What is Media Planning? - Definition, Process & Examples

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  • 0:00 What Is Media Planning?
  • 0:14 The Process
  • 2:56 Examples
  • 5:06 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ashley Johns

Ashley has taught college business courses and has a master's degree in management.

There are so many types of media. Have you ever wondered how a company chooses? This lesson takes you through the process of media planning and looks at some examples.

What Is Media Planning?

You are creating advertising for a new product. To complete this task, you need to go through the media planning process. Media planning in advertising is the making of decisions to deliver a message to the target audience.

The Process

Now that you understand what media planning is, it is time to review the process. The process includes:

  • Market analysis
  • Establishing the media objective
  • Setting the strategy
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation and follow-up

Let's look at these steps in more detail.

Market Analysis

Performing a market analysis involves determining who your audience is. The audience is the number and type of people your advertising targets. The audience can be classified according to age, sex, income, occupation, etc. Performing this analysis will help you to project costs and determine the right media for your campaign.

Establishing the Media Objective

The media objective is the goal of the media plan. To establish this objective, you must determine your goal for reach, frequency, circulation, cost, and penetration. Reach is the amount of people the message is in front of over a period of time. Frequency is the average number of times the message is in front of those people. Circulation is used for printed advertisements. This is the number of prints that are produced and sent out. Cost is broken down into two different sections: cost per thousand (CPM) and cost per person (CPP). It is important to understand the cost as you are budgeting. The cost will tell you which form of media is the best option for your business. Penetration is the number of audience members reached by the advertising. The company must determine if it wants to take over a market or just reach a certain group prior to setting the penetration goals and strategies.

Setting the Strategy

Now that you understand who you are marketing to and how much it will cost you, you will need to make a decision about what type of media you will use. Some options include Internet, television, radio, newspaper, consumer and business publications, and interactive media platforms. Which option reaches the largest audience? How often will it reach the audience? Does it fit in your budget?


Now you have a plan. Now it's time to set it in motion. This is when you buy media. Media buying is the purchasing of the space in the selected media. This involves committing to the media provider, submitting the ad, and paying the bill. This is the exciting part. You see all your hard work come together.

Evaluation and Follow-up

After everything is said and done, it is time to see how successful your media plan was. To do so, you need to follow-up and evaluate the results. Ask yourself, 'Did we meet media objectives? How successful were the strategies?' The success of this media plan will determine future media plans.

Now that you understand the process, let's take a look at a few examples.


Example #1: You are promoting a new candy bar. This candy bar has nutrition that gives you energy. Therefore, the target audience is athletes.

Athletes are not usually lounging around watching television. They listen to a lot of radio. You've determined you can advertise through an online radio company that plays advertisements one time every ten minutes. You've set a goal (media objective) of getting your advertisements in front of 1,000 people (reach) per day (frequency). The number of advertisers is limited to six per station, so you are guaranteed once every hour (frequency). Their stations average 200 listeners per hour. With a cost of $1,000 per day, 4,800 listeners per day, you are paying $0.21 per person (CPP). This fits in your budget, so you implement the media plan.

After two weeks you evaluate the media plan. You successfully met your media objective of reaching at least 1,000 people per day. There was also a 20% increase in sales. You continue the campaign.

Example #2: You are hired to advertise an air-sanitizing bomb. This product has been on the market for a while but hasn't taken off. It needs advertising. The market analysis determines your audience should be schools and daycares. These businesses house a lot of germs!

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