I don’t know about your country but in Romania absolutely every media agency or ad broker pays bloggers and publishers after they cashed in the invoice they issued to the advertisers. This *usually* takes in between 60 and 90 days after the campaign has ended. Maybe even more.

Everybody blames the advertiser for late payments.

As a naive idealist I’m thinking – well, if the campaign was successfully delivered and the results are anywhere from client expectation up the advertiser would have no reason to wait 3-4 months to make payment. Not to mention that if the advertiser did not craft a very smart contract he has to pay no matter the results of the campaign. Let’s take display campaigns for example – the standard CPM – the second those impressions get delivered – the advertiser should pay. Or even before.

As an advertiser I always pay right after I got the service or even before. Facebook invoices me daily and if I don’t pay (or better said, if I don’t make sure there’s money in the connected bank account) they stop the campaign. The same for Google, MailChimp and the others. I prepay media.

Of course – we cannot wrap our heads around the idea of skipping agencies and brokers. They are essential in media buying and being able to plan complex campaigns on lots of channels but here’s the real question – why do we need agencies for the invoicing part when things would be much easier if both agencies/brokers and publishers would invoice the client (advertiser) directly. The same number of invoices would be generated anyway.

If you step outside your cubical for a little we could even expand the idea and transform it into a platform – a SaS that groups together all publishers on agency/broker accounts and gives everybody different user level access:

  1. Agency sets up the publishers and their rate-cards
  2. Advertiser selects sites and creates a media plan
  3. Agency and Publishers get a notification that there is a new campaign request – they login and make the required adjustments, rebates, ask for more information, up-sell various packages based on advertiser needs
  4. Advertiser gets a notification that his demands are met and campaign is ready to start
  5. Campaign goes live. Multiple modules integrated with the Ad Server, Google Analytics (or similar), Facebook API plus some manual input feed in data for the generated live report of the campaign.
  6. Based on the initial settings of the campaign invoices for the Advertiser are issued by both the agency and publishers – before or after the campaign ends.
  7. Everything is transparent and Advertisers get to see in their dashboard campaign efficiency (reach, engagement, etc) and money circuit – how much in the media plan, what’s the discount, what’s the agency commission, how much each publisher makes from that specific campaign, CPM real cost, etc.

I bet there are a couple of agencies who would donate some development hours for this project. But is transparency and automation really a desiderate? Wouldn’t it prevent traditional “negotiations” and unaccounted for money? It would but that’s the way to go…

Photo source.