The Role of the Media Audit

Pakistan has a diverse and rather complex mix of media platforms available for its viewers and advertisers. More than 100 television channels, between print and digital, broadcast media still rules the advertising spend. According to Jibran Hassan, partner at JASB & Associates, “In the West, advertising spend on digital has already surpassed television. Locally, there is still a lot of scope for digital-only content to be generated.” Traditional content, as it is produced for television, doesn’t engage the audience.” So replaying traditionally produced content doesn’t excite the audience to grow as much as its potential.

The problem with the traditional media, be it television, radio or print, is the lack of accountability in the reach and return. How does an advertiser track the reach and return of a particular content piece? One would think that digital media would allow advertisers to gain the insights and control the brand’s media spend more effectively, however the hesitation with the online is equally great. In countries like Pakistan, it can just as easily be argued that advertisers don’t find much value in the one-on-one interaction. Brands pay top dollar to be seen and make noise, even if it means constant, senseless repetition of the ‘hook of a jingle’.

Sensible Media Planning

The keyword being “planning”. For media agencies to plan, they need to have access to data. Truckloads of data. They keep one eye on the historical trends and another on the present, with a clear objective of the results a campaign needs to achieve. Or at least they should have information that enables them to do this.  Unlike the digital media, which actually allows you detailed insights of where the click came from, what they saw, how long they viewed it for and where they bounced off to, where is the accountability in print, out-of-home or television? Sure, sampling solutions are available but can you really tangibly quantify what the return for your investment was? That’s where the media audit becomes important.

Just like you hire an audit firm to explore and investigate where possible leaks are in your accounts, a media audit firm takes a look at the money you spent on a campaign and where it was actually used. Did your life insurance advertising campaign really run 5 spots in the afternoon? What were the ratings of the shows that were airing it and who saw it? Most importantly, did you really get back the return you projected? And it’s important to distinguish between the job of a media planner and a media auditor.

From the 190 million people across the country, Pakistan has more than 38 million 3G/4G users and still a growing television audience. It will still take time for the convergence of media platforms to take place and for campaign reports to reflect this, however, we’re definitely heading there. As Jibran says, “You invest in an audit to see where the leaks in your business are. Where the pilferage is taking place, so you can do something to make your business run more efficiently. Why wouldn’t you do the same with the money you invest in a media campaign?”

Would you?

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