How to Talk to Your Agency About Media Buying Transparency

How to Talk to Your Agency About Media Buying Transparency

Media transparency has always been a concern in digital advertising and with the rise of programmatic buying it has become even more of a challenge. The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) launched an audit of the industry this summer regarding media practices and to discover “kickbacks” that agencies may be receiving from publishers but are not passing on to the end client. 

With different partners operating with different rules and guidelines, the ANA is rightfully working toward a consistent code of conduct, which is something we welcome.

In case you are curious about media transparency and what it means for your marketing efforts, we have compiled a list of questions you can ask your advertising agency to learn more about how your agency buys digital media and acts in your best interests.   

1. How Are Media Rates Determined? Ask how your agency determines rates and what are it does to negotiate better rates with publishers and pass those savings to clients. Rates will change over time and are based on supply and demand. While they will increase year over year, every agency should work with publishers to get the best rates possible. If rates continue to increase with no discounts as spend increases, you may need to have a conversation with your agency. 

2. What Are My Agency’s Upfront Practices? Agencies should be able to explain how they go through upfronts and use buying power to receive discounts. Does the agency participate in upfronts? What about client specific upfronts? Most agencies will either do one or both, which helps with discounted rates and reserved inventory for key moments like Black Friday or Election Day.

3. What Are The Benefits of Centralized Buying and How Can I Leverage Them? Clients who centralize buying with one agency will often benefit from greater overall discounts and optimized spend. 

4. Ask for Site Lists and Viewability Metrics Around Programmatic Buying. Know where and when your agency uses programmatic buying, but also viewability standards. This information will determine if the agency knows how to buy smartly and can help reduce waste from websites that do not work toward your goals and KPI’s. Programmatic buying should not be a black box tactic in your media buys.

At BPI, we do upfronts with publishers and partners regularly. We believe the practice benefits everyone involved as long as the savings are passed on to the client. Upfronts help us to reserve inventory for key moments and pass on those savings to clients who may not have had the buying power on their own – such as non-profits.

Upfronts ensure that we can make the client dollar go further, we can hold publishers accountable and we can stay on the forefront of innovation.

From there, we can pass all of that knowledge onto the client and ensure our agency acts in an accountable and transparent manner.

More questions? Contact us.