How to optimise every step of the media planning process

Author: ronny

Published: 27th January 2023


Single-source data enables media planners to improve every step of the planning process.

In previous posts, we saw how single-source data enables brands to define their target audience by behaviour instead of by their demographics, revealing what they are watching on TV and doing online and enriching the understanding of the audience and where to reach them.

Now, we’re going to explore best practices  on how to use this  data for planning.

TV Planning

When approaching TV, media planners should ask themselves the following questions:

  • Where does my target audience spend their time?

Where the audience spends their time is always the starting point – if the target audience watches twice as much ITV than Sky channels, this should be reflected in the allocation.

  • What is the index of the target audience in each medium?It is not enough to know where the target audience spends their time, you also need to understand the index of the target audience in the relevant channel or programme (e.g. how easy it is to reach the audience on the specific channel). For example, if a specific channel has a high viewing time but a low index, it is probably not the right place to advertise. This is because the chance to find the target audience in this channel is lower thus resulting in higher costs
  • What can I learn from detailed performance data on previous campaigns? How about from competitors’ campaigns?You should also look at which channels, dayparts, creatives and programmes drove sales or other actions, and which didn’t. This data can be used to refine the budget allocation based on the time spent in each channel. Also, turn towards your competitors. Look for what worked and what did not work for them. This is especially interesting if the competition used channels or dayparts that were never used by your brand.


The first decision any TV planner needs to take is how to allocate the budget across different sales houses, and these questions can help bring a strategic approach to this process.When looking at the past performance of the different sales houses, though, it is important to remember that while this can give some indication of the budget allocation, it is only a partial picture. The reason is that the actual cost of the sales house is largely dependent on the channel and daypart allocation and a different allocation can change the cost dramatically. As a result, it is considered best practice to go beyond the cost per response of each sales house and look at the cost per response for the specific channels and dayparts to optimise the budget allocation.

After allocating the budgets to the different sales houses, media planners should use the above data to create the brief for each sales house and make sure they get the right channel mix, dayparts, and programmes.

Planners can also use the below heatmap to see the index of their target audience in every channel and daypart. This is especially important to identify new channels which do not have past performance data.

This heat map shows the index of the target audience for every channel and daypart – naturally, it is best to advertise in places where the index is higher than 1.

Online Media Planning

Turning to online media, single-source data can provide similar invaluable insights for planners, including:

  • Which social media, VOD, sites and apps does my target audience spend their time on? In the same way, you can use this data to plan your TV campaign, it can be used to allocate budgets to the different online channels.
  • Indices – what is the index of my target audience in each online channel?

By understanding where your target audience spends their time and what their index is in each channel, you can improve your online campaign while also reaching your audience in the best possible places. Furthermore, by understanding the interests of the target audience through analysing their behaviour, planners can improve their social targeting.

Finally, you can use the single-source audiences to create seed audiences, using  them, through lookalike models, for your online advertising.

Single-source data can improve both TV and online media planning, and make sure brands spend their money in the best possible places.