Digital Media Planning Basics

Averil Winston | August 31, 2020

If one thing rings true in marketing and digital media planning, it’s that change is constant. Whether it’s the rise in popularity of a new social media network, such as TikTok, or a novel medium for news, like podcasts, it all impacts the advertising landscape. Before the digital age, traditional media planning relied on demographic targeting and offered a limited range of placement options. As a result, targeting was fairly general and the ability to measure against a specific goal was challenging. Nowadays, there is an abundance of placement options to consider, several methods for tracking performance, and seemingly infinite sources of data to use to segment and target niche audiences. These factors have paved the way for a more strategic digital media planning process over the years.

Despite this evolution, the basics of media planning have remained the same. For your digital media advertising efforts to be effective, you must research and develop a media plan that is in line with your business objectives and will give you the greatest return on your dollar. Implementing these digital media planning basics will help you navigate this process and achieve your goals:

1. Build your audience profile

2. Stay ahead of media trends

3. Pay attention to past performance

Digital Media Planning Basic #1: Build Your Audience Profile

Not surprisingly, one of the most critical components of digital media planning is defining and researching your audience. According to a 2018 Nielsen Total Audience Report, the average American spends more than 11 hours a day consuming media. A significant portion of that time is devoted to advertisements. For your ad to stand out amid all the other noise, it must appear in front of the right person at the right moment. To achieve this, start by pinpointing your key objectives and target audience. From there, refine your audience further by leveraging market research, segmenting audiences by behavior and interests, and evaluating historical performance.

Digital Media Planning Basic #2: Stay Ahead of Media Trends

To stay in touch with your audience, pay close attention to industry trends when planning your digital media ad spend. Existing digital media channels are continually developing new technology to compete with each other. This past month, Facebook released Instagram Reels in response to the recent surge in popularity of TikTok. In general, the use of video in advertising is a growing trend due to its interactive nature. At BrandMuscle, our clients have seen a dramatic rise in ad click-throughs after reallocating some of their static digital media spend to dynamic video content. Staying on top of these trends and adapting to the constantly changing advertising landscape will set you up for media planning success.

Digital Media Planning Basic #3: Pay Attention to Past Performance

In digital media planning, history tends to repeat itself. When campaign performance is analyzed, it can help predict what’s to come. Always monitor past targeting methods and gauge what’s proven successful. Then use those insights to improve your media plans. For example, did serving ads on certain days of the week result in more engagement than others? If so, testing out dayparting in a future campaign could further boost performance. Digital media planning is not an exact science, but relying on the patterns revealed through past performance can help shape an effective strategy.

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