Flighting The Internet

When our planning teams develop a media recommendation, there is a list of key elements that need to be considered prior to the final presentation and one of the most important elements is Flighting. How a campaign is Flighted is crucial when planning to maximize exposure during the decision cycle of a target. The more relevant on a time of day, day of week or week of year is crucial to ensuring the optimal ROI and reducing the waste against users who may not fit into your target audience.

There are two unique Flights that are becoming more and more apparent as the Internet continues to be incorporated into integrated media plans:

  • The "PrimeTime" for the web is 11am-3pm.
  • The only Seasonality for the web appears to be a decrease around Holidays.

    The fact that Work Surfing is the web's Primetime is not a surprise as many studies have recently confirmed this point. What is of interest in my mind is whether this will shift as more and more people begin to get broadband access at home. The primary reason that the At-Work Daypart is so strong currently is because people take advantage of their fast connection at work. If the playing field were equal, would the workforce still be responsible for the majority of web surfing or will it transition to a leisure activity at home? I know from my own point of view that the fast connection at home, which is always live, has changed the way that I utilize the web. I certainly have the computer in front of me when I am watching TV, which is something I never did in the past.



    The second Flighting element that I find interesting is that the Seasonality of the calendar year appears to be overtaken by the continued growth of the Internet. In the old days there was a definite slow-down in the summer months as well as around key holidays, but this year it seems that the summer period is not demonstrating as much of a decrease as in years past, which would seem to suggest that consumers are using the Internet more than ever before, and for more varied uses.

    The largest decrease in traffic does happen around the holidays. This past July 4th we saw a drop in traffic that was significant and every year at Christmas time there is a drop off for a couple of days as well, but things always bounce right back on the first work day after the holiday.

    What do these Flighting anomalies represent to an online media planner? First of all, they should represent effects on a client's budget. So far it seems that most clients are increasing budgets and not worrying too much about seasonality. This can lead to ineffective campaigns in the short term that skew the longer-term results. Incorporating some seasonality into your plan should increase the efficiencies of the buy that you are developing. An added benefit is that due to the inefficiencies in some of the ad management tools that the publishers use, your campaign may just get bonus activity during that period as it is easier for the publisher to keep running the ads than it is for them to take it down for a week.

    Possibly one of the more important things to consider when analyzing the Flighting of a campaign or the seasonality of usage of the Internet is whether these factors will change over time? Will the continued growth of the Internet start to see a slow down any time soon and if so, what affect will this have on the planning cycle? My theory is that we will indeed see an eventual seasonality with the summer showing a slight decrease, as well as a possible shift in the dayparting. It is possible that as broadband becomes more integrated into the home usage, the daypart will shift to later.

    Just some thoughts, what do you think?

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