Great video posted on the Official Google Analytics blog in early September that has some excellent insight that I feel is worth repeating on this blog.   The video poses a question that may be on the top of the mind of most companies as they analyze how they should best handle web analytics for their company; should they hire a consultant/agency, or should they bring things in house?

Since Three Deep is an agency, I am sure you can understand how we feel about this topic; we think that there is a lot of value that agencies can bring to organizations that they may not be able to realize with in-house resources.  This is because agencies are highly specialized and efficient in the work they provide, are often less expensive than hiring a full time resource or team of resources in house, and since agencies work across several clients, they are able to apply best practices, new techniques and spot trends across their entire portfolio of clients.   Working with agencies provides a large amount of value and can often come at a reasonable price.

With that said, we also see value in having an in-house team that fully understands all of the nuances to your business and knows the policies and strategic direction of your company.  In fact, having an in-house team working alongside an agency can often lead to some great collaboration and groundbreaking work being completed on the analysis of a company's website.

The video embedded above also does a great job of addressing and answering the question, with main points including:

  • If your company has the "DNA" of an inherently analytical organization, you will have success with an in-house Web Analytics team.
  • If your company does not have an analytical DNA, you are probably better served using a consultant to get you started.
  • The agency/client relationship will change over time to become less tactical and more strategic.  Whereas the first engagement with an agency might be purely tactical configuration or reporting from your analytics tool, future engagements will become more strategic. In house teams will execute on the tactical work.
  • If your web analytics implementation and insights are lagging behind, you can hire an agency to get you up to speed very quickly... then bring in house as you become more comfortable.
  • Long term, you want to have your web analytics team "in house" for most general applications... and utilize agencies for more cutting edge/advanced/strategic applications.

As an agency specializing in Web Analytics and the overall measurement of your marketing objectives, I think that there is a lot of value in strategically aligning your company with great analysts.  These analysts can be both in-house resources and agency partners, the most important step is recognizing the value of measurement of your marketing efforts.  Once you realize the value of measurement, there's no limit to what your company can do.