Agency or In-House? What’s the best path for PPC career progression?

Many recruitment agencies are now offering high volume of PPC jobs across the UK and many online and offline businesses and digital agencies are expanding and reaching out for more paid search specialists to join their busy marketing teams. With such a wide variety of PPC jobs available in the UK – how do you make the right decision and choose the best option for your paid search career? Let’s have a closer look at PPC agency and PPC in-house positions and see what the differences are.

Workload and industries

The key difference between PPC agencies and in-house pay per click teams is the number of industries covered by their strategy. PPC agencies normally work with a large variety of online brands within various industries whereas in-house teams are settled in one industry and are focusing on expanding one source of paid traffic and conversions


If you choose to work for a PPC agency, you will be expected to deliver visible performance results within a relatively short period of time compared to in-house companies. Many agencies offer performance-based contracts and earn their money through pay per result advertising models therefore it is important that search teams are consistently driving value from their work. In-house PPC companies are normally more patient and allow individuals to settle down, get to know the business and start gradually supporting the strategy and performance growth.


Targets are normally stricter at agency side as search teams have to manage and optimise a much bigger client portfolio with various marketing goals compared to in-house teams, who only have one main client and one set of targets. PPC agencies are in most cases more conversion and analytics focused as they have to deliver results across different metrics, budgets and websites whereas in-house PPC teams choose to go more for long term plans and investments and optimise a targeted set of metrics


Reporting will definitely play a big role in your day to day client management process compared to   in-house reporting.  In-house teams communicate often with stakeholders offline and attend meetings whereas agency-side search teams do not interact face to face that often with all clients’ therefore regular business updates and consistent reporting is essential

Intellectual growth

PPC agencies may be a better environment for people who want to develop strong technical skills and obtain rich knowledge around industry leading software and tools whereas in-house PPC jobs will probably give you opportunities to explore wider parts of the business, work across other channels and develop knowledge in other business areas. In-house PPC teams are normally expected to collaborate with different parts of the businesses online and offline and support campaign or strategy roll out for a number of channels


PPC agencies normally have access to more targeted SEM research and optimisation tools compared to in-house teams. Agencies need more intelligent data to win new business and carry out effective client presentations to sell their proposition. In addition agencies generate a lot more reporting and analysis documents for clients than PPC in-house teams therefore you will always see a difference in the volume of technologies used by both sides

Working environment

The working environment in a PPC agency may seem more stressful than in in-house teams but only because agency PPC staff experiences more challenges and works within a much larger target portfolio than in-house staff. This is not necessarily a bad thing as high volume workload and challenging targets can develop great skills and the ability to turn any campaign into success.

I think that both, agency and in-house will offer you great development and help you gain new sets of skills therefore it makes sense to experience both worlds and checking which environment works better for you. You need to see if you feel more motivated when you are engaged in super technical PPC strategy and analytics projects or if you are happier doing more commercial, cross channel and generic PPC strategies.


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