How To Champion Data-Driven Digital Media Planning
The current competitive digital landscape requires businesses to understand how to use media to create a campaign that will reach their target audience. Digital media planning is strategically selecting and utilizing various digital channels to achieve desired marketing or advertising objectives.
With 4.62 billion people using social media, it makes sense for businesses to level up their media planning game to boost engagement, improve conversions, and enhance brand awareness. Together, these factors help a brand grow and generate more revenue.
However, it can be tough to keep up with the ever-changing trends and best practices for digital media planning. Luckily, this guide will help you get started on the right foot and leverage strategic media planning to boost revenues and brand awareness. You can use the table of contents to navigate the different sections if you want to skip ahead.
What Is Advertising Media Planning?
Advertising media planning is allocating advertising resources to achieve communication objectives. While media planning often focuses on targeting consumers most receptive to an advertising message, it also involves choosing which mix of channels will reach the target most effectively.
Various factors come into play when creating an advertising campaign, such as the target audience, the budget, and the campaign’s overall goal. All of these factors must be considered when planning the advertising strategy.
Media planning for advertising is a complex process, and many different methods can be used to achieve communication objectives. The most common approach is to use a mix of mass media channels, such as television, radio, print, and digital.
Another common approach is to use a mix of paid and earned media, such as paid search, social media, and public relations. When planning an advertising campaign, the most important thing to remember is to focus on the target audience.
Everything else should be secondary to this goal. An advertising campaign can be truly successful by understanding the target audience and what they want to see.
How does media planning relate to media buying?
Media planning precedes media buying as it lays the groundwork for the practical side of advertising and marketing. Media buying means purchasing ad placements on websites, newspapers, or TV and radio programs.
Advertisers use media buying to reach their target audience with ads placed where those audiences consume news and entertainment.
When it comes to digital advertising, media buying is the process of purchasing ad space on websites, apps, or other online channels. Digital media buyers typically use programmatic ad buying, a form of real-time bidding, to purchase ad space.
In programmatic ad buying, advertisers specify the demographics and interests of their target audience, and then an automated system selects which ad inventory to purchase based on that information.
What Is a Media Plan?
A media plan is a strategy that outlines how and when you will execute your marketing communications. It includes what you’ll say (your message), who you’ll say it to (your audience), and which channels you’ll use to reach them (your tactics).
Your media plan should align with your business goals and objectives and be tailored to your unique target audience. It should also take into account your budget, your brand guidelines, and any other relevant factors.
Your media plan should answer the following questions:
- What are you trying to achieve?
- Who is your target audience?
- What channels will you use to reach them?
- What message will you communicate?
What is a media planner? Who creates the media plan?
A media planner or a brand strategist is responsible for creating the media plan. The media planner works with the client to determine the campaign’s target audience, objectives, and desired outcomes.
They also work with the creative team to develop messaging and select the placement of ads. The media planner ensures that the campaign reaches the target audience and achieves the desired results.
The primary responsibilities of a media planner include:
- Analyzing data and using it to develop strategies
- Researching and selecting media outlets
- Negotiating ad rates
- Creating schedules and ad placement
- Monitoring the campaign to ensure it’s on track
- Evaluating the results of the campaign
Since media planners are closely associated with the marketing and advertising world, they must have specific skills.
- Marketing knowledge: A media planner should know the marketing basics to create an effective media plan. It includes understanding marketing principles, market research, and product placement.
- Media knowledge: They must be familiar with various media types, such as television, radio, print, and digital. They should also understand which type of media appeals to the brand’s target audience.
- Social skills: Media planning entails working with people from different departments, so social skills are essential. A media planner should be able to communicate effectively and build relationships with co-workers.
- Creativity: A media planner needs to be creative to develop strategies that will capture the target audience’s attention.
Components of a media planning strategy
A brand’s media plan must capture the advertisement campaign’s goals. Alternatively, if the brand has another direction for its media placements, the media planner still needs to understand why.
The brand’s message must be consistent throughout all media placements for the target audience to receive it loud and clear. There are countless moving parts to a media plan, but here are some main components that every successful media plan contains.
First and foremost, it’s essential to understand who the target audience is. You can do this through consumer research, surveys, and focus groups.
Once the target audience is understood, a media planner can determine which channels will reach them most effectively. Here’s what you should know about your audience:
- Demographic: Which age group, gender, income bracket, etc., does the target audience belong to?
- Psychographic: What are the target audience’s values, lifestyles, and interests?
- Geographic: Where does the target audience live?
Answering these questions will help you ensure you create a media plan that aligns with your audience’s interests, lifestyle, and location.
The next step is to set media objectives. These are quantitative (measurable) goals the brand would like to achieve with its media placements.
Some common media objectives include:
- Reach: How many people do you want to reach with your message? For instance, you might want to reach 80% of your target audience.
- Frequency: How often do you want your target audience to see your ad? It’s important not to bombard your audience with excessive advertisement as it can push them away from your brand.
- Impressions: Impressions refer to the number of times your ad is seen, regardless of whether someone clicks on it.
Coordinated tactics and channels
Using the right communication channels is paramount in advertising media planning. For instance, if most of your audience is millennials and GenZ, you should use social media channels to reach them.
However, if your brand caters to older audiences, you might want to use channels like TV or radio.
Besides using well-aligned channels, it’s also essential to coordinate your tactics. Your ad placements should complement each other and work together to deliver a cohesive message to your audience.
Suppose you’re running a print ad campaign. In that case, you might consider running a social media ad campaign with similar messaging and visuals. As a result, your target audience will see your message multiple times across different channels and be more likely to remember it.
A media mix is the combination of communication channels you’ll use to reach your target audience.
While there are many channels to choose from, it’s essential to use the ones that will reach your target audience most effectively. The key is to find a balance between using too many channels (which can be overwhelming for your audience) and not enough (which can limit your reach).
The most common media mix components include:
- Paid media: It is an advertisement you pay for, such as TV ads, radio ads, and print ads.
- Owned media: Owned media includes any channel you own and control, such as your website and social media channels.
- Earned media: Depending on your business, you can also rely on earned media, which is publicity you didn’t pay for. For example, if your business is featured in a magazine article, that would be considered earned media.
Campaign and budget timetables
Every approach in a well-made media planning strategy is calculated and predetermined. That’s why it’s important to set a campaign and budget timetable. It will help you map out when each ad should run and how much you’re willing to spend on each placement.
Remember that your schedule will likely change as you gather more data about what’s working and what’s not. Still, a general plan will help keep things in order and prevent excessive spending.
Setting criteria for measuring the success of your campaign is essential. It will help you track whether or not your media placements are achieving the desired results.
Some common measurement criteria include:
- Sales: Did your campaign generate more sales?
- Website traffic: Did your campaign drive more traffic to your website?
- Engagement: Did the media help bring in more engagement?
- Conversions: Did you see an increase in conversions due to the campaign?
Don’t make the mistake of only checking on your campaign’s performance after it’s over. Set aside time during the campaign to track its progress and make changes if necessary. It will help you get the most out of your media budget and avoid wasting money on placements that aren’t working.
Benefits of Media Planning
Media planning is a must-do for every business since it is the most critical aspect of advertising. There are numerous benefits of effective media planning, some of which are listed below:
A better understanding of the target audience
Going through an extensive media planning process allows you to connect with your target audience on a much deeper level. This understanding is crucial to producing ad campaigns that truly resonate with them.
Suppose you’re curating a campaign for a new watch brand. By studying your target audience’s media consumption habits, you would know they’re exposed to digital content primarily through their mobile phones. You can then create short video ads specifically for social media platforms.
Increased effectiveness of ad campaigns
When you know which channels your target audience consumes the most, you can better determine where to allocate your ad spend for maximum impact.
If you are targeting working professionals aged 30 to 50, you would know that they are mostly reached through mobile phones and digital platforms during their commute to and from work. Therefore, you can create bite-sized content that can be easily consumed during this time.
It ultimately leads to more effective ad campaigns and a higher return on investment. Media planning also lets you track the effectiveness of your ad campaigns by monitoring key performance indicators such as reach, impressions, and click-through rates. It will help you make necessary adjustments to improve your campaigns over time.
When done correctly, media planning can result in increased ROI for your business. You can avoid overspending or underperforming by taking the time to map out your advertising strategy and allocate your budget accordingly.
It also helps improve your brand’s reputation and awareness. You will slowly build trust when you consistently deliver quality content to your target audience through the right channels.
As a result, they’ll likely purchase your product or service, leading to higher revenue generation.
Alignment with current technology and trends
If your competitors use a specific technology or platform to reach their target audience, you’ll need to do the same to stay competitive.
For example, if they’re using programmatic advertising to deliver targeted ads based on customer data, you should jump on the bandwagon too. Media planning keeps you updated on the latest technology and trends so that you can always remain relevant in your industry.
Types of media plans
A media plan can include all aspects of a media campaign, such as TV, radio, print, online and direct mail. The plan will vary depending on the marketed product or service and target audience.
However, if you want to assign individual teams to different media segments, you can categorize media pans into the following types:
Social media plan
Social media sites are all the rage these days, and for a good reason. They provide a way to connect with friends, family, and colleagues. Plus, people use them to stay up-to-date on current news and events.
But people are not only using social media to stay connected to their friends or get the best meme content. They also follow their favorite brands. In fact, 86% of social media users follow a brand.
Your business’s social media plan should include which social networks you will use, how often you will post updates, what kind of content you will share and who will be responsible for sharing this content. Here are a few things to consider:
- Content timetable: All social media sites have different ”prime” times when users are most active. Make sure to post during these times for optimal engagement.
- Type of content: What kind of content will you share? Will it be blog posts, infographics, images, or videos? You can decide this based on your target audience. If you’re unsure, it’s best to experiment with different media and see which ones garner the most response from your followers.
- Frequency: While people like following their favorite brands on social media, they’re not exactly thrilled about the idea of being bombarded with too many updates. Make sure to strike a balance between posting too little and too much. A good rule of thumb is posting 1-2 times daily on each social network.
- Assigning responsibility: Decide who will manage your social media accounts. It can be someone from your marketing team or even an outside agency.
Blogging media plan
It’s unfortunate that many companies are sleeping on the idea of using blogs for marketing and advertising. Thirty-seven percent of marketers believe blogs to be the most valuable form of content marketing.
A blogging media plan encompasses everything from target market, to blog topics, to a content calendar. It’s important to be clear about your goals for blogging before you start because that will inform everything else about your strategy.
Businesses can have the following types of blogs:
- Educational: If you want to establish yourself as an authority in your niche, you’ll want to focus on creating educational content. It could be in the form of how-tos, guides, or even just answering common questions related to your industry.
- Entertaining: If your goal is to build a relationship with your audience and engage them with your brand, focus on creating entertaining content. You can create listicles, quizzes, or even lighthearted articles about your industry.
- Newsjacking: It includes piggybacking off current events to drive traffic to your blog. For example, if you’re a jewelry store and there’s a big event like the Academy Awards coming up, you could write a blog post about celebrity-inspired jewelry trends.
- Product/Service promotion: If you want to sell a product or service, your blog posts should focus on promoting that product or service. You can do this through reviews, tutorials, or even just general information about the benefits of using your product or service.
PR media plan
A PR media plan is a tool used by public relations practitioners to map out and track the progress of their PR campaigns. It helps identify key media outlets, target audiences, objectives, messaging, and timings for activities.
The main components of a PR media plan are:
- Media outlets: The media outlets section of a PR media plan lists the specific news outlets, bloggers, reporters, etc., you will be targeting with your PR campaign.
- Target audiences: The target audiences are the groups of people you want to reach with your campaign messages.
- Objectives: When curating your goals for a PR media plan, be as specific as possible. SMART objectives are key here. These objectives are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
- Timing: Releasing the right content at the right time is crucial for a successful PR campaign. The media planner will map out when to release certain content to specific media outlets.
- Messaging: This section should answer the question, “What do we want people to say about us?” The messaging should align with the overall objectives of the campaign.
Aspects of an Effective Media Planning Strategy
Strategic media planning has three pillars: reach, audience, and purpose. Media planners must use a culmination of all three to ensure that their advertising is effective. Here’s a look at each one:
Reach and frequency are connected. The reach of advertising is the number or percent of people exposed to the ad at least once, and frequency is how many times they’ve seen it.
Reach can be thought of as the number of “touches” an ad gets, while frequency would be the number of times it’s “seen.” When devising a media plan, reach is one of the primary considerations. The more people see the ad, the more likely it is to generate awareness and interest.
The next consideration is the audience. An advertising campaign may have a broad reach but doesn’t resonate with its intended target audience. There needs to be a connection between the product/service advertised and the people who will see the ad.
For example, a company that sells senior citizen life insurance would not want to place ads on a hip-hop music station. There’s no connection between the product and the audience.
The same can be said for an ad targeting millennials that appears only in print media. While the ad may have a broad reach, it won’t connect with its intended target audience.
The last pillar is purpose. What is the goal of the advertising campaign? Is it to generate awareness, interest, or sales? The answer to this question will dictate the media strategy.
For example, if the goal is to generate awareness, a media plan with a broad reach would be most effective. A more targeted approach would be necessary if the goal is interest or sales.
A well-planned and well-timed piece of media content can do much for the brand. For instance, it can:
- Increase brand awareness and loyalty: It shows your audience that you’re still relevant and active. If new potential customers see it, they will learn about your brand’s ideology and voice through your media content.
- Engage your audience: A good piece of content will make people want to engage with it by sharing, commenting, or even just reading it.
- Thought leadership: Media content can often show off your company’s thought leadership. It is handy for B2B companies that have to establish themselves as experts in their field.
- Generate leads and sales: It is the ultimate goal of most marketing campaigns, and media content can be a great tool to achieve it. You can get people interested in your product or service by providing valuable information or entertainment.
Strategic Digital Media Planning To Improve Your Marketing Efforts
Businesses must understand how to plan for and execute a digital media strategy that successfully achieves their desired marketing objectives. The process of media planning often begins with analyzing audience data and identifying target markets, followed by defining the most effective message, channel, and placement for that target market.
With the rise of digital media, there are now more opportunities than ever. A PricewaterhouseCoopers report showed that online media spending is now larger than newspaper, magazine, radio, and TV spending. Therefore, businesses must have a plan for how they’re going to reach their target markets online. Here are some digital media planning strategies that can help:
Stick to a voice
Your brand’s voice is one of the most critical aspects of your overall marketing strategy. It should be consistent across all your channels, including social media, email, and website.
When creating content, make sure it aligns with your brand’s voice. If you’re not sure what your brand’s voice is, take some time to brainstorm with your team. Then, once you have a voice in mind, stick to it.
For example, your voice might be formal and sophisticated if you’re a luxury brand. If you’re a more casual brand, your voice might be friendly and down-to-earth. No matter what your voice is, make sure it remains consistent in all of your content.
Have an ”emergency fund” in your budget
Every media planning strategy should have an emergency fund to account for any unexpected costs that may come up. It could include anything from last-minute ad placement to additional research costs.
Be sure to set aside at least 10% of your overall budget for your emergency fund. It will help you avoid going over budget if something unexpected comes up. You could come across a more efficient media planning software that would increase your expenditure, and you may also have to buy analytics tools to get insights into your target audience.
Plan for both short-term and long-term goals
When creating your media plan, include both short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals are objectives you want to achieve in the next few months.
For a retail business, these could include increasing brand awareness or generating more foot traffic to your store. Meanwhile, long-term goals are the objectives you want to achieve over the next year or two. Some examples of long-term goals for a retail business could include building loyalty among customers or increasing sales by a certain percentage.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
Digital media is constantly changing, which means there are always new opportunities for businesses to reach their target audiences. If you’re unsure where to start, experiment with different channels and see what works best for your business.
You can also use A/B testing to try out different versions of your content and see which one performs the best. It is a great way to fine-tune your digital media strategy and ensure you use the most effective methods to reach your target market.
In A/B testing, you create two versions of your content and then test them out with a small group of people to see which one is more effective, like making two different ads and seeing which one gets more clicks.
Data is essential for understanding how your digital media strategy is performing. Without data, you won’t be able to track your progress or determine which methods are working best.
Most importantly, you need data to collect information about your audience. While surveys, questionnaires, and focus groups can be helpful, they only give you a limited amount of information. You can get more detailed data using analytic media planning tools, like a web scraper and proxies
How To Use Proxies and Web Scraping in the Media Planning Process
Web scraping is the process of extracting data from websites. It can collect contact information, social media posts, or any other publicly available data on a website.
Proxies can be used to access websites anonymously and collect data without being detected. There are many uses for web scraping and proxies in media planning. Here are some examples:
Gathering consumer sentiment
Consumer sentiment is how people feel about a product, service, or brand. It can be positive, negative, or neutral.Social media is full of consumer sentiment since people share their opinions and feedback about everything in their posts and comments.
Web scraping can collect this data for media planning purposes. For example, a brand can use web scraping to gauge consumer sentiment and determine whether its messaging resonates with the target audience.
Monitoring competitor activity
Competitor activity can be monitored in many ways, but web scraping can be particularly effective. By scraping a competitor’s website, you can collect data about their product offerings, pricing, and promotions.
You can also see your competitors’ marketing and advertising efforts. Then, you can use this information to adjust your media plan accordingly.
Tracking industry trends
Industry trends keep changing, and manually tracking industry trends is time-consuming and impractical. However, web scraping can help you track industry trends automatically.
For example, you can set up a scraper to collect data about the most popular keywords in your industry. Then, you can use this data to inform your content strategy and push out the media people are currently watching.
Cisco reported that video traffic would make up 82% of all consumer traffic on the internet by 2022. If a business was using a web scraper, they could have easily discovered this trend and started using video content sooner than their competitors.
How Are Proxies Involved In Digital Media Planning?
Proxies can be effective media planning tools since they mask your IP address during web scraping. However, it’s important to note that not all proxies are made equal. Here are some types of proxies and their intended use:
Data center proxies
As the name implies data center proxies are stored in data centers. Both plentiful and readily available, data center proxies are also the least costly.
The one disadvantage of using data center proxies is that their data center IP addresses make them more easily identifiable, which can raise red flags for many websites. Some websites outright ban all data center proxy activity; others may ban an entire subnet at the slightest hint of bot-like activity from a single data center IP address. For this reason, Rayobyte has C-class subnets as well as A and B-classes!
If you’re operating an online business, you can stay ahead of your international competitors by keeping track of industry trends and consumer sentiment from around the world.
ISP proxies are a hybrid of data center and residential proxies. As a result, they’re speedy, safe, and reliable. How? They’re housed in data centers but are issued by real consumer internet providers. ISP proxies provide fast, stable connections that are as hard for websites to detect as residential IP addresses. Rayobyte has no limit on bandwidth or threads, which means significant cost savings! Currently, Rayobyte offers ISP proxies from the U.S., the U.K., and Germany.
While proxies are a must-have for businesses today, working with them can be tricky if you don’t have an on-site tech team. Luckily, Rayobyte has a dedicated customer support team to help you in case of a query.
Residential proxies give you access to a vast network of millions of devices worldwide. Residential proxies are the actual IP addresses of individuals. They are issued by real consumer internet service providers (ISPs), giving your web scraper a humanlike appearance to the websites it scrapes. Because most individuals access the internet through residential IP addresses, residential proxies have the most authority, which means websites do not generally block them for no reason.
Rayobyte’s residential proxies with geo-targeting functionality can allow you to collect data from websites that provide different information based on the visitor’s geolocation. Because your web scraper can appear to be located anywhere in the world, you can scrape a website from almost anywhere.
Rayobyte sets the industry standard for ethical residential proxy sourcing. Because residential proxies are obtained directly from end-users, Rayobyte takes extra steps to ensure these users are not negatively affected by the use of their IP addresses. This includes ensuring the end users are informed and compensated for the use of their IP addresses, and they can revoke their approval at any time.
Because we do not provide an option to buy residential proxies directly on our website, we ensure that potential buyers must demonstrate their use case is legitimate before we sell them residential proxies. We also continue monitoring the use of the residential proxies we sell to make sure the buyer uses them ethically.
If you’d rather not spend loads of time creating your own web scraper to streamline the web scraping process, Scraping Robot is the best pick for your scraping needs. You only have to supply the URLs that need to be scraped, and Scraping Robot will take care of the rest, saving you time, money, and hassle.
Scraping Robot also makes using the data your scraper collects easy by providing structured JSON output of a parsed website’s metadata. Then, you can feed that information directly into your website or database. As a result, you no longer have to worry about all the headaches that come with scraping, like proxy management and rotation, server management, browser scalability, CAPTCHA solving, and looking out for new anti-scraping updates from target websites. In addition, they have a reliable support system and 24/7 customer assistance! If you’re unsure how many scrapes you’ll need, just let them know the size of your project, and they’ll help you find the best option for your budget and use case.
Learn all about Scraping Robot to take your web scraping and media planning strategies to the next level.
What Are Some Other Media Planning Tools for Collecting Data?
Besides web scraping, you can use other methods to collect data for strategic media planning. Some options are:
Surveys are a prevalent method for collecting data. You can use online, mailed, or in-person surveys to gather information about your target audience.
When creating a survey, include questions that will help you understand the media habits of your target audience. For example, ask about the types of media they consume, how often they consume it, and their favorite channels.
You can also use surveys to gather information about specific topics relevant to your business. For instance, if you’re launching a new product, you could include questions about what type of advertising would persuade the respondent to purchase the product.
Focus groups are small, informal discussions led by a moderator. The moderator guides the conversation and asks questions to elicit feedback from the participants.
Businesses can use focus groups to gather data about general media consumption habits or get feedback about a specific campaign. You could also hold a focus group and ask participants about the media they consume daily. You could also show them a mock advertisement and ask for their thoughts.
If you have an eCommerce business, you can track transactions to see what media your customers were exposed to before they made a purchase. This data lets you understand which channels are most effective at driving sales.
You can also use transactional data to understand the customer journey. Suppose you notice that many customers are exposed to your ad on a social media site, but they don’t purchase until they see your ad on search engines.
You can use this information to create a media mix that facilitates the consumers’ journey, driving sales.
Social media monitoring
Social media is a great way to collect data about your target audience. Social media monitoring tools can track what people say about your brand, industry, and competitors.
You can also use social media to understand the media habits of your target audience. For instance, you can use a platform to see what news outlets people are talking about or what TV shows are trending.
The information can be valuable when it comes to media planning.
Online tracking means tracking the behavior of users online through cookies, web beacons, and other tracking technologies.
Businesses use this data to understand how people interact with your website, what pages they visit, and how long they stay on each page. For example, if the objective of your media planning strategy is to drive sales, you’ll want to track how many people visit your website after seeing an ad and how many of them make a purchase.
Digital media planning provides the framework for how advertising will ultimately be executed across digital platforms. By understanding the target audience, their online behavior, and how to reach them, advertisers can create a plan to reach the right people with the right message at the right time.
Digital media planning is essential to any integrated marketing campaign and should be given utmost importance. Media planners should use proxies and web scrapers to ensure strategic media planning, regardless of their industry.
Rayobyte provides a comprehensive variety of proxies for businesses, including residential, data center, and ISP proxies. However, companies that want to automate web scraping for data collection can use Scraping Robot to streamline media planning and reduce the overall resource and time expenditure. Reach out to them today!
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