Digital Media Planning Needs More Than Intuition, Demographics and Engagement Data

Apr 12, 2024 | Audience Intelligence

In today’s rapidly evolving landscape, marketers and media planners have more channels, mediums, and platforms to engage their buyers, yet, reaching them is more difficult than ever. Do you invest in traditional media outlets that are no longer the once fail-proof source of revenue, or do you look towards social channels, influencers, and podcasts?

What’s ironic is that all of this comes at a time when consumers are more glued to their screens than ever before—upwards of 6 hours a day for the average American.

So what’s a marketer to do? There is a solution to today’s digital media planning challenges—and in this blog we’ll break down:

The problem with digital media planning today
What a diversified media plan should look like
The critical data needed to inform your media plan
How to select media channels and influencers based on where they engage

The problem with digital media planning today

Before the explosion of social and other emerging channels such as podcasts and CTV, media planning was relatively straightforward. The channels your target audience engaged were limited to more traditional avenues such as TV, radio, print, websites, and blogs. Today, media consumption has become incredibly nuanced and oftentimes, unpredictable. There are so many emerging channels to keep up with from social and influencers, to podcasts and streaming services.

The explosion of new technologies and platforms has transformed the way that audiences consume media. Combine that with the fact that marketers still rely on media kits, which predominantly focus on demographics and vanity metrics, it becomes evident why marketers today face significantly more challenges when it comes to planning.

What a diversified digital media plan should look like

A successful digital media planning strategy in 2024 means more diversity in where you spend your dollars and your time. It also means creating channel specific strategies and investing more dollars based on which channels your audience frequents most.

Here are some diversification tips for paid, owned, and earned strategy to get you started:

  1. Paid strategy: You need to implement a cross-channel ad buying strategy on all the channels your audience frequents. This could include social media, podcasts, streaming services, media outlets and influencers. Leave no stone unturned. Understand where your audience is, and diversify the ways you reach them through a multitude of channels.
  2. Owned strategy: Having a robust blog and social posting strategy is key to digital media planning in 2024. Something to note? Your social strategy must be channel-specific. This means creating content specifically for that channel, rather than posting the same content on every channel. How audiences engage with different platforms varies, and your strategy needs to feel native to that platform to be effective.
  3. Earned strategy: Connections go far these days. People want to buy from people rather than brands. Try to build an ecosystem of referrals through connecting and engaging with your target audience. Encourage referrals through incentives. Take note of the influencers organically speaking about your brand and create a relationship with them. Identify blogs, websites and publications that align with your brand and offering, pitching content that can be placed on their site, linking back to your’s. In today’s oversaturated markets, seeking and finding those individuals and partners willing to talk about your brand organically is key.

The critical data needed to inform your media plan

While a diversified media plan is key, getting started can feel daunting. But before you commit to expensive media placements and influencer partnerships, you need to make sure you’re taking an audience-first approach. An approach where you start by truly understanding your audience and where they engage to inform how you reach them. And while this approach might seem easier said than done, with self-declared social audience data it is.

Self-declared social audience data is critical to understanding with whom and where your audience engages. This data is the collection of information people publicly share across their social profiles, enabling you to understand their key interests, preferences and affinities.

How to select media channels and influencers based on where they engage

When you have the right data and tool in hand, taking an audience-first approach to your media strategy is easy. That’s where social audience insights platform, Silhouette™, comes into play.

Silhouette helps you identify your existing, ideal, or even competitor’s audience, to then inform the media channels and influencers they engage with for highly targeted investments. Here’s how:

1. Consumer Insights

The mother of all consumer insights? Self-declared data. Silhouette’s patented insights are based on a person’s self-declared:

  • Interests
  • Affinities
  • Media consumption
  • Influencer engagement

Silhouette takes the guesswork out of target audiences. You gain a holistic view of who your audience is, and what matters to them most based on what they publicly share across the major social channels they frequent.

Gaining access to an audience insights tool like Silhouette is essential to driving purchase decisions in this rapidly evolving media landscape.

2. Channel Partners

Half the battle is just knowing who your audience is, but knowing where they consume their content?That’s the other half. Many marketers mistakenly turn to intuition, media kits, demographics and engagement data to inform where to spend their marketing dollars, but it’s not always effective.

Media preferences for digital media planning

Silhouette gives you insights into which media channels and influencers your ideal customer profile engages with most. The best part? You’ll discover not just the mainstream outlets and channels they engage with, but even the niche podcasts, websites, and TV shows your audience enjoys.

This will not only ensure you’re maximizing the ROI of your media spend, but will help you to keep an eye on any shifts in channel preferences. As new brands, media channels, and influencers emerge, audience preferences in Silhouette evolve.

3. Influencer Validation

Regardless if you’re a SaaS or DTC brand, finding brand champions that will boast about your products or services is key to growth. Like media preferences, Silhouette can help reveal influencers and content creators that will move the needle most for your business, or validate an existing or potential partner to ensure you’re reaching your audience effectively.

Instead of surfacing influencer recommendations based on follower counts and engagement data, Silhouette surfaces influencers based on who your audience already engages with and trusts. You can even do a deep dive, analyzing how key interests and media preferences differ between your audience and an influencer’s.

Influencer insights for digital media planning

Final Thoughts: Your Audience Has Evolved, And So Should Your Approach to Digital Media Planning

The advertising industry likes to blame fickle audiences for their media planning challenges. But the reality is, marketers are too stuck in their ways. Using the same media planning blueprint from a decade ago isn’t going to cut it any more.

Looking to finally take an audience-first approach to your digital media planning? Check out the following offers and resources:

> Request a free sample report and discover your audience’s preferred media channels and influencers with a member of our team

> Check out our on-demand webinar with Ad Age: Transform influencer programs and media planning with an audience-first approach

> Learn more about Silhouette

> Discover what others are saying about Silhouette on G2



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