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  • Writer's pictureHearst Pittsburgh

Self-Directed vs. Third-Party Digital Ad Campaign Management: Finding the Right Fit for Your Business

Launching a digital advertising campaign kicks off with a crucial decision: handle it in-house or enlist a third-party expert. But it's more than a routine choice—it affects everything from effectiveness to budget, and shapes your success.

Every business must consider key factors to decide the best path forward. Budget, campaign goals, time constraints, and expertise all weigh in. To make the right choice, you need a clear grasp of what makes digital ad campaign management hum.

From setting goals, defining audiences, and choosing platforms to budgeting, crafting ads, and execution—each step shapes your campaign's story and impact.

What Does Digital Campaign Management Entail?

Launching and managing a successful digital ad campaign requires careful planning and execution. Whether you’re handling it in-house or partnering with an outside expert, these are the high level steps that need to be done to manage a campaign from end-to-end:

Strategy Development

  • Set specific and measurable campaign goals

  • Define and segment the audience(s) you intend to reach

  • Choose the right platforms for your ads

 Budget Planning

  • Determine the overall budget and how it will be distributed across different platforms and campaign components

  • Choose the right targeting and bidding strategies to maximize ROI

 Creative Development

  • Determine the formats you will use in the campaign (e.g. video, display, search)

  • Craft compelling ad copy and visuals that align with your campaign goals

  • Create supporting UX elements to capture conversions like forms and landing pages

 Campaign Activation

  • Set up ads on chosen platforms, ensuring correct targeting options are applied

  • Use detailed targeting options to reach specific audience segments

  • Track performance with tracking codes to monitor performance and conversions

  • Set up retargeting campaigns to re-engage users who have previously interacted with your brand


  • Continuously monitor performance metrics (e.g., click-through rates, conversion rates, cost per acquisition) to ensure campaigns are on track

  • Test different ad variations (copy, visuals, targeting) to identify the most effective elements

  • Modify bids based on performance data to optimize budget spend.

  • Adjust targeting based on performance insights to better reach high-converting segments

  • Be prepared to adjust strategies based on changes in platform algorithms, market trends, and business objectives

Reporting and Analysis

  • Generate reports to analyze campaign performance against set goals.

  • Provide actionable insights and recommendations for future campaigns based on data analysis.

Each of these steps demand careful consideration, expertise, and perhaps most importantly, time. Reflecting on the sheer volume of work and expertise required underscores the significance of effective digital campaign management—a journey that demands not just effort, but insight, agility, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

Decision Framework: What's Right for Your Business?

In making the pivotal decision between managing digital campaigns in-house or outsourcing to a third-party expert, businesses must weigh several key factors. To simplify this decision-making process, we've created an infographic for an at-a-glance comparison of the considerations:

Each factor plays a crucial role in determining the most suitable approach for your business. By carefully evaluating these considerations, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your goals and resources. Below, we've outlined considerations in further detail:


Determining the financial implications is paramount. While in-house management may seem cost-effective initially, it requires investment in tools, training, and personnel. Third-party management often offers a more predictable cost structure.


Consider the level of control and oversight you desire. In-house management provides direct control over every aspect of the campaign, while outsourcing may offer specialized expertise but less direct oversight.


Evaluate the degree of customization needed for your campaigns. In-house management allows for tailored strategies, while third-party agencies may offer standardized solutions or customizable packages.

 Time Investment

Assess the time commitment required for effective management. In-house management demands significant time and attention from internal resources, whereas outsourcing can free up time for core business activities.

 Expertise Consider the depth of expertise available internally versus externally. In-house management requires building and maintaining expertise within the team, while third-party agencies bring specialized knowledge and experience.


Evaluate the availability and effectiveness of tools and resources. In-house management may require investment in tools and technologies, while third-party agencies often have access to advanced tools and platforms.


Assess the risks associated with each approach. In-house management carries the risk of limited expertise and scalability, while outsourcing involves entrusting critical functions to external partners.


Consider the flexibility and adaptability needed for your campaigns. In-house management offers greater agility in making real-time adjustments, while third-party agencies may have streamlined processes and industry insights.

Final Thoughts

As you navigate the complexities of digital campaign management, remember that each factor considered is a step towards crafting a strategy that resonates with your business goals and resources.

Looking for further guidance on refining your digital strategy? Our expert team is here to help. Get in touch today and let's chart a course to digital advertising success together.


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