What is Media Planning and Buying?

Everyone needs a little boost of marketing every once in a while. You probably already know about Google, Bing, and the social media digital channels, but do you know  the full breadth of media that is out there to buy?

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What is media planning?

Media planning is the process of outlining the media channels necessary for an effective advertising campaign. To start, it’s important to know your target audience, like to really know your target audience.

Find Your Target Audience

The more you know about your audience the better you’ll be able to predict the type of media channels you should place your advertisements on. Through research, you will not only find the demographics and psychographics that define your audience, but you will also uncover the type of mediums they are visiting to consume media.  

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“What makes 46Mile media planning and buying stand out is the level of deep audience research that precedes it. By using our advertiser's own customer data, we are able to build audience segments and dive into who, what and where our advertiser's primary customers are. Informed with deep demographic and psychographic data, there is little room for waste as our media planning approach will ensure we line up the right media vehicles and messaging.” 

Christina Yu, vice president of media strategy, at 46Mile

46Mile works with clients on research projects, where we are able to use our unparalleled access to advertising technology and databases so we can develop in-depth information about their audience, channel consumption, competitor analysis, or market research. 46Mile is able to provide rich data that goes beyond other regional agencies our size because of our partnership with Hearst Corporation. Being backed by Hearst allows us access to tools such as:

• PRIZM Premier 

• Scarborough 

• LexisNexis 

• IPSOS

• Qualtrics

Another important aspect of research for you to consider when creating a media and buying plan is what your competitors are doing. 

Research Your Competition

Checking out your competition is a great strategy to help your media planning. Things to investigate are where your competitors are advertising, the messaging they are using, and the customer journey they have created. These few data points will help you get a feel for your competition’s media buying strategy.

It's never a bad idea to take the time to learn about and from your rivals. Save yourself and your company some time and money. 

How do I Create a Media Plan?

Now that you've done the research and uncovered the right channels, it's time to put all the pieces together. This is where you can start selecting the advertising vehicles that will make the most sense to include in your strategy.

When first thinking about your channel selection, try not to consider your budget. Take a look at the channels and find out which ones will perform the best for your business. Later you can go back and do budget allocations, or narrow down your list to provide a healthy budget to a few high performing channels.

Consider the research, if your audience is primarily on traditional mediums, it will behove you to start there and then see if or how you can integrate digital mediums into your plan. By creating an integrated media approach, you are increasing the probably that your audience will notice your ad - and just getting noticed is half of the battle these days. 

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Important Criteria to Look at When Considering Media Channels

Reach is one of the most important factors to consider. Reach is the number of people (or homes) you want to expose your business to use a specific channel during a certain time frame.

Frequency is the average amount of time individuals in your target audience should see your advertisement on a specific channel. It takes the minimum 3 times of exposure to an ad for a consumer to take action.

Cost-per-thousand (CPM) is the cost to reach a thousand of your company’s potential customers. To find out a publications CPM divides the cost of advertising by the publication’s circulation in thousand.

Selectivity measures how well a media outlet will reach the prospective customer. For example, a newspaper ad for a Tesla, what percent of those people who see the ad is in your target market and likely to buy? If you have a product or service that is for a specific audience looking at a channel’s selectivity will help you determine whether you should be placing ads on that channel. If this number is not high enough, it might mean that channel is the right place for your business to advertise.

Impact is the amount of senses a media outlet is considered to reach. For example, a magazine would be sight and maybe smell if you consider perfume inserts. On the other hand, the radio would be sound, and TV would have both sight and sound. Consider what senses will have the largest influence on your audience's purchase decision.

One of the most important pieces to your media plan is the schematic. A schematic lays out where your business is placing its ads, at what time, and how much it costs. Your plan has creates the strategy behind your channel placements and selections, whereas the media schematic creates the tactical outline. However, remember that your media schematic should be flexible and change if need be. 46Mile believes that having a good media schematic is the ultimate outcome of your media plan because this outlines the buying process and puts your strategy into an actionable plan.

Select Your Media Mix and Get Media Kits

Next, it's time to reach out to different vendors for each channel and ask to see their media kits. The media kits lay out all of the offerings and types of advertisements that are available for that particular vendor.

Take a look at the media kits that your vendors have provided you and start deciding which placements and vendors are right for your business. Some criteria for making your decision should be based on if they will reach your target audience and does it align with your budget.

Finalize Schematics

This is the point where all factors have been considered, and you can outline a tactical plan that best fits your objectives.

Placing and Negotiating costs and Added Value Placements

Now, it’s time to negotiate. Media buyers are excellent negotiators. The price listed by vendors is more flexible than you think. If you are paying the market price this is a sign you didn’t get the best deal. You can negotiate for traditional media placements, however, display channels you set your bids. A savvy display expert will strategically set their bids in order to pay the right price.

In addition, especially traditional media, experts know to ask for added value placements. Added value placements are free ad spots. By purchasing a certain amount in media, you should get additional bonus ads.

Media Trafficking and Sending Ad Units Out to Vendors

Once you have purchased your media placements, you need to deliver your creative assets to the vendors. This process is called ad trafficking. It can be defined as the process of technically setting-up an ad campaign and providing publishers with the necessary materials.

This is where you need to be meticulous. It’s important that your ad collateral meets the right sizing and file parameters. If you submit an incorrect file size this could mean your ad won’t run. In addition, this is the time that you can set up your ad tracking like Urchin Tracking Modules (UTMs) and add any tags. Steps that are included but not limited to ad trafficking are:

• Campaign name 

• Campaign dates

• Media Purchase Authorization (MPA)

• Landing page

• Unique URLs
 

• Publisher contacts

• Blocking chart

Once, you’ve done this stage properly, your ads are ready to be placed and paced based on your specifications.

Ensure Media Delivery

Make sure to check your proposals as well as that the placements you specifically asked for were launched or aired on the right placements.

When it comes to ensuring media delivery, it differs based on traditional and digital channels. For example, digital advertising will provide you real-time data. On the other hand, traditional avenues will require you to get a report from your vendor. Once the advertisement has launched later you can get information from a third-party data like Nielsen numbers.

Measure, Optimize, and Report Campaign Success

As your media plan is running, you don’t want to set it and forget it. Make sure to check on its health. Things, like refreshing your creative collateral or changing the copy, can help your campaign see more results. The frequency that you check on your campaign depends on how long you plan to have your media running, as well as how long it takes to gain traction on the specific channels. However, here at 46Mile, our media professionals provide a daily involvement in their client campaigns.

When it comes to your business’ campaign, you also need to be tracking and measuring your success. Every campaign will have different objects and key performance indicators (KPIs). Look at your campaign and see if it’s hitting the KPIs you created and if it’s on track to hit the overall campaign objective. By paying close attention to your campaign, you’ll be able to make smart course corrections that will best utilize your media budget.

For example, you could see a poor performing channel and decide that after a certain amount of time you’ll shift your media schematic and try a new medium or put more money into a high-performing channel.

In addition, don’t be afraid to test vendors. Let’s say you have two vendors to radio. Buy from both of them and see which advertisement did best. Then pick the best performing vendor. This is a great way to try out different media vendors and find the best ones for your business.

Analyze Your Results

At the end of any marketing campaign, whether it be media planning and buying or creating a marketing strategy, the best way to end your project is to analyze your results. Looking back and at your metrics, can help you understand if you were able to achieve your main goal.

In addition, while you’re analyzing your results take the time to create a report about the campaign. Marketers who document process are 466% more likely to report success than those who don’t.

Go back to your campaign’s original goals and look at the criteria you used to pick your channels. How well your advertisement performed based on your criteria, will help you analyze your campaign results.

How 46Mile Can Help

Doing all of your media planning and buying yourself is a hard task if you’re not an expert. In fact, that’s why a lot of other businesses decide to work with an agency to help strategize, plan, and place their advertisements. 

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By Nina Foo | March 21, 2018 |

Media Planning and Buying

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