Building a Comprehensive Media Plan
By Alyssa Hamm
Becoming your advertiser’s trusted media partner is the main goal for many sellers. This typically happens through education, understanding the advertiser’s business and goals, and providing sound recommendations that perform. All media plans should center on an advertiser’s business and digital goal (learn more about goal discovery here), but media planning with the following strategies will also help with securing that trusted relationship sellers are looking for.
- Long Term Campaigns – Many digital campaigns run from anywhere between one and three months. The primary issue with short-term campaigns is the lack of data. A year-long commitment, on the other hand, benefits your advertiser and allows more time for data accumulation. More data means more intentional and meaningful optimizations. Better optimizations give you the opportunity to provide better insights to the campaign, more consistent sets of data, and better customer service. With a yearlong campaign you can tailor the plan to correspond with sales periods and promotions, creating a schedule and workflow that works for you and for the advertiser.
- Full Funnel Approach – Long-term campaigns do not have to focus on one goal for the entire year. Media plans and targeting can be fluid, as goals will change based on the advertiser’s initiatives and marketing calendar. A full funnel campaign is designed to address the different campaigns and goals the advertiser will have throughout the year. Building different media plans for different parts of the year can help lead prospective customers through the awareness, ramp up, and action pieces of the sales funnel.
For example, let’s say a retailer has two big sales per year: One in June and one in December. They may want to start the year with an awareness campaign. This type of campaign will drive brand and/or product awareness and help the advertiser gain visibility in the marketplace. Then starting in April, they may want to ramp up the campaign by driving traffic to their website. As the advertiser approaches the June sale, they want to ensure people are visiting their site and browsing the inventory. During the month of June they will want to promote the sale and provoke on-site conversions. After June, they can reactivate the awareness campaign and build to the December sale in the same way.
Thinking about a media plan as it corresponds with a marketing or promotional calendar is a great way to strategize media and metrics, as well as a great way to ensure you are pitching a plan that will last the year giving you the best shot at executing a very successful media strategy.
- Variety of Tactics – Regardless of what part of the funnel or what time of year you are running the campaign, a variety of tactics should be used to create the most comprehensive media plan possible. Ideally, your media plan will pair branding (or more general tactics) with targeted tactics to reach the desired audience. Advertisers tend to gravitate towards the ultra-targeted tactics. While targeted tactics are a great place to start (as it gives us insight into the desired audience), mixing in more general tactics allows the plan to reach potential customers that may not fit into the precise targeting. Always remind the advertiser that there is more than one way to reach an audience! Between location-based data, audience data, contextual, and the basic run of network strategy, we can find the advertiser’s audience that is best responding to the campaign. Because campaigns are executed in real-time, buyers can use the power of real-time data. This real-time data informs the buyer which targeting sets are working to achieve the advertiser’s goal and which are not. Real-time buying makes building a campaign with a variety of tactics and targeting styles a no-brainer. If something is not working it is simply not used, and instead budget is focused towards tactics that are driving results.
Long-term, full-funnel campaigns (based on client goals) that utilize a variety of different tactics are the best way to ensure that the media plan you present to your advertiser will succeed. By using these strategies to accomplish your advertiser’s goals, you will become their media partner of choice.