BRUSSELS: The share of digital budgets that media auditors are able to measure remains low and appears to be declining in some key regions, according to the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).

The global organisation for marketers carried out research among its membership, investigating what advertisers think of the media auditing companies responsible for policing media value and interrogating media agencies. The results were based on responses from 29 companies, across 15 different industry sectors, whose total global media spend amounted to around $35bn.

There was widespread agreement (91%) that auditing was crucial to measuring media value and that the auditor was a vital business partner, but there was plenty of room for improvement when it came to digital.

Europe emerged as the best performing region in terms of auditors' ability to measure digital budgets, but at just 23% in 2013, the share that was capable of being quantified remained worryingly low. It had, however, increased from 17% in 2012.

Another region headed in the right direction was Asia Pacific, where the share of digital budgets measured more than doubled from 5% to 12%.

But across the Americas the reverse situation applied. In the USA and Canada the share of measurable digital budget halved from 25% to 12%, while in Latin America it had declined threefold, from an already unimpressive 9% to a mere 3%.

Europe also led the way on actual usage of auditors, with 83% of businesses there employing them for a complete performance evaluation, far ahead of the results for all other regions. Asia-Pacific returned a 54% score on this measure, the USA and Canada 46%, Latin America 29% and the Middle East and Africa 22%.

Cost benchmarking and the ability of media agencies to guarantee validation were important aspects of auditing work – 75% of European respondents cited these two factors, compared to 46% and 42% respectively in Asia-Pacific.

The USA and Canada placed slightly more emphasis on validation (46%) than cost benchmarking (38%) while in all other territories the figures for both were equal on 21%.

For the future, auditors were expected to become increasingly important in the areas of programmatic buying and online ad viewability tracking (both 87%) as well as measuring media value in rapid growth markets and online paid search consultancy (both 75%).

Data sourced from WFA; additional content by Warc staff