January 5, 2017 by Bruce Mentzer
Isn’t the 2016 Election cycle over? Not for media buyers. Reconciliation is the final important component, and should have been included FREE in your original contract with your media buyer. You may be due back thousands of dollars.
How do you know that media outlets such as TV, cable, radio, and digital ran all the ads that were scheduled? And charged you the amount agreed upon? And ran the correct message/traffic?
Reconciliation. A complete and meticulous post-election media buy analysis done by studying the media outlet proof-of-performance affidavits is the only way for every campaign large and small to know that they got exactly what they were promised. And where mistakes were made, they deserve a refund.
Spots get preempted, or simply missed, or run outside of selected programming, especially in battleground markets and states. Media outlets can run the incorrect message rotation, even after it’s been confirmed. It’s your media buyer’s final job following an election to completely reconcile media invoices against your “placed” and “confirmed” media schedules and spot traffic, to secure back for you any credits or refunds due to media outlet errors.
And they do exist. Usually, anywhere from 1/4% to 1.5% of a media schedule runs incorrectly due to media outlet error. On a $ 5 million total media buy, if a 1/4% was missed, or ran wrong, that’s approximately $ 12,500 to be refunded. At the higher end of the scale, if 1.5% was due back because of error, that’s $ 75,000. But your media buyer has to find it to claim it.
Of course, a media buyer’s job is to get the spots to air originally and to not have them come back post-election as a credit. But with so many hands in the equation, especially at the end when markets are tight or sold out, it’s bound to happen to some small degree. No post campaign reconciliation of a media buy ever came out to zero. Rarely is money due, almost always there are refunds due back to the advertiser.
Media buy reconciliations should be completed no later than one quarter after the media has aired, meaning that Fall 2016 media buys should be completely reconciled by the end of March 2017, with any credits due back to client returned with a full final statement of the account very soon thereafter.
Has your political or issue media buyer communicated to you that the reconciliation is in process? If not, do yourself a favor and ask to make sure it’s happening. You may be getting a refund of some amount. And, it’s worth checking on.
We have heard recently that some media buyers are now charging extra to reconcile, that’s absurd, as it has always been included as part of the entire media buying process. You have already compensated your media buyer for this service. Don’t pay twice!
Have any questions about political or issue media buy reconciliation? Ask Mentzer Media at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 410-825-7034.