The main task of advertising is not only to make a creative picture or an interesting text but to effectively influence potential clients to convince them of the need to buy your product. Efficiency means having a clear plan based on analyzing data about the product, audience, and competitors. This is what creating a media plan is all about.
Media planning is the process of selecting channels and methods of advertising for their further placement.
Strategic media planning is the process of combining all advertising messages and sites into a single mechanism.
The media plan is the result of the two actions listed above, in the form of a table that lists all the information related to your advertising activity.
The main components of the media plan
Channels – the name of the specific sites where your target audience is located;
Format – the form of the advertising means on the selected advertising platform;
Reach – the number of individuals (impressions) that will see/hear your advertising message for a certain budget;
CPT (cost per thousand) – the cost of impressions for 1000 people;
Frequency – the number of impressions with your ad by a single person throughout the campaign;
Cost – the amount of money for the selected coverage and advertising format;
Priority – a mark about the potential of the channel for your company.
You can add more required fields if needed. The more information you collect, the better, since all this will help you in drawing up a media plan.
Stages of drawing up a media plan
Stage 1 – Current situation
Before creating a media plan, you need to analyze the market. You need to know your direct competitors and understand where the market is heading and what are the current trends.
At this stage, you also need to research your company and your product. For you, your brand and product are the best. But customers may think differently. They may have different values or have different expectations in respect of delivery, support or anything else. You need to clear out “who you are” and “what you sell”.
Stage 2 – Setting up goals
Next, you need to decide on the main goal – why you need a media plan. The options may be attraction, retention, or returning customers. At the same time, even customer retention has several different subgoals. For example, through attraction with a new loyalty program, or through a subscription to your product or service. Keep this in mind.
To set up goals efficiently, you need to make them measurable – reach 5,000 new customers per week, or 100,000 unique visitors per month. This is a must. If you do not know what is your goal, then you do not know what to do and how to evaluate the result.
Stage 3 – Target audience
If you do not know “who” is the consumer, then you do not know “what”, “where” and “when” to offer. If you are having difficulty segmenting your audience, we recommend using the “Ideal Client” technique. This way, you do not need to define all possible groups of clients, but concentrate only on the most profitable for you – they buy often and spend much. Of course, if this audience has already been acquired.
Stage 4 – Advertising budget
You need to calculate the budget based on goals, moreover, to plan it for 3-6 months in advance, reserving a certain share for each month. In order to correctly calculate the budget, you need to know the approximate prices across the market. That is why we make a list of all possible publishing resources with their characteristics and costs.
How to count
The correct way is to calculate through decomposition. You take the result, then spread it on the media plan components in reverse order.
For example: to get 10 customers, we need 100 leads. To get 100 leads, we need 10,000 impressions.
Result: you need a channel with a minimum coverage of 10,000 people.
Stage 5 – Distribution geography
Large territory requires a larger budget. This topic is a headache for many businesses. On top of this, different locations provide different efficiency, and this also should influence your channels preferences and, as a result, marketing strategy.
A more relevant approach for most businesses is to promote a brand or a product in “their” territory, where potential customers are already aware of them. This is logical. Why go to the new location (district, city, region, country), before you squeeze all the juice from the current?
Stage 6 – Methods of impact
You need to decide exactly how intensively you will affect the audience.
The most common methods
- Constant impact. Advertising of constant intensity over a long period of time (quarter/half a year/year) without spikes and drops.
- Pulsing impact. Advertising is ongoing, but with variable intensity (inherent for the seasonal business).
- Explosive impact. Advertising is shown by periods. Ads start unexpectedly, displays massively and disappear abruptly.
The last variant is the most common. Most companies have difficulties to plan their activities for more than one month. They act according to a plan – they start advertising, get results, and disappear to analyze the data and think over their next step.
Stage 7 – Plan timeframe
Creating a media plan for an advertising campaign does not make sense when compiled for less than 3 months. Optimally – 6 months. This timeframe is long enough to get the result and sort enough to make a critical error.
Calculating a timeframe (which will correlate with your budget) you should keep in mind, that any advertisement should pay for itself. You invest money and ads should bring clients who will pay enough to return the investment and generate income.
Stage 8 – Channels and messages
For many, this is one of the most important moments in the media plan. You need to select the channel and message for the ad.
It is necessary not only to choose a good channel, which “seems to lead customers”, but the one:
- that has your target audience;
- that fits your budget;
- with the lowest possible competition in your niche.
Both offline and online advertising channels should be included in your media plan. Moreover, free advertising too. It is less manageable and poorly scalable, but will also work, especially for companies with a limited budget.
You need to create a message for each selected advertising channel. In fact, you can create a single message for all channels and it will work. However, targeted messages for different audiences will work way better. The choice depends on your goals.
Stage 9 – Schedule, frequency, and output format
At this stage, you think over the timeframe (schedule and frequency) of campaigns for each advertising channel separately. For example, you can run all campaigns simultaneously, or one by one. Start ads for the channels with the largest coverage to become familiar, explore the demand and the interest of the audience. Then segment it and target ads to potential buyers with a clear message to act.
Based on the schedule, calculate the frequency of the displays – how many times a person will see one advertising message. If a person sees your ad 3 times, instead of 1, it will probably be easier for him to make a decision. But how accurately unknown.
There are also different strategies regarding the duration of contact between the client and the ad. In order to determine the optimal time of contact with the audience, you need to consider your goal. For example, if you’re chasing for brand awareness, then the adequate contact timing is up to 10 seconds. If you need to expose a problem and then bring a unique selling offer, then you need resources with a contact duration of at least 20 seconds (preferably more).
Stage 10 – Launch and optimization
A media plan in marketing is the law. After creation, each employee in the company adheres to the postulates written in it. Media plan can’t be neglected. But! It can be optimized along the way to the goal. f you see that advertising with a certain channel does not bring the expected effect, then what’s the point of spending money on it, if you have planned to use it for another 3 months.
Media plan may be optimized, but only based on the facts and data. Marketing and advertising are the numbers. Invest time and money to learn reading and analyzing data.