27/06/2019 2:57 PM | by Tim Hinton in Blog

Is The Auditing Of Online Media Dead?

We came across an article by Seb Joseph on Digiday:
“Auditing as we know it is dead for online media’: Advertisers seek auditing alternatives”

As a leading UK media auditing company, we thought we should respond to this article.

Firstly, we 100% agree that online auditing is dead when looking at cost only.

Price paid is just one aspect of media performance and on its own should not be the only metric for analysing business performance. Price does not take into account the creative and strategic advice many media agencies provide that goes beyond the buying metrics.

Ensuring your media is working necessitates so much more than just a price performance, it requires an understanding of the initial briefing process, an identification of your business KPI’s and how can we get the right quality and cost parameters in place to monitor this performance.

So yes, online auditing is dead if you are looking purely at price but online auditing is definitely alive and kicking for brands wanting to better understand how to measure their digital presence across price and quality and how this forms part of the overall media mix and customer journey.

At 23 Media Audits we agree that digital efficiency levels cannot be audited purely on price due to the complexities of the media. The current auditing landscape is dominated by a small number of providers, which sometimes makes it difficult for alternative voices to be heard even if they have some of the answers.

Take ourselves (23 Media Audits) for instance, we have been working with medium and large challenger brands in the UK for a number of years and have been so successful that our UK digital audits have been rolled out to our clients’ European regions.

The whole process is making digital efficiency savings of +100% by utilising best practise principles taken from the initial market in the UK.

The two frustrations we constantly hear from prospective clients are ‘I can’t track my digital performance’ and ‘we have numerous metrics buts it’s either self-regulated or presented independently from the overall media process.’

At 23 Media Audits we have developed not only a fully comprehensive digital audit but also a customer journey audit across each media covering TV, BVOD, press, radio, OOH, cinema, social, programmatic, video and podcast advertising.

Our key principals for carrying out a digital audit are:

Keep things simple and go back to basics – the C level teams signing off the budgets need to see the true deliverable CPM figure, not the self-marked work carried out by internal teams and media agents that still show entry point CPM’s.

Understand what your brand actually needs not what the industry tells you it needs. Go back to basics and if platforms cannot provide the relevant data to make your choice don’t use them.

Remember it’s all about your brand and the customer journey from start to finish – it’s how well every media works for the brand not what the industry is doing.

Optimise – it’s about making sure everything is tested to a KPI and is up weighted if working and cancelled if not. Too many agencies still plan and leave the digital campaign to follow a natural delivery route; this goes 100% against what they preach at media pitches and at self-regulated post campaign reviews.

Advertisers need to pay for the services if they want to see returns. You can’t just let the algorithms do the job and then expect a great result – people still need to make strategic decisions beyond the data and this has a cost via expertise and time. However, the potential additional product that can be sold far outweighs the initial set up cost.

Fully understand your metrics. What can each platform deliver and is the creative correct for the platform? Consider also how effective the platform is for your brand – as in point 2 if they don’t work don’t use them. Make it a key point to try and understand the true reach and frequency of your digital output and put it into context with other media. Speak to us about how we calculate digital reach based on alternative methodologies.

Ad fraud & brand safety – set targets that you expect for your brand not what your agency thinks is the industry average.

Link the customer journey, media mix and KPIs to sales. Has it worked? How can we improve it next time across the whole journey? What can we change? Did it hit our short-term goals and ultimately how will this burst improve my medium and long-term goals?

Brands need to keep working on their digital presence and look to improve on inefficient benchmarking processes that are a source of frustration for advertisers and agencies alike.

For more information view our services or get in touch with a key member of our digital team.

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