12 Essential Media Planning Tools
Your customers are consuming messages in more ways than ever before — online, in publications, on TV, the radio, and on their phones — to name a few.
For companies hoping to reach their audiences across multiple channels, engaging in media planning is a must. However, it’s almost impossible to pull off without media planning tools that give you insight into your efforts.
To help you with your media planning efforts, we’ve compiled a list of the essential media planning tools, templates, and software to use this year.
Your customers are consuming messages in more ways than ever before — online, in publications, on TV, the radio, and on their phones…to name a few.
HubSpot’s paid media template will help you keep track of how much you’re spending on paid media, where your messages have gone out, and how much attributable revenue has been generated from each source.
You’ll also gain access to charts that automatically adjust when you add your spend and ROI. This resource is free — click here to get your copy now.
What we like: This template lets you compile data from your media buying efforts on a monthly basis. With it, you can determine which paid media channel works best for your company and yields the best results for your bottom line.
Bionic prides itself on its media plans, flowcharts, RFPs and IOs, trafficking, reporting, and client dashboards.
It has an average of 3.1 software updates on a monthly basis, meaning agencies using the software are provided with up-to-date planning tools to run and organize their campaigns.
What we like: Unlike other tools, Bionic is cloud-based — meaning you’ll be up and running in minutes. You also get unlimited training, support, and data backups at no extra cost.
The most valuable resource for media planners is data. To feel confident promoting media on a specific platform, media planners need to know who is on each channel, in addition to understanding their target audience.
What we like: SRDS gives media planners access to extensive datasets on audience statistics and demographics so media planners can choose the right platform, message, and audience to target.
Not a fan of spreadsheets? No problem. Media Plan HQ’s got you covered. The tool tracks dates, placements, and budgets in real-time over an organized interface without having to deal with Excel. The tool is also collaborative, allowing you to work alongside your team members without the headaches caused by back-and-forth emails.
What we like: This tool gets a gold star for its collaboration capabilities. You can work alongside your team members (or share your plan with stakeholders) without the headaches caused by back-and-forth emails.
Promising easy media planning and buying, BluHorn integrates with Nielsen and Comscore to provide users with instant access to data-rich insights. The tool is rich with useful features, such as post-buy, a vendor database, and data filters.
What we like: BluHorn is integration-rich. Connect with Nielsen & Comscore for easy planning; Google Analytics and Facebook for better tracking; and programmatic for seamless digital buying. And here’s the icing on the cake — BluHorn also integrates into Amazon AWS.
Quantcast is an audience insights tool with data from 100 million websites. Quantcast uses AI so users can “better predict and influence [their] desired audience,” which is especially useful in an era where consumers are showered with ads wherever they go.
What we like: If you’re looking to dig into your audience’s behavior, look no further. Quantcast provides real-time insights into your ad campaigns, empowering you to better understand your audience and drive results.
Rated the #1 demand-side platform on G2 Crowd, Basis “addresses your direct, programmatic, search & social through a single interface.”
The software gives users access to 9,000 vendors and 11,000 publishers and informs them with more than 180 unique data points. It also contains a messaging tool for seamless team communication.
What we like: Running multiple ad campaigns can sometimes feel like an unorchestrated chaos. But with Basis, you can integrate all your advertising (including programmatic, direct, search, and social) in one central location.
Comscore is an essential tool for “planning, transacting and evaluating media across platforms.” Best known for providing data for digital platforms, film, and television, Comscore provides audience measurement metrics for companies looking to promote their products on a visual medium.
What we like: With Comscore, you can access data to determine the true impact of your media plan. Then, you can optimize your plan across a variety of media and screens in one place.
A household name, Nielsen is synonymous with audience measurement. Known mostly for TV viewership metrics, Nielsen’s global strategy also provides users with metrics for podcasts, streaming services, and social media. This gives users an all-encompassing view of where their audience is. It’s no wonder media planners and sellers have relied on Nielsen for nearly a century.
Fun Fact: Nielsen is considered to be the first company to offer market research and is responsible for the term “market share.”
What we like: Along with advanced audience segmentation, Nielsen also provides competitive intelligence that paints a complete picture of the media landscape — which helps you identify ways to differentiate your brand from competitors.
Looking to keep things just to a social media audience? HubSpot’s Social Media Software allows for easy publishing and audience analysis for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram on a single platform.
Plus, you can measure how your audience converts from social media in your CRM on their journey to becoming a customer.
What we like: Are you constantly refreshing your social media to monitor interactions? With this tool, all your social media interactions link back to your CRM — which saves you time and effort.
Another appearance from Nielsen on this list, Scarborough is a media planning tool for companies looking to get more local, hyper-focused audience insights. This tool is great for region-specific messaging or promotion and can facilitate a more systematic rollout of the word you want to spread.
What we like: With this tool, you can profile consumers beyond standard demographics — such as their lifestyle, shopping behaviors, and media consumption. You can also narrow in on specific audience segments, like sports betters or streamers.
Marketed as “The Essential Consumer Truth Set,” MRI-Simmons provides both national and regional focus studies to those looking to learn more about their audience and plan media more effectively. Its clientele includes companies spanning multiple industries like Dell, Spotify, Coca-Cola, and Men’s Warehouse — which makes sense, given the massive amount of segmentations available to users.
What we like: As I mentioned above, MRI-Simmons is a powerful tool for segmentation. Why is this important? With segmentation, marketers can identify new audience trends to anticipate their behavior, attitudes and preferences and reach them in the most effective way.
Bonus Resource: HubSpot Academy’s Paid Media Course
HubSpot Academy’s course on How to Build a Paid Media Strategy is the perfect introduction to media planning. Whether you have a generous budget or none at all, this course provides marketers with the fundamentals of developing a paid media strategy, utilizing media throughout the buyer’s journey, and finding the ROI of your efforts. Click here to take the free course.
Media planning is an essential task for marketers. But doing it alone, or with disconnected software, will make it unnecessarily difficult. That’s why it’s important to look at the available tools and use ones that make sense for your goals.