In today’s digital landscape, Google Ads can be a great source of quality traffic to your website.
However, note the words can be…
It can, but it does need time and attention to do so.
And for a small business owner, juggling so many plates and wearing so many hats, time and attention are rare.
So, a common dilemma for small business owners running their Google Ad campaigns is self-management vs. hiring a specialist.
In this blog post, I’ll walk you through a brief overview of Google Ads and then cover the advantages and disadvantages of continuing to manage your Google Ads yourself versus hiring a Google Ads Specialist to do it all for you.
I’ll also discuss a third option of retaining management but getting access to expertise where hiring someone is not suitable for your business right now, but you still feel like you need some level of support.
There is no escaping the fact that Google Ads is a complex beast.
While the platform is (in my opinion) one of the easiest to use and navigate (don’t get me started on Meta’s ad Manager!), as a small business owner, I can see that with so many options, campaign types, bidding strategies and recommendations from Google, it can be a bit overwhelming.
Also, it's an ever-changing platform, so keeping up to date is paramount, but often is just an annoying addition to your to-do list!
Okay, so we’ve established Google Ads can be complex and ever-changing, but that does not mean you cannot do it yourself.
On the contrary, you can, but let’s now weigh the pros and cons to help you decide if it’s the right route.
1. Cost Savings
The immediate advantage is avoiding the expense of hiring a specialist or agency.
You already pay Google for the ad spend, and adding a management fee on top may not be profitable for your business.
2. Full Control
As a fellow small business owner, I can relate to wanting to maintain control over important aspects of your business, including advertising.
You may prefer to have complete autonomy over ad decisions, budgets, and strategies – so any risks in poor performance are in your hands and not gambled on someone outside the business.
3. Personal Touch
Nobody knows your business as you do; this goes a long way.
For example, you can personalise ad copy and pour in your extensive customer and business knowledge.
Someone coming in to manage it for you needs to do lots of research to get a good handle on your business, your customers and what makes them tick (or click in this instance!).
4. Learning Opportunity
Managing your online ads yourself allows you to gain a direct understanding of digital marketing and Google's advertising ecosystem. Adding more strings to your bow!
As I mentioned above, if you want your Google Ads to succeed, you must invest time and attention.
In my experience, it is not a set-it-and-forget-it platform.
Yes, you may get some ok results, but it probably is not delivering on its full potential. You must also invest time in learning and keeping up with regular platform updates.
2. Steep Learning Curve
There is a lot to learn when running Google Ad campaigns, and mistakes can be costly in terms of money and opportunity.
It can be hard to prioritise your campaigns when you have other business responsibilities to take care of.
3. Potential for Inefficiencies
Your inexperience might lead to suboptimal campaign settings and configurations.
Often, little tweaks can save hundreds of pounds in an account.
For example, there is a location setting (that is not obvious) that would mean ads could target outside of your desired target location, resulting in irrelevant clicks.
Simply turning this off could help you reduce the potential for wasted ad spend.
4. Lack of Advanced Strategies
Another disadvantage of managing your ad campaigns yourself, is missed opportunities for advanced targeting, retargeting, and bid strategies.
A specialist would be able to run experiments for you to test which, for example, is the best bidding strategy for your business.
1. Expertise & Experience
Engaging a Google Ads Specialist provides you with an expert who has specialist knowledge and experience in managing Google Ads campaigns.
This expertise is essential for creating effective ad campaigns, selecting the right keywords, and optimising ad placements, which can lead to a potentially higher return on investment (ROI).
With their experience, they can quickly identify what strategies work best for your business and implement them efficiently, avoiding costly mistakes that can occur when less experienced individuals manage the campaigns.
2. Time Efficiency
As previously mentioned, managing a Google Ads campaign can be time-consuming, especially for business owners with a lot on their plate.
By hiring a Google Ads Specialist, you can delegate this task and focus on your core responsibilities, such as developing new products, managing employees, and serving customers.
This saves time and ensures that the ad campaigns are managed by a professional who can optimise them for the best results.
3. Access to Advanced Tools & Techniques
A Google Ads Specialist will normally have access to specialised software and advanced strategies that can help optimise ad campaigns for better performance.
They typically use these tools and techniques for keyword research, competitor analysis, ad creation, reporting and regular campaign performance monitoring.
This ensures your ad campaigns are always optimised and up to date with the latest strategies and best practices.
4. Consistent Optimisation
Google Ads campaigns require regular monitoring and adjustments to maximise performance.
A Google Ads Specialist will consistently monitor the performance of your campaigns, analyse the data, and make necessary adjustments to optimise the results.
This includes tweaking the ad copy, adjusting bids, and modifying targeting options.
Consistent optimisation ensures that your ad campaigns always perform at their best and deliver the highest possible ROI.
As I have explored above, hiring a Google Ads Specialist can be costly, especially if you opt for high-end agencies or consultants.
While it is often worth the investment due to the potential for a higher return on investment, the initial outlay can be significant, and it's important to consider whether your business budget can accommodate this expense.
Additionally, weighing the potential benefits against the costs is crucial to ensure it's a wise investment for your business.
2. Potential Lack of Personal Touch
If you do not choose a specialist carefully, there is always a risk of a generic campaign that does not resonate with your target audience.
Even though they are experts in their field, a Google Ads Specialist may not have the same intimate understanding of your business, brand, and customers as you do.
If you don't communicate your needs, goals, and brand message clearly, the campaigns may lack a personal touch and not resonate as well with your target audience.
Relying heavily on an external entity for a crucial aspect of your marketing can create a dependency that may not be ideal for your business in the long run.
Having full control over your marketing strategy can be challenging when an outside party manages a significant part of it.
This dependency may also cause issues if the specialist is unavailable or decides to terminate the contract, leaving you without an expert to manage your campaigns.
Thinking about what you might do in those situations would get you to mitigate the risks should that ever happen.
4. Communication Gaps
Communication gaps can occur when working with an external specialist, especially if they are not in the same geographical area or time zone as your business.
However, with the rise in remote work, this is becoming less of an issue.
But it can lead to delays in communication and decision-making, which can, in turn, impact the effectiveness and timeliness of your ad campaigns.
Establishing clear lines of communication and expectations from the outset is important to minimise any potential communication gaps.
Now we have considered some of the top advantages and disadvantages of both options, let's summarise the key considerations when deciding.
There's no one-size-fits-all answer but understanding the pros and cons can help make an informed decision.
If you are still unsure, why not consider a trial period either way: manage ads yourself for a time or hire a specialist for a limited period to gauge results.
A third option: Google Ads Power Hours
Some Google Ads Consultants offer these handy power hours to business owners who may not want full management but still need some level of support.
Typically, with a Google Ads Power Hour, you'll get the focused attention and expert guidance of a Google Ads specialist, all packed into a convenient one-hour session.
During this time, they should work with you to identify any areas of improvement in your campaigns and devise a customised plan to help you achieve your advertising goals.
Do you have some more pros and cons to add, or have had a different experience from above?
Why not share your experience with me? I would love to hear from you.