Accenture is pulling out of the Media Auditing business and from August this year will cease to act as media auditors for advertisers who wish to measure the performance of their media agencies. Accenture is yet to formally announce this move externally, although it has been reported that this withdrawal from the auditing business will be conveyed to clients over the next few days and weeks.
An Accenture Spokesman confirmed:
We have decided to ramp down the area of our business that performs media auditing, benchmarking and agency pitch services by the end of August…
…as part of the plan, we will work with clients to fulfill existing commitments and support their transitions
This is not a surprise and was becoming a conflict of interest with Accenture’s programmatic offering; in terms of potential revenue streams, it was a no brainer to stop auditing and concentrate on the programmatic offering. There is also no doubt the media audit needed to evolve and this will happen.
At 23 Media Audits we already audit based on our in-house technique of price performance and delivery across all media, not just the traditional media channels. We look at the brand and ask if using certain media has a benefit to a particular brand – when an audit delivers benchmarking, strategy and modern trading techniques then you have an audit for the 21st century.
Media Auditing will still deliver a far more transparent and statistical measure than the majority of subjective consultancies who are now saying it is no longer fit for purpose.
If Accenture was carrying out your media auditing and you are looking for a media audit that incorporates modern media techniques then please get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.
Industry insiders will say that this is a sensible move by Accenture as they have long battled client concerns of a potential conflict of interest, and competitors are quick to point out that the data mined from their audit work enabled Accenture to gain a potential competitive advantage when bidding for ad buying contracts.
This has predictably led to trust issues in the market place with many commentators remaining unconvinced how Accenture could sustain an objective approach to auditing ad agencies when they own a business arm that actively competes with these other agencies.
Accenture had consistently maintained it operated a Chinese Wall approach to the two businesses but many major clients remained cynical about the perception of letting the fox guard the henhouse. So once industry heavyweight WPP voted with their feet last summer and ceased its auditing contract with Accenture it seemed only a matter of time before this division closure decision was taken.
Accenture is sure to gain more than they lose from this move. Released figures show that their media auditing arm accounted for only 0.1% of their total earnings and is a relatively small price to pay for potentially restoring some market credibility.
So, what does this mean for media auditing in the future? Well aside from a number of Accenture clients looking for a new home in the short term, it could be seen as a positive step for the auditing industry.
Inevitably it may lead to some advertisers weighing up their auditing options in the coming months.
Some observers have been saying that media auditing is an inaccurate method of evaluation. These very same observers are also trying to poach the clients; Why? Because they understand that the auditing model does work in terms of a business model and they end up ultimately delivering the very thing they said was not fit for purpose in the first place.
At 23 Media Audits, we pride ourselves on being free from all third-party influence and having the most up to date techniques in the auditing market, especially via our digital audit. We believe this makes us a far more appealing option than the majority of players in the market.
Whatever the fall out from Accenture’s decision, one thing is crystal clear. It sends the unequivocal message that the market demands the provision of auditing services must be undertaken by independent companies who have no tangible links to the very people they are supposed to be monitoring.