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In-House Advertising: A 5-Step Path to Success

Written by: Juliana Casale, Director of Marketing

Over the past few months we’ve been sharing our thoughts on the in-house advertising movement, providing news updates and key reasons why digital marketing companies are taking control of their customer data. Based on our relationships with current customers, we wrote an eBook detailing how campaign conception, execution, measurement and optimization all stand to benefit from a direct relationship to ad automation software.

While we’ve spent years perfecting Ad Engine, we fully admit that software is not the only critical component to mastering in-house advertising. A company’s level of investment in resources, quality of talent, and internal team structure all play a role in a successful transition. To forge a path from third-party management of ad campaigns to managing paid social campaigns with an in-house team, you’ll need to follow these five bricks:


1. Gain Executive Buy-In

Whether it’s a CEO, CMO, or another digital marketing higher-up, senior management needs to invest in software and the resources to onboard and train new staff in order to make advertising in-house a reality. Key characteristics of a strong in-house leader include:

  • Believing customer acquisition and remarketing are key to business success
  • Recognizing that data-driven marketing and real-time marketing are reshaping the customer buying decision journey
  • Commitment and investment in developing in-house competencies and talent around digital advertising

2. Hire Great Talent

With executive buy-in paving the way, the next key to success is having a great team of skilled operators setting strategy and budgets, as well as day to day campaign setup and adjustments. At a minimum, one skilled operator well-versed in online media can leverage your advertising automation software, so long as they are both analytical and creative. Depending on the size of your budget, this individual operator may be supported by:

  • Additional end users of the software
  • Creative resource(s)
  • A technical resource

  • An analytics resource
  • A Paid Marketing Manager


3. Evaluate Software

While the CMO or CEO will be signing off on ad automation software, the in-house marketer will be the end user, so it’s equally important that both individuals be comfortable with a purchasing decision.

Great software will include at a minimum:

  • A vast range of automation capabilities from large-scale ad creation and testing to automated bidding and optimization
  • Direct access to publisher inventory (vs. media markup models)
  • A variety of customizable and shareable reporting, analysis, and business intelligence tools
  • Deep data integrations with your first-party data, such as CRM and product feeds

Involving a technical professional who understands needs from mobile SDK implementation to server-to-server integrations is also a best practice during the evaluation phase. He/she can tell you exactly how long it will take to embed pixels and sync your data.

4. Review Training and Support

You’ve spent a lot of time searching for an in-house hire with just the right mix of left and right brain; now you need to ensure they’ll have the external training and resources to support your internal investment. During the software evaluation process, make sure a purchase will give you access to the following resources and information:

  • Initial hands-on training and always-on resources like a knowledge base or support center
  • Technical onboarding, from ingestion of past campaign data to attribution and tracking rules
  • Customer support and service levels
  • Ongoing strategy and data analysis from platform specialists, data analysts, and online marketing experts
  • How often new feature launches, software updates, and product feedback loops are communicated

Setting customer service expectations upfront and confirming access to digital marketing channel expertise are critical steps to building a solid in-house advertising foundation.

 5. Set a Baseline and Shift Budget

After hiring in-house talent and making a software buying decision, a best practice is to establish a baseline where you replicate previous success on a given channel before aiming to increase scale — just be careful not to compete with yourself in the process.

As you monitor performance and become more comfortable with the software, set up a timetable to begin shifting budget to your in-house talent and begin relying less on your third party managed services provider.

Here are a few ways you can start the shift:


By Channel

For example, first shift your desktop budget and then shift your mobile budget.


By Site or App

For those operating multiple sites or mobile apps, begin with one and gradually shift to more.



For example, first shift $100,000 in budget and move to increasing this 20% each week.

Free In-House Advertising eBook

Learn everything you need to know to establish your in-house digital marketing team in Building a Foundation For In-House Advertising Success.

Download the eBook

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