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New WFA survey shows clients worried by digital evaluation – Ebiquity leads the media consultants

The media world is seemingly awash with auditors and consultants – and combos of the two – and the World Federation of Advertisers, which represents most big brands worldwide, has been looking into the issue.

A new WFA study has found that major multinationals are now using an expanding array of services from independent media advisors, finding that
many are going well beyond classic price auditing, which involves comparing the price they pay with an anonymous ‘pool’ based on group of advertisers.

However, many advertisers were adamant that the current measurement approach needed to change. There was strong agreement from clients (73 per cent agree), agencies (92 per cent) and advisors (87 per cent) that ‘the industry needs to move away from outmoded media price judgments to focus on value-based assessments.’

Nearly all clients (96 per cent) agree that ‘digital media requires a different assessment methodology to offline media’ and agencies and advisors feel the same way. However, while advisors think they have made great progress – two-thirds of advisors agree that ‘digital evaluations offered by media advisors have advanced considerably in recent years’ – clients do not, with just 23 per cent agreeing.

WFA lead Matt Green says:“There appears to be some frustration with the rigidity of the pool-based approach. Attempts to create new forms of value-based assessment for digital are clearly not as successful and more work needs to be done to give advertisers reassurance that they are paying the right prices in a biddable media landscape.”

New areas of growth in the advisory sector are still popping up though, with digital/programmatic at the forefront. Programmatic evaluations were the main priority, identified by 86 per cent of respondents as being ‘more important.’ Media analytics and consultancy-level services will also in demand, with technology selection and implementation being ‘more important’ for 60 per cent or so of client respondents.

Top of the pops among the consultants are, in auditing Ebiquity, used by 58 per cent of those polled with Accenture Media Management on 38 per cent;

In contract compliance and verification Firm Decisions/Ebiquity) leads with 53 per cent ahead of Accenture on 19 per cent;

Nearly 70 per cent have used consultants to help manage their media agency relationships with ID comms leading on 23 per cent followed by Ebiquity on 21 per cent and Accenture with 15 per cent;

In more general media consultancy ID Comms leads with 17 per cent with Ebiquity on 11 per cent and Accenture with eight per cent.

WFA’s Green says: “Media management is a complex art and many multinational marketers use advisors to help them navigate a constantly changing ecosystem. The role that advisors play has become wider and more sophisticated as marketers seek to maximise the value of their media activity and align their external partners with their business goals.”

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