According to a recent survey poll of 150 marketing, media and agency executives by ID Comms, their “Global Media Training Report” finds that 71% or respondents find their firms investment in media training is either “unsatisfactory” or “entirely unsatisfactory”. Those respondents represent a combined media spend north of $20 Billion.
Two years ago Media Two did their own analysis as it related specifically to the top 20 media agencies we come across on a daily basis. Truth be told, it was for our own brand positioning. With more than 35,000 agencies all saying “we buy media better” or “we’re data driven” or “our people are the best”, we just wanted to better understand what truly differentiated us from an outsiders perspective. While analyzing 53,817 employees – we came across one shocking statistic, and that was 9%. Nice percent (spelling it out for dramatic effect) of those employees had ever held a “Media Buyer” or “Media Buying” title. That’s EVER – as in current job or past job.
So when 91% of the employees of some of the largest media agencies in the world have never been a media buyer, why in the world is anyone surprised that 71% of the respondents say the industry is not properly trained in media?
Here’s a few ways that might give you an indication if your agency is properly trained:
Experienced Team. Start with your team lead and make sure they’ve been in the industry more than 5 years, but then ask to see a roster of EVERYONE that will be touching your account. Experience matters – and it can’t just be the experienced new biz team that showed up to the pitch.
Who Handles the Media Buying (including Programmatic Media Buys). Surprisingly enough – agencies are often staffed with senior level media directors, but not one buy actually takes place within the agency! The industry is rampant with AI solutions and DSP’s that provide fully managed media buying, that most agencies simply sign an insertion order for, but don’t actually get their hands dirty. The Media Team should be working closely with the data team and optimization team – and reporting to the creative team! If they’re simply outsourcing it to a DSP, they might not actually have a media department.
Paid Search. My favorite tool is the “Change history” tool (on your left hand menu bar in Google Ads near the bottom). You can filter your Search account by date range, and see just how many optimizations are being made by your agency versus by Google. Please keep in mind that Google is a great converter, but it’s also not a not-for-profit organization – so you’re going to want to make sure your agency has been keeping them in check and actually doing the optimizations you’ve paid them for.
Forecasting. Do you receive media plans, or do you receive media forecasts that are specific showing expected CTR’s, expected clearing rates, and most importantly – expected conversions. If your agency can’t forecast your expected results, then the chances are they aren’t well trained enough to know how your media is going to work – or what to do to optimize it.
Your media dollars should be an investment, not a spend, and not left to the chance throw of a dart. Specialized, trained and experienced media buying shops must be cringing at the release of this report.