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Tom Denford and David Indo from ID Comms: how changing accountability metrics can change media

In this episode of #MediaSnack Tom and David look at the vexed issue of accountability and how brands and agencies ensure they can truly track their media efforts, efficiency and effectiveness.

Accountability is they argue the third pillar of the 2017 change agenda that could push media up the corporate ladder, improve its reputation and cement its power as a driver of business growth.

Tom and David answer three viewer questions about the challenges of accountability.

Question 1 from a media director:
We’ve been following pretty traditional audit-based tracking of our media spend. Does this still make sense? And if not, how do we make a transition to a different set of metrics for media?

Tom and David argue that while the audit will always be important, it is not the only indicator of success. As a media director you need to make sure that your media investment is working as hard as possible, and the audit is only one element of that.

A greater focus should be on making sure that planning and strategic thinking is held accountable, because traditional media auditing looks at the media buying performance of an agency when the real value comes with the smart thinking. This also holds the client to an account in terms of the briefing process and should ensure that you get the smartest thinking out of your agency.

Other metrics include the compliance element of the contract – making sure that agencies are accountable for their work.

Overall, they say, advertisers need to move away from price to a value discussion. If you will start looking at media as an investment for business growth you will be able to hold it to an account in terms of driving business outcome.

Question 2 from an agency leader: Making a link between business success requires complex attribution modelling. If clients aren’t willing to pay for this then it is difficult to demonstrate how much value we are adding.

Tom and David say that when you are working for a client where attribution model is possible (e.g. e-commerce business), that you can go down that road, because it is easy to track media performance. But if you are working with CPG or FMCG then business evaluating media performance is more difficult.

Tom and David suggest that when clients are not willing to pay for attribution models the challenge is for the agency to change the conversation from price to value. Agencies can drive their clients the right way, make them more innovative and link media performance to the business outcomes. The best way to do it is to challenge the remuneration model – that gesture will help to open up a discussion with your client.

Question 3 from a marketing professional: We are starting to lose trust in digital metrics. How do we change that?

Advertisers have spent the last five years heavily investing in digital channels and now they are starting to lose faith in it. Tom and David argue that this going to be the greatest challenge of 2017 and it doesn’t just fall on vendors to sort it out even though they expect more to discover discrepancies in their metrics.

The digital landscape needs to help marketers simplify digital measurement. There are so many things you can look at but at the same time it is hard to evaluate how these individual metrics affect business performance.

Vendors need to convince marketers that digital is not just a measured activity but it is something that has an impact on business performance. Otherwise, they predict, marketers will stop investing in it.

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