Media Plans Need to Evolve
If you’re short on time, give Shane’s video a watch. He’s LumenAd’s VP of Client Services and covers the broad strokes of what’s here in this article.
When it comes to improving the performance of your campaigns, one quote sums it all up:
Fortune Favors the Prepared
Unfortunately, this industry makes it near impossible to be as prepared as you need to be, thanks to the fact it’s set up to load most of the work towards the end of the campaign.
This issue was summed up pretty well by a media director we work with: “Reporting is 1% of my job that takes up 50% of my time.”
The answer isn’t more reporting tools. We’ve tried that. The answer is setting everything up from the very beginning — well before launch — to flow seamlessly through every stage of the campaign.
In other words, the answer is better media plans.
What causes poor media plans
There are two ways we often see media teams plan their campaigns:
- By channel
- By platform
Because in some ways it’s the simplest strategy. It stems from asking the question: “How much do we have to spend?” Then, “Where will we spend that money?”
This leads to campaigns that have a specific budget set aside for Facebook, another set aside for Display, yet another set aside for retargeting, and on and on. This puts you on a fast track towards siloed plans, insights and reports.
As Shane says, “When you plan media in different silos, you execute in those silos, you optimize in those silos and you report back in those silos.”
Which can be a nightmare. Nothing is set up to truly work together, it’s a bunch of related but separate campaigns running at the same time. It’s not a unified front.
By the time the campaign as run its course, you’re often left with this massive pile of disparate data you need to sift through and make sense of.
And the tools you have on hand to do so aren’t particularly well suited. They may be unwieldy business or marketing intelligence tools that do a little of everything, but not enough of that one thing you need. So, you may supplement with other technology and a library of spreadsheets. Then bring it all together into a powerpoint of charts and numbers that tell a disjointed story of what actually happened.
All of this stems from media plans preemptively silo data, channels, platforms and strategies. And these issues snowball.
As you move on to the next campaign, you have less time to prepare, leading to a last-minute scramble to get everything in place in time for launch. Time spent wrangling data and building reports is time taken away from planning future campaigns.
This leads to a “get it up, get it up, get it up” mindset. We often see teams that get a campaign live just to get it live. One brand-side media team we spoke with described it as:
“We just turn [our campaigns] on and hope it works.”
Imagine how that feels when it comes time to pull reports together. Well you might not need to image it, you probably have lived this a time or two.
How media plans can improve
1. Smash Those Silos
First things first: you need to unify your media mix. You can do this through what we call campaign architecture.
Campaign architecture is how you structure your campaign to deliver data back to you. The first step of establishing a good campaign architecture is to make your overall campaign objective the root of all your decision making.
OK, that’s kind of a no brainer. But, truly following through on this requires you to break out of silos. You can’t have one strategy for Facebook, another for Google Search and yet another for Display. All these need to work together towards one final goal: form fills, product sold, web traffic, etc.
How this looks with proper campaign architecture is aligning channels and platforms to specific strategies grounded in achieving your objective.
For example, say your brand has a strong presence in your market. Which is great, but you need to find a way to more efficiently drive conversions. Your campaign objective may be to drive a certain number of conversions in the next quarter.
So, you break out your line items into specific sets of retargeting messaging, no matter the channel or platform. By comparing these line items throughout the life of the campaign, you will narrow in on powerful retargeting messaging that drives people down the funnel.
Unify your media mix by using campaign architecture to smash silos. This will not only help you fulfill your campaign objective, it will save a ton of headaches down the road.
2. Prioritize Planning
Campaign architecture, when done right, takes some effort. But it’s a go slow to go fast sort of thing. By taking the time to make sure everything is in its right place before launch, you’ll save a ton of time down the road.
This requires a shift of thinking, one that makes a lot of sense once committed to. Instead of waiting until the end of the campaign to sort through and make sense of the data, set your campaign up to make sense from the start.
To accomplish this, think through what you want your first report to look like. Then go about structuring your campaign architecture to ensure the data flows into that report exactly how you intend.
From there, you can iterate and shape the story of the campaign as it develops, instead of waiting until the end to make sense of it all.
How you can improve your media plans
To plan campaigns well and establish good campaign architecture, you need an intuitive way to visualize the relationship between all levels of your campaign, from the most granular creative level to the macro campaign level.
Then, you need the tools to bring it all to life and ensure it delivers the data you need it to. It’s a tall order, but fortunately LumenAd has you covered.
Next week, we’ll publish an article that walks you through what it’s like to plan a campaign using LumenAd. So stay tuned!
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