When you’re planning to implement any marketing campaign, one of the most important aspects, especially if you’re running a multi-channel campaign is media planning. This is especially true in 2021, when we absolutely need to plan whatever we can put in the “planned” section in order to be able to cope with all the rest that the world throws at us.
If you get this right, you’re probably going to be very happy with the results, because getting it right is make or break.
In this article, we’ve going to guide you through 9 top tips for creating a perfect media plan. We’ve written this based on several years of experience running campaigns for ourselves and our clients as the marketing agency Switch – the sister company of BeeWits. In fact, if you want to save a lot of time learning how to do this, we’d suggest heading over to their site and getting in touch!
We’ve also created a bundle of 5 media plan templates ready for download.
- Download the media plan template bundle now
- Click here to Download Media Plan template bundle *
- What is Media Planning?
- Challenges of Media Planning
- Components of a Media Plan
- How to Create a Media Plan
- Media Planning vs Media Buying
- Using the Ideal Media Channels
- Essential Media Planning Tips
- Media Planning Tools
- Media Plan Templates
- 1. Various media planning templates
- 2. Marketing Plan Template
- 3. Buyer Persona Template
- 4. Marketing Plan
- 5. Tactical Marketing Plan
- 6. Monthly Marketing Budgeting Plan
- 7. Marketing Timeline Template
- 8. Sales and Marketing Plan
- 09. Digital Marketing Plan
- 10. Social Media Strategy Template
- 11. Social Media Proposal Template
- 12. Social Media Marketing Plan
- 13. Social Media Analytics Report
- 14. Social Media Report Template
- 15. Marketing Schedule
- 16. Blog Editorial Calendar
- 17. Editorial Calendar Template
- 18. Social Media Content Calendar
- 19. Influencer Marketing Strategy Template
- 20. Brand Pitch Template
- 21. Competitor Analysis Template
- Factors to Consider
- Supplementary Resources and Additional Reading
- Ad views/Impressions
- AFP (Advertiser Funded Programming)
- Ad Placements/Inventory
- Audience Definition
- Automatic Bidding/Programmatic Media Buying
- CTR (Click Through Rate)
- DSP (Demand Side Platform)
- KPI (Key Performance Indicator)
- Media Mix
- Media Type
- Media Vehicle
- PPC (pay per click) / CPC (cost per click)
- RFP (Request for Proposal)
- Real-Time Bidding (RTB)
- ROI (Return on Investment)
- SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
- Wrapping Up
Download the media plan template bundle now
If you want you can download the bundle of marketing and media plan templates (21 files, Excel, Word and PpowerPoint)
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What is Media Planning?
‘Media planning’ is the process used by marketers to determine where, when, and how they will publish their paid content and ads. They are usually looking to post in a way that maximises engagement and ROI. Behind successful marketing is a well-thought out strategy, which comes to fruition through a well executed media plan.
Media planning involves researching, identifying, analysing, comparing, planning, and working around any given client’s budget.
While some companies opt to keep things in-house, media planning can be outsourced to external bodies, such as a media agency, who usually have extensive experience and expertise in delivering ads to the right audiences across the most fitting platforms.
Media planning is also one of the four key disciplines within advertising, along with account management, brand planning, and developing creative.
Challenges of Media Planning
Anything that relies on the interaction of changing variables in order to be successful – such as media planning – will have its challenges. Media planning can involve multiple other challenges, such as:
1. Insufficient information
Successful media planning assumes that the planner is creating a strategy that’s based on their complete understanding of the target customer.
This entails that they will be able to create effective calls to action, that will influence the consumer to act as predicted, which will in turn help the business achieve its intended goals.
This level of precision requires in-depth knowledge of the consumer.
The media planner has to know :
- what types of messages best resonate with their audience,
- what their routine might be like, and
- when they will be more engaged with their messages,
- how they will react,
- and so on.
The level of in-depth analysis that is needed for this to be determined can cost a lot of time and money to collect and study, and is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
2. Staying updated with marketing trends
We’re constantly coming across new tools and methods that are meant to improve the way that marketers and businesses communicate their potential audience.
While this is very exciting, it’s also becoming a significantly time-sensitive challenge for media planners to stay on top of things and know about all the current trends and changes happening in the industry.
In this fast-paced media environment, missing some important news or updates could have significant impact on your campaigns.
3. Time pressures
Time is always a challenge to overcome.
Media planners are under constant pressure to identify the right timing for their ad placements, to calculate how much time a plan needs to give clients results, and to manage their client’s expectations while giving them the best advice and service.
For example, would it best to spend most of the budget in peak seasons, where competition is harder. Or is it best to conserve the budget for low-seasons periods where the message is much more likely to cut through the noise?
4. Measuring effectiveness and optimisation
The constant cycle of analysis, research, and optimisation processes has to be a constant one, and usually has to keep up with very high standards/client expectations.
Considering the growing number of tools that media planners have available to them to help them gather data, their suggestions must constantly be aligned with the information they find and with the client’s goals, and must always be worth their money.
While tools are great, it takes more than just tools to understand why goals are being reached (or not) and what corrective actions to take (if any).
One needs to have a broader understanding of the market to be able to gauge effectiveness and optimize accordingly.
5. Integrating results across various channels
Given that most consumers interact with multiple channels, advertisers need to keep up with campaigns across multiple channels, depending on how consumers use the specific platforms.
In gathering data from both online and offline channels, the challenge lies in measuring the success of each campaign, comparing results, and determining the way forward.
This data should identify which platform the audience prefers and is more engaged with, but this is not always possible, such as with offline media.
This is once again not a trivial endeavour. For example, one might think that offline ads are not effective, but one needs to correlate branded organic traffic (or lack thereof) to campaigns.
Such a deep understanding of the campaign is necessary to be able to attribute results to different channels accordingly. In an age of multiple devices and multiple possible points of contact, one needs to keep in mind the bigger picture.
At the same time, it’s important that key goals (such as conversions) are being achieved, rather than vanity metrics (such as impressions or website traffic).
6. Budget restrictions
A lot of media planning involves staying within a given budget, meaning that sometimes the planner will have to do more with less, and might have to focus on the budget restrictions rather than the actual audience engagement and performance.
In such a scenario, as an experienced marketer, one needs to figure out the cheapest, but most impactful campaigns. There are situations where one can be more liberal with the budgets and others were it’s important to be thrifty with media spend.
Components of a Media Plan
So what does a media plan actually include? Here are the essential components of creating an effective media plan:
1. Marketing Problem
Every media plan starts with a problem: the initial problem that the client observes in their operations, which they want to fix, such as not seeing any engagement from their audience on their social media accounts.
2. Marketing Objectives
This usually goes hand in hand with the marketing problem presented by the client. Basically, this is what the client wants to achieve, such as increasing sales or building brand awareness, which then becomes the marketing objective. Usually, these will already be measured goals, whose achievement is equally measurable.
3. Media Objectives
The media objectives are the specific, measurable goals that the client has, and the results they want to see achieved through the execution of the media plan. The objectives include the consideration of:
- Target Audience.
4. Media Strategies
These are the actual implementation ideas that will affect the client’s current state of business, in a way that helps them achieve their objectives.
The strategies outlined by the media planner take into consideration both the budget and the target audience, and will include a detailed plan of how to use the most appropriate media mix, geographic coverage, scheduling, reach & frequency, creative aspects, appeals to emotion, and flexibility.
How to Create a Media Plan
Every part of the media plan will lead to the next, meaning that each component is important and will determine how the rest of the plan will look like.
Building the actual plan is done in stages that each involve research and analysis to different extents, in order to determine and define the goals of each stage as accurately as possible.
1. Set Media Goals and Objectives
Before a plan of action can be developed, the first thing that goes into a media plan is the evaluation of a client’s main goals, which will be reached through the strategy presented by the media plan.
A lot of research goes into the first stages of creating a media plan, since the marketer has to analyse the client’s current situation, including the current environment surrounding them, in order to see how best to approach and fix their initial marketing problem.
When the surrounding media landscape has been analysed in detail, the client’s problem or goal can be put into context, and a more strategic and grounded solution can be determined in the form of quantifiable KPIs.
2. Research Target Audience
After the KPIs have been identified, the next phase of researching the media plan goes into the audience definition.
Most of the time, the messages that a business will be creating and publishing are – most of the time – not intended for everyone. Different audiences are receptive to different media types, media vehicles, and different messages, and this has to be accounted for when creating the media plan.
The target audiences also don’t exist in a vacuum. Each audience has specific tastes and preferences, different routines and lifestyles, and will therefore have different levels of affinity with different types of content and platforms.
This makes the audience research a vital part of creating a media plan; without it, a client’s messages are likely to be too general and too scattered for their results to be measured meaningfully.
After an ideal target audience is selected, i.e. the audience that will best help the company reach its goals, the media planner has to conduct a very thorough analysis of all their habits and media consumption tendencies, so that they can build the rest of the plan around this information.
3. Set the Timing and Frequency
It’s important to determine both the volume and the timing of the content that your audience will be exposed to, meaning how much content will show up for them, as well as its timing.
Certain mediums – such as newspapers – are said to require an ad to feature up to three times for it to be seen by the intended audience. With this example, choosing the timing of when a message would be choosing a month of the year or a week in particular in which to feature an ad.
It’s not the goal of the media planner to alienate the client’s intended audience, so the determination of the content frequency has to be thought out in a way to maximise ad views, without becoming too pervasive, and consequently, annoying.
There are a few different approaches that can be taken when deciding on the frequency of any particular message in a campaign:
- A continuity approach: Running an ad on a consistent fixed schedule to ensure constant exposure. This works best for products or services that might have a lot of competition due to them being generic products that need some extra help to stay top of mind.
- A flighting approach: Running ads intermittently, which can work reasonably well for seasonal products or services.
- Pulsing: A combination of both methods above. This type of frequency incorporates a more consistent stream of communication with a target audience when it is thought to be more effective to reach out to them, as well as lower-frequency messages during the rest of the time.
4. Determine your Reach
Many times, the reach of a campaign will be linked to the target audience that is selected.
If extensive and appropriate research was done, the size of the audience could have been roughly determined already, which would influence the reach that the media planner can specify within their plan, as a number that they can attain.
Determining the reach will determine the type of content that the campaign will feature in the future; it means that the content and message can either be really general, and broad enough to appeal to a mass audience, or a lot more niche and appealing to a more specific type of audience.
5. Conduct Market Research
This is usually done to gather more information about the target audience and the media landscape in which you’re launching your campaigns.
This also means looking out for competitors and what they’re doing in relation to what you hope to achieve through your campaign. For every problem your audience has, there’s likely to be a competitor that’s already offering them a solution, so in this stage, it’s crucial to determine what your client can offer them to provide a better alternative than what they already have.
Media Planning vs Media Buying
While the process of media planning and media buying are related, and often happen alongside one another, they are distinct and at the end of the day, they happen independently.
While the general idea of what media planning has already been covered, we can dive into the role of media planners further, to see what it is that they do differently from media buyers.
Media planning deals more with the aspect of strategy and media logistics. Marketers handing this have to develop a coordinated plan, where they try to optimize, and thus maximise the ROI, of a client’s budget – within limits – in order to reach the largest number of people.
This then improves the odds of seeing the results they want (which they would have established themselves as well).
Media planners also have to determine how often a message should be placed and how often it appears, in order to reach the right audience with the right message at the right time so they can generate the desired response.
In addition, they are also responsible for the continual monitoring, reviewing, and optimisation of the performance of an ad campaign throughout its entire lifecycle.
They must also constantly keep in mind what the content is, i.e. what the product or service they’re advertising actually is, who their ideal target audience is, and what the goals of the marketing campaign are.
In other words, they have to keep evaluating the effectiveness of ad campaigns according to the campaign goals, and making adjustments to their plan along the way in order to reach those goals.
Typically, media buying is the extension of the media strategy, taking it from an abstract idea into actions that can be measured, seen by the audience, and interacted with.
This is done through the purchasing of inventory across various channels and platforms in coordination with the media plan.
The role of media buyers differs from those of media planners, and as such, they are responsible for:
- Developing, establishing, and maintaining relationships with media vendors (publishers and channel owners). Despite the growing popularity of automations tools in the field of media buying to purchase ad inventory, this skill and the need to manage these relationships may still come in handy.
- Negotiating the buying of ad space after ads are primed for distribution and RFPs have been sent, and purchase the actual ad space at or below the price that the media plan demands.
- Monitoring ad performance and optimising it, evaluating platform formats, rates, and media trends, and reporting these findings so that the media plan can keep being updated accordingly.
Using the Ideal Media Channels
All the factors forming part of the media plan will determine what the best channel to communicate with your target audience is.
The media channels that will ultimately be chosen will be a reflection of the goals of the client, as well as the research and planning that was done in the previous stages.
So what channels are available to marketers, and where would it make more sense to use them?
The types of offline media that are available for media planners to use and include in their plan are still very powerful and comparable to digital variants.
For example, while most young people, especially the millennial generation may not watch much regular TV programming, you’ll find that the older generations, the use of TV is still pervasive.
A specific problem with offline channels is understanding the impact of such advertising. One needs to ensure that procedures are put in place such that one is able to measure the success of such campaigns.
For example, one needs to track an increase direct sales following an offline marketing campaign. An increase in branded organic searches might be another indication of the success of an offline marketing campaign, an increase in telephone or other forms of enquiry.
These are some of the indications of a successful offline campaign:
- Increased sales (direct / indirect)
- A change in volume in enquires (phone, direct) to partners / resellers / direct
- Increased website traffic, branded searches or product organic searches
- Better brand awareness as measured through surveys
- More leads, or better qualified leads
- An increase in conversion rate (people are more familiar with the brand)
Targeting people using ads in newspapers can be a straightforward process. This is because there’s usually a very specific demographic will still be reading newspapers in the first place, such as older people or consumers who have a higher level of education and potentially a higher salary.
Since newspapers are split into sections, marketers can choose which section they want to place their ad, which will make it easier to target people who have specific interests, such as sports, or entertainment.
In addition, most newspapers are local, despite their content being based on some international pieces of news.
This makes it easier to target local people and spread awareness of a brand among the local population, especially if the language of the newspaper is in the local language.
Magazines are a good medium for maximising offline reach: they’re not thrown away as quickly when compared to the rate at which online media is consumed, and they’re potentially passed on to other people over a longer period of time.
Consumers tend to keep them for two to four weeks after being read, or even longer, making it a very effective way of increasing your ad views over time.
Different types of magazines also have a different lifetime. For example, you’ll find that people who are looking to buy or redo a home will keep stacks of home improvements magazines. Same goes for many fashion magazines or other niche magazines, which will kept for a longer period of time as part of “collection” to get ideas from.
Even such stuff as men’s car or healthy / fitness magazines, might be kept for longer periods of time, because these might contain useful tips and articles which are evergreen in nature.
Magazines are another channel where targeting can be comparatively easy, since a lot of magazines cater for very specific interests, and the ads placed within them can match the actual content more seamlessly.
This makes consumers less resistant to these kinds of ads.
TV and Cable
Placing ads and advertiser funded programming on television can help you reach a very specific demographic of people who might not yet be subscribed to streaming services.
These ads have the opportunity to be very visual, and show the product or service that’s being presented to the consumer in a different light.
While these may be somewhat expensive in general, they are excellent choices for top of mind awareness. Used correctly, such as placements in a particular TV series, programmes, or specific time-slot can be very useful to reach a very particular niche of users.
It is very useful to reach out to management of TV stations to discuss their audiences so you can target accordingly.
Much like newspapers, radio ads can be a good low-cost way to appeal to a good portion of the local audience.
Research indicates that radio ads are more effective when paired with other forms of advertising, so make sure that this is not your only channel in your media plan.
This refers to any physical ads that consumers are exposed to outside of their own home, and includes but isn’t limited to billboards, road signs, bus shelters, transit advertising wraps (such as the ones seen on branded cars and buses), shop windows, and guerrilla advertising.
While this can be one of the costlier advertising options, especially if you choose a large billboard in a crowded area, the advantage is that the ad can get thousands of impressions a day.
In the digital age, online media tends to form a large part of a media plan’s outlined media mix.
It’s important to know that there are a lot of options from which to choose, and that a media planner doesn’t always need to stick to the most popular ones for them to achieve the results they want.
As opposed to offline channels, online channels are much easier to track. One needs to be sure not to fall into the trap of looking at vanity metrics to determine the success of a campaign.
Such factors which were discussed above for measuring the success of offline channels should also be monitored for online channels.
One of the most widely-used media channels is social media, given the highly targeted approach that marketers can take when including it in their advertising campaigns.
Since there’s also the possibility of tracking ad performance and results, the planner can make sure that all the planning, execution, and optimization of social media campaigns can stay on budget.
Plus, they can see whether their strategy is working as intended and modify it accordingly. This also means that, as a medium, it can be very cost-effective.
Another aspect to consider when integrating social media ads in a media plan is the fact that social media platforms are usually ones where brands can build a community among their customers and engage more personally with them.
Using social media combined with other channels can also be very effective.
Such concepts as conversion focused retargeting (offering a discount to users who have abandoned a cart on their social media platforms) can be very effective sales and marketing tools.
Programmatic advertising is another highly targeted method of advertising, which uses algorithms to find and target specific audiences across digital platforms, including (but not limited to) social media.
There are two methods to consider when putting together the media plan:
- Programmatic Bidding – which uses demand side platforms to buy ads on the digital market based on target audience.
- Real-Time Bidding – allows advertisers to bid on impressions to their target audience. If their bid wins, the ad is displayed right away.
There are various forms of PPC advertising. The most popular platform for PPC is Google Ads, though most platforms actually offer a PPC form of payment.
Google Ads PPC takes two primary forms:
- Search ads
- Display ads
Search ads are ads which appear on search engine result pages when a user in your target demographic runs a search for keywords you are targeting.
Display ads can be triggered in various forms, but in general, you target specific demographics or interests.
Both display and search Pay-per-click can be used to gauge the cost effectiveness and profitability of internet marketing. It has the advantage that it conveys information about how effective the advertising was, since it gives information about clicks, which are a way to measure attention and interest: if the main purpose of an ad is to generate a click and drive traffic to a specific destination, then pay-per-click is an ideal metric.
It is also important to note that Search PPC is some of the most competitive advertising you will encounter. Given the user intent which is attributed to search engine marketing, one can understand the competition.
As a user is actively searching, so they have a specific need, it is an ideal placement, because you can get a product or service to appear to a user who is looking for such a product and / or service.
Advertisers have understand the value of PPC and bid aggressively to a point where they take into consideration the lifetime value of a client, rather than the value of a single purchase, driving up significantly the costs of some keywords. Such competition typically makes it not feasible to advertisers with fairly small budgets.
On the other hand, done correctly, one is able to optimize the full user and buyer journey.
When a certain number of impressions are reached, the quality and the placement of the ad will affect click through rates and the resulting pay-per-click.
Between optimizing the actual ads themselves, the keywords targeted, the bidding strategies and the actual conversion process can result in campaigns which are very effective.
For this reason, it can be quite cost-effective when an ad in the campaign becomes very successful.
A lot of digital publications are very targeted, and some are even geared towards niche audiences, which is great news for advertisers who want a platform through which they can reach these specific audiences.
They can present advertisers with an opportunity to access their contact database by sending them an email or other personalised content.
Essential Media Planning Tips
- Start with questions: A media plan can be thought of as a solution to a problem, so you have to start with asking what the problem actually is in order to move forward and start working on its fixes. Always keep asking questions at each step of the way, since this helps you stay on track without losing sight of the goals of the media plan you’re creating.
- Establish clear goals: Without clear goals, there cannot be clear, measurable solutions, so establishing goals that can be formulated into one concise sentence is helpful for both the media planner and the client.
- Know your audience like a friend: When you know your friends better than anyone else, you’ll know what they like, how they like to be spoken to, and what they will feel engaged with. Your target audience should feel like a friend whom you know very well, to the point where you can grab their attention just as easily, more so than all the other people – your competition – around them.
- Know your voice/personality: Building a brand’s voice and personality is as much of an important part of creating ad campaigns as all the others. If a brand’s messages are going to look and sound the same as all the others, then they won’t be memorable, and will get lost on their way to the target audience.
- Map out the content journey: How will consumers arrive to your ad? What steps do they need to take to get there, and what state of mind should they ideally be in when they get there? It’s good to foresee these things and predict how they will craft an experience for the consumer.
Media Planning Tools
Having the right tools to help you create and execute a media plan can make all the difference, or at the very least, make the whole experience a more seamless one.
These tools are especially made for analyzing and understanding an audience’s media consumption, which is an essential part of media planning.
- Global Web index: This tool combines the world’s largest ongoing study on the digital consumer with powerful analytics, and serves as the leading provider of audience profiling data to the global marketing industry.
- comScore: An online resource for planning, and evaluating media usage and ad spend across platforms and countries.
Content Planning Tools
It’s crucial to have a tool that can streamline all your campaigns, and has the ability to give you insights into your activity.
- Buffer: A web and mobile app designed to manage accounts on social networks, by providing the user with the means to schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin, as well as analyze their results and engage with their community.
- Hootsuite: A leading social media dashboard tool from which users can manage multiple social networks and profiles and measure their results.
Media Plan Templates
Now that you understand all the theory behind media planning, it’s time to execute. To help you get started we’ve created a bundle of media plans templates, so you can organize your campaigns accordingly.
We’ve curated these from a number of free resources available publicly, including Hootsuite. You can see which ones apply to your situation and use accordingly.
Below is a listing of all the templates available in the download.
1. Various media planning templates
Our first template is sectioned into a number of different sheets, including and editorial calendar, a PR Media plan, a Social Media plan, advert and events media plans.
2. Marketing Plan Template
This is a template of a full-blown marketing plan where you can add all sections to create a document with all the information and concepts we discussed here.
3. Buyer Persona Template
Given that an important part of your planning involves defining your target or ideal buyer persona, this document helps you define all the relevant information (problem/solution) using the product(s) or services you’ll be pitching.
4. Marketing Plan
This is another neat marketing plan based on Excel, which also includes costings and reporting built-into the actual excel sheet.
5. Tactical Marketing Plan
While the above is quite specific, this is a broader overview which can be used when setting a tactical marketing strategy.
6. Monthly Marketing Budgeting Plan
If you planning will be on a monthly basis, this Excel sheet helps to give a month-by-month breakdown of the budget spends along the year, with totals.
7. Marketing Timeline Template
This is a relatively broad overview of expected phases in a marketing timeline and their duration.
8. Sales and Marketing Plan
This is also a somewhat broad sales and marketing plan, which can be used as an overview of what activities are planned for the near future.
09. Digital Marketing Plan
As we mentioned several times in the article, digital marketing may feature strongly in your media, so this is a full digital marketing plan template to cater for all of the digital aspects, broken down, month by month.
10. Social Media Strategy Template
Given that as part of your plan you’ll probably be defining a social media strategy, this template will help you put it all in place.
11. Social Media Proposal Template
This is a proposal you can use to send to your client with what you are planning to do as part of the campaign.
12. Social Media Marketing Plan
Once your proposal has been accepted, it’s time to action the social media marketing plan, which you can build using this template.
13. Social Media Analytics Report
Once you’ve run your campaign, you’ll need to present a report on the outcomes, you can use this template for this based on a multi-sheet Excel file…
14. Social Media Report Template
…or this one. This is uses Powerpoint slide deck.
15. Marketing Schedule
Once you’ve put the plan together, you’ll need to schedule the different tasks to the different owners, and this Excel sheet will allow you to do just that.
16. Blog Editorial Calendar
As with most campaigns, content marketing will probably be one of the branches of the plan, you can use the attached template to plan the editorial calendar of the blog.
17. Editorial Calendar Template
This is another version of the Editorial calendar template, in a different style, also as an excel sheet.
18. Social Media Content Calendar
Once again, as part of the campaign, you’ll probably have a number of social media posts, the attached social media content calendar template can help you plan them out.
19. Influencer Marketing Strategy Template
If you’re planning to have Influencer marketing as part of your strategy you can use this template to ensure the objectives of the actual campaign and how the marketing goals are going to be addressed.
20. Brand Pitch Template
Reaching out to influencers requires you to make a good introduction, explain who you are and what you plan to achieve when working with them. The attached brand pitch template is a good start.
21. Competitor Analysis Template
Given that understanding your competitors is a critical part of your media and marketing planning, you can use these detailed competitor analysis template to understand what you will be up against. The template is very well-presented such that you can see all the relevant information at a glance.
Factors to Consider
Competition – This isn’t about copying what your competitors are doing, since that’s a surefire way of being flagged as unoriginal, or getting buried under their own media and ads.
However, it’s always good to keep in mind what others are doing, and how well they’re doing it, so that you can be inspired as to what to do, what not to do, and how to do things better.
Time – How much time can realistically be allocated to setting up and monitoring the campaign? On top of this, what is the actual campaign’s timeline? In a fast-moving media landscape, time comes at a premium, which must be taken into careful consideration.
Supplementary Resources and Additional Reading
- Beginner’s Guide to Media Planning – a summary of the things you need to keep in mind when doing media planning
- How to Grow and Distribute your Brand’s Social Media Content – the Gary V content model, 86 slides of the mindset when creating a content strategy in this day and age
Before we close our guide, it’s useful to be familiar with some of the terminology, acronyms and other jargon when planning your media buys and campaigns.
They are presented here sorted in alphabetic order, so that you can bookmark the page, then use our table of contents above to quickly reference some of the terms.
The number of times a banner or ad is exposed to a contact. The ad views of a particular ad are determined by the number of times that particular ad is loaded.
How well a medium matches with a specific audience, and how important it is in their lives.
AFP (Advertiser Funded Programming)
Another term for branded content, that denotes an existing relationship between a television channel and an advertiser where the advertiser places content (adverts) within content. Such stuff as product placements, content specifically around or using a product, named sponsorships, even whole shows created from scratch with the advertiser. This is advertising which is built-right into the content, as opposed to content which can be “skipped”.
The space that’s available to advertisers on the various mediums that are available, whether physical or digital.
A separation of the general public into your target audience or target personas you want to reach with your marketing.
Automatic Bidding/Programmatic Media Buying
Digitally buying and selling ad space, and ad performance optimisation turned into an automatic process based on algorithms. Most times this takes places in real-time such that the both the buyer and the seller get the best deals, based on the current competition. With such automatic bidding, buyers will never go above the amount they are willing to pay, while sellers get the highest price based on the available competition for that specific placement.
CTR (Click Through Rate)
The number of clicks on your ad divided by the number of times the ad is shown. Often used to measure the success of an online ad for a website, and frequently also for the effectiveness of email campaigns. The higher the CTR, the more effective the campaign.
DSP (Demand Side Platform)
A system that allows buyers of digital advertising inventory to manage multiple ad and data exchange accounts through one interface. Real-time bidding for online ads happens within the ad exchanges, and through a DSP, marketers can manage their bids to target their audience.
The number of times that a member of your target audience will be exposed to your ad throughout the campaign’s lifetime. In general, one needs to keep frequency to a reasonable limit, because otherwise Ad fatigue will set in, where the ad starts to get pervasive and annoying (losing all its effectiveness).
KPI (Key Performance Indicator)
A quantifiable, measurable value that indicates how effectively a company’s key business or media goals are being achieved. KPIs can be set on multiple levels and across multiple departments. KPIs are decided before a campaign starts and then measured throughout the campaign.
The various advertising channels available to marketers through which they can communicate with their audience. The media mix also outlines the amount of money allocated to each channel in relation to all the others that are used within the media plan. Many times, this will depend on the target audience, since different demographics engage with different channels in their own unique ways.
The groups of channels through which a message will be published or broadcast, such as radio, television, or online display ads. This also includes whether the form of the ad such as text, images, videos etc.
A subtype of media type, a media vehicle is a much more specific channel, such as a particular TV channel, or a particular social media platform like Facebook or Instagram.
PPC (pay per click) / CPC (cost per click)
An advertising model used to drive traffic to websites, where an advertiser pays a publisher only when the ad is clicked. Rather than get traffic organically, in a way, this is a method of buying site visits. Pay-per-click is generally associated with first-tier search engines such as Google Ads.
The amount of people that have the potential to be exposed to an ad campaign at least once within a specific timeframe, which is usually the whole duration of the campaign. This is not the same as the actual exposure, consumption, and engagement with the message.
RFP (Request for Proposal)
A formal invitation to potential vendors to submit business proposals that meet certain specific business requirements and purchasing criteria. The RFP presents the preliminary requirements for the commodity or service, and may specifically ask for the exact structure and format of the vendor’s response. Effective RFPs typically reflect the strategy and short or long-term business objectives, providing detailed insight that suppliers will be able to use to offer a matching perspective.This is generally used when the request requires technical expertise or specialization, or where the product or service in question does not yet exist, and where the proposal would require research and development to create whatever’s being requested.
Real-Time Bidding (RTB)
Also referred to as Non-Guaranteed Inventory, this is a method in which marketers can buy digital media in real time through an auction process. In turn, media vendors can sell ad views through an ad exchange platform, where each impression is sold in real-time as it becomes available. Likewise, advertisers can change their bid according to the changing market conditions and how it makes sense for them. This method is ideal for businesses and advertisers that have a smaller budget to work with.
ROI (Return on Investment)
ROI is a performance measure that’s used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment, or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. It also tries to directly measure the amount of return on a particular investment, relative to the investment’s cost. Within the framework of media buying, this refers to the amount of money generated after making an investment in the selected media for any ad campaign that’s run with the intention of ultimately increasing an organisation’s profit margin.
SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
Search engine marketing is the process of advertising on search engine result pages, such as on Google’s results. The nature of SEM makes it both very effective and very competitive.
The continuous examination of an ad campaign’s performance over time.
As you can see there is quite a lot of stuff to keep in mind when doing media planning. The important thing to understand is that, this is not an isolated phase, but is one of the spokes in the wheel of executing a succesful marketing campaign. With the help of the templates we’ve put together, you should be well on your way to achieving your marketing and campaign goals!
Let us know if you have any questions and we’d be glad to answer them below.