Commentary

The Proof Is In The Planning: Selecting Your Cross-Channel Media Mix

With the average person exposed to over 4,000 ads a day, cross-channel strategies have become appealing to advertisers looking to reach people from all angles. But “doing” cross-channel and “doing it right” are two very different things.

With the variety of “places” your audience could be, finding the right spot at the right time can get challenging. The key to simplifying this process is in the planning, mapping your media mix in a way that makes a big impact on consumers, without a big dent in your budget.

Here’s a planning checklist to ensure this approach remains strategic, even as you diversify into new channels.

Connect historical datasets. Historical data can provide a ton of valuable insight — from where your audience connected with your content to which strategies had the greatest impact. All that information can help inform what platforms to include in your media mix, how to allocate your budget and how to establish performance benchmarks.

For example, you may find Facebook and YouTube have similar click-through rates, but in digging deeper into historical data, you see Facebook consumers stay longer, making them more valuable.

To get started, integrate business insights with data from all ad platforms to build a centralized view of campaign performance, ensuring you understand how each platform defines KPI metrics.

The planning stage is where you want to synchronize KPIs across channels to make it easier to compare metrics like video view rates across platforms. Having this holistic view of data with synchronized KPIs allows you to quickly understand what worked and what didn’t.

Develop audience understanding. Before choosing your media mix, ask yourself where your audience spends their screen time, and at what time and in what setting is approaching them most strategic. The answers will narrow your target channels and allow you to focus on platforms with the strongest performance.

For example, if you’re looking to advertise to 27-year-olds, knowing that only 54% of 25- 29-year-olds are Snapchat users (according to a Pew Research Center study) will help redirect your attention to alternative platforms. If you’re a travel company looking for sun-seekers in the dead of winter, you might select a platform like Pinterest, which has shown to attract planners and inspiration seekers.

Enable campaign flexibility. With data and audience understanding in your back pocket, your strategy is bound to be solid. However, be sure to leave room for flexibility. As algorithms change and trends fade, what worked last year, or last week, may not work now — and that’s OK.  

While you can and should use every resource to plan a campaign, it’s important to stay flexible and open to change. Data gathered early on in a campaign can later be used to adjust ad creative or targeting, making current campaigns even stronger. Long story short: If something isn’t working, change it!

As you set out to make cross-channel the norm, media-mix planning is a crucial first step. With the checklist above, campaign execution will fall into place, and the proof will be in the results.

7 comments about "The Proof Is In The Planning: Selecting Your Cross-Channel Media Mix".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 6, 2019 at 2:55 p.m.

    Kirsten, the average adult---if one believes the numbers----consumes about 11 hours of media daily. Delete that portion which does not carry ads---Netflix, PBS, etc.---and you get , say, 10 hours per day. In order for the typical person to be "exposed" to 4000 ads per day, that means that the ad-supported media---mainly TV and digital---are hitting their "viewers/users" with about 400 ads per hour. That seems a tad high, wouldn't you say? For example, in ad-cluttered TV, which captures roughly 5 of those 10 hours per day of our media time the norm is more like 30-40 commercials per hour. If that's true, the other media must really be socking ads to us big time----like 700-800 ads per hour. If that were really the case no advertiser in his/her right mind would consider anything but TV as those unfortunates who use other media are so benumbed by the barrage of ads coming at them second after second that adding a few more to promote your brand might not do much for your ROI. My point being, the real amount of ads a typical consumer is no where even near that 4000 per day number. As we report in our new "Cross Platform Dimensions 2019", the real figure is about a tenth the amount you cited and when you factor in some sort of noting or attentiveness metric, the number dwindles to about 150 ads per day.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 6, 2019 at 2:59 p.m.

    Correction: make that," the amount of ads a typical consumer GETS is no where even near that 4000 per day number", in the second to last sentence in my reply. Sigh! If only we had an editing opition ---Joe?

  3. Alex Hultgren from Quantum Storey, May 6, 2019 at 4:52 p.m.

    Ed, the figure I've seen cited in the past is 3,000-4,000 "brand exposures" a day, which includes not just advertsing but any logo (on clothing, on a storefront, etc) you encounter as well.  That seems a lot more likely to me.

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 6, 2019 at 5:24 p.m.

    Alex, the key word is "exposed". If you count anything resembling an ad or logo of any size and location that might possibly gain a measure of attention---but most don't---then you can really puff up the number. However, it has little or no significance since the average person isn't even aware of nor paying any attention to 90% or more of his/her "ad exposures". We keep going through this exercise with writer after writer giving the impression that consumers are innundated with ads when, in reality, most consumers have developed automatic defenses against ad and promotional clutter of an unwanted nature---like ad blockers for digital media or simply leaving the room during a lengthy TV break.

  5. Alex Hultgren from Quantum Storey, May 6, 2019 at 5:37 p.m.

    Ed, we are in agreement.  I'd take a single well-targeted, relevant ad for a prospecitve customer over 99 random logo slaps without targeting any day.  I think this acutally supports Kristen's original premise above, which is basically the more data you can use in channel planning, the better.  But to your point, whether the numbers seem inflated or not -- since consumers either tune-out or subconsciously dismiss so much of what they see anyway -- nothing beats a well-crafted, targeted message brought to life through a hyper-relevant media strategy.

  6. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 6, 2019 at 5:58 p.m.

    Agreed, Alex.

  7. Scott Howard from SCLOHO, May 7, 2019 at 10:14 a.m.

    Fortunately our brains screen out the advertising messages that are not relivent to us at the moment, at least at the conscious level.  So the number of messages, be it 40 or 400 doesn't matter.

    Furthermore, not all ad messages have equal impact even the ones we are aware of. It is impossible to know the best times and places to serve ads to reach an individual. Otherwise, the digital display ads that I am delivered AFTER I made a purchase would stop.

    At the very best, educated guesses are possible.

    What really needs to be considered is the enviroment in which the ad is delivered.  Is it a trustworthy source or questionable.  It's a deeper question, but one that I am able to discuss with my advertising clients with success.

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