What is media planning

The Media planning is essential in marketing. Because without a solid concept, advertising can not only bypass the target group, but above all, it can also be very expensive.

In the following, we explain to you what to look for in your Media planning should pay attention.

What is Media planning?

The Media planning is a central component of the advertising strategy, in which suitable media, advertising media and advertising material are selected to achieve the advertising goals. The focus is on using the transport of advertising messages to achieve the best possible advertising impact within a relevant target group.

Tasks and goals of media planning

As a company is developing your advertising strategy, sooner or later you have to decide which media should be used to transport your advertising messages. At that point comes the Media planning in the game. It deals with the question of which advertising media are best suited to achieve your advertising goals. The focus is on choosing a media mix that allows you to create a optimal advertising effect can build up.

The advertising strategy as a basis: media planning with a template

Media planning is by definition as an in the Advertising strategy see integrated process. Why this is so is obvious: With the development of your advertising strategy, you perform a comprehensive analysis of your company, the competition and the market as well as the resulting definition of your Communication goals, advertising messages, target groups and the budget groundbreaking preparatory work. On the basis of these central elements, you can then devote yourself to media planning in the true sense.

The phases of media planning

Essentially, your Media planning in three phases subdivide. It usually starts with the briefing phase, in which you make unfiltered considerations about the basic options with regard to advertising media and advertising material. In the next phase you analyze to what extent the ideas you have collected fit your concept and how they can be adapted to the relevant target groups. Building on this, you can define the media strategy and, in the third and final phase, make the final decision regarding the suitable media and measures.

The agony of media choice: What you should consider when looking for the right advertising medium

Finding the ideal advertising media is not that easy in view of the diverse media landscape. While advertising used to be spread over a manageable number of advertising media, there is now an almost limitless selection, not least because of the rapid growth in online media.

When researching the ideal media, you should therefore pay particular attention to three things:

The advertising medium should:

  1. Your Advertising messages be able to convey optimally,

  2. to their Corporate identity fit and

  3. from her target group can actually be used.

As a rule, the selection of suitable media takes place according to a two-stage selection process: While possible advertising media groups (e.g. print, radio, television, Internet) are determined in the intermediate selection, specific advertising media are determined in the intramedia selection
(e.g. newspaper, TV show, social media platform) are selected within these groups, which are then coordinated and combined with one another.

Net reach and other important KPIs for media control

Because media planning is particularly about using your advertising budget as efficiently as possible, various criteria such as costs, reach or flexibility of the advertising medium (for example, with regard to placement options, broadcast times, scalability of the advertising material) are included in the decision.

Both during the Media planningHowever, at the latest when you are evaluating your measures and media, essential findings can be gained from qualitative and quantitative key figures. Important KPIs for media planning are, for example:

Gross range:

Sum of all contacts that are reached in the course of a campaign via one or more advertising media.

Net range:

Number of people reached without multiple contacts through different advertising media.

OTS (Opportunities to See) / OTC (Opportunities to Contact):

Number of people who are likely to see the advertisement / will be contacted via the advertisement.

GRP (Gross Rating Product):

Percentage ratio between target group size and contacts.

CPM (thousand contact price):

Average cost per 1,000 contacts.

CTR (Click Through Rate):

Percentage ratio between impressions and clicks in online advertising.

Conversion rate:

Percentage of actions carried out due to online advertising (e.g. download, registration for the newsletter, purchase in the online shop, etc.).

Checklist for your media planning: Examples of the questions to be clarified

In the course of your media planning, you should have found answers to the following important questions:

Advertising medium

  • Which advertising media groups are best suited to reach the target group with the lowest possible coverage loss?

  • Which specific advertising media from these groups should be used?

  • Which media mix is ‚Äč‚Äčoptimal to convey the advertising messages across the board?

Advertising Materials

  • Which advertising media (e.g. advertisements, outdoor advertising, flyers, TV spots, etc.) are suitable for the relevant media?

  • Which advertising media can best be used to convey the messages and advertising content?

  • In what form and to what extent (e.g. size of the ad, length of the spot, etc.) should this advertising material be used?

  • How does the design of the advertising material have to look, on the one hand to correspond to the appearance of the company and on the other hand to trigger the desired reaction in the target group?

Advertising print

  • How many advertising contacts should the target group be made on average?

  • How often should the advertising be seen by the target group?

  • In what period should you advertise?

  • In which area should the advertising be distributed?

  • What is the best time to get the adverts?


  • What budget is available or what budget is required?

  • How can the best possible result be achieved with the budget?

  • How should the budget be distributed among the various advertising media?

  • What happens if the budget is exceeded? (e.g. adjust advertising goals, change media strategy, change advertising medium, etc.)

The large number of media nowadays opens up a wide range of opportunities for companies in marketing and advertising. At the same time, the selection of an adequate solution to achieve the advertising goals can also become a challenge. With systematic media planning, you create the basis for achieving the best possible result within your advertising budget.

Cover picture: xy / getty images

Originally published July 16, 2020, updated July 28, 2020

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