Client-side media experts still wary of quality over commodity media buys

More industry professionals agree that advertisers who treat media as a quality buy rather than a commodity buy are at an advantage. According to the ID Comms Global Trading Survey for 2021, the number who strongly agree has risen to 70% of respondents, up 20 points on the 2018 results. Overall, 92% of respondents agree with this statement. This trend runs across all those engaged with media trading, notably procurement respondents where the number of procurement stakeholders who now strongly agree has increased more than 50% to 72% since 2018.

While 82% of marketing respondents also strongly agree with this shift in favour of quality buys over commodity buys, the survey found that client-side media experts are more wary, with only 64% strongly agreeing. There was also stronger support for the role of auditing as an integral part of good media governance.

Majority of respondents (86%) somewhat or strongly agree that media auditing is a critical component of good media governance.

Although the results were similar to that of 2018, the survey said there has been a 23% increase among those who strongly agree, underlining the centrality of auditing to media governance best practice. More than a third of (67%) advertisers agreed with this sentiment, doubling the number who strongly agreed (31%) in 2018.

That said, the survey found that agency respondents were more sceptical, with only 29% of those respondents strongly agreeing that media auditing is a critical component of good media governance, compared to 19% in 2018. Such a sentiment, however, is not at all surprising given that the auditing process can sometimes be fairly labour intensive and operationally disruptive for agencies, ID Comms explained.

According to ID Comms consultant Paul Stringer, the race to the bottom "has been a killer for agencies and many media owners" while also failing to deliver for advertisers. "Treating media as a quality buy and an investment in growth is long overdue and welcome news," he added.

Better targeting becomes higher on the priority list

ROI and business results have been "overwhelmingly recognised" as the most important indicator of success in media buying by all parts of the advertising landscape, found ID Comms. This was followed by better targeting and financial transparency. The reason why better targeting jumped up the priority list ahead of financial transparency and lowering prices is possibly a result of third-party cookies being phased out. According to ID Comms, this will place even more emphasis on the need for effective targeting, particularly for those advertisers lacking a solid first-party data strategy.

(Read also: Are you truly prepared for the cookie-less world?)

Meanwhile, respondents are divided in their opinions on whether media buying within agencies is driven by strategic planning, or whether channel and vendor biases mean buying tends to dictate planning decisions. About 38% of respondents lean towards the notion that the media buy dictates the plan, while around 40% of respondents think the opposite.

When it comes to media buying, one of the big issues for advertisers in-housing their media trading is talent. 

Around half of respondents (48%) rate hiring the best talent as the biggest challenge in building in-house buying capabilities with accessing good quality data a distant second (20%).

This was slightly different from two years ago, when accessing good quality data was ranked as bottom of advertiser’s overall concerns, ID Comms said. Its digital consultant Mark Andrews said data will remain a crucial factor in the success of media trading. However, those who have relied heavily on third party cookies or approaches will face significant challenges, as existing data approaches will disappear, restricting or hampering their media buying strategies in the future, he explained.

ID Comms surveyed 162 media, marketing, and procurement professionals with a range of global, regional and local market responsibilities worldwide. The respondents have a combined global media investment in excess of US$20 billion and represent a wide variety of brands in diverse categories including FMCG/CPG, retail, pharmaceutical, food and drink, entertainment, automotive, luxury, finance, energy and telecommunications.

Photo courtesy: 123RF

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