Digital Media Planning Academy Classroom

Big_classroom Here is the place you can discuss issues with your tutor and other Academy participants

Is there something you did not understand on the Academy? Is there a new point you would like to make? Are there any new issues that you have discovered now you are applying your knowledge? Use this space to make your comments and to ask your questions.

Try to include the title of the Academy Lesson that your question relates to (if there is one). Putting this at the start will help other participants find the topics they are interested in.

The classroom is open for three weeks following your Academy

Comments (26)


'Where does Alexa fit in measurement?


Broadly there are two routes: using the server data (often called 'server-side' measurement, 'logfile analysis' of 'publisher's statements) and the audience panels (of which ComScore and Netratings are the best known). In the Media Planning Academy and the Web Analytics Academy, we drill down on these because if you're using them daily then there are insights you need to know to understand what the data doesn't explain as much as what it does. For example, the server-side routes can be audited and in some markets such as Germany and Italy there are industry owned panels.

Alexa is effectively a panel measurement tool. It provides rankings of the sites its members visit and it is able to give trend data about a sites activity over time. The great news for budget holders is that it's free and that's one of the reasons it's proved so popular. From 2005 onwards its use has swelled, and though it doesn't offer demographic weighting to be representative of the whole country, it does offer a large panel and solid audiences.

One of the challenges is that because it only tracks at Domain Level, publishers and planners can't get the information they are really looking for about the sub-sites and sections that might prove most interesting.

If you're looking for audience data that's accurate from markets outside the UK then just be sure to check that the numbers are large enough to be reflective of the country. And remember that there are never 'perfect' numbers that give you 100% accurate data, but all of the tools will give you a good general picture.

If you need more then take a look at the Alexa site, or join us on the Web Analytics Academy.


Question concerning Page 7
Slide: Online drives the whole market
Year on year growth for 2006

What is meant by outdoor?

Mobile devices like smartphones, pdas, laptops?

Regards, Christian


In the digital industry we often get over-excited about the growth in online advertising, but it's important to remember that there are other consequences of media fragmentation.

As audiences for newspapers, magazines and television continue to fragment, there are many challenges in finding the media plans that can deliver mass-reach for campaigns. Media planning is a lot tougher than it was ten years ago, and that’s one of the reasons why, across the digitally advanced countries, outdoor advertising is often doing rather well.

Posters and billboards are growing in power because they unite audiences at a time when there are few other media to distract. Particularly within urban transport networks the supply of outdoor media has swelled, and although there have been television screens in a few outdoor media for more than twenty years, it’s only the recent collapse in the price of technology and the ease of networking that has opened up outdoor to become a digital platform.

Across Europe screens are suddenly appearing in planes, taxis, busses and railway stations, providing a new release for digital and video assets, and a range of new advertising opportunities. Our tip? Outdoor is one to watch. It may be a small channel, but it’s a strong beneficiary of the changes in the digital economy.

Julian Saunders:

Online media planning has to be the most innovative and dynamic area of communications planning.

It is striking to think that it is only a few years since the banner ad was invented and yet today all the aspects of marketing in the offline world are to be found replicated in the on line world. You can, for example, be a tenant of someone else's shop, you can build your own shop, you can be your own publisher, You can co create products and services with your customers,you do all kinds of deals with publishers from the simple cost per thousands through to shared risk deals on converted business, you can run your whole CRM program online powered and supported by increasingly smart databases, you can optimise your website so that people find you in searches. Search itself is also completely new and dramatically growing area of advertising that is unique to online

On line is also the place where the customer is king. We have talked about this for years but online has made it real.

This has a number of key implications for online planning: consumer insight is critical in world where the consumer is king. Online is not just about selling and retaining customers it is also a place where brands are built for the key reason that online provides opportunities for brands to give quicker, cheaper and better service Given this scope of possibility for online as a place for brand building as well as selling it is no surprise that online media planning is in a constant state of development- more sophiscated research, more example of great idea lead solution coming from a marriage of creative and media thinking, more brands seeing online as a brand building tool as well as one that has the attraction of being ultimately accountable.


We've been asked lots about this in training over the last year. Sometimes as a joke and sometimes in all seriousness. Like much digital future-gazing, you can never be sure what the next step is, but when we interviewed Joel De Rosnay about the models for computing and the collision of the virtual and physical worlds, he had some pretty clear ideas - Web 3.0 could arrive sooner than you think. Lock down the digital glasses, plug yourself into the grid, read the interview, and then follow the links...

(And let us know what you think afterwards!)

Academy participant:

Where can I find more research about online ad effectiveness?

Tutor: Danny Meadows-Klue :


Proving the case in online advertising is much easier when it’s supported by solid research. In the early days of the web, it was pretty much just down to a marketer’s intuition, but today you have a rich range of research tools and papers that you can rely on. At Digital, we collated some of the strongest into a whole ‘Digital Research Academy’, but Academy members can also use the online research library as a way of seeing some of the highlights. Here are a few tips to look out for:

- Online adspend: most countries have strong data about the amount spent in online advertising. If you’ve been on our Digital Media Sales Academy or Digital Media Planning Academy, then you’ll have probably seen them in detail. Look out for the latest insight reports we’ve published that provide a commentary on the scale and trajectory of that growth

- XMOS: The US online ad industry provided a series of powerful integrated media research exercises that proved the optimal mix of online media. You’ll find a couple of the summaries here

… and you can use them to uncover what the optimal mix of media should have been for specific campaigns. What particularly resonated with me (I ran a roadshow to UK agencies about this in 2003) was the gap between where marketers place their budgets, and where their audiences had moved to. Even for a simple consumer good (like a bar of soap), back in 2001 the research was showing that the web should have been a 15% medium for a campaign rather than a 1% medium.

- Ad effectiveness research: There are over 100,000 online ad campaigns that have been researched and quantified; their impacts explored to show you how the web helped boost brands. You’ll find the details of a few in the main Digital Media Sales Academy classroom pages, here at Digital.

Academy Manager:

Remember that there are dozens of tools on our Digital Training Academies that can help you put into practice the ideas we disucss here. If you missed the last Digital Training Academies in your country, then check the termtime pages to see when the next public access courses are in your areas:
... and remember that most of the time firms invite us inside their company to train the whole team in one go! Email me for details of how we could do this for you and your team. We're waiting to help boost your group's output straight away!

Academy Manager:


This was a question that came up on today’s Digital Advertising Operations Academy. Answering it will take more than a few lines here because the complexity of copyright law is vast, and, frankly, applying it to web advertising is often a shambles. That’s because each legal team take their own view about what matters, why and how. They also take their own view about how rights are actually applied. So our advice here at Digital is simply to get legal advice behind you. And in the meantime get yourself up to speed with what matters, how, and why.

To help you get there, here’s a few words and a useful short video that can explain some of what you need to know (even if you didn’t know you needed to know it!). Here’s the link:

(Just remember that nothing we say is intended to act as legal advice, and it’s only in good faith. Many media owners and agencies tell us they’re taking risks with Copyright, and we say that you have to take some proper legal advice. It’s the law and a big deal.)

Academy Participant:

Are the key website traffic measurements of unique users and impressions set to stay?

Tutor: Danny Meadows-Klue:

Audience measurement: are new models on the way?

Since the start of web publishing we’ve used page impressions and unique users as the core of the currency. When pages were simple HTML and when all marketers were interested in was a simple reach figure, this worked well, but as web marketing has evolved, the needs of both client and media owner have changed. That’s why the currencies will be evolving over the next few years and why website strategists need to pay attention to their key metrics to ensure the right information is coming out of their analysis tools.
The page impression has been under the hammer since the creation of AJAX. Sites like Second Life (one page) make a mockery of what was once the primary measure of audience data, and that’s why there is a growing groundswell that is more interested with the duration of engagement than the number of pages used up in a session. Duration gives a more realistic measure of involvement (albeit with caps about active keystroke and mouse events so we don’t start counting people downloading their music overnight). This leads towards measures of engagement and intensity which are just as critical for the brand marketer to understand as they are for the media owner.
Similarly the idea of ‘unique users’ has enjoyed high criticism for a long time. Since 2000 when cookie churn became an identified problem, many website owners have mistook their ‘user’ figures to imply ‘unique users’. Data from NetRatings and others has painted an accurate picture of how cookie churn and cookie blocking can over-inflate the audience figures for a website, and the models to recalibrate have been poor at best. It’s still safer to reduce back down to a daily figure than to try multiplying up all of the numbers to get a monthly reach figure that could be over 50% out.
In the web analytics classes at the European Emetrics summit, we outlined some of the challenges with the Web 1.0 metrics and gave an overview of the issues and some practical hints and tips media owners and brand marketers can use to get back onto the right track. Try the video and the accompanying lecture notes to learn more about the problems, and then consider the implications for your own analytics tools. The web offers the promise of near perfect accountability of marketing spend and we’re short changing our customers if we don’t have accurate figures about the numbers of real people who are exposed in a timely way to their communications.

Richard (Planner):

How can I use Comscore or NetRatings in my business? We plan for FMCG brands and I'm just starting to pick up the web side of things.


Danny Meadows-Klue:

Building longlists and shortlists

When you are trying to figure out the possible websites for a media plan, toolkits like Comscore or NetRatings' ranking tools can save you time and build out greater options. These two are the largest global players, but in some markets such as Poland, Croatia or Germany you may find there is a strong national alternative - in these cases Gemius and AGOF respectively.

In the Digital Media Planning Academy we looked at the balance between running the numbers from toolkits and using the experience and intuition of planners. The key is to continue learning about sites and their response rates all the time so your next campaign builds on the collective wisdom of everything you have done so far.

Tutor - Danny Meadows-Klue:

Exercise: for participants in the Digital Media Planning Academy

Online advertising excels at targeting and relevance because the structure of the media channel means you can talk with just the people you’re really trying to reach. This creates a climate for communication that can work more through engagement than through the classic model of interruption that has underplayed television and radio advertising. The shift from interruptive advertising models to ones that hinge on engagement is a much wider trend in marketing theory, but one that is amplified in online advertising.

If you are joining a Digital Media Planning Academy, then start by watching this great little video from Microsoft’s Digital Advertising Sales team. It’s a fun way to explain the difference. Once you’ve seen it, think about what this means in terms of the ingredients for a powerful online advertising campaign.

Tajana Belina, Studio Moderna:

1. In product placement and product sales, which banner format and banner creative is the most profitable (generates the most sales)?

Tutor - Danny Meadows-Klue::

Selecting the right ad formats for the right job

There is a bewildering mix of formats that make up the new digital media mix – from skyscrapers and roadblocks, pop-ups and pop-unders, to direct feeds and surround sessions. One firm once discovered they were carrying over 1000 different formats, so selecting the right ones for effective planning has a much greater degree of choice than planners would encounter in classic media.

The key ones to know are the search tools, the graphical formats (embedded or interruptive) sponsorships, microsites, emails and virals, affiliates and syndication, eCommerce and tenancies. Don’t forget that PR, events and the whole media mix offline will have a role to play online too. Each format has its own strengths and weaknesses. Before making your selection you should be aware of what these are.

The reason that there are no absolute rules on which will be most profitable is because there are too many variables that cloud the answer. For example, the plain old banner has suffered from a pretty poor image in the last few years, yet it can still be a strong direct response tool when on the right site. In this case that means avoiding clutter around the screen and giving the advertising a chance to stand out. At the same time the most interruptive rich media format may generate very low response if it’s planned into an environment when users do not want to engage.

Try building up a model in your team that charts the responsiveness of different campaigns, looking at the sites, the formats, the advertisers and the audience profiles. From this a pattern is likely to emerge about what works well for your teams. Also look out for some of the new thinking coming through in the mindset customers have when they are online and the different types of engagement that can happen between sites when people are in ‘entertainment’ mode vs ‘creation’ mode or ‘communication’ mode.

Franjo Bušić, Potomac:

What do you think about affiliate networks like „Zanox“ or „Affili“?

Tutor - Danny Meadows-Klue:

Many thanks for posting this question, but because we focus on the theory of online marketing and not the individual practices of specific firms, we don’t comment on individual brands. But maybe some of your colleagues from the Digital Media Planning Academy you were taking part in would like to add their own comments (we’ll leave the classroom pages open so they can do this).

Tutor - Danny Meadows-Klue:

Digital Media Planning Academy
February 15th 2008

Here’s a few notes from participants in today’s training for internet media planning...

What we think ‘rocks’ in online advertising

• The creative impact
• The power of niche targeting
• The power to extend campaigns over time to build frequency
• The power to measure
• The power of word of mouth
• The power of real engagement and involvement in marketing
• The power of people’s voices in blogs and social media
• The instant connection with customers
• The way of turning awareness on television into real action through the website

What we think flops in online advertising

• Interruptive pop-ups and too much intrusion
• The fear factor that stops brands from investing properly
• The tiny percentages of spend that go into online
• The lack of research data in our market (until very recently)

Digital Manager:

What are the big online advertising trends for the next 18 months?

Tutor: Danny Meadows-Klue:

Trends in online advertising

There are many ways to examine this, but we’ve highlighted a few key trends and placed them in the Digital Training Academy pages, here:

Digital strategist:

How do we compare online audiences between media sites quickly?

Tutor: Danny Meadows-Klue:

Comparing sites without buying toolkits

If you’re not buying the NetRatings or Comscore rankings in Europe, then Alexa is a good free alternative. There’s an example of the output for different British newspapers just here or follow this link into Alexa and manipulate the source data:

Digital media planning director:

What is the pressure that forces advertisers to ditch television?

Tutor: Danny Meadows-Klue:

Is there life after television?

Probably the best way of answering this is to take a look at ‘Life after the 30 second spot’, a provocative book from author Joseph Jaffe that attacks the thinking behind TV media planning and argues that in today’s media landscape this is money poorly spent. We interviewed Joseph when he was speaking at a conference we helped with in Central America...

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