Create Media Plans for Campaigns and Set Performance Goals

In marketing, campaigns also require planning for the best outcomes. There are many software tools to manage these types of campaigns and help monitor their performance to help you achieve your goal.

Media plans and performance goals

In marketing, media plans help people understand what’s in a marketing campaign before it’s run. Media plans have requirements like number of impressions and number of clicks, that should be met when a campaign is run. The number of impression is how many times an ad is displayed, and the number of clicks measures responses. These are examples of performance goals.

A performance goal is a target that has a measurable numeric value. Performance goals can apply to marketing goals or specific campaigns in a media plan. When performance goals apply to marketing goals, they are sometime called marketing objectives.

The most important performance goal for an ad campaign is return on ad spend, often called ROAS. Return on Ad spent is a performance goal that you’ll often include in media plans.

What is media planning?

Media plan contains details about where, when, and how often an ad will appear across all media channels including radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, paid search, and social media.

When you create a digital media plan, you’ll need to consider who your target audience is. You’ll also need to consider how much you spend or the budget, which channels get how much of your budget, the media mix, how long the campaign will run, or the duration. You’ll need to figure out the key performance indicators, or KPIs, and the performance goals and metrics you’ll use to measure how you’re reaching the targeted performance.

Performance goals are created from business and marketing goals and KPIs.

A business goal is a desired aim, achievement, or outcome for a business. Examples of business goals include growing revenue, increasing profit, gaining market share, and improving customer service.

A marketing goal is a specific objective in a marketing plan or strategy that supports a business goal. Examples of marketing goals include raising brand awareness, increasing web traffic, generating new leads, and increasing customer value.

A key performance indicator, or KPI, is a measurement used to gauge how successful a business is in its effort to reach a business or marketing goal. Since KPIs are numeric, they often serve as performance targets for marketing goals. However, because they aren’t specific enough for individual campaigns, you normally would create an additional performance goal for each campaign.

When you create performance goals for campaigns, they should factor into a performance measurement for an overall marketing goal. If there is good alignment, campaign-level performance goals should leap back to a marketing goal and even to a relevant business goal.

Let’s walk through an example.

Suppose a business goal is to grow revenue is a priority. You might hear that your organization has been given a green light to move ahead with plans to grow revenue. A marketing goal that provides direction and supports the business goal could be a targeted marketing effort across a mix of media. A ROAS performance goal may be set at this level. If you’re working on three digital ad campaigns as part of the marketing plan, you could set a performance goal for each campaign.

As you monitor the ROAS for each channel, your measurements would contribute towards meeting the ROAS set for the overall marketing effort. Up until now, ROAS has been referred to as a number, but without an actual value assigned.

ROAS = (Number of Units Sold x Cost Per Unit) / Ad Spend

If it costs $80 in advertising to sell three units of a $100 product, the ROAS is 3.75. For every dollar they spend on advertising, they make $3.75. ROAS is often reported as a ratio or percentage or number.

If the business goal is to grow revenue by 10 percent and a 5:1 ROAS has been set for the marketing goal, you can assign individual ROAS targets for each channel. For example, you could start with a 3:1 ROAS for search ads, a 4:1 ROAS for display ads, and a 2:1 ROAS for social media ads. People typically use results from previous campaigns to help set ROAS targets for a new campaign.

A common choice is to set the ROAS to the same or slightly below the value achieved in previous campaigns. If historical data isn’t available, you can make your best estimate and adjust the target after you view some of the initial metrics from the campaign. Dynamic changes are allowed. The relationship between performance metrics and marketing goals demonstrates why it’s important to include performance goals in digital media plans.

Steps for media planning

The media plan includes the target audience, budget, media mix, duration, KPIs, and performance goals and metrics.

Target audience

A target audience is the group of people most likely to purchase the products or services being advertised. Sometimes, a target audience is defined by a combination of customer personas that help marketers determine how to reach people using the right messages, offers, and products. A digital media plan should leverage customer personas as much as possible. A digital media plan can also include audience demographics, such as age, income, devices used, and preferred media for the content consumed. However, demographic information might not be available from all customer personas.

Purpose: A target audience is documented in a digital media plan for purely economic and strategic reasons. You want to spend a limited campaign budget on the people most likely to make a purchase.


Campaigns usually have a fixed budget allocated from a larger marketing budget. Spending more than what is budgeted for a campaign often requires further justification and approval.

Purpose: A budget is documented in a media plan to help prevent over- or under-spending for a particular channel during a campaign.

Media mix

A media mix specifies how much of a budget will be spent across each media channel in a campaign. If actual amounts are unknown, you can specify percentages of the budget in the media mix. For example, you could assign $20,00, or 30% of the budget to social media. Either is acceptable in a media plan.

Purpose: A media mix is critical to a media plan because it enables the right content decisions to be made based on an allocated budget for any particular media channel.


Duration also referred to as flight, is the length of a campaign and is easy to document. But if you’re running a campaign using a pay-per-click (PPC) model, the duration becomes trickier because you’ll need to ensure your budget is sufficient for the entire duration of the campaign. For campaigns like these, duration is heavily influenced by the budget.

Purpose: Duration, or flight, in a digital media plan, specifies how long the campaign will run.

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

key performance indicator (KPI) is a measurement or metric used to gauge how successful a campaign is. It’s important to include KPIs for each media channel in a digital media plan so you can measure the success of a campaign at that level. For example, in another video lesson, you learned how each channel can have its return on ad spend, or ROAS, as a measure of success.

Purpose: KPIs in a media plan document how you will measure campaign success for each media channel.

Performance goals and metrics

A performance goal is a target that has a measurable, numeric value. Performance goals help define success. If metrics meet or exceed a performance goal during a campaign, the campaign is successful. Clickthrough rate (CTR), the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions, is a popular metric for ads.

Purpose: Including performance goals in a media plan allows you to consistently measure the performance and success of each media channel during a campaign.

Steps to create a digital media plan

Assuming that business and marketing goals have already been created, here are the general steps to create a digital media plan:

  1. Confirm business goals: Assuming that these have already been established, identify and confirm what they are.
  2. Confirm marketing goals: Assuming that these have already been created, identify and confirm what they are.
  3. Conduct market research: (Optional) If a target audience isn’t identified, market research can help you determine what it is. For example, market research can determine both customer personas and target audiences.
  4. Define campaign goals: Be clear on what the campaign should achieve. Campaign goals usually have a relationship with a higher-level marketing or business goal. For example, if sales growth needs to occur in a particular region, a campaign’s goal can be to increase brand awareness through ads directed at users in that region.
  5. Select the media channels: Media channels selected for a campaign should align with the media preferences of the target audience. A media mix can then be created after identifying which channels have the highest priority.
  6. Determine and document all media plan items: After you have determined the required items for a digital media plan, you can use a document or software media planning tools to help you create the plan.

A digital media plan contains details about where, when, and how often an ad will appear across digital media channels. Documenting KPIs and metrics for each channel is essential for measuring campaign success. Media planning can be achieved using documents or specialized media planning tools.


Happy learning and good luck!

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