Media Planning

Media Planning: The Ultimate Guide

Discover the importance of media planning and how the process can save you valuable time, boost conversions, and increase engagements.

Many of the highest-performing premium placements available for sale perform so well that they may only be available to advertisers willing to pay for them up front. As publishers continually optimize their user experience, they find that certain emails, site placements, mobile spots and other placements consistently generate such strong results that they don’t need to give them away for the pay-for-performance fee alone. Advertisers unwilling to entertain the idea of media buys will miss out on these opportunities.

What Is Media Planning?

What Is a Media Plan?

Media Planning and Buying

Media Planning Process

Media Planning Strategy

Media Planning Templates

What is media planning?

Media planning is determining how, when, where, and why your business shares media content with your audience. The process includes deciding what media will be shared on what channels to boost reach, engagements, conversions, ROI, and more.

Media planning has many moving parts, and the process can be difficult to get right.

By working through the media planning steps as well as implementing media planning templates, you’ll keep any media-related challenges at bay.

What is a media plan?

A media plan details what kind of media you will create and where and how you'll publish it to best engage and convert your audience. Some media plans align with larger company initiatives and campaigns, following along with pre-approved messaging and content.

Other media plans are standalone strategies that detail how organizations plan to leverage media (written, video, audio, etc.) to connect with followers and customers.

Conduct market research.

The first thing you’ll want to do when developing your media planning process is conduct market research. Market research will allow you to tailor the content you create and the media plan you implement to your target audience and customers.

Start by creating (if you haven’t already) and studying your buyer personas as well as developing an understanding of who your target audience and current customers are.

With this information, you can determine what media will reach, resonate with, and convert your audience. Additionally, it’ll help you decide what platforms and channels through which to share your content.

State your media planning objective.

When developing your media plan, keep a goal (or a few) in mind to help you effectively navigate the process. Moreover, goals can help you know what content types and platforms you can say "no" to.

Here are some examples of media planning objectives you might have:



For instance, say you're looking to create a media plan for your Facebook and Instagram social content. Your objective may be to streamline the content creation process in a timely fashion and then schedule posts on both platforms in advance.

This way, you ensure your posts are relevant to your audience so you can boost engagement and stay top of mind.

Implement your media plan.

Ensure all parties who should be aware of the plan have the necessary details to help you execute accordingly. Additionally, share the contact details of the media-planning point person at your company in case anyone has questions or comments.

To get a better understanding of what I mean, let's refer back to our example in the above step about your social media plan for Facebook and Instagram.

If you implement a social media calendar template as part of your media plan, ensure everyone who will be working on or creating the content and publication schedule for both platforms has access to it.

What to Consider for Your Media Planning Strategy

After following the media planning steps above, there are a few additional things to consider. First, what's your media planning budget? If you're aiming for free media, you can disregard this question. But if part of your media planning involves media buying (as we discussed above), you'll need to sit down with your marketing leadership to understand what funds you have to work with.

Set this budget before you start researching platforms and creating content. You don't want to start formulating a campaign that you can't afford down the road.

Second, consider your key messaging points you want your media to communicate. You don't have to pre-write all your media content, per se, but you should establish the main themes at the beginning so all media is consistent and on theme.

These messaging points will come from from your audience research and may also influence what content types and platforms you pursue, so be sure to establish these early on.