With the latest ANA industry standards, ad agencies who are unable (or unwilling) to provide advertisers with access to their advertising data will erode trust and risk losing clients in 2020 reviews. In contrast, data-centric agencies will build trust and win new clients. Bionic agencies stand to gain the most.

New Industry Standards Demand Advertising Data

The leading advertising trade group – the Association of National Advertisers or “ANA” – is advising its members to require advertising agencies to provide access to their data. In fact, the ANA uses the word “data” 93 times in the recent update of their “Master Media Planning & Buying Services Agreement” standard contract template.

What is Advertising Data?

Many think advertising data is simply historical performance data on digital ads. It’s much more than that – it includes media plan data, KPI data, pacing data, plus more across TV, radio, print, digital, social, and all other media channels. The ANA contract defines the scope of advertising data:

  • 1.4 “Advertiser Data” means any data and information in written or electronic form collected by Agency, Agency Affiliates, a Media Owner Group Member or a Vendor on behalf of Advertiser or its Affiliates in the course of providing the Services (including, but not limited to, Media Plans, Key Performance Indicators, Goals, Results, Pacing, Transaction Data, Media invoices and data collected by Agency from Advertiser Properties and Media Placements) and any data derived from Advertiser Materials or produced as a result of calculations using all or a portion of Advertiser Data.
  • 1.28 “Change History” means the history of changes to specified Advertiser Data, including, but not limited to, timestamp, identity of the Person who made the change, name of item changed, value before the change, and value after the change.
  • 1.95 “Transaction Data” means performance metrics as well as pricing, costs and fees incurred in the process of purchasing any Media for Advertiser […].

Advertising data is everything related to advertising investments and the decisions behind these investments. This data needs to be stored in an organized database, not a bunch of non-standard Excel spreadsheets.

Advertising Data Should be Readily Available

The ANA standards do not prescribe exactly how agencies should provide advertisers with access to their data. However, it makes it clear that advertiser data is owned by the advertiser and should be readily available through an online interface:

  • 15.1 Agency will provide to Advertiser, Advertiser Data and Change History, in addition to any other reports specified in a Scope of Work or elsewhere in this Agreement. Such reporting and data will be supplied in relation to all of the Services which have been provided, at a frequency and in a form and format acceptable to Advertiser.
  • 31.2.2 all Advertiser Data is owned by Advertiser;
  • 31.2.3 Advertiser shall have the right to access, store or otherwise download, export, track, transfer or use Advertiser Data;

No Data = Grumpy Clients

Can you give your clients online access to their advertising data? If not, you fail compliance with current industry standards. As a result, you risk losing reviews and pitches with clients who are using the ANA standards as a minimum benchmark.

Data-Deprived Advertisers Will Switch Agencies

This is terrible news for many agencies, especially those that operate on excel spreadsheets. Without a centralized and standardized database of media investment data, there’s no way to provide clients access to their data and reporting required by these new standards.  Data-deprived advertisers will question the capabilities of their agencies and seek alternatives.

Data-Centric Agencies Will Win Clients

However, this is good news for data-centric agencies because they just gained a huge advantage to win clients away from incumbent agencies who are unwilling or unable to comply with these standards.

Bionic Agencies Stand to Gain the Most

This is great news for Bionic agencies because you already have all the tools, portals, reports, and dashboards that will impress even the most demanding advertisers:

  1. All media planning, media buying, advertising efficiency, and advertising effectiveness data in a centralized, organized database
  2. Complies with the ANA standards
  3. Provides a full audit trail of media investment decisions
  4. Provides clients with online portal to monitor media investments
  5. Provides clients with unfettered access to their data through Bionic Data Studio

It’s Not Too Late to Upgrade Your Data Capabilities

If you can’t provide your clients with access to their data according to industry standards, you’ve got some catching up to do. Fortunately, it’s not too late. With the right system and a diligent implementation, you can get your agency up-to-speed in just a short sprint.