The WFA recently conducted a benchmark on recommended agencies for social media audit in China.
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“China’s social media environment is big, complex, unique and fast moving, it’s quite different from the rest of the world”.
#2 This is still an area of uncharted territory with no clear ‘experts’ in the field: 19 respondents recommended 18 different agencies, most of whom were untested. The market has yet to mature.
#3 While only 1/6 of respondents had actually completed, or were in the process of completing, an audit, 2/3 of respondents were interested in conducting an audit and interested in our findings for future reference.
#4 The biggest issue when conducting a social media audit in China is finding an agency who ticks all the boxes:
- Subject matter expertise
- Rigorous audit processes
- Strong understanding of the local market
“I would recommend to fully leverage domestic POV only when you already have a certain degree of international POV”.
“I can only share with you my experience on finding the right partner with sufficient knowledge of the China landscape which is completely different to the western countries”.
#5 Because social media tends to be managed by a wide range of agency specialists, some advertisers find that no single agency will ever be able to provide a robust enough perspective to qualify as an ‘audit’ proper.
“My recommendation is to leverage local client team and media partners to conduct the audit, while the role of regional/global team is to provide an audit framework to refer to”.
#6 Larger advertisers with sufficient internal capabilities prefer to conduct in-house audits.
“Generally, this is an area of low expertise in the market – both managing and auditing social activities. Standards of accountability and anti-fraud measures can be problematic. So we tend to take globally established methodologies and apply them in-house rather than via third parties”.
#7 Or… save yourself the effort of an audit by having more rigorous agency selection processes in place.
“More robust agency selection can improve transparency and reduce business risk”.
#8 Last but not least, if you do decide to proceed with an audit, don’t just do an audit for audit’s sake; the audit is just the start to a committed process of ongoing improvement and brand development, and must be approached with clearly defined goals and KPIs.
“The results will depend on what you want the auditor to measure and track. I found the value of the audit lies in the continuous improvement, so a one-off exercise may not give you the full value you are looking for. You need to also develop detailed KPIs and metrics for ongoing measurement and tracking”.
It also would be better for both parties to align objectives of the research and subsequent wishlist that we wish to derive from the findings so it would be a helpful exercise for the business.
You can download a full copy of the benchmark from our Global Knowledge Base here, or contact Ranji David - Marketing Director, Asia firstname.lastname@example.org.