Audience planning

January 11, 2024

Why audience planning has become essential for your digital advertising campaigns

Written by Lucie Marand

Have you ever heard of audience planning without really understanding what it involves?

Audience profiling, audience planning, media planning: do you need help navigating all digital advertising terms?

Then this article is made for you!

We take a look at audience planning and its benefits for more relevant and effective digital advertising campaigns.

Enjoy your reading!


Going beyond media planning by focusing on audiences

Often contrasted with media planning, audience planning is in fact an evolution of the latter, adopting an audience-based rather than a media-based approach. 

When designing advertising campaigns, media planning is a key stage which involves selecting the communication channels that will be used to activate a campaign (TV, DOOH, Digital audio, etc.) depending on the advertiser’s objectives.

Traditional media planning therefore focuses on the media, and buyers are used to breaking down the total budget for a media campaign by media, according to the number of people to be reached.

Audience planning takes a different approach, focusing firstly on the behaviour and engagement of target audiences: How do my audiences consume? How can I reach them effectively and consistently across all channels? At the end of the process, the budget is allocated by media, based on an analysis of the available data. 

It is important to understand that audience planning is largely possible thanks to the digitisation of media and programmatic buying.


Making the most out of programmatic buying

The arrival of programmatic buying in the digital environment has revolutionised many things. In particular, it has made it possible to adapt to the multiplication of digital communication channels, and with it the omnichannel behaviour of consumers.

As managing campaigns across multiple channels has become complex, the development of DSP (Demand Side Platform) platforms has made it easier to manage all digital campaigns from a single platform and avoid having campaigns organised in silos.

This is the idea behind audience planning: to draw on all the available data, across all the channels, to enable agile adjustment of the choice of media according to the audience. 

Everything has to start with the target audience, and advertisers have understood the importance of audience profiling – the precise knowledge of their audiences – and are now investing the effort needed to gain a detailed understanding. It is becoming increasingly rare for brands wishing to invest in digital to define precisely in advance the amount to be invested in programmatic DOOH. 

Starting with the target audience, it is more a case of studying the most relevant media to best reach this audience and only then validating a budget and strategy based on it. It is even interesting to go further by adjusting the investment per media during the campaign according to the actual target coverage. 


Case study using the Hawk Platform

As an example, our omnichannel DSP platform offers an audience planning tool for programmatic DOOH. This functionality, called Scoring API, enables traders to change the way they design their strategies. Directly within our platform, and thanks to a partnership with data provider Adsquare, they can model their DOOH campaign according to the characteristics of their audiences.

In practical terms, you can choose from the different segments available and instantly see which screens are most relevant to your targets. 

Would you like more information about this feature? Contact us for a demo!

If we take programmatic DOOH as an example, the advantage of audience planning is that it takes advantage of the omnichannel nature of campaigns to create scenarios across different media and to be able to put forward a message tailored to each audience. 


Scripting campaigns according to audiences

The forthcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games are an interesting use case to illustrate the importance of scripting campaigns and taking advantage of audience planning. 

This major event, which will attract millions of spectators, is a unique opportunity for advertisers to reach their audiences, whether their aim is to raise awareness or generate traffic at their points of sale.

Alongside a national awareness campaign, brands can orchestrate local campaigns: 

  • Target screens in airport arrival areas to capture the attention of travellers as soon as they arrive in France. 
  • Target screens strategically positioned around the competition zones and/or fan zones, to ensure continuous, relevant visibility during the Games.
  • Use retargeting mechanisms between screens (for example, build up a pool of audiences exposed to DOOh screens and retarget them via their mobile devices using device IDs and integrating data segments).


Audience planning and cookieless

It is important to note that while the end of third-party cookies is becoming clearer, audience planning remains entirely viable in a Cookieless world. While Data, and in particular third-party data, is at the heart of audience planning, there are alternatives, such as mobile identifiers.

Also known as Device ID, IDFA or IFA, the mobile identifier is a unique identifier assigned to each smartphone, enabling each device to be identified. 

It is a key element for advertisers in targeting their audiences and controlling the frequency of exposure of their advertising message, particularly within the application ecosystem. The mobile identifier can be used for campaigns on mobile devices, but also in DOOH using geolocation data from smartphones. 

A multitude of formats can also be activated/ Display, Video, Digital Audio and In-gaming, with cross-device targeting and retargeting.


As you will have realised by now, audience planning is simply a result of the sophistication of media planning, but it is absolutely essential to embrace this concept in 2024 in order to deliver the most relevant and effective campaigns possible. 

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