5 Questions to Ask Your Next Media Agency


Programmatic, media buying, media planning are all impactful strategies that can help move the needle for any company or brand. But while media buying can be very fruitful, there all plenty of pitfalls and traps that many advertisers can fall for. The recent controversies from Google’s ad boycott, where a number of brands pulled Google and Youtube display ads because their ads were showing up next to extremist content, highlights why having a great media agency is so crucial. Your media agency must guide you though the ever-changing media landscape and be on top of all the new trends.

Here are a list of starter questions if are looking to start the journey of finding your next or new media agency…

5 questions to ask your next media agency

1. What are your programmatic media buying practices?

With the rise of programmatic media buying, there have been positive and negative aspects to the practice. While programmatic campaigns can significantly boost a brand’s reach and exposure, there continues to be concerns around transparency, security, fraud and more. Asking your prospective agency about how they will handle programmatic media buying can uncover some of the gray area and protect your brand from trouble down the line. As we progress through the article, there are more in-depth questions on transparency and fraud.

If the agency has a hard time answering the questions or don’t want to reveal their strategies…then you should look somewhere else.

2. What anti-fraud measures are being taken to protect clients?

Programmatic activity is automated platforms handling your media buying. This automation can lead to campaigns being unchecked by real people and technology doing all the work. Make sure the agency has great analysts that are tracking progress and maintaining quality on all of your media campaigns because technology can only do so much. Once that is confirmed, you need to know how you are going to be protected from a lot of the rampant fraud going on in programmatic.

Is your prospective agency checking for bot activity on your website? Are they working with the best publishers and getting metrics on fraudulent clicks or traffic? Can they show you where your ads will run? How are they dealing with ad-fraud?

3. Will you be optimizing and adjusting throughout my campaign?

Sounds like a pretty dumb question, but when it comes to programmatic media buying, your campaign needs to evolve and change as you receive new data. Agencies may want to “optimize” your campaign at the end, but not taking into consideration the metrics during the campaign is not taking advantage of what programmatic is really about.

Don’t settle for the tweak here and there. Digital marketing is constantly changing, so you need to have an agency that will optimize your campaign base on new trends or threats.

4. What metrics are being tracked and how will you measure results?

Once you understand that your potential agency has their ducks in a row, in terms of programmatic strategies, fraud and optimization, now it is time to ask questions on metrics and how results will be tracked.

In the past, click-through rates and impressions have been the go-to KPI when accessing media campaigns. With the rise of bots and other dark arts, the ability to generate fake ad impressions and fake clicks have become so easy. Move beyond the clicks and impressions, and see what metrics the agency put the most importance on.

5. Can we afford you?

After checking to see if the agency is a great fit for you and match other factors that you deem important, you need to know if this can all works within your budget. This may be an internal question for your company but with media buying traditionally an option only for bigger brands, media buying has become a strategy not only used by the big boys.

With media planning and buying changing constantly, there are more and more options based on different budgets. And just because you are a huge company doesn’t necessarily mean you need a media agency that charges a crazy amount. This is all about fit and need.

Great thing is Agency Spotter has a great list of media agencies that can be filtered based on budget range!

Lasting Impression

The final tip whenever you are looking for a new agency is to ask for references of brands and marketers that have worked with the agency. To get a greater sense of the agency, the best way is to hear from former and current clients that have experience with the agency and their media buying capabilities.

The questions above were just starters for when you meet with a media agency. There maybe more questions you want to ask and questions above you may feel uncomfortable asking. The important thing you ask questions based on your company and what you are looking for.

To see more of our 5 Questions to Ask Your Next Agency series, visit our 5Qs page.


About Daniel Kim

Daniel is THE marketing guru at Agency Spotter. He holds a degree in Journalism from Georgia State University and has worked in the startup world ever since graduating. When Daniel isn't tearing up the marketing scene, you can usually find him playing basketball or enjoying a delicious bowl of Chipotle...