What’s the best thing about digital? You can measure everything. What’s the worst thing about digital? You can measure everything!

We have all sat in one of those digital strategy sessions where, in the space of three minutes, the perilous consulting pearl of non-wisdom arises. “I think it’s a case of leveraging programmatic, so that we can achieve a lower CPM drive down the CPC with a great CTR…”

At this point you and the whole room dies.

The problem is that both company and consultancy focus on everything because they can put metrics to everything. This leads to bottom up planning 99% of the time. It engenders campaign thinking that lacks the one thing it desperately needs, namely a clear purpose and clear understanding of who the target audience is.

Don’t get us wrong. Traditional media can suffer from the same fate in strategy but the simplicity of audience definition, reach and frequency planning can make a much better digital media plan.

Here are some points that we find helpful in digital media planning

Start broad: Who is the audience?

Don’t get into talking about placements such as, “this would be great on Wheels24”, in the case of an automotive brand. Think more broadly. Who buys luxury SUVs? People who have money; who hang out at nice restaurants and drink coffee; people who travel, possibly enjoy wine and cognac, and so on.

Get real: People don’t just go to a handful of sites.

They check emails and follow consumer news and entertainment, use social media and apps. The point is that they hang out in lots of digital places and you probably cannot predict what specific sites they use. It just does not work like that.

Focus on reach and frequency: The old theory of frequency is no different in digital.

If I get a consumer to hear or see my message three or four times, over a sensible period of time, there is more chance of them moving down the funnel from awareness to showing some form of intent. Defining your total audience size and then your desired frequency is the best place to start planning what budget you need, in order for your strategy to get the job done.

This last point is essential.

Digital still gets the scraps of the marketing budget. To plan around a budget of
R30 000 when the job at hand would require R300 000 is why people often feel
that digital is failing and hence, the perpetual cycle of digital getting the budget
scraps continues.

The point though is to plan from the top down and to avoid getting stuck in the
CPV, CPEs and CPMs.

Keep it simple with a sensible objective and audience-driven media planning.

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