Ashton Media
Marketing & Customer Experience Hub

TREND ALERT – In-house vs Agency: the pros and cons of managing your own digital spend

One of the most pressing questions for any marketer is “should I hire an agency or should I bring my digital marketing in-house?”. There are solid arguments both for sides but ultimately the decision will depend upon your business needs.


Why Use a Digital Agency

Expert strategic advice

Seasoned marketers are able to shape digital marketing plans to be incorporated into overall strategies. Working with these agency marketers you will receive expert advice backed with a team set up to be across all aspects of the digital offering.

Finger on the pulse

Agencies are immersed in an ad tech environment everyday and are often the first to know about new technologies due to their close relationships with vendors. That means they can make recommendations on the best technology for your business. They’re also across updates to existing technologies as they work on a myriad of clients and tend to pick up changes and incorporate them across vendors fast.

Deep understanding of a range of technologies

Depending on which technologies you need in your individual <martech stack> chances are that your digital agency will be across how to use each of them. They also often have access to a wide range of programmes that would be prohibited either by budget or resource.

Your agency team should understand how your range of technologies plug into one another and how to best optimise your campaigns so your business is seeing the best possible results.


Using an agency for the grunt work and strategic advice across your digital plan, frees up your in-house team to focus on other marketing initiatives that require a more in-depth knowledge of your business.

Why Keep Digital In-House


Having a dedicated in-house digital marketer means collaboration happens daily, through understanding in real-time what is happening with the progression of the marketing plan across all channels.

The head-count can be used across other parts of the marketing team depending on where priorities are, timing and if there are gaps.


Generally speaking, from a budget perspective, it costs less for a business to have an in-house, dedicated marketer than it does for a monthly retainer at an agency. It is also common for monthly retainers to run over as they are charged on billable hours, extra meetings, launching new campaigns and setting up with an agency can all blow the budget out.

Understanding of your business

In-house staff will always have a better understanding of the business and how the digital plan fits into the all over strategic approach. Sometimes specific industry and business knowledge can be the difference between launching a successful campaign or not.


Internal staff can have more of a sense of ownership of their projects and as they need to report directly to management, sometimes at the drop of a hat, running a successful campaign is their number one priority.

Reporting can also be deciphered easily and metrics shaped to fit the business’s style by an in-house digital expert. Again sometimes this needs to be done then and there and having the resource readily available can save a huge amount of time.

Blending the options

If budget isn’t an issue, perhaps a combination of both a dedicated in-house digital marketer and an agency could be the path you decide upon. Having the in-house knowledge and business understanding coupled with the manpower and technology of an agency could be the perfect mix.

Ultimately the decision you make, whether it be agency, in-house or a blend of the two, will depend on your business. One of the most important things to remember either way is that marketers need to keep across what is happening with technology to keep relevant no matter their position or the industry they work in.

About Ben Sharp - Managing Director, AdRoll
Ben Sharp is the Managing Director of AdRoll in Australia and New Zealand. Ben joined AdRoll in 2014 and is responsible for launching, managing the operations and growing AdRoll’s business across the region. Ben has a deep passion for digital media, with over 15 years of experience in the field. Prior to joining AdRoll, Ben founded Allure Media and published many Australian versions of popular websites such as Gizmodo, Business Insider, and Popsugar. Before founding Allure in 2007, Ben spent 10 years building sales and marketing teams at Yahoo! Australia and various startups in the UK.