SYDNEY: Brand owners in Australia are failing to make sufficient use of media auditing services, which could significantly improve the return on investment from their advertising expenditure.

The Australian Association of National Advertisers, which represents firms spending A$30bn ($26.4bn; €20.7bn; £17.3bn) on communications a year, argued this kind of rigorous measurement is likely to yield impressive benefits.

The trade body suggested that, at present, between 20% and 30% of the country's leading marketers currently employ auditors to assess the efficacy of media plans and actual executions.

In contrast, uptake levels are much higher in Europe, where a survey by the World Federation of Advertisers of a panel of its members revealed that around 90% had adopted this approach.

"We see the auditing of media agencies as relatively in its infancy in Australia. Overseas it is routine," said Scott McClellan, chief executive of the AANA.

The advent of new channels such as social networks have served to increase the importance of establishing precise metrics, he added.

"What we are not getting is a picture of how different media are working together to produce a result," said McClellan. "That picture is getting fuzzier and it needs to get clearer. There is more confusion than ever.

"To be frank, a lot of companies have not been doing these kinds of audits … We have greater complexity emerging from this fragmented market."

While the AANA has released a set of best practice guidelines covering this area, adapted from those developed by the WFA, a broader cultural shift among clients may also be required.

"Have they been calling for it loudly? No. But what you don't have you don't miss," said McClellan.

"We did not want it to be perceived as any kind of mistrust or doubt. We just want to skill-up advertisers to ask tough questions of their agencies."

Gary Hardwick, president of Media Federation of Australia and a founding partner of Ikon, the planning and buying agency, also backed this model.

"Anything that can be done to substantiate and provide a black and white measure of media has to be applauded," he said.

Data sourced from The Australian; additional content by Warc staff