About the Report

In today's increasingly complex media environment, agencies and advertisers recognise  the need to build more trusting partnerships. The media auditing community has an important and influential role to play. Whilst each stakeholder group has a different perspective and faces a different set of challenges - there appears to be alignment on the need for and desire to make the appropriate changes.

The EACA Report analyses the perspective of each stakeholder group in order to help identify specific areas of focus to improve the dynamics of the existing relationships. By talking candidly about the concerns facing agencies, advertisers and auditors from trust and transparency to conflicts of interest, we aim to start a more productive debate. Ultimately, we also want to encourage and stimulate constructive, positive action, so have recommended three practical steps to help make this happen.

The Report:

Gives an overview of the media agency auditing landscape

Identifies issues about existing processes, as perceived by agencies

Presents the views of advertisers, auditors and benchmarkers

Outlines recommendations and future steps on how to build a more trusting tripartite relationship

Agencies' ideal requirements for improving the existing tripartite dynamics:

Bulletproof confidentiality guarantees: more rigorous processes and procedures need to be put in place safeguarding sensitive data

Consistent professional and evidenced standards: more robust internal measures and controls need to be upheld, and evidence provided, by all media auditing businesses 

Zero conflicts of interest: standards need to be incorporated when appointing independent media auditors, benchmarkers or advisers

Some agency recommendations & observations for a more trusting relationship

Independent media auditing and the assessment of agency performance are both important and complex

Advertisers can benefit from additional third party advice, training and education about the media marketplace – especially the dynamics behind the digital and mobile advertising ecosystem

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) should be strictly honoured by all parties. Records, pricing information and contracts provided to the auditor/benchmarker should be confidential and exclusively used for the authorised purpose.

Media agency auditing companies should have to disclose all service offerings provided, such as pitch management or media strategy/planning or media implementation, in order that advertisers and agencies can fully understand and assess the potential conflicts of interest.

Auditing and media benchmarking companies should put in place all necessary measures to prevent data leakage and misuse before, during and after each project

The scope of work between an advertiser and auditor should align to the agency/client contract and give more specific consideration to the impact on agency resources

Companies using benchmarking pricing pools must provide transparent evidence that the pool is robust and relevant to the audit in question

Auditors and advertisers should respect agencies’ third party contractual obligations which may include confidentiality clauses (e.g. third party licensing arrangements which may prevent the disclosure of such data)

What do advertisers think about the identified issues?

Agencies need to do more to educate their clients about the media buying ecosystem - especially across the plethora of digital and mobile channels

Auditors can and should ask agencies for an extensive range of data, although they noted some understanding about this being a significant burden on agencies’ resources.

Further dialogue and debate is needed to improve certain practices within the existing media auditing ecosystem

Considerations of the media auditing community

Media auditing landscape is changing fast and that it now covers a much wider range of services - from pitch management to strategic advice to evaluation of agency technology and analytics

In terms of required data provision, auditors believe that agencies could be more co-operative and transparent. Ultimately, they require data in accordance with their client brief and wishes

Companies providing auditing/benchmarking services also offered verbal assurance that data and information provided by agencies is only ever used for and shared with the specific client funding the audit. In turn, they also confirmed that strict confidentiality policies are deployed with their employees

The majority were prepared and willing to engage in collaborative working groups to identify common ground and consider the creation of appropriate guidelines and/or code of conduct

Next steps involving all three parties

The creation of two separate working groups including agencies, auditors and advertisers - one for contract compliance auditing and the other for media benchmarking.

The creation of best practice guidelines collectively agreed across the three stakeholder groups.

A more binding, mutually agreed, code of conduct outlining the professional standards, practices, behaviours and obligations signed up to by all parties.

EACA will be working with all three parties to make this happen.


Tamara Daltroff
Director General
Tel: +32 2 740 07 15
E – mail : tamara.daltroff@eaca.eu




The European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA) represents more than 2,500 communications agencies and agency associations from 30 European countries that employ more than 120,000 people. EACA members include advertising, media, digital, branding and PR agencies.

EACA promotes honest, effective advertising, high professional standards and awareness of the contribution of advertising in a free market economy. We encourage close co-operation between agencies, advertisers and media in European advertising bodies. EACA works closely with EU institutions to ensure freedom to advertise responsibly and creatively.

We are here to share and address international experience and issues on a pan-European basis and provide an important link between agencies, advertisers and the advertising media in Europe and around the world.

www.eaca.eu | @EACA_eu info@eaca.eu |Brussels