Advertising planning
Updated: 2023-05-05

Advertising planning can improve the results of an advertising campaign by a factor of several or even tens of times. Although it is quite common to find that advertising is not planned, but bought on the basis of subjective "data" of one's own or others' opinions. In contrast, advertising planning is based on objective data and formulas. Every planning action is based on data, formulas and patterns. The Internet has added new challenges, and even two new planning principles have emerged. It is safe to say that the Internet has revolutionized advertising planning, not only on the Internet but has also opened up new opportunities in the classical media.

Objectives of advertising planning

There are usually three main objectives when planning advertising. These are to identify the target group as accurately as possible by linking it to purchases, and to reach it as widely as possible (Reach) at the lowest possible cost. It also looks at the quality of the advertising, recall, engagement and frequency of viewing. All these indicators are usually closely linked to each other.

Principles of advertising planning

The principles of advertising planning are different from the target data used in research and planning. In the early twentieth century, advertising planning began to use socio-demographic data. Planning is still based on the assumption that certain social groups are more active users of certain goods and services. This approach continues to be used in the measurement of television, print and radio advertising. This archaic approach remains in the planning of some online formats such as premium banner broadcasting. A major drawback of socio-demographic planning is that the target group is also planned using the assumption that the small group of people being studied is an accurate representation of the population as a whole.

On the web, 2 new principles of target group data and use are evolving in parallel and somewhat intermittently. The use of contextual algorithms in advertising planning has so far provided incredible accuracy. The best-known and most commonly used is the Google search algorithm. The algorithm manages natural search, Google Ads. A similar principle is at work in YouTube and Amazon results. Google Adsense's display advertising network is contextual. However, it does not have the same semantic precision as search algorithms because it also includes key phrases from adjacent blocks. Integration into specific content on niche classified information portals - the so-called native advertising format - also delivers the highest results.

The principle of contextual advertising is based on the consumer need and the key phrases that reveal it. The target group can be safely described as buyers. The presentation of advertising is designed for each buyer, not to make assumptions, but to hit the buyer very precisely.

The second new principle of advertising planning is behavioural algorithms that deliver advertising to each member of the target group. However, this principle is based on the assumption that a person with a certain behaviour can be a buyer of a certain product. Accordingly, it is much less accurate than the contextual principle. These include advertising networks and planning platforms such as "Digital Matter" and "Adform". Behavioural planning is also used by social network algorithms. For example, YouTube provides results both contextually (Youtube search) and behaviourally (recommended movies).

Principle of planning






Highest precision, no assumptions, advertising targeted to the specific buyer

A limited number of positions

More positions can be added using different formats

Visitor simulation programmes


Advertising targeted at a specific buyer

Only assuming that the behaviour is related to the purchase

Accuracy may increase when combined with contextual and historical data

Visitor simulation programmes


Suitable for very large socio-demographic target groups

All planning is based on assumptions




Planning online advertising

Online planning may seem elementary, but there are many options and a professional planner can find the best price. Many people outsource planning to planning platforms. This makes the job easier for the planning agency, but does not guarantee the best results for the advertiser. It is simply not possible to incorporate many formats into planning platforms.

Content formats are the most effective formats today. There are possibilities to integrate content into advertising blocks, but natural integration formats are much more effective. This is where high-quality content (articles and films) is created specifically for the advertiser and the product integrates naturally into the content.

The consumer data needed for advertising planning is also not yet linked to the planning platforms. However, specialized ( niche) websites have all the data that allow them to calculate the effect of future content broadcasting before the campaign. As with everything on the internet, a few details are important for planning:

  • Visitor flow, which can be deduced by examining the history, predicts the potential flow of specific content from the size of an area's audience.

Data for internet advertising planning

The most accurate data on visitor traffic comes from Google tools. Historical content data is shown by Google Analytics. It is also possible to see the quality of existing content in terms of engagement, i.e. in time. This data can be used to predict the traffic of similar content on other websites.

Content traffic prediction

The most accurate way to predict traffic for new content is to combine data from Google Search Console, Google Ads Keyword Planner, and Ahrefs, or a similar application. These tools show how many Google searches there are. By estimating the potential click-through rate, it is possible to calculate what the traffic will be.

  • The cost per viewer can be easily calculated by knowing the number of people reached and the budget. The cost per person reached is the true cost of advertising. Many people confuse budget with cost. The cost of advertising is calculated:

Cost of advertising = Budget/amount of advertising clicks achieved.

There are still questions about what clicks are considered valuable. IT-savvy professionals have a limited view of the value of a click that comes to an advertiser's website. Meanwhile, an advertiser, like a more knowledgeable advertiser, understands that it is just as possible to influence a customer on one's own website as it is on someone else's website. On a foreign website (a specialised/private portal), the effect may even be greater because the recommendation is to buy the product from outside.

  • Reach is quite difficult to calculate in context-based formats. Google does not provide data on audience overlap. It is possible to calculate using the Sainsbury formula. Again, for an IT-minded professional, understanding is usually limited to putting one or max two links in a Google search. In the mindset of an advertiser, it is important that the advertisement reaches 60 to 70 percent of customers. This can only be achieved in a multi-channel campaign.


Example of campaigns run by IKS DIGITAL. The client is brought up in a Google search with 4 links marked with blue arrows. Three links in natural search with three different portals and different articles. One more link was pulled up with a Youtube channel.  An additional one can be retrieved using Google ADS. This makes it relatively easy to get 60 to 70 percent of the buyers in a specific area. Such campaigns also ensure dominance in the real sales market.


Behavioural algorithms are fraught with uncertainties that hinder planning and even evaluation of results. Influencer advertising is more suited to behavioural algorithms, as dissemination depends largely on subscribers. And social networking algorithms are very unclear about the distribution of impressions to influencer subscribers.


Facebook's advertising algorithm is also largely based on behaviour, interests and partly on contextual data. It is likely that the algorithm is reacting to retargeting advertising.  Good click-through rates can be obtained for some products.

  • Contact quality is measured by looking at the amount of time spent on advertising and the percentage of conversions to purchases. It is easy to measure the effectiveness of the content based on the time spent on the content. Often this time is even longer than the time spent on the advertiser's website. Time engagement is important in image campaigns and conversion rate in purchase promotion. However, unlike traditional media, the Internet fully combines simultaneous image and sales campaigns. The creative part of the campaigns varies, as do the advertising formats used.

Online advertising is planned with these four factors in mind. You can read more about online advertising prices and plan in the article "Planning online advertising". For more on Google advertising, see the article "Google advertising".

Working with contextual algorithms linked to Google/YouTube can provide accurate reports.



The reports IKS Digital provides to its clients pull together data from all the portals and YouTube channels involved in the campaign. It includes Google Analytics data, visitor numbers, and time spent on content. More accurate reports showing visitor behavior in the content are available.

Advertising planning on television

Television is now planned according to the socio-demographic characteristics of the audience. With the current precision in planning internet campaigns, it is clear that planning based on socio-demographics seems completely archaic. However, there are many products that are of interest to huge audiences and advertising on TV is much more effective than on the Internet. Especially in the areas of image building and reinforcement, and promotions.

The currency adopted in television is the GRP ( Gross Rate Point) - rating. 1 GRP is 1 percent of the country's population. There is a GRP price that varies according to the time of broadcasting. The price is lower during the day. I have come across attempts to make campaigns cheaper by buying cheaper GRPs. However, this is not a good solution for many products as the reach is limited at this time.

Rather, reach is increased by using multiple TV channels. Scheduling programmes allow you to see the overlap of advertising broadcasts.

1 second GRP sold, multiplied by the length of the clip.

As TV and the internet merge, it is quite likely that planning and performance data will expand.

Radio advertising planning

Radio advertising data is rather inaccurate. However, planning does not require much of it. The available data allow us to see the main radio channels. The most popular times are also very clear and depend on the car traffic.

Press advertising planning

The press has lost ground significantly over the last decade. However, print should not be underestimated as a place for advertising. When advertising in the media is reduced, the perception of the remaining advertising increases significantly.

Outdoor advertising planning

Examples of outdoor advertising include billboards, bus shelters, kiosks and transport advertising. Outdoor advertising is planned according to the flow of passing cars, people passing by or people using public transport.

Advertising planning through behavioural analysis

One of the oldest methods of advertising planning is to study the behavior of the target group. The daily routines of several members of the target group during working days and holidays are analyzed. It looks at how they behave between the time they get up in the morning and when they go to bed at night. The media they may have encountered during the day and the extent to which they may have paid attention to it is explored.

Planning advertising by imitating others

It is common to see advertising planned by copying other advertising campaigns. I would say that this betrays a lack of confidence in the advertiser's representative or the agency serving them. The consequences are clearly visible. As a rule, everyone is busy with advertising in December. It is an old mistake. You can understand when you advertise gifts and herring in December. But it is completely incomprehensible when furniture makers, car dealers join in the noise. Whereas in January, when the advertising noise has died down considerably, it would be possible to get a tens of percent better result just by increasing recall due to the lower volume of advertising.

How to choose an advertising planner

Advertising planning depends to a large extent on the amount of data available, its accuracy, and the qualifications of the planner. It is not so much the reputation of the planning agency that matters, but the individual planner. But again, if the agency is weak, it will not have the data needed for planning. Only the internet offers more opportunities, although not everyone has access to accurate data.

IKS Digital has the most detailed data on consumer behaviour on the internet. Every month it sees the behavior of around 300,000 web visitors and has data on the popularity of 100,000+ key phrases. Hundreds of online content campaigns have been planned and executed, working with dozens of international clients.

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