Thinking of taking the plunge into TAG auditing but unsure what it might entail?
Or have you taken on responsibility for your business’s TAG audits but don’t know where to start?
Have no fear! We caught up with TAG Audit Manager Clare Langstaff to answer the key questions people ask us when it comes to understanding the TAG audit process.
What does the overall audit process look like?
Our aim is to make the audit process as straightforward as possible. That’s why we take a consultative approach…
Pre Audit: First we’ll book an initial consultancy meeting with you. This ensures we understand how your business currently relates to the guidelines and, if necessary, enables us to make recommendations for you to close any compliance gaps before the audit starts. We’ll use the meeting to talk you through the relevant TAG guidelines and outline the audit process so the next steps are clear.
The Audit: We’ll then introduce you to your auditor and, using the information gathered from our consultancy meeting, we’ll prepare a tailored Information Request sheet specifically for your business, setting out all the documents and process evidence that we’ll be looking for.
Once you’ve had time to gather the audit evidence, we’ll set up an Audit Call to talk through any questions and walk through any applicable processes.
Your auditor will liaise with you throughout the process as you collect the information we need in order to form our audit opinion.
What happens at the end of the audit?
Upon completion of the audit, we’ll send our Audit Report to you and TAG describing how you comply with the relevant TAG Guidelines.
TAG will review our Report and, subject to their approval, update the TAG Registry to reflect your TAG Seal expiry date and applicable geographies.
The team here will then want to ensure you get the most from working with us, so there’s a raft of supportive marketing material and PR opportunities we offer as part of our package.
How long does the audit take?
This is dependent on a number of factors – like complexity and size of the audit scope - but on average, if all the information is readily available, TAG audits can take as little as 6 weeks from the consultancy meeting to reporting to TAG.
Who should I get involved from my side?
We work with a variety of roles across the audit, but generally speaking it’s useful to have someone with a good overview of the business and also specialisms from Ad Ops, Compliance (if you have a Compliance Department) and sometimes Sales and Marketing too.
What sort of evidence do you ask for?
This is quite a big question to cover all the TAG schemes. For TAG Brand Safety Certified, for example, we may look at:
- Agreements between you and your partners such as Insertion Orders and MSAs.
- Various policies and procedures and how these are communicated internally or externally.
- Inclusion or exclusion lists and details on how these are created and maintained.
- Evidence of the implementation of Content Verification and/or Anti-piracy tools.
Depending on your business type there may be more to it than just the above, but don’t worry as our Information Request will detail specific examples tailored to your business and we’ll talk all this through with you during the audit.
What if I want to go Global with my TAG Seal?
If you’d like to add one or more countries to your TAG Seal then all you need to do is tell us (ideally) before the audit starts.
We’ll ask you a few questions to get an understanding of how your processes apply globally. This enables us to provide a quote for expanding the audit scope. Then, when the audit starts, we’ll list the evidence we’d like to see from the other country/ies to validate your compliance. We’ll use sampling techniques to ensure that we’re getting enough examples for a robust check but not overloading your teams unnecessarily.
What if we don’t pass the audit?
We don’t take a pass or fail approach to the audit. Instead, we’ll work with you until your current TAG related business processes are compliant and ready to submit to audit.
Are there any deadlines?
If this is your first TAG audit/Seal then there aren’t any official deadlines that we must work to, although we’d look to start the audit as soon as you’re ready and complete it time efficiently.
If you’re maintaining an existing TAG Seal then you’ll fall into TAG’s annual renewal cycle which requires our audit opinion to be submitted by 31st January each year. All timelines can be mutually agreed to suit you.
Who at ABC does the audit?
With a 45+ strong audit dept, ABC has a large team of experienced TAG auditors and some have been auditing areas like Brand Safety and Fraud since as early as 2006.
You’ll be assigned an auditor from our team, and in some cases there may be two auditors collaborating to work with you.
If you’re doing a repeat audit, then often we’ll keep the same auditor assigned to you each year as they’ll be knowledgeable about your business processes and how you prefer to work. If we need to change your auditor they’ll receive a full briefing from your previous auditor to keep the audit process smooth.
As the Audit Manager for our TAG services I have oversight of all audit work and am on hand to assist as needed.
How much does it cost?
In a nutshell?
It can seem daunting but it isn’t. It’s a straightforward process and, while we remain an independent third party, we’re here to help you succeed, not to catch you out!
Got a question that’s not covered, or would like to book an audit?