In-house vs outsourced? How to navigate the digital marketing crossroads

Effective digital marketing is crucial if you want your business to grow online — it’s no use having world-class products or services if no one knows about them.
Brands need a considerable budget for digital marketing, to reach and engage target audiences, generate leads and boost brand loyalty. But how much of this digital marketing can you do in-house, and when is it better to hire an external team?
Both options have their pros and cons, and making the right decision can have a huge impact on success.

“Deciding whether to handle your digital marketing in-house or outsource DM services depends on your team’s available skills and resources,” says Matrix Internet’s Marketing Co-Manager Keelin O’Keeffe. “I suggest initially evaluating your team’s skill levels and strengths, as well as identifying any gaps. This assessment will be a foundation for determining which aspects should be outsourced and which can be managed in-house.”
But one size doesn’t fit all — there are so many variables, including the size of your business, budgets and in-house expertise. Let’s break down some core digital marketing services into those that can be handled in-house, and some that should likely be left to external specialists.

Empowerment through in-house digital marketing

It’s crucial to strike a balance between budget and barrier to entry. The following digital marketing services have their own skill sets, but they can be handled intuitively and consistently, without extensive specialised training.


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Creative content for greater control

If you create your content in-house, you’ll have greater control over your brand voice and messaging. In-house teams can readily collaborate with other departments, so they have immediate access to experts. This ensures accuracy and authenticity, and helps maintain the company’s vision and values.

However, there are plenty of advantages to outsourcing this service. Outsourcing can add a diverse range of perspectives and expertise to content, as external writers often specialise in various industries such as journalism. Outsourcing can also provide scalability, allowing businesses to meet content demands during peak periods.

“When time is not a strict constraint, content creation can be handled effectively in-house, assuming the expertise is also available,” says Keelin.

The advantages of organic social media engagement

While paid social can be more complex (see below), there are a lot of advantages to keeping organic social media in-house.

If companies keep social media in-house they can maintain an immediate connection with their audience. Internal teams can quickly respond to customer enquiries and engage in real-time conversations, so the ‘real’ voice of the company shines through.
Keelin says with the right in-house team organic social media can make a huge impact.

“Social media content is quick, transient, and being ‘on the ground’ helps you capture the heart of the company,” she says.

“Organic posting is important to every brand but we are seeing a huge drop in visibility of posts, with social platforms adopting a pay-to-play approach.

“This means spending your money wisely — if you can create your own organic posts, do so, save the agency fees for the paid posts that guarantee a return on investment.

“On the flip side, some businesses simply don’t have the time or resources to create their own organic content, so outsourcing social media marketing may be your best bet.”


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Know your targets — navigating email marketing effectively

“Again, this is another marketing service that can yield strong results and is not hugely complex,” says Keelin.

Internal teams can craft personalised and highly targeted email campaigns, leveraging customer data directly. They can also coordinate quickly with other marketing efforts, for a more integrated strategy. Email marketing should be consistent, so if you’re not able to dedicate time to campaigns, it’s often better to outsource.

External expertise — when to outsource

So far we’ve discussed the more straightforward services that can be run in-house, but which services should you outsource? Let’s find out why it’s better sometimes to think outside your company



Decoding SEO complexities

The field of SEO is complicated, with so many opposing views about ranking highly in search engines.

“This is one of the key services we highly recommend outsourcing. Unless you have expert in-house specialists, this is an area where you cannot use guess work,” says Keelin.

“Algorithms change daily, and ideally you need an expert working on SEO on a daily basis to ensure your website is continually optimised. Agencies give you access to years of dedicated experience and knowledge. They keep up to date with updates in search engine algorithms, and will have valuable knowledge of analytical tools and software. When in doubt, outsource.”


Mastering the art of paid search

Paid search is an extremely complex and nuanced service, and there’s a lot at stake. In SEO, the worst case scenario is not being favourably ranked, but getting paid search wrong can mean losing money quickly.

Keelin says it’s one area that’s often difficult for novices to comprehend: “Some businesses come to us saying PPC doesn’t work for their business, but when we delve in a little and look at the campaigns they’ve set up, and how they were managed, we often see it was simply a lack of expertise.

“We often turn this around for them and create high performing PPC campaigns.”



Unleashing the potential of paid social

Like paid search, paid social is very complex, and a high level of expertise is needed to ensure a strong return on investment. Money can be lost easily, with small returns, if you don’t know what you’re doing with paid social.

Keelin says: “We don’t recommend simply boosting posts — there are so many more advanced strategies across Meta, TikTok and all social platforms where your business will thrive with the right strategy and optimisations.

“Again, it depends on the type of business you have. Not every business is suited to paid social but if you are planning to run successful campaigns, make sure you either have an in-house expert or you outsource one.”

The hybrid approach — striking the perfect balance

When deciding between in-house and outsourced digital services, evaluate your unique needs, budget and your company’s long-term goals. It’s important to strike the right balance between harnessing your in-house expertise and deferring to external specialists.

A hybrid approach can also be a viable option, as Keelin explains: “We have an option whereby businesses may want us to set up their campaigns and then train them on how to run the campaigns and optimise the ads. It’s appealing as the business feels it retains some control over their marketing but gives them a sense of security too knowing the experts are a call away.”

Next steps — craft digital marketing success with Matrix Internet

Whatever your in-house skill set or business needs, Matrix can create a tailored digital marketing strategy to suit your business needs — from specialist services to mentoring and training.

Get in touch today to speak with Keelin, or any of our digital marketing experts, and we can turn your business goals into winning campaigns.

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