We’ve all heard it before: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
When Alan Lakein said this back in the 1970s, he may not have been talking specifically about media planning — but the shoe absolutely fits.
Media planning (the process of determining when, where, and how frequently to run ads for an organization across which media and channels) is nothing if not a bit chaotic. There are so many parts and pieces going into simply creating the media.
But then it has to get somewhere — and get seen by the right someones.
If your agency is involved with media planning or media buying, you need the right set of tools to make it happen as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
Here are eight media planning tools that every agency should consider.
Traditionally, Teamwork is considered project management software — and we admit, that’s not the same thing as media planning software.
But hear us out: Because it was built for agencies and creatives, it sits naturally on the bubble of content planning softwareand could be a powerful asset for any organization doing media planning.
Teamwork pulls all your projects together into a single hub, giving you greater visibility into the status of each and every item, and with a wealth of templates available free to Teamwork subscribers, it’s easy to customize the Teamwork environment to fit your needs.
Curious whether Teamwork makes sense for your media planning workflows? Try it for free!
Powerful integrations connect with many of the business tools you’re already using.
Robust project management features keep your media planning on track and on budget.
Time tracking, budgeting and profitability, and resource allocation features supercharge project tracking.
Unlimited free access for clients and collaborators to keep everyone on the same page.
Teamwork has a Free Forever plan for up to five users and a basic Starter plan ($5.99 per user per month). Most agencies choose either the Deliver plan ($9.99 per user per month) or the Grow plan ($19.99 per user per month). Custom plans are also available.
2. HubSpot Media Planning Template
As your agency plans and tracks paid media, you’ll need a place to house all that information. You might want to do so in your broader project management platform or in dedicated media planning software. But you might not be ready for that kind of investment just yet.
If that’s you, a standalone Excel template could be handy.
That’s what the HubSpot Media Planning Template is, a free Excel template that gives you a way to track spending, revenue, and ad schedules.
Track spending on paid media.
Track revenue by source.
View charts and visuals that update dynamically.
The template is free, but HubSpot (mostly) isn’t: a variety of plans start at $360 per month.
Quantcast is an AI-powered media prediction tool that scours data from more than 100 million websites, helping businesses and agencies get better, more targeted results from their digital media advertising efforts.
Quantcast is much more heavily invested in digital marketing and advertising. It doesn’t appear to have the depth of insights on TV and film advertising of a Comscore, or the print media and radio reach of an SRDS. But within its area of expertise, Quantcast is hard to beat.
Helps businesses understand audience behavior at a deeper level.
Combines first-party data and machine learning to deliver unique, accurate insights.
Delivers insights in near real time (not days or weeks later).
A few Quantcast tools are free to use, and the company doesn’t disclose pricing information for its broader suite.
Comscore is a media measurement tool that delivers data on media campaign performance over traditional channels like television and film as well as digital channels like social media. Agencies use it to plan, transact, and evaluate media on a wide range of platforms.
If you’re involved in media buying (not just media planning) or the term “trusted currency” means something to you besides dollars and cents, then Comscore is likely an indispensable tool in your arsenal.
Shows the impact of specific media campaigns across channels.
Provides accurate audience data that helps marketers refine campaigns.
Connects far-reaching insights into a meaningful picture.
With a reported starting price of $799 per month, Comscore is an investment. But for agencies dealing in multi-screen advertising tracking across TV, film, and digital, the cost won’t be a limiting factor.
5. Bionic Media Planning Software
Bionic is a fully integrated, all-in-one solution for media planning and media buying across a range of channels. If Comscore is the incumbent gorilla, Bionic is the agile upstart.
Bionic looks a lot like project management software or even an Excel spreadsheet, but it’s tailored to the specific needs of agencies doing media planning and media buying. You’ll find powerful features like KPI performance monitoring, delivery pacing, automated reconciliations, and quite a bit more to help you streamline media management and reach your target audience.
Centralizes media planning and buying in a single platform.
Adds accountability to budgets via tracking and authorization features.
Provides omnichannel media planning capabilities (online and offline).
Offers same-day setup and free onboarding.
With pricing starting at $175 per month, Bionic is a more budget-friendly option compared to Comscore.
6. SRDS Media Planning Platform
SRDS (formerly known as Kantar SRDS before the business was sold to Adwanted Group) is a dedicated media planning platform that focuses on gathering better data. With SRDS, audience statistics and demographic information helps you analyze how well an ad did, where it did well, and with which consumers, allowing you to refine your media planning and media buying as you go.
SRDS has a significant reach, boasting more than 125,000 media sources that range from newspaper and radio to TV, out-of-home media, and even direct marketing.
Offers media-specific databases that include ad rates, demographics, media contacts, and more.
Pulls verified data directly from more than 125,000 media sources.
Provides minority-owned media data to help reach DEI objectives.
SRDS does not publicly disclose pricing information.
Semrush is another entry on this list that isn’t directly a media planning tool but is an indispensable complement to any media planning effort. Semrush is a digital marketing platform that helps businesses reach their marketing goals, primarily in the areas of content, content marketing, social media, paid search, and other digital channels.
If you’re heavily invested in traditional media and television ads, one or more of the other tools we’ve reviewed is likely going to be your starting point. But you’ll still want to consider these other channels, and you might need a tool specifically focused on digital marketing to meet your goals. Semrush could be that tool.
On the other side of the coin, if your primary media planning needs are in digital marketing rather than traditional advertising, Semrush could be your starting point. With all sorts of research capabilities and SEO automations, Semrush can deliver outsized results.
Create separate "projects" for each account's URL to track traffic trends, backlink progress, and overall site ranking by client .
Pull performance data of various content and search marketing tactics into a single platform.
Use numerous separate toolkits to customize your SEMrush package so it better fits the needs of your agency.
The entry-level Pro Plan starts at $119.95/month for up to five projects. The $229.95/month Guru plan gets you 15 projects and up to 1,500 keywords, while the $449.95/month Business plan adds features and ups those limits to 40 projects and 5,000 keywords.
8. Simpli.fi (formerly BluHorn)
Simpli.fi (formerly BluHorn) is a media planning and buying tool that aggregates data from numerous other tools, including Nielsen, Comscore, Google Analytics, and Facebook.
With powerful data filters and a vendor database, Simpli.fi lets you cut and slice that data in just about any way imaginable.
If you’re a data-driven organization (or you want to become one), Simpli.fi could be an indispensable tool for you to aggregate and make sense of that data.
Demand-Side Platform finds meaningful, measurable audience results from unstructured data.
Omnichannel solutions cover both programmatic media and digital channels.
Real-time optimization helps target your campaigns better, faster.
Revamp your media strategy today with Teamwork
We’ve shown you several tools that are perfect for media planning and media buying. At the core of these activities sits a media strategy, a guiding framework for team members to reference that explains where and why you’ll spend that advertising money.
When it’s time to revamp your media strategy, you need a software solution that can organize entire projects, processes, and workflows.
In other words, you need Teamwork.
Teamwork is the perfect complement to your media planning efforts. It can work alongside other tools and services, rounding out the functions and features they miss.
Ready to give Teamwork a try? Get started for free now!