7. Metrics & Data
Media planning is a lot about numbers; audience estimates, sales projections, costs, ROI etc. In this age of data it lends itself to attention from the quants. That’s why media mix modeling or MMM has become so popular with many sophisticated marketers. Media mix modeling or MMM is an econometric process that uses marketing and sales data models to predict sales based on different combinations of brand advertising and activation tactics. It’s nerdy stuff and I don’t recommend that you try it at home, but it works.
Many common assumptions about how each type of media works best seem to be generally correct
You may or may not want to invest in this specialized approach to model your media decision making, but the good news is that it has shown that many common assumptions about how each type of media works best seem to be generally correct. One large study by Google and GfK across 36 brands looked at numerous different combinations of media and concluded that digital media was most effective in driving activity, like clicks and views, but that TV had a larger effect on brand perceptions. Other studies indicated that Paid media was effective at driving web traffic and social media comments, while Owned media activity, like visits to your website, increases social media awareness, which in turn increases likelihood to purchase and sales.
One of the other opportunities that having nearly real-time performance metrics from media gives us, is the ability to adjust media campaigns on the fly. This is called optimization. The concept is fairly straight-forwarded: take the current performance of different advertising vehicles, evaluate it in terms of your goals, then cut those that perform poorly and heavy up on those that are doing well. This is not just which network or website to put your ads on, but often also what time period to use, what position to buy, and even which creative ad to run. The idea is to identify the best performing vehicle, context and message, and then funnel your dollars there. This can, of course, get quite complex, and many a campaign is made or broken by how effectively optimization is executed.
It’s impossible to fully know what’s going to work until you try it.
The beginning part of any campaign is the learning phase, it’s where you are actively testing your best guesses, based on your strategic planning, for what the right advertising vehicles are and what the right messaging will be. In a perfect world you will have conducted testing research before launching the campaign to make sure your choices are right, but it’s never a perfect world. Even with that, it’s impossible to fully know what’s going to work until you try it, so your campaign should plan to test alternative media and creative approaches right from the outset. This is often easier with media than with creative since making multiple video spots, for example, is usually not financially realistic. But with media you should negotiate complete flexibility as part of your deal, so you can quickly react to the data you see. Many platforms build in the capability for multi-variate testing and to make fast changes to media buys. Make sure that your team has a plan for optimization and testing for all your purchased advertising.