Billing Methods Best Practices

Ad operations and finance professionals from the IAB’s Ad Operationss Council, in conjunction with representatives from major Media Agencies, developed these Best Practices to significantly decrease the operational inefficiencies surrounding the billing and discrepancy resolution processes in interactive advertising.

  1. Improved Communication, both internally with different departments and externally with business partners
  2. Improved Systems and Processes that support data integration and analysis, with clear communication between partners

The Publisher Best Practices were developed through a holistic examination of the revenue cycle, from proposal to signed IO to campaign launch to invoice. Key recommendations include:

  • Increasing inter-company communication between sales, accounts receivable, service representatives, and finance minimizes the time it takes to resolve discrepancies by keeping all customer touch-points involved and responsible
  • Enabling systems to track and store all revisions for easy access, and store third-party numbers for discrepancy and post-campaign analysis
  • Ensuring that one tag is implemented in only one placement in order to avoid further confusion of additional, unordered lines being invoiced to agencies

The Agency Best Practices were developed by examining the complete media buying and payment relationship with publisher partners. Key recommendations include:

  • Holding regular cross-departmental meetings/communication to discuss all open invoices and centralizing communication management
  • Using logins to publishers’ systems to monitor and compare numbers during campaign run in order to proactively detect discrepant situations
  • Reconciling media on a monthly, not end-of-campaign, basis

Overall, the Ad Ops Council and the involved agencies believe that it is imperative for both parties to work closely and proactively together at all times. Improvements in payment times for both sides will only result from early detection of discrepancies, decreased input errors through improved communications, and better tracking of terms and revision documentation. The IAB is confident that these Best Practices, if adopted by both publishers and agencies, will enable both sides to materially improve their operational effectiveness while also building more scalable, profitable organizations.