By Alyssa Hamm

Imagine you are standing in your kitchen. You have flour, sugar, eggs, and baking powder laid out before you. Your guests are expecting something sweet after dinner, but you are unsure what? You could make cake, cookies, a pie…. It’s stressful not knowing what is going to make your guests happy. The same holds true for media. Your buyer could have all the ingredients of a good media plan in front of them (Audience Targeting, Contextual Targeting, Retargeting), but if they don’t know what is going to make the client happy, they are facing the same conundrum – but they don’t have to…

Knowing how the advertiser defines success is essential to building and executing a quality media plan. In general there are 3 client goals to align with what the advertiser is trying to accomplish: awareness, traffic to site, or on-site action.

  1. Awareness: Also known as branding, awareness means that the advertiser wants to increase knowledge and recognition of their business. An advertiser may say things like “I want as many people as possible to see my message” or “I want people to think of me when they go to buy….” These types of statements provide clues about the type of success they are looking for from a digital campaign. Since awareness is about building brand recognition, the best way to achieve this is by delivering the advertiser’s message as many times as possible. If your buyer knows that the client’s goal is awareness, the buyer is going to use the ingredients, or tactics, in your media plan to optimize to impressions. There is now a purpose, the buyer knows to use the advertiser’s budget to deliver as many impressions as possible to the specified audience.
  2. Traffic to Site: If the advertiser is interested in a digital campaign, then they most certainly have a website and their main goal may be to drive as much traffic as they can to it. You may hear the advertiser say things like “I just built a website and I need people to see it” or “if someone gets to the contact section of my site, they usually call.” If you hear these types of statements, try to quantify the amount of traffic they are hoping to drive with a campaign. If the buyer knows that the goal is traffic to site, then they’ll use the right tactics in the media plan to drive as many clicks to the website as possible (if they have a benchmark from the advertiser it’s even better!).
  3. On-site User Action: Perhaps branding or getting people to the website are not enough. Maybe our advertiser is more interested in what a user does once they arrive on the advertiser’s website. For example, they may want to increase contest entries or e-commerce sales. Using conversion pixels we can track if the campaign is helping to drive those on-site actions. Have a conversation about how many conversions the advertiser is looking to achieve in a given month and how many they see on average, as this will provide the buyer a benchmark for success. Once the buyer knows that they are dealing with a conversion campaign they will focus on tactics delivering the most conversions (or on-site actions) and ensure the budget is spent there.

As we have demonstrated above, once the buyer knows exactly how the advertiser defines success, they can use the right tactics in the media plan to best achieve that success. It isn’t uncommon for an advertiser to want to achieve all of the above, but your role as the seller is to figure out their ultimate goal. Then the buyer is able to take the client objective and turn it into something measurable: awareness becomes impressions, traffic to site becomes clicks and on-site user action becomes conversions. When a buyer can measure the result, they then have a concrete way of demonstrating success. These measurable success metrics are also known as KPI or key performance indicators. A flexible, or budget based, media plan allows for the buyer to move and shift the dollars to the tactic(s) that produce the best results. This flexibility is key because without it we can’t adjust how much of one tactic we use over another.

Imagine you are back in your kitchen and your guests told you they want cookies. You know the right recipe for using your flour, sugar, eggs and baking powder to give them exactly what they want. Think about this the next time you submit a digital buy. If you only give the buyer the tactics to be used they may not give you or the advertiser the desired end result. If instead you give them the desired outcome and tactics, the buyer will then know exactly what to do to ensure success.