By Michael Solomon
EVP, Chief Media Operations Officer
Are you looking for a list of media audit firms? We would direct you to this list of “Resources for Media Agency Contract Compliance, Media Auditing, and Related Services” from the Association of National Advertisers. The ANA is an industry organization focused on serving the needs of client-side marketers, and they have published this list as part of their larger media transparency initiative.
Why On Earth Would A Media Audit Firm Link To A List Of Media Auditors On Its Website?
You might wonder why Media Management, Inc. (who are ourselves the largest media auditor in the U.S.) would supply a link to a list of media audit firms – including competitors – on our website. First off, this isn’t just any list. This is the ANA list, and the ANA’s reason for being is to support advertisers in their marketing endeavors. And so is ours. Incidentally, that is why we are members of the ANA.
Oh, and there is one other, less altruistic reason.
Key Considerations When Selecting a Media Audit Firm
Let’s face it. If you’re looking for a list of media audit firms, you’re going to find one. We might as well help you.
We’re hoping that, while you’re here anyway, you might find the following considerations and questions for selecting a media audit firm useful. There are many companies which offer media audit services. The various offerings are actually quite disparate, and each firm approaches the task with a different set of qualifications, business circumstances, and philosophies.
If you don’t understand some of these differences, you risk ending up with a deliverable which does not satisfy your organization’s needs. If you are going to spend the time and money to audit your organization’s paid media (which we believe you absolutely should), then it’s worth spending the time up front to assure that what you receive will meet your expectations and provide maximum value back to your company.
Things to consider:
1. What is the media audit firm’s standard process and deliverable?
Based on this, you can determine whether the audit company’s standard KPIs will provide value and meet your expectations. Look for: findings that are actionable, quantifiable, and which drive demonstrable value back to your organization.
2. What is each media audit firm’s base of operations, and what is its experience in the market or markets in question?
The media supply chain in the US is vastly different from Western Europe, South America, or Asia and must be approached by a firm and process which accounts for the nuances of the US media market. Look for: a media audit firm with ties to and experience in the market you wish to audit, and a team which has worked extensively in that market.
3. What data will be required for the audit, where will it come from, and how will it be analyzed?
Some media audit firms conduct analyses based on samples of data, which is not appropriate in paid media, because findings are not projectible. Ideally, a full data set is moved electronically from your media buying firm to the media audit company. Look for: full coverage of your media buys, by a media audit firm that moves data electronically and has quality controls in place throughout the data collection and analytics processes.
4. Will the media audit feature the use of 3rd party research data, and if so does the media audit firm under consideration have permissible use for that data and an understanding of how to process it appropriately?
Research data such as Nielsen and Comscore costs money, and the methodological nuances inherent in the collection and reporting of the data require experience working with it. Firms which do not have permissible use for the data put your company at risk. Look for: media audit companies with full subscriptions to and deep familiarity with all requisite media research data.
5. What other businesses (besides media performance analysis and benchmarking) does each potential media audit firm engage in?
A media auditor should be 100% neutral and focused on the business of benchmarking paid media performance. Firms which engage in certain other activities (planning, buying, agency search management, etc.) may sacrifice neutrality – certainly in appearance if not in practice. Look for: media audit firms which do not engage in activities which might put their neutrality in question.
Since you were obviously searching for a list of media audit firms, we wanted to help make sure that you found one. However, we’re confident that once your organization considers the above and other key factors, you will agree with our industry-leading US clients: MMi leverages exclusive technology, people and process to deliver media audit findings that matter.
Contact us now for a free consultation.
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