The Beginner’s Guide to Media Auditing

20/03/2019 7:25 PM - Updated: 10 months ago

By 23 Media Audits

Media Audit Guide

Understanding the processes involved when looking to conduct a media audit can be confusing to those that have not been through the process before. This simple guide aims to clear up any confusion or questions you may have about this process.

Media Audit Guide

What is a Media Audit?

A media audit is an independent third-party review of a company’s media buying costs. Advertisers employ media auditors to ensure that the money they have set aside for advertising is being spent wisely. Media audits verify media delivery and placement on a media by media basis.

The media auditing process gives the advertiser reassurance that they are getting fair value from their advertising spend and if not, provides the necessary information to negotiate better terms.

Media auditing is used in print media, television, radio, outdoor, digital, and other media channels. Media auditors can provide a competitive advantage to advertisers and agencies by allowing them to track and analyse the performance of their advertising across multiple media channels.

Media Audit Dashboard
Media auditing is a vital tool not just for our marketing but also our wider business and is balanced with commercial performance. The audits give us complete transparency about the decisions made and enabled our company to increase return on investment. The audit provided is much more than a standard audit – it’s part of a full consultative process, based around a demanding set of checks & balances.
Client – Entertainment

Media Auditing Common Terms

If media auditing is new to you, the many terms and concepts involved may seem overwhelming. To help you get started, here are a few common terms that you should know:

  1. Media Audit: A process of examining a company's media expenditures to determine the effectiveness of the media strategy and identify areas for improvement.
  2. Media Plan: A comprehensive plan that outlines a company's media strategy, including the channels and tactics that will be used to reach target audiences.
  3. Media Buying: The process of purchasing media space or time from publishers, broadcasters or other media outlets to display or air advertisements.
  4. Media Mix: The combination of different media channels and tactics used in a media plan, such as television, radio, print, digital, social media, outdoor advertising and more.
  5. Reach: The total number of people who have been exposed to an advertisement through a particular media channel or campaign.
  6. Frequency: The number of times an individual is exposed to an advertisement through a particular media channel or campaign.
  7. GRP (Gross Rating Point): A measure of advertising impact that combines reach and frequency, calculated as the percentage of the target audience reached multiplied by the average number of times they were exposed to the ad.
  8. Impressions: The number of times an advertisement was displayed or seen by an individual through a particular media channel or campaign.
  9. CPM (Cost Per Thousand): A common pricing model for digital advertising where advertisers pay a set fee for every 1,000 impressions their ad receives.
  10. CPA (Cost Per Acquisition): A pricing model where advertisers pay only for a specific action taken by the viewer of the ad, such as a click or a purchase.
  11. ROI (Return On Investment): A measure of the profitability of a media campaign, calculated as the revenue generated by the campaign divided by the cost of the campaign.
  12. Click-Through Rate (CTR): A measure of how many people clicked on an ad after seeing it, calculated as the percentage of total impressions.
  13. Conversion Rate: A measure of how many people completed a desired action, such as making a purchase, after clicking on an ad, calculated as the percentage of total clicks.
  14. A/B Testing: A method of testing two different versions of an advertisement or landing page to determine which one performs better.
  15. Ad Placement: The physical location or position of an advertisement within a particular media channel, such as a specific page on a website or a specific time slot during a television program.

What Should I Do to Prepare for a Media Audit?

Preparing for a media audit involves several steps to ensure that the audit runs smoothly and effectively. Here are some of the steps you can take to prepare for a media audit:

  1. Gather all relevant data: Collect all data related to your media buying practices, including contracts, invoices, media plans, and campaign reports. Make sure the data is accurate and up-to-date.
  2. Identify key stakeholders: Determine who will be involved in the media audit from your company and the media agency. This may include representatives from marketing, finance, and procurement departments.
  3. Define the scope of the audit: Determine which media channels will be audited, the time frame to be audited, and the specific areas of focus. This will help ensure that the audit is comprehensive and targeted to your specific needs.
  4. Communicate with the media agency: Let your media agency know about the upcoming media audit and provide them with the necessary information and data. This will help ensure that the audit runs smoothly and that there are no surprises during the process.
  5. Set clear expectations: Establish clear expectations with the media auditor regarding the scope of the audit, the timeline, and the deliverables. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the audit meets your expectations.
  6. Prepare for the findings: Be prepared to receive both positive and negative feedback from the media audit. Use the findings to improve your media buying practices and negotiate better terms with your media partners.

By taking these steps to prepare for a media audit, you can ensure that the audit runs smoothly and that you get the most out of the process.

What Does a Media Audit Involve?

A media audit involves a detailed analysis of an advertising campaign to measure the effectiveness of each component, to provide key insights and to prepare for future campaigns. It will look at spend vs. results, and check your ad spend to see if you’re optimizing the placement of ads across all your advertising channels.

Media Audit Dashboard Parameters

Each component of the media audit is individually weighted to give a final score against the set benchmarks.

Did you know?

80% of all media ad spend is audited in the UK and this figure is set to rise.
Advertisers that are not utilising media auditing are at a significant disadvantage in comparison to their competitors.

What Parameters Does a Media Audit Cover?

KPI Setting

Setting clear Key Performance Indicators (KPI) is an essential element of ensuring an effective media campaign and audit process.

Brand Awareness

Measuring brand awareness before and after campaigns can be an effective measure of how successful your campaign was.


Advertising has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of potential customers. Analysis of estimated reach can help you set realistic conversion goals for your campaign.

Website Traffic

Analysing pre and post-campaign website traffic can indicate if a campaign has been successful. Seeing an increase in your site traffic from branded searches is a great indicator that you’re influencing the way your consumers think about your brand.

Sales Uplift

Did your sales increase as a result of the media campaign? How did the different channels perform; analyse your campaign performance by individual media channel across specific campaigns. The process develops a brands potential to link media efficiencies to sales effectiveness.

Return on Ad Spend

The ultimate measurement of campaign effectiveness is analysing sales uplift in the sense of your advertising spend.

What Can Our Media Audit Deliver?

23 Media Audits establishes an inclusive relationship with advertiser and agency from day one. We understand the importance of positive working relationships and strive for clear communication at all times to ensure the goals of the advertiser; agency and auditor are always aligned.


Monetary Savings on your media budget

By identifying savings of up to 17%* in 2021 we gave our brand portfolio the opportunity to either stay live for longer or reduce their overall spend.


High levels of media quality guaranteed

At 23 Media Audits we always make sure that levels of media delivery are agreed upfront.


Streamlining your media KPI’s

23 Media Audits helps streamline your media KPI’s in conjunction with your business objectives, helping you to promote your product/ service whilst effectively managing the relationship with your agency. Even if you are in line with the wider market there are always ways in which your brand can improve in order to outperform your competitors.


Awareness Metrics

Increase brand knowledge and awareness of what the true KPI’s are via your media output. We identify areas where there is media wastage and excessive spend and after applying our metrics, we routinely increase brand ROI by at least 10%.


The Full Media Audit

We provide a full media audit helping brands to fully understand the customer journey. Our auditing processes are providing clients with the answers they need to key questions such as “Are my media plans really working?” and “how do I actually improve performance and how do I track these improvements?” We have worked with key advertisers to make sure we provide one of the most accessible media audits in the market. By carrying out our audits we are delivering efficiency levels of +100% on existing plans.


Innovative Planning

We carry out a full diagnostic of a brands media schedule. This allows brands to construct strategies that are media efficient and enables them to plan around what they envisage is best for the brand, driving them to deliver innovative thinking rather than simply replicating the previous year’s plan.

* Based on increases in volume of media, improvements in media placement and actual cost savings

Media Audit Guide

Find out the key steps involved in media auditing

For further insight download our media audit guide which contains a more in depth look at all media auditing parameters and includes example charts and dashboards.

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