Digital Marketing Best Practices


From start to finish, what is media planning and buying and what makes it successful?

Media planning and buying is the process of strategizing, negotiating, and purchasing ad placements, or "inventory." When planning what inventory to purchase, planners must take into consideration the product being advertised, target audience, and campaign goals. In addition, not only are media buyers responsible for making the initial purchase, but also for continuing to optimize performance throughout the entire campaign lifecycle.

Best Practitioners

As consumers have become comfortable using digital media so have marketers become to rely on digital advertising as an add-on to traditional marketing practices.

Over time, depending on need, digital advertising platforms have been effective at brand and conversion strategies.

Here is an overview of the best:


•    Audience research. What is your target audience? How does your target audience shift by medium? 
•    Plan your spend across buy type. What percentage of your campaign will be devoted to which types of buys, from display to search, and beyond?
•    What percentage of your spend will be on guaranteed inventory versus non-guaranteed (RTB)?

•    For guaranteed inventory, the planning stage may include sending RFPs (requests for proposals) to suppliers you are interested in including in your campaign. For inventory you've purchased before, you can also purchase premium, guaranteed inventory at your own established rates without needing to RFP, by purchasing programmatically (automated guaranteed).

Best Practitioners

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•    For guaranteed inventory, the number of impressions and rate you are purchasing inventory for has been solidified, whether through established rates or by receiving a proposal back from a supplier.
•    Complete your media plan with every placement from every supplier to be included in your campaign, including the time frame each placement will run. 
•    Many buyers must secure approval for their media plan prior to formalizing their order in the form of an IO.
•    For buys facilitated via RTB, agency or agency trading desk buyers will submit budget line items to their DSPs, and direct publishers if applicable.


•    The media plan is executed, with placements sent to the ad server, waiting their opportunity to be served to the correct audience.
•    Orders are processed as "IOs" or "insertion orders" which include the planned billings for a campaign.
•    The buyer-seller relationship continues throughout the order process, if any revisions are needed to an insertion order.



•    The ad-ops or trafficking team is responsible for logging into the ad server(s) associated with the campaign and tagging the placements on the ad server with their appropriate pieces of creative.
•    Tags for size, media type, and more are associated with each placement.
•    It is generally best practice to tag a back-up static piece of creative for each placement in cases where dynamic creatives are unable to be served.


•    A necessary part of managing every campaign is measuring success, holistically as well as on a more granular level.
•    You can use both first-party delivery data (from the publisher's ad server) and third-party delivery data (from the agency ad server).
•    Performance can be tracked all the way from the specific creative up to a holistic campaign view, and even cross-campaign. Pacing measures how budget is being spent relative to time within a campaign's flight.


•    Agencies and publishers compare their delivery data and other financials, and work to reconcile discrepancies.
•    Financials for current and future campaigns may be amended based on overdelivery or underdelivery of a campaign.
•    Final costs per supplier, per time period are communicated to the billing system for Accounts Payable.

Cross-Channel Advertising

Marketers use multiple digital channels and methods to reach consumers. Here's an overview of the different media types and how marketers use them to convey their brand message.


Focusing on the Keys

Cohesive Data is Key — Audiences are jumping all over the map, interacting with brands on a multitude of different touch points. For cross-channel exploits to be most successful, it is important to reel in all of these data points and form a cohesive, integrated consumer database. As the Boston Consulting Group highlights highlights, “Advertisers should ensure that no major digital assets are being underleveraged… and that no data is lost along the way.”

Consumers are in Control — With consumers having their choice of what media to consume and where to consume it, advertisers need to relinquish control to them and present their brands to where their audience naturally is.

Keep Messaging Consistent — When performed correctly, brands will be interacting with consumers at a variety of different times and in a multitude of different places. Maintaining a unified message across channels will help consumers better, and more consistently, recognize a brand, increasing their likelihood of interacting with ads.

Channels aren’t Created Equally — Digital advertising channels are not created equally. Each channel has its own strengths and weaknesses that advertisers should acknowledge when adopting a cross-channel mindset. For example, search advertising tends to perform better for direct response, while video ads have more of an effect on brand perception. Knowing where each channel excels will help best optimize cross-channel campaign performance.