Flip your media plan to understand what the hell you're doing

There was this guy who taught us tennis once and he was really good at hitting backhands. Will Starling is his name and he’s all about backhands. 

His theory is that a backhand is a more natural stroke than a forehand, (that’s if you hit the big bottom to top Roger Federer single hander and not the Agassi lycra bike pants in my shorts double hander)  it’s just habit that everyone walks on to a tennis court and hits forehands. Over time, you will get better at forehands just because you’ve hit more of them. My backhand is way better than my forehand because Will Starling used to make us hit backhands first and hit lots of them. 

When you think about or sketch up a media plan you probably do the same thing: TV, print, radio, outdoor….oh and then some digital. Over the years, you’ve probably got used to thinking and working this way so it’s not surprising that you feel more comfortable and proficient working with this type of plan. 

Trad media is the forehand of the media plan and digital is the backhand that everyone walks around and thinks they aren’t good at. 

The way to get better is to start with ‘digital’ and get more experience and practice. Split the generic ‘digital’ out a bit more and it will make more sense to you. For example if you look at the research below you can see they have split out online, search, directories and general advertising (online display, email marketing, integrated site content and online video). 

Of the main segments of the online advertising sector - online classifieds, search, directories, and general advertising (online display, email marketing, integrated site content and online video), search advertising grew 23% in 2013, online general advertising 12%, online classifieds 11% and online directories just 4%. Harpur adds, "From 2013 to 2018, the search market is expected to continue to outperform the other three major segments (online classifieds, online general and online directories), growing at a CAGR of 16%, its proportion of the total online search and directories market increasing from 83% in 2013 to 91% in 2018."

The fastest growing segments in the Australian online advertising market are mobile and online video and both segments are expected to outperform the market significantly over the next five years. Mobile advertising grew very strongly in 2013, driven by high consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets, as well as growing media agency acceptance of mobile channels. It is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 39% between 2013 and 2018 and video advertising is forecast to grow at 31%. By that time advertising served on tablets is predicted to account for 70% of overall mobile advertising expenditure, whilst adverts served on smartphones are predicted to account for 30%.Frost & Sullivan's report, The Australian Online Advertising Market: Year End Review and Market Outlook,

Marketers often have different agencies (or a combination of in-house and agency) working on different parts so you get four or five schedules and never see the complete picture with everything integrated. For your own understanding, pull the numbers out and put them into one spreadsheet so you can see the total activity and spend at a media mix level. Yes- media mix is still important. 

Christmas activity stops on 3 Dec uh oh

Just chunky big numbers, you don’t need all the placements and everything. If you think you don't have time for that just think about how much time you spent making sure the Christmas Creative was 'Christmassy' enough. Exactly. 

You’ll also notice you have overlap. The social media agency is serving display ads on Facebook that isn’t in your online display budget. The Creative you are using on taste.com.au can also be used on Twitter and Facebook. Why are you getting two versions developed? The more you fiddle around with your numbers you’ll start to find better ways of doing things and get more confident to ask questions and not just say yes to all the agency recommendations. Ban yourself from Creative fluffing around and editing and focus on the media and what it’s doing. 

More backhands and less forehands and you'll find digital a lot easier and more natural for you.