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Media planning

Media planning is the development of media objectives, strategies and plans on behalf of a brand. It aims to ensure the intended message is received by the target audience. It determines the best combination of media to achieve this with the available budget, considering the reach and strengths of the various media. It also guides the effective and efficient use of each medium by outlining, for example, the frequency, continuity, format and placement of ads.

Key Reading

Important papers from across the Warc database

This article describes nine challenges that media planners must address when planning communications campaigns. These include the need to solve business problems rather than communications briefs, creating useful strategy tools and integrating big data into the planning process.
Why the future of comms planning lies in creating value for people rather than preying on their time.
How using a combination of ad lengths, when done well, can work best of all for TV campaigns.
Five lessons from anthropology that could help media planners find the most effective context.
This report explores how advertisers can maximise frequency for online ads whilst minimising annoyance.

Case Study

This case study shows how Newsworks, the marketing body for national newspapers, demonstrated that when people view advertised brands within a familiar or loved media context, they form a positive impression of the advertised brand, and the effect is stronger when the relationship is deep.

Case Study

This article describes how the Guardian, the UK newspaper group, developed a cross-media planning tool to encourage advertisers to use a broader range of its platforms.

Case Study

This case study describes how AXE body spray used mobile behavioural data and multi-screen behaviour as a guide to capture its Taiwanese core target audience accurately, and serve them with relevant tailored messages to trigger their interest in the brand.
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This article explores how programmatic can be more than a way to serve ads: it can enhance the customer experience if the dynamic capabilities of adtech are combined with meaningful creative.


This report provides evidence of how advertising - with an estimated global spend of $542 billion in 2016 - plays a crucial role in driving national economies and generating growth.


This article advises on how brands can adapt television commercials (TVCs) to create effective and engaging mobile content.


This paper explains how brands can engage with consumers in a complex media landscape, arguing that they need to stay rooted in the real lives of their consumers.


This article looks at global television adspend, which is expected to fall 2.5% to US$197bn in 2017, due in part to contraction in two of the three largest markets: the US and China.


This article outlines how electric vehicle brands such as Nissan and Toyota are raising the game in automotive advertising, using new technologies and innovative approaches.
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  1. Article

    This report looks at the trends and technologies that are set to become more important and relevant to marketers in 2017 including live video, VR and AR, web TV and chatbots.

  2. Article

    This article, taken from the Warc Toolkit 2017 report, discusses how to achieve marketing effectiveness in the digital age by striking the right balance between close targeting and mass reach, and between short- and long-term strategies.

  3. Article

    This exclusive report analyses the most effective social media campaigns, including an in-depth review of how social strategy drives effectiveness and practical suggestions for other brands to follow.

  4. Article

    This report explores excellence in connection strategy, channel analysis and measurement, by studying the entries to the 2015 Warc Prize for Connection Strategy.

  5. Article

    This article provides marketers with information and guidance about combining TV and digital media strategies.

  6. Article

    This article, taken from the Warc Toolkit 2016 report, looks at growing interest by marketers in identifying and targeting 'moments'.

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