Your company just finished developing an advertising campaign. You’re excited to roll it out to the market, but where do you start? Informed media buying and placement is a reliable process that allows organizations to execute their campaign through traditional and online channels. But, how do you go about building a plan and how do you know if it’s effective?

During the media buying process, your goal is to choose cost-effective media that will give your organization the most exposure within your target market with the maximum impact for your budget. When I first started my career, I realized that the industry has a jargon all its own to help evaluate all of the media options that are available to build a successful plan. The unique array of terms like impressions, reach, frequency, gross rating points, cost per point and CPM are logical to media professionals but baffling to those outside the industry. I knew these numbers were helpful in the evaluation process, but it did take me a while to learn what they all meant.

Fortunately, there are many educational and informational resources available.  Two that I used early on were Nielsen Media Research and TVB Local Media Marketing Solutions. By utilizing the information on both of these sites, I was able to create a “cheat sheet” of terms that I used on an ongoing basis. I also made a practice (and still do!) of evaluating trends in the marketplace and establishing baselines that I want my media plans to accomplish.

When building your own plan, don’t hesitate to utilize research that is available as well as contact a sales representative at the media outlets you are considering. Sales reps are obviously happy to walk their clients through a recommended schedule and decode how the numbers relate to the buy. However, be aware that they’re prone to presenting the numbers in ways that favor their outlet, so ask plenty of questions and normalize the data for the purposes of your specific campaign at hand.   

Here are some of the fundamental traditional media measures that are important in media planning and buying:

Impressions: Number of homes or individuals exposed to an advertisement or group of advertisements.

Reach: The unduplicated number of individuals or households exposed to an advertising medium at least once during the average week for a reported time period.

Frequency: The number of times that an average audience member sees or hears an advertisement or number of times that an individual or household is exposed to an advertisement or campaign.

Gross Rating Points (GRP): The total number of broadcast rating points delivered by an advertiser’s television schedule, usually in a one-week period.

Cost Per Point (CPP):  The cost your company will pay to buy one rating point, or on percent of the target population.

Cost Per Mille (CPM): Refers to the cost you will pay for every thousand people that will see your ad. While these numbers are important during the planning and buying process, they also provide a way to measure the success of your campaign. Therefore, ask your sales rep for a performance report once the campaign has finished.

This past summer, EVR produced and placed a TV ad campaign for the New Hampshire Association of Realtors. The objective of their campaign was to increase awareness and elevate brand image across the state. Upon completion of the campaign, we created and submitted a comprehensive report on the metrics and impact of project.  This report not only helped the agency and the client evaluate the success of the campaign this summer, it also provided comparisons to campaigns executed in previous years.