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The Agency IssueIreland’s CMOs on Adland’s Future Charley Stoney on IAPI’s Agenda
AGENCY OPINIONS Richard Carr Padraig Burns Mark McCann Jane McDaid Rory Hamilton
John Dunne Andy Pierce David Quinn Alan Coleman Ronan TraynorRay Sheerin
CREATIVE VIEW: Karl Waters, JWT Folk  David Hayes & Damian Hanley, Huskies
IN PROFILE: Jane Fortune & Ogilvy Catriona Campbell & Colin Harte, The Public House
 NealDavies,BBDODublin PLUS THE IRISH AGENCY MAP AND THE CLIENT/AGENCY FINDER www.adworld.ie
THE POWER OF
COLLABORATION
INSIDEDENTSUAEGIS
NETWORKIRELAND
I R E L A N D ’ S T OP M A R K E T I N G , A DV E R T I S I N G & M E D I A M AG A Z I N E
SEPTEMBER 2019 | VOL:45 NO.6
www.adworld.ie
COVER
STORY
Media audits have become a thorny issue in
the advertising world and now it’s time to hit
the reset button on this dysfunctional
practice, writes John Dunne.
T
oday’s media audits rarely
deliver and they don’t tell
advertisers what they really
need to know. There are many
reasons for this; one is that
brands and even procurement
people have bought into the myth that media
discounts are what matter most. Cost-only
media auditing is too narrow and doesn't
translate well into digital. The advertising
media market is getting very complex.
When the media auditing business was first
created, it embraced the simple concept
that if you got together a pool of advertisers,
added together their total spend in any one
medium, in a given period, and divided this
by the sum of the audience delivered, you
would get an average value. This would
provide a measure for comparing individual
advertiser value. But seismic changes in the
way media is now traded means this traditional
process is flawed, produces misleading
results, and is almost entirely broken.
The genesis of media auditing was a lack of
pricing transparency. By measuring media
costs against a pool, brands were taking out an
insurance policy against over-paying. But now,
for many brands, an increasing proportion of
media spend is performance-based, with most
media buys biddable or traded on outcomes.
In the world of performance, a higher unit
price may achieve a better outcome, so the old
principles of lowest rate buying are misleading.
The big challenges that have confronted
advertising over the past few years aren’t
going anywhere fast or getting solved quickly.
Marketers continue to grapple with the
challenges of unpredictable competition,
diminished trust, social media chatter and rapid
technological change. They’re still looking
for solutions to viewability, brand safety,
transparency, ad verification, and marketing
effectiveness. If there’s a trend that has
marked the industry in the last two years, it’s
confusion that comes from not knowing what
the right metrics are, or what to do with them.
There’s a lot of talk in the industry about
‘accountability’ and ‘effectiveness’, but
some clients and agencies behave in ways
that make accountability difficult and
effectiveness harder. In the Big Data era, it is
tempting to believe that the impact of data-
driven decisions will only increase. But as the
availability of data grows, so does the level of
noise. We need to get better at distinguishing
the signals, or else the value of all this data
will prove disappointing. There are signs this
is happening already: recent WFA research
indicates that 73% of clients agree that ‘the
industry needs to move away from outmoded
media price judgments to focus on value-
based assessments’. Nearly all clients (96%)
agree that ‘digital media requires a different
assessment methodology to offline media’.
Shouldyouaudityour
digitalactivities?
Despite the confusion I’ve described, should
you audit your digital activities? The answer
is still yes – although many brand owners in
Ireland would be forgiven for answering no
to this question. The current audit practices
for digital, as offered by long established
players, fail marketeers miserably.
There’s a clear lack of rigour when it comes to
evaluation; the audit reviews are too superficial
and the analysis too short-term. The audits
rarely cover search, social, programmatic,
partnerships and campaign operational set-ups.
The more sophisticated advertisers
recognise that applying the old way of
auditing media to digital media activities isn’t
appropriate and are asking for alternatives.
Naturally, advertisers demand proof that their
investment in media has been used effectively
and in line with their media investment
contracts. An initiative by Joint Industry
Committee for Web Standards (Jicwebs),
an industry body representing all sides of
the digital advertising industry in the UK,
offers a good insight into how technology
could help boost the efficiency and
transparency of digital ad buys by providing
end-to-end supply chain transparency
and clarity around advertising spend.
While media auditing isn’t going away, the
core focus of an audit is swinging away from
retrospective cost and quality comparisons.
A more nuanced approach is needed.
Considerations for
independent media audits
More recently, agencies and media suppliers
have become increasingly concerned
about specific auditing and media
benchmarking practices and dynamics.
1. Conflicts of interest
There is growing concern, and rightly so, about
the potential conflicts of interest with the
long-established media auditing companies at
a global level. Up to now, a lack of competition
in this area offered clients little or no choice.
In Ireland, a monopoly of sorts around media
auditing can’t be good for anyone, can it?
2. Data requests not aligned with the contract:
Today’s digital-centric media marketplace
has inevitably led to greater caution as
media agencies now provide auditors with
significant volumes of highly sensitive and
confidential data. Agencies have voiced
reservations that auditors sometimes ask
them to provide data beyond the details
stipulated in the agency/client contract.
3. Audit companies in the pitch process
Pitching is a highly sensitive process
during which agencies reveal a great deal
of confidential information, creative ideas
and strategic advice. Advertisers often
hire pitch consultants who advise them
throughout the process. I believe it is crucial
that pitch consultants are able to operate
completely impartially. In Ireland, the reality
is that some media auditors do both.
It’s common practice that a media agency
could be audited one week for client X and the
next week are pitching for client Y – with a long-
established media auditor being the common
denominator in both instances. Put yourself in the
agency’s shoes: would you challenge the outputs
from the auditor and risk a poor outcome from a
pitch that the same company is managing a week
later? Is it any wonder some media audit review
meetings can feel like a pointless exercise?
So, how do you achieve more transparent,
honest dialogue and strengthened co-
operation between all parties?
THEAGENCYISSUE
38 | IMJ SEPTEMBER 2019										 www.adworld.ie
AgencyOpinion
CTRL ALT DELETE
Modernmediaaudits –
thewayforward
Modern auditing is about demonstrating
a clear understanding of the relationship
between effectiveness and economic value.
The unpleasant truth is that long-established
media auditors are auditors of price. Many
individuals involved in media auditing aren’t
from a planning background. Many would
struggle to ask the key questions to unearth any
undue influence by agency deals on a clients’
media supply chain and desired business
outcomes. They’re not fulfilling the purpose
they were intended for; to answer simple client
questions like: ‘are we winning’, ‘what does
good look like’ or ‘are we getting value’?
A traditional audit doesn’t allow any of
this, which is why a new approach to the
conventional audit model is required. A
value-based media audit makes for more
meaningful reviews based on identification
and measurement of strategic goals for media
activity that isn’t solely focused on short-term
outcomes, identifies more opportunities for
extracting value, and improves performance
with a customised assessment of media buying
strategy and execution. In this new auditing
world, measurement of client specific KPIs and
analytics replaces price pooling as the central
capability; transparency replaces opacity;
fast replaces slow; and self-empowerment
replaces over-reliance on your media agency.
Fitforpurpose-nextgeneration
mediaauditreviews
Now more than ever, brands need truly
independent help to navigate the world of
unlimited choice and seismic changes in
media consumption. A good media audit
delivers findings that matter to your bottom
line and lead to action. Report outputs should
be quantifiable, constructive and irrefutable.
Avoid using pointless metrics that have no
real consequence for the client’s business, or
inconsequential media buying cost reviews
that are limited to traditional media channels.
It’s imperative the scope of your media audit
takes a holistic view of your media investments
that cover all paid media channels.
When so much spending is moving to digital,
you need to get a meaningful assessment of the
value added from your digital media spend. It’s
time to identify your strategic KPIs and get a
complete picture that allows you to make more
informed decisions about future media choices
to deliver against your business objectives.
John Dunne is managing director
of Ignite Digital.
www.adworld.ie	 	 IMJ SEPTEMBER 2019 | 39
MISSING YOU ALREADY: MEDIA AUDIT’S DIGITAL BLIND SPOT
The adage ‘money follows eyeballs’ has a huge influence on where advertisers
invest their advertising budgets, and all eyes are focused on digital. Online
channels will account for 50 per cent of every euro spent on advertising in the
Republic of Ireland this year. In 2018, 78% of digital advertising budgets went into
search and social channels
Yet, long established media audit companies persist in spending a
disproportionate amount of their client’s time reporting back on traditional media
channels that are declining year-on-year (Out of Home excepted). These myopic
reviews offer little in the way of actionable insights that clients and agencies can
use to change how they manage their media investment. ■
WHAT’S A MEDIA AUDIT POOL?
Media auditors collect the data of
a particular client [or clients] from
media agencies. That data is put into
an anonymous pool, with other similar
client data. Each client gets compared
against that data pool, and people look
for like-for-like comparisons to give
an idea of how a client is performing
compared to the rest of the market.
Doubts are growing about the validity
of price pools within today’s media
ecosystem. In my experience, traditional
pool-based auditing methodologies
lack transparency and limit advertisers’
opportunity to extract incremental
value. At an international level, client
frustration is clearly apparent. In a WFA
survey, one client described pooling as
“worse than useless…actively harmful as
an agency buys to pool rather than buys
what we need”. Perhaps the greatest
danger signal is inertia: the palpable
sense that brands are being held back
by legacy auditing methodologies and
generic benchmarks which are stifling
innovation. A recent article by BJA
succinctly highlighted the issue –
“pretending that ‘good buying’ equals
‘good media’, by spending hours on
something that isn’t the wrong thing,
but is by no means the whole thing,
demeans and under-values planning”.
Pooling rates in the world of offline
media are now problematic too. It is
standard practice for agencies pitching
for business to offer brands additional
“value”. Brands can choose to take that
value in different ways – as cheaper
rates, free space, higher rebates, reduced
fees and so on. So, when an auditor looks
across their media price pool, they are no
longer able to make a fair comparison.
The astute media owner, always anxious
to please even the most demanding media
agency and advertiser, now ensures there
is only a narrow pricing band across the
range of media negotiations so as to keep
everyone satisfied. Only subsequently
do the separate volume and over rider
discounts kick in at media holding
company level and hence fall outside the
standard trading disciplines. Once again,
the audit isn’t auditing the true prices.
Many advertisers feel they’ve ended up
on a merry-go-round in which everyone is
playing the system rather than focusing
on customer and advertiser value.
The speed of the auditing process – or
more exactly, the lack of it – is another
point of contention. Amongst effective
marketers it’s becoming apparent that
waiting over a year for benchmarks to
be compiled is fast becoming obsolete.
A typical client scenario would be
that an annual cost review wouldn’t
be concluded until the second quarter
of the following year. By that time, the
results are long past their sell-by date
because media agency groups will have
already concluded most of their trading
agreements with media owners within
the last quarter of the previous year. ■
Est. Media Investment by Medium
Online TV Print Radio Outdoor
11%10%
21%
50%
7%
Cinema
Source: Irish Media Market 2019
1%
Digital Media Mix
Source: IAB Ireland 2019
■ Search
■ Paid Social
■ Embedded, GDN
 Other Networks
■ Classified
■ VOD
■ Other
50%
28%
7%
5%
2%
8%

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Ctrl Alt Delete: time to hit the reset button on media audits

  • 1. The Agency IssueIreland’s CMOs on Adland’s Future Charley Stoney on IAPI’s Agenda AGENCY OPINIONS Richard Carr Padraig Burns Mark McCann Jane McDaid Rory Hamilton John Dunne Andy Pierce David Quinn Alan Coleman Ronan TraynorRay Sheerin CREATIVE VIEW: Karl Waters, JWT Folk  David Hayes & Damian Hanley, Huskies IN PROFILE: Jane Fortune & Ogilvy Catriona Campbell & Colin Harte, The Public House  NealDavies,BBDODublin PLUS THE IRISH AGENCY MAP AND THE CLIENT/AGENCY FINDER www.adworld.ie THE POWER OF COLLABORATION INSIDEDENTSUAEGIS NETWORKIRELAND I R E L A N D ’ S T OP M A R K E T I N G , A DV E R T I S I N G & M E D I A M AG A Z I N E SEPTEMBER 2019 | VOL:45 NO.6 www.adworld.ie COVER STORY
  • 2. Media audits have become a thorny issue in the advertising world and now it’s time to hit the reset button on this dysfunctional practice, writes John Dunne. T oday’s media audits rarely deliver and they don’t tell advertisers what they really need to know. There are many reasons for this; one is that brands and even procurement people have bought into the myth that media discounts are what matter most. Cost-only media auditing is too narrow and doesn't translate well into digital. The advertising media market is getting very complex. When the media auditing business was first created, it embraced the simple concept that if you got together a pool of advertisers, added together their total spend in any one medium, in a given period, and divided this by the sum of the audience delivered, you would get an average value. This would provide a measure for comparing individual advertiser value. But seismic changes in the way media is now traded means this traditional process is flawed, produces misleading results, and is almost entirely broken. The genesis of media auditing was a lack of pricing transparency. By measuring media costs against a pool, brands were taking out an insurance policy against over-paying. But now, for many brands, an increasing proportion of media spend is performance-based, with most media buys biddable or traded on outcomes. In the world of performance, a higher unit price may achieve a better outcome, so the old principles of lowest rate buying are misleading. The big challenges that have confronted advertising over the past few years aren’t going anywhere fast or getting solved quickly. Marketers continue to grapple with the challenges of unpredictable competition, diminished trust, social media chatter and rapid technological change. They’re still looking for solutions to viewability, brand safety, transparency, ad verification, and marketing effectiveness. If there’s a trend that has marked the industry in the last two years, it’s confusion that comes from not knowing what the right metrics are, or what to do with them. There’s a lot of talk in the industry about ‘accountability’ and ‘effectiveness’, but some clients and agencies behave in ways that make accountability difficult and effectiveness harder. In the Big Data era, it is tempting to believe that the impact of data- driven decisions will only increase. But as the availability of data grows, so does the level of noise. We need to get better at distinguishing the signals, or else the value of all this data will prove disappointing. There are signs this is happening already: recent WFA research indicates that 73% of clients agree that ‘the industry needs to move away from outmoded media price judgments to focus on value- based assessments’. Nearly all clients (96%) agree that ‘digital media requires a different assessment methodology to offline media’. Shouldyouaudityour digitalactivities? Despite the confusion I’ve described, should you audit your digital activities? The answer is still yes – although many brand owners in Ireland would be forgiven for answering no to this question. The current audit practices for digital, as offered by long established players, fail marketeers miserably. There’s a clear lack of rigour when it comes to evaluation; the audit reviews are too superficial and the analysis too short-term. The audits rarely cover search, social, programmatic, partnerships and campaign operational set-ups. The more sophisticated advertisers recognise that applying the old way of auditing media to digital media activities isn’t appropriate and are asking for alternatives. Naturally, advertisers demand proof that their investment in media has been used effectively and in line with their media investment contracts. An initiative by Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (Jicwebs), an industry body representing all sides of the digital advertising industry in the UK, offers a good insight into how technology could help boost the efficiency and transparency of digital ad buys by providing end-to-end supply chain transparency and clarity around advertising spend. While media auditing isn’t going away, the core focus of an audit is swinging away from retrospective cost and quality comparisons. A more nuanced approach is needed. Considerations for independent media audits More recently, agencies and media suppliers have become increasingly concerned about specific auditing and media benchmarking practices and dynamics. 1. Conflicts of interest There is growing concern, and rightly so, about the potential conflicts of interest with the long-established media auditing companies at a global level. Up to now, a lack of competition in this area offered clients little or no choice. In Ireland, a monopoly of sorts around media auditing can’t be good for anyone, can it? 2. Data requests not aligned with the contract: Today’s digital-centric media marketplace has inevitably led to greater caution as media agencies now provide auditors with significant volumes of highly sensitive and confidential data. Agencies have voiced reservations that auditors sometimes ask them to provide data beyond the details stipulated in the agency/client contract. 3. Audit companies in the pitch process Pitching is a highly sensitive process during which agencies reveal a great deal of confidential information, creative ideas and strategic advice. Advertisers often hire pitch consultants who advise them throughout the process. I believe it is crucial that pitch consultants are able to operate completely impartially. In Ireland, the reality is that some media auditors do both. It’s common practice that a media agency could be audited one week for client X and the next week are pitching for client Y – with a long- established media auditor being the common denominator in both instances. Put yourself in the agency’s shoes: would you challenge the outputs from the auditor and risk a poor outcome from a pitch that the same company is managing a week later? Is it any wonder some media audit review meetings can feel like a pointless exercise? So, how do you achieve more transparent, honest dialogue and strengthened co- operation between all parties? THEAGENCYISSUE 38 | IMJ SEPTEMBER 2019 www.adworld.ie AgencyOpinion CTRL ALT DELETE
  • 3. Modernmediaaudits – thewayforward Modern auditing is about demonstrating a clear understanding of the relationship between effectiveness and economic value. The unpleasant truth is that long-established media auditors are auditors of price. Many individuals involved in media auditing aren’t from a planning background. Many would struggle to ask the key questions to unearth any undue influence by agency deals on a clients’ media supply chain and desired business outcomes. They’re not fulfilling the purpose they were intended for; to answer simple client questions like: ‘are we winning’, ‘what does good look like’ or ‘are we getting value’? A traditional audit doesn’t allow any of this, which is why a new approach to the conventional audit model is required. A value-based media audit makes for more meaningful reviews based on identification and measurement of strategic goals for media activity that isn’t solely focused on short-term outcomes, identifies more opportunities for extracting value, and improves performance with a customised assessment of media buying strategy and execution. In this new auditing world, measurement of client specific KPIs and analytics replaces price pooling as the central capability; transparency replaces opacity; fast replaces slow; and self-empowerment replaces over-reliance on your media agency. Fitforpurpose-nextgeneration mediaauditreviews Now more than ever, brands need truly independent help to navigate the world of unlimited choice and seismic changes in media consumption. A good media audit delivers findings that matter to your bottom line and lead to action. Report outputs should be quantifiable, constructive and irrefutable. Avoid using pointless metrics that have no real consequence for the client’s business, or inconsequential media buying cost reviews that are limited to traditional media channels. It’s imperative the scope of your media audit takes a holistic view of your media investments that cover all paid media channels. When so much spending is moving to digital, you need to get a meaningful assessment of the value added from your digital media spend. It’s time to identify your strategic KPIs and get a complete picture that allows you to make more informed decisions about future media choices to deliver against your business objectives. John Dunne is managing director of Ignite Digital. www.adworld.ie IMJ SEPTEMBER 2019 | 39 MISSING YOU ALREADY: MEDIA AUDIT’S DIGITAL BLIND SPOT The adage ‘money follows eyeballs’ has a huge influence on where advertisers invest their advertising budgets, and all eyes are focused on digital. Online channels will account for 50 per cent of every euro spent on advertising in the Republic of Ireland this year. In 2018, 78% of digital advertising budgets went into search and social channels Yet, long established media audit companies persist in spending a disproportionate amount of their client’s time reporting back on traditional media channels that are declining year-on-year (Out of Home excepted). These myopic reviews offer little in the way of actionable insights that clients and agencies can use to change how they manage their media investment. ■ WHAT’S A MEDIA AUDIT POOL? Media auditors collect the data of a particular client [or clients] from media agencies. That data is put into an anonymous pool, with other similar client data. Each client gets compared against that data pool, and people look for like-for-like comparisons to give an idea of how a client is performing compared to the rest of the market. Doubts are growing about the validity of price pools within today’s media ecosystem. In my experience, traditional pool-based auditing methodologies lack transparency and limit advertisers’ opportunity to extract incremental value. At an international level, client frustration is clearly apparent. In a WFA survey, one client described pooling as “worse than useless…actively harmful as an agency buys to pool rather than buys what we need”. Perhaps the greatest danger signal is inertia: the palpable sense that brands are being held back by legacy auditing methodologies and generic benchmarks which are stifling innovation. A recent article by BJA succinctly highlighted the issue – “pretending that ‘good buying’ equals ‘good media’, by spending hours on something that isn’t the wrong thing, but is by no means the whole thing, demeans and under-values planning”. Pooling rates in the world of offline media are now problematic too. It is standard practice for agencies pitching for business to offer brands additional “value”. Brands can choose to take that value in different ways – as cheaper rates, free space, higher rebates, reduced fees and so on. So, when an auditor looks across their media price pool, they are no longer able to make a fair comparison. The astute media owner, always anxious to please even the most demanding media agency and advertiser, now ensures there is only a narrow pricing band across the range of media negotiations so as to keep everyone satisfied. Only subsequently do the separate volume and over rider discounts kick in at media holding company level and hence fall outside the standard trading disciplines. Once again, the audit isn’t auditing the true prices. Many advertisers feel they’ve ended up on a merry-go-round in which everyone is playing the system rather than focusing on customer and advertiser value. The speed of the auditing process – or more exactly, the lack of it – is another point of contention. Amongst effective marketers it’s becoming apparent that waiting over a year for benchmarks to be compiled is fast becoming obsolete. A typical client scenario would be that an annual cost review wouldn’t be concluded until the second quarter of the following year. By that time, the results are long past their sell-by date because media agency groups will have already concluded most of their trading agreements with media owners within the last quarter of the previous year. ■ Est. Media Investment by Medium Online TV Print Radio Outdoor 11%10% 21% 50% 7% Cinema Source: Irish Media Market 2019 1% Digital Media Mix Source: IAB Ireland 2019 ■ Search ■ Paid Social ■ Embedded, GDN Other Networks ■ Classified ■ VOD ■ Other 50% 28% 7% 5% 2% 8%