April 1, 2015

4 Steps to Analyzing a Media Vendor

Four ways to see if a media vendor and their services are right for your campaign.

Four ways to see if a media vendor and their services are right for your campaign.

When I first started as a media intern here at ab+c, one of my most frequent tasks was analyzing different media vendors for plans. This included vendors servicing print and digital magazines, websites, outdoor media ventures, out of home media, social media vendors — you name it. I would research and analyze different organizations to determine whether they’re the right vendor to accomplish our clients’ goals and reach the target audience for media plans.

The more I did this task, the more I realized how much effort it takes to gather all of the vendor’s information, really see what they could offer and make an educated decision on what to buy. It’s worth it to know we’re making the most insightful media choice for the client. And of course I think it’s a ton of fun — is my advertising nerd side showing?

But, hey — now you get to benefit from my nerdiness. Here is my list of the top four ways to see if a media vendor and their services are right for your campaign.

  1. Grab the media kit and get to work.

The vendor’s media kit will give you an overarching explanation of what the vendor has to offer. Read, pull apart and bucket all the information in the kit. What print components are available? Do they offer digital services or mobile components? Can they contextually target? And, extremely important, what are their audience or audience-targeting capabilities? This is how you’ll form the basis of your information, so organize this up-front information first.

  1. Analyze the BPA statement.

A BPA statement is a brand report that provides a deeper dive into the vendor’s media channels and analyzes the audiences. It’s an audit done on the vendor that verifies the mediums the vendor has and states an audience count. Request a BPA statement right off the bat from the vendor representative or search for their most updated report on BPAWW.com. From here you can find the vendor’s circulation numbers, website traffic metrics and other audience demographics, including job titles and industries of their audience. This is key to ensuring your audience numbers are accurate and you are targeting the right market.

  1. Use your contact to the fullest.

If you like different components of what the vendor has to offer — digital e-newsletters and their print magazine — ask the representative what pairings they’ve seen work best to achieve goals similar to yours. What success stories can they share of pairing digital and traditional media? This information can be your biggest asset, because the rep often knows the particular industry well and has valuable knowledge about the field. And while you’re at it, ask about package discounts.

  1. Ask about visibility as much as possible.

Sure, the vendor has 12 e-newsletters with 50,000 subscribers each, but are these subscribers even opening these hourly/daily/weekly emails? Ask about open rates, delivery rates and CTR percentages in all digital banner positions. Inquire about the audience targets and what types of recipients are opening the media. If, for example,  you want to recruit certain doctors, make sure the media you’re buying will hit those doctors. Gather as much of this analytical information as possible to review and determine what will work best with your campaign messaging. This will give you a great idea of what’s worth it and what isn’t — and if you’re targeting the right audience.

Once you’ve gathered all of your information, start dissecting it and analyzing it all. Again, nurture a relationship with your rep. He or she will probably be your most valuable asset.

Bonus tip! If you’re stuck trying to find a publication to fit a niche audience, try opening an account on SRDS.com. This website gives you a list of publications and websites by industry and audience type.

Of course, there’s a lot more work to be done when analyzing a vendor, publication or media buy — I can get even nerdier. But these four steps are a good place to start.

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