you…

There was some thought that search may move in-house at some point and put search marketing firms out of business, but we don’t see that at all, because with the tool development and pace at which the industry changes, people like having those specialists on retainer so they can make sure their services are best-of-breed.” ”

Bold remarks and brackets were added for emphasis.

We believe, while biased, that everything quoted above is mostly accurate. Anybody can go and set up their own accounts, and a lot of people do…but most of our existing clients have found that self-managed campaigns do not compare to the performance of a professionally managed campaign.

A few additional advantages to outsourcing Search Marketing management:

Broad Experience Base to draw upon

Tools that can be hard to find or afford individually

Education that is hard to find or afford

On top of the industry

Scalability benefits

semvironment is less expensive than $125,000/year for an in-house guru :)

Big disadvantages to bringing Search Marketing Management in-house:

Cost of a REAL pro plus taxes and benefits ($70,000+)

After 6 months, complacency sets in due to singular experiences with company

Cost of tools and continued education to reduce complacency ($2,000+/month)

Not as scalable as an agency

Pay Per Click Advertising, Anybody Can Do It – Fact AND Fiction.

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