Accountability in advertising

Gone are the days when media planning and buying agencies took their client's money and only showed them the media that their investment bought.

Today, we need to be showing clients what results their money bought them. That’s real accountability.

Client: "We just need the message out there."

Us: "Okay. What would you like to measure?"

Client: "Measure?"

Us: "What’s the reason for putting your ad out there? What means most to you?"

Client: "People seeing the adverts? Impressions? Clicks? ..."

This is a conversation we’ve had dozens of times with clients, other advertisers and people we talk to on a regular basis.

The trading method media owners tend to work on is more often than not a cost per thousand impressions.

What's an impression?

Just one view of an advert. Of your message, your media. One view that could be a brief glance, a two-minute study, a brief scroll-by on your social media feed or just a blink as you walk by a digital screen. They mean something, but not everything.

However, because media owners sell the space based on impressions we’re often fooled into believing that impressions are the outcome.

But it's deeper than that!

What we all need to consider when buying media, creating adverts or planning a campaign is the final outcome you want to produce, the result, the final effect your adverts have.

What means most to you? Why are you spending money on advertising in the first place?

Is it to sell more tickets, make people remember you, remind people why they love you, change an audience’s behaviour, sell more units, gain more viewers, visitors or followers (we couldn’t think of another ‘V’)?

That's where accountability comes in.

When you have a final goal to reach for, a real, meaningful result, that’s when you start to plan.

It seems simple, but not nearly enough of us do it. We start with what gives us the biggest number of impressions and then we work out what results we might be able to get.

In choosing media, be that radio, social, a billboard in a specific location, a logo stencilled onto the ground, a train station takeover or ten-foot digital screens in Harrods we need to consider if it’s the best place to achieve your results.

Accountability in advertising shouldn't be wishful thinking.

So, gone are the days when media planning and buying agencies could take a client's money and only show them what media channels their investment had bought.

We need to be showing clients what results their money bought them. We need to be accountable.

That’s real accountability and it makes us all better at our jobs.

If we’re recommending a media plan and investing our client’s money in those places we need to be sure (or as sure as we can be), that it will generate the dream outcome amongst their audience.

We’re responsible, then, for the campaign, the client’s message, the real-world impact of advertising and not just buying impressions by the thousand.

So, what's the reason for putting your ad out there? What means the most to you?

If you are looking for a media planning and buying agency that is accountable, say Hello today.

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