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What Media Planning Is and How It Works

Media Planning sounds like a plan to get media than what it really is. Media planning is the art of strategically deciding how much, when, and where your message will be visible and audible. No matter how that message gets you to your customer, a media plan must be put into action.

What is media planning, and how exactly does it work?

In order to work, it must have an audience.

Stop right there — that was a joke.

Yes, humor. Yehey!


Don’t worry; this article is not about them pesky adults who push papers around all day. It’s about you, who thinks that media planning is synonymous with buying TV and radio advertising.

If you’re looking for tips on how to get more click-throughs, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll be going through what media planning is, what it’s used for and how it works.

This article is designed to help the beginner marketer. Hopefully, you’ll walk away with a basic understanding of what media planning involves and why it’s used at all.


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What is Media Planning?

You may have heard the term “media planning” before and asked yourself, “How does it work?” The simple answer is that media planning is the process of selecting the right media to reach your target market. Media planning is a key part of the marketing mix, which includes product innovation, pricing strategy (also called price positioning), distribution channels, and communication strategies.

Media planners choose which types of advertising will be used based on how well they think they’ll work for their clients’ brands. They also make sure there’s enough budget left over after allocating funds to each type so that they can pay for some kind of promotional activity like events or direct mail.

The goal of media planning is to find ways to make sure that your ads appear where they will be seen by the people most likely to buy from you. For example, if you own a pizza restaurant, you want to make sure that your ad appears in newspapers read by people who like pizza — not just any newspaper readership at all!

The Key Components of Effective Media Planning

To effectively plan media, you have to start by getting inside your target market’s head. That’s because a successful campaign isn’t just about spending money on the right ads in the right places. It’s about presenting an image of your brand that consumers buy into, thus generating sales and awareness for your company on behalf of the media outlet.

That said, let’s tackle the 4 major components of effective media planning.

  1. Targeting the right audience.
  2. Knowing your goals.
  3. Understanding the media you’re buying.
  4. Make sure the fit is right.


Targeting is all about getting your message to the right people. To do that, you need to know who they are and what they do.

Who are you trying to reach with your ad?

The more narrowly defined your target audience, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to reach them effectively through media planning. However, if you’re targeting too narrow an audience, you may find that it’s hard to get enough impressions per reader or viewer.

Here are some examples of how targeting can work:

You might target sports enthusiasts with a TV ad during sports programming. Or, if you want to reach new moms, you could advertise during the daytime talk shows they watch with their kids.

If you’re selling a vacation package, it makes sense to advertise on travel-related websites and magazines because that’s where your prospects will be looking for information related to vacations.

To target effectively, you must first identify your target market — that’s why we call it “targeting.” Then, based on demographic information (age, gender, and location), psychographic information (personality traits), or some combination of both, we develop a profile of each person in our target audience so that we can reach out directly to them through advertising or other means like direct mailings or email blasts.


We all know how important it is to have a goal, but we often don’t really think about what our goal is for using media.

When you’re planning your media campaign, it’s important to know what your goals are. A goal is a specific and measurable result that your advertising will produce. In other words, if you want more sales, you have to set a goal of how many new customers you want to win over.

If you want to increase awareness of your brand or product, then set a goal of how many times people will see your message.

It’s important to know what your goals are because it helps guide the rest of your planning process. You’ll be able to decide which tactics and strategies will help drive those goals forward and which ones won’t.

Now, there are two types of goals: short-term and long-term.

Short-term goals are what we want to accomplish within a specific amount of time — for example, this month, this quarter, or this year. These can be revenue-focused or profit-focused.

Long-term goals are more strategic in nature and often take longer to achieve than short-term ones do. They may include things like increasing market share or increasing customer satisfaction scores over time.

Another important reason for determining your goals is:

It helps define who you’re trying to reach. If you don’t know what kind of people you want to go to, how can you possibly decide which media channels would most effectively get them? You might as well put a dartboard up on your wall and throw a dart at it!

Also, it helps determine how much money should be spent on each channel. The more money spent on a particular channel usually means more exposure will be received by consumers there — but only if they are interested in what’s being offered.

Without knowing your target audience or what they want/need, how can anyone determine how much money should be allocated for each channel? (This is especially true for those who don’t have access to analytics.)


You can’t buy media if you don’t understand it. You can’t measure it if you don’t understand it.

You may as well be throwing money away if you don’t understand how to use it.

Understanding the media you’re using starts with understanding what that medium is supposed to do for your brand and how it does its job.

If you don’t understand the medium you’re buying, you’re telling your money to get a drink at the bar and then get back to work. But it doesn’t know what kind of drink to order. What if it orders a martini? That’s a high-maintenance medium.

You’ll spend more time getting it to work than you would have spent buying a new phone.

In other words, understanding the media you’re buying is important because it will help you make informed decisions about how to allocate your budget and how to get the most value from your campaign.

For example, if you’re launching a new product, it’s critical to understand which media channels are best suited for reaching your target market. If you don’t know what channels they use in their daily lives, then you won’t be able to reach them effectively with your message.


When you’re planning your media strategy, one of the most important things to consider is how well your target audience fits with your product or service.

Why is making sure the fit is right so important?

The first reason is that it’s the easiest way to get people to pay attention to what you have to say. People will only pay attention if they think it’s relevant. If your message isn’t relevant, then it won’t be heard.

The second reason is that you’re more likely to make a connection with people who already have some kind of relationship with your brand. If someone has heard of you or seen some of your ads before, then they’re more likely to trust you when you deliver another piece of content through a different medium.

And finally, because it’s easier to reach people who are already interested in what you have to say, it makes sense to focus on those people first. This means that if they’re not interested in what we’re offering, we can move on to other options without wasting time and money on ineffective advertising campaigns.

The Types of Media (Determine Where to Spend Your Marketing Dollars)

Choosing which types of media to utilize to sell your organization is arguably the most basic component of media strategy. However, you must first understand your options in order to do so.

Here are the 3 major types of media that you need to be aware of before starting your media planning:

  1. Owned media
  2. Paid media
  3. Earned media


Owned media is a form of communication that you control. It includes things like your website and social media accounts. Owned media is important because it allows your company to communicate directly with customers without having to rely on an outside source like Google or Facebook.

Owned media is typically the first place that people go when they want to learn about a brand or organization, so it’s important to have a strong presence in this area.

If you want to improve the visibility of your company or organization, then owned media can help you achieve your goals. Not only does it offer more control over what content you share, but it also allows you to build relationships with customers and prospects more effectively than any other form of marketing.

The best part about owned media is that it’s free! There are no fees associated with using it, so there are no barriers preventing anyone from getting started right away!

Paid media is simply any form of advertising that you pay for. This could be anything from a newspaper ad to a banner ad on a website to a TV commercial as well as online paid media like display ads on Google or Facebook.

Paid media is often referred to as “paid” because it’s literally paid for with money (or other currency). In contrast, organic reach relies on the free sharing of content by users who find it valuable enough to share with their friends and family.

While it may seem like paying someone else to promote your company or product would be expensive, there are many benefits of using paid media:

It gives you control over where your ads are displayed and who sees them. You can choose specific websites or blogs that align with your target audience or industry. You can also decide when and where your ad should appear based on their interests and behavior online (e.g., location).

You can track how many people click on your ads and how much traffic they generate from them. This will help you determine which types of ads work best for your company so that you can optimize future campaigns accordingly.


Earned media is any type of publicity or exposure that you receive through the work you do. For example, if you’re a business owner and you write an article on how to get more sales with social media, then that’s earned media.

If you create a video about how to sell your products on Amazon, that’s also earned media.

The key to getting earned media is consistency. You need to keep creating content over time if you want it to spread by word-of-mouth (or mouth-to-ear).

Here are some ways that earned media can benefit your company:

It increases brand awareness for your company. The more people who know about what you do and how well you do it, the easier it will be for them to come to you when they need help with their problems.

It builds trust among customers. People tend to trust recommendations from friends and family more than they trust traditional advertising or even online reviews from strangers. When someone shares your content on their social media page, it makes their followers more likely to trust what they’re saying — which could lead them to try your products or services themselves!

How to Develop an Effective Media Plan

Sometimes it feels like “media planning” is just a fancy name for playing the lottery. You create a plan and hope it works. Right?

Actually, with a little insight, execution, and patience from your entire digital marketing team, planning your media spend can be much easier.

And no matter what business you’re in– big or small, it’s a good idea to understand how media planning works.

Here’s a guide to an effective media planning:

  1. Assess the current media landscape.
  2. Evaluate your target audience and customers.
  3. Plan for where you are and where you want to be.
  4. Keep an eye on your competitors.
  5. Don’t always do what everyone else is doing.
  6. Set your budget
  7. Set campaign objectives
  8. Don’t forget mobile users
  9. Monitor and analyze results

Always remember: An effective media plan requires careful research and strategy, but it can help you reach new audiences and grow your brand presence.


The first step in developing a media strategy is assessing the current landscape. This includes identifying where your message is being communicated and how effectively. If you’re already doing this, awesome! You’re ahead of the game. If not, it’s time to get started.

The most important thing is to know what you are looking for and why you need it. For example, suppose you’re developing a new product or service. In that case, you’ll want to assess how much coverage it receives in different media outlets and whether that coverage matches up with your expectations. If so, great! If not, then what’s missing? What could be improved?

You should also think about whether your target audience is reading or watching the same media outlets that you are monitoring — or if they are using different ones altogether. Your strategy will likely change depending on which option applies to your business or campaign goals.


To do this, you must first understand who you are trying to reach.

For example, if your target customer base is primarily women between 25 and 45 years old, then you would want to look at magazines, newspapers, and other media outlets that cater to this demographic.

You also need to know what type of content they are interested in seeing. If you were selling a new line of beauty products, for example, then you would want to focus on outlets that feature beauty tips and advice.

Once you have identified the type of media outlet that best suits your needs, it’s time to find out how many people read it. The most common way of doing this is through circulation figures.


Planning for where you are and where you want to help develop an effective media strategy.

Firstly, understand your current position.

Where are you now? What is your business model? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Who are your competitors? What are the key trends affecting your industry? What are the trends in technology that will affect how people engage with content?

Then second is to determine what it is that you want to achieve. This is where you define your goals and objectives. For example, if we were working with a tech startup, we might want to increase awareness of their product among potential customers. We could also use social media as a way of connecting with influencers who can help spread the word about our client’s product or service.

Once we have determined where we want to be and how we plan on getting there, we can then create an actionable plan for achieving those goals.


If you want to develop an effective marketing strategy, then you need to know who your competitors are.

You need to know what they’re doing and how they are positioning themselves in the market.

In the media industry, we call this competitive analysis.

Competitive analysis is important because it helps us understand how our competitors have positioned themselves in the marketplace and how we can position ourselves differently or better.

In other words, it helps us figure out what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to marketing strategies.


In today’s world, you have to be different from everyone else because the media landscape is so crowded.

The average consumer is bombarded with thousands of ads every day, many of them for products they don’t want or need. So if your ad looks like every other ad out there, it’s going to get lost in the noise.

But if you position yourself as someone who stands out from the crowd and is willing to do things differently than everyone else, then you offer something unique that will stand out from all the rest.

And that’s how you build a successful brand identity: by positioning yourself as someone who does things differently than everyone else.


The first step in developing a media strategy is to set your budget. This will help you determine the types of advertisements that are appropriate for your company. For example, if you’re a small business with limited funds, radio ads may be your best bet. However, if you’re a large corporation, television commercials might be more effective.

When it comes to advertising, most companies have a budget that they must adhere to. This makes it difficult for them to spend money on all forms of media at once. For example, if you want to advertise on radio and television at the same time, you’ll probably have to choose one or the other because it’s unlikely that you’ll have enough money for both at once.

However, there are some companies that can afford multiple forms of media at once because they have access to more revenue than others do. These companies tend to focus on traditional forms of advertising like print and billboard ads while also branching out into newer formats such as online banner ads and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.


Campaign objectives help determine how much time and money should go towards different media types. For example, if your goal is brand awareness and reach, you’d want to focus on TV or print rather than online video because those channels allow for more exposure with less investment.

By setting campaign objectives upfront, you’ll be able to determine which tactics are most effective at achieving them — and, therefore, which ones deserve more attention than others.


The mobile user is the most important person in your company’s media strategy.

In July 2013, Google began rolling out a new mobile search algorithm, which downgraded sites that had not been designed for mobile devices (which brought with it some major implications). As of January 2015, more than half of all web traffic was from mobile devices, and by 2017, that number is expected to reach 75%. This means that if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you will be losing out on a large portion of potential visitors.

While it may seem like a good idea to create a separate website for mobile users, this can actually hurt you in the long run since it creates more work for your IT department and often means additional costs for hosting fees or software upgrades. Instead, you should focus on making sure that your current website works well on all devices and screen sizes.


Monitoring and analyzing results help us identify the mediums that work best for your business and target market. It also gives you an insight into how much time is needed to drive traffic to a website, how much time is required in order to convert that traffic into sales, and how long it takes to recover the cost of advertising.

Once you know this information, you can then use it to develop a more efficient media strategy, which will help you get better results with less investment.

How do we monitor results?

We use Google Analytics and other similar tools to monitor traffic on your website and track conversions. We also use tools such as MailChimp and Campaign Monitor for email marketing campaigns.


To put it simply, media planning is nothing more than creating a marketing campaign. A company wants to sell its product to a specific target audience; they create an ad or campaign and then negotiate where to place their ads so that the target audience will see them.

A good media planner combines the roles of a director, a writer, and a producer. But no matter how much time we spend having fun and playing around with this concept, the truth is that media planning is an analytical process, and it requires a lot of strategic thinking. It’s extremely useful if you have a plan about where your brand stands before you shift gears for the day.

In other words, think before you communicate!

I wouldn’t say that media planning is some sort of magic or black art, but it can be difficult to understand what’s going on below the surface. Hopefully, this post has helped you better understand how media planning works and give you a few tools to make it easier for you to discuss with clients.

Enjoy your new powers!

How a Website Could Help Your Media Planning

Well, here’s the thing: it’s not just about drawing eyeballs and clicks—it’s about drawing the right eyeballs and clicks. 

So if you have a website that lets people know what you do and why they should care, then when they do come across your brand in their search results, they’ll already be predisposed to click!

Here are some other reasons why you should consider using a website in your media planning:

A web presence gives customers a place to find information about your company or organization. This can include contact information, hours of operation, and more.

It shows potential clients that you’re serious about being in business for the long term. This gives them confidence in your ability to deliver what they need from you in the future.

It provides an easy way for people to learn more about what your company does and how it helps them solve their problems. They’ll also be able to tell others about it with ease!

Planning a media campaign can be a lot like playing chess, except there’s no clear path to victory and you have to do it while standing up in a room full of people who are all trying to get your attention.

A website can help you keep track of your opponents’ moves, anticipate their strategies, and—eventually—come out victorious. It’ll also show off your smarts: Unlike the other players in this game, you won’t have to do any actual work!

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