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Social Media Marketing: Why You Should Bring It In-House

Published: March 27, 2014

Author: Molly Shotwell

Should you bring your social media marketing in-house?  A growing number of marketers are making the transition from using an external agency for social media marketing to managing it in-house.  GM, among others, recently announced that it is bringing its social media data in-house, signaling that brands are placing a higher value on ownership of their social marketing strategy.
There are pros and cons when it comes to working with a professional agency or doing it in-house.  We took a look at some of the complexities as well as the advantages of bringing your social media marketing in-house.

Cost Savings

Marketers cited cost savings as the most significant advantage of bringing paid social advertising in-house. Most social marketing can be automated, so it makes little sense for brands to pay above inventory cost.  Advertisers who opt for direct-to-publisher media buying can avoid the third-party inventory markup, which can average 30% or more.  By using a platform in-house, advertisers can pay 50% less for the same inventory and gain access to better technology.  They can further drive performance by reinvesting their savings into buying more media.  A large e-commerce client increase their spend by more than 90% after moving their ad buying in-house.

Data Ownership

Companies understand the importance of their customer data and are being more discerning about where it is housed and who can access it.  When working with external partners, data ownership lines can blur, which can lead to tricky legal or contractual situations.  Plus, brands should leverage historical data and insights so they can apply them to future campaigns.  Imagine how hard it would be to build out your next marketing campaign without truly understanding historical performance.

Recruiting the right team 

Social media marketing is relatively new, so it can be challenging to find the right people to manage things in-house.  The biggest challenge is finding the perfect balance of social media expert and affinity for your business.  To succeed, the team needs to understand the business and align their marketing efforts with true business goals.  They also need to be able to communicate well and show how their efforts have made a difference by leveraging reporting tools that track customer lifetime value and performance over time. And don’t forget ongoing training.  Investing in the learning the complex tools and market dynamics will go a long to ensuring your team’s success.


Brands are increasingly demanding a high level of transparency with their advertising.   A platform can offer full transparency into granular campaign data and decisioning logic, giving you full control over your campaigns so you can understand what levers are driving your business.  By knowing how to bid and meet your performance objectives at scale, you can understand how to compete and win in the long run.

Own your expertise

No one knows your brand better than you do.  Great brands often say how important their customers are to them and that they want to understand their customers better than anyone else. A team that is close to the customer can understand their target audience better than anyone and laser-focus their campaigns on the right customers. It can help to spark brilliant creative ideas.  Developing quality ad experiences is a critical role and helps to drive tangible business benefits such as acquisition or customer retention.
As you think about the best way to move forward, remember that moving your media buying in-house doesn’t happen overnight. Not only is it important to have the right team in place, it’s also important to develop a cadence and structure for onboarding and training.  Partnering with your platform provider can help to identify the functions that will bring the greatest value to your business and a plan to bring these functions in-house.

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