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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 examines how the marketing industry has been affected by digital technologies, and particularly how social has been employed.

Case Study

This article summarises comments from the judges of the Warc Prize for Social Strategy on the case studies that received special awards.

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 reports on how location data can provide insight into the purchase habits of millennials, with examples from five APAC markets (Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore).


This event report explores two aspects of targeting consumers, whether it ought to be used sparingly with a priority for reaching new consumers, or whether budgetary restrictions demand a more careful strategy, one that seeks engagement.


This paper provides a best practice guide to applying segmentation to a media strategy, which enables marketers to increase the relevance of communications by delivering the right message or content to the desired target audience.


This article provides marketers with information and guidance about how to deal with the effects of advertising clutter.


This article provides marketers with information and guidance about the effective positioning of TV ads.
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  1. Article

    This report reveals the trends and lessons from the 2016 IPA Effectiveness Awards, analysing what differentiated the winners from the rest of the entries.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Article

    This report discusses Marketing in the Digital Age, a new work looking into the causes of marketing effectiveness from Les Binet and Peter Field.

  6. Article

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

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