Media spending is increasing year on year, and a focus on mobile has pushed total media spend to more than $206 billion this year already, marking an increase of 6.1 per cent. Now, brands are tightening control on media spending, following reports on media transparency between media agencies and the companies they are working for.

A recent survey from the World Federation of Advertisers found that brands are making changes and reexamining their relationships with media agencies and governance practices in the areas of media transparency, viewability, brand safety and ad fraud. This will help global brands gain control of how they are spending their advertising budgets, as well as ensuring that they get the best deals possible.

Brands are cutting marketing costs in hopes of boosting profits

Within the first six months of this year, the world’s largest advertiser, Procter and Gamble, cut $100 million from its digital marketing spend, following slumping consumer spend. Other global brands including Unilever, Danone, and Nestle have also cut their marketing spend in an attempt to boost profits, thanks to cost cutting by consumer packaged goods (CPG) firms. As a result of this, media agencies are offering financial incentives to win back business in the face of strong competition.

Contract renewal discounts and lower media and creative fees are now being offered to try and incentivise companies to continue spending with advertising firms. This can help businesses get the most out of digital adverts, especially when it comes to a return on ad spends. According to The Drum, agency marketing departments are now required to demonstrate returns on media spending, which allows businesses to get the best deal on advertising.

Businesses have a clearer focus on media audits

In an attempt to get a handle on media spend, businesses are taking more time to focus on creating clear and achievable goals. Large companies are investing in their own marketing teams and creating customised data management platforms (DMP) for an in-house media audit. Spirit maker Pernod Ricard for example now buys a quarter of all digital media in-house, rather than relying on media agencies, saving $71.5 million in the first half of the year.

Smaller companies may not be able to afford having an in-house team dedicated to purchasing media, and may not be media trained in order to get the best deals when purchasing media. However, there are dedicated media auditing agencies to take on the media buying role for companies. For example, global media audit company Auditstar offer media performance audits, as well as assessing media performance and benchmarking for clients, to analyse the value for money and return on investment.

Improving transparency allows businesses to get the best media deals

Procter and Gamble’s marketing boss Marc Pritchard delivered a speech about media transparency, explaining how marketers need to take back control after losing accountability for media spend. Some brands now run in-house blacklists of where they don’t want adverts to appear online, including global brand O2. Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Nina Bibby explained how O2 opts for ad blocking, rather than simple media auditing and monitoring.

In a study from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), 57 per cent of brands said they had implemented viewer tracking via a third-party vendor, 49 per cent adopted whitelists and blacklists to control where adverts appear, and 54 per cent had started working with third-party verification companies to combat ad fraud. When partnered with a media audit, brands can clearly see where ads are being placed, how much it is costing them, as well as the return on investment. As companies learn more about how the media industry works, they will be able to negotiate the best prices with media agencies and marketers.


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