Media Contract Guidance for Advertisers: Global Best Practice

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A fair and comprehensive contract is the foundation stone of any equitable commercial relationship between an advertiser and its agency partner. The right contract for all parties ensures that the partnership runs smoothly, brand-side and agency-side.

FirmDecisions and the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) worked together to provide some guidance for advertisers as to what should be included in a Media contract to ensure the best levels of protection, transparency, and accountability in the relationship.


  • Key learnings and clauses that are essential in a media agency contract
  • Ten key elements that need addressing in a media contract and why they are of importance
  • Importance of Media Contracts and adoption of best practice
// What we want to investigate and why


Contracts should contain no ambiguities and clarity is key to foster partnership between brand teams and their agencies. It is best practice for advertisers to commission contract compliance audits regularly to ensure that the contractual terms are being adhered to by the agency. This should happen every one or two years, to accommodate and reflect the dynamic and fast-evolving nature of the media marketplace.

Many contracts are created by an advertiser’s in-house legal team. Although professional and well-meaning, they often lack the knowledge of the bigger picture view of how the media market is developing.

The knowledge that forms the basis of this Guidance has been drawn from FirmDecisions’ 24-year experience of auditing thousands of media contracts globally. This guide highlights key learnings and the clauses that are essential in a media agency contract in the 2020s.

The purpose of this guide is threefold:

  • To ensure full transparency in return for fair remuneration
  • To protect advertisers’ best interests for the long-term future
  • To encourage the widespread adoption of best practices
// What we've discovered and suggest


Given the complexities and the fast-evolving nature of the media and marketing ecosystem, having a contract in place that promotes transparency and drives optimum performance is a must-have.

The WFA & FirmDecisions Media Contract Best Practice guide serves as a reminder to clients of the importance of contracts and the areas where they need to pay particular attention. And it will enable the advertiser to tailor their Contracts to suit their own circumstances, based on the advice and explanations provided in this guidance.

There are ten principal areas connected with media agency contracts where advertisers should pay particular attention, wherever they operate. Focusing on these priority issues will ensure the structure and terms of the contract protect their best interests.

  • Ten key elements that need addressing in a media contract and
  • Provides the fuel to brief in-house or external legal teams on the essential specialist clauses media contracts must contain to ensure a watertight relationship is documented
  • Global and borderless application

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