Display advertising is…

otherwise known as graphic advertising, and to put it in the simplest terms – the ever-popular online banner ads. But you all probably know that already.

You also probably know that this is the oldest form of online advertising, which consumers are already so used to that for a while people have been saying that its days are numbered. However, we at 1000digital think that the end is far from nigh. Looking at the number of campaigns we’ve implemented, we can see that interest in this form of advertising is by no means falling! The data and statistics confirm this:

Display advertising still makes up the largest percentage of advertising on the internet, and what’s more, its value is growing at a rate of 10% per year.

And if that’s not enough, in this article written by our strategist, you’ll find a whole host of reasons why you should be interested in this form of advertising.

In this text, however, we’ll take it a step further. In this text we’ll focus on …

Display campaign production

Because no matter if you’re employed by an agency or if you work for a client who cooperates with an agency, knowledge about essential topics such as media plans and production plans and how they’re used will definitely be useful in your day-to-day work.

After reading this text, you will:

  • understand the importance of individual elements in a media plan;
  • be faster in analysing the amount of work needed to put together a campaign;
  • be able to easily find and verify the necessary information.

What is a media plan?

A media plan is a detailed list of all the media that will be used in an advertising campaign.

There we can find information about

  • publishers,
  • communication channels,
  • advertising formats,
  • frequency,
  • dates for publication or display.

It should also indicate the content that will be used, the target group to which the advertising campaign will be directed, the estimated results and the costs of individual actions.

What is a production plan?

A production plan is a tool that resembles a media plan to a large extent, but here, instead of information about the estimated reach or cost, we can find information allowing us to produce the necessary advertising formats.

This document should include information such as:

  • dates for delivering individual elements to the publishers so that everything can happen on schedule;
  • information about the specifications i.e. technical requirements for each format
  • supporting notes from the publisher.

What’s a media plan for and what’s a production plan for?

When planning each advertising campaign, we first have to decide what promotional elements it will contain. Usually, this is dealt with by a creative agency in consultation with a media agency.

They join forces to select formats that will fit the type of venture, be effective and reach the given target audience. We also must not forget about making the best use of the available budget.

For example, if we want to advertise a luxury car, we need to identify the places where we can find the people who fit the profile of our ideal customer, demographically and behaviourally. Next, we need to check which media they use and at what times.

Based on this knowledge, we check which advertising formats are present in the given space. Are there, for example, outdoor billboards, ads in a specific type of newspaper/magazine, or maybe web banners on sites visited by our target audience?

Usually there are at least a few of these places. So, we gather information from the publishers (i.e. the owners of these advertising spaces) about the technical requirements of each selected format. We check the prices for showing the ad. Once we have all these details, we review them against the available budget and decide what will work best.

A media plan allows you to systematise all this knowledge about the campaign.

All the information is there at a glance. Despite appearances, it’s a very clear document that allows you to analyse all the planned actions, the costs of their implementation and the results we expect from them.

We also see the number of formats, the time when the campaign will be run and the chosen target. Looking at a media plan, the trained eye of a media planner or strategist is able to quickly assess whether the plan is good, contains the right solutions and what could possibly be worth changing.

Once the media plan is approved by the client …

we use it as a basis for creating the production plan. Instead of information about the costs of the campaign or the target, it includes technical data, specifications, the details of planned creative lines (graphic versions) and the delivery dates for individual formats.

This document may contain data about various parts of the campaign, e.g. instructions for the online campaign. At this point, it goes to a production house (such as 1000digital.pl), that will take care of preparing the necessary formats, such as banners, takeover ads, rich media and other online formats.

How do you prepare a media plan?

To answer this question, it’s best to go through the media planning process step by step. An experienced media planner has a very instinctive approach to creating a media plan.

But what if we’re doing it for the first time? What should we consider first?

The goal

i.e. what do we want to achieve with our actions? How will we measure our success? Is it by some specific result? Such as, for example, increasing sales by 10% or getting a certain number of leads?

At this point, it’s extremely important to set the goal correctly in accordance with the SMART model, i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound.

So, it has to be specific, leaving nothing to guesswork, and clear for everyone. Measurable, i.e. formulated in such a way that it’s possible to define when it has been achieved. Achievable, because being excessively ambitious will only discourage us from moving forward. Relevant, because achieving the goal should lead to some growth and development. Time-bound – we set a specific deadline for meeting the agreed objectives.

Target audience

Who do we want to reach? Who are the ideal viewers for our campaign?

In order for our actions to be successful, we must look carefully at our ideal audience. Therefore, we decide whether we want to reach individuals or companies, what demographic data describes our user, what are their habits and interests and, of course, we ask ourselves where we’re most likely to encounter them. Are they usually online, do they read newspapers/magazines, or maybe they live in a specific location and that’s the best place to present our offer to them?

The budget

which we’re prepared to spend on achieving the goal. This part is obvious; we decide what costs we want to incur in order to achieve the desired effect.

Usually, based on this information, we decide on the next two essential elements of the media plan – namely, the time for implementation and the channels that we want to use for communication.

We combine all this with the creative agency’s ideas for the campaign and select the appropriate formats. We take into account the cost of implementation, the cost of showing the ad, and the anticipated result. We write down the respective elements and organise them so that the things we need in order to achieve our goal fit within the agreed budget and everything happens at the designated time.

How do you read a media plan?

There is no one answer to this question as media plans can be compiled in many ways. However, the most popular way is still an extended table in Excel.

At first glance, you may be taken aback by the amount of information it contains. It may also be difficult to understand the titles of particular columns, because it’s standard to use English marketing jargon names. Below you’ll find the most common terms and their meanings:


We often split the campaign into several stages, e.g. teaser, awareness, etc. We split the media plan into individual parts so that it’s clear to see which actions will take place at a given time.


that is, an indication of where the communication will be placed. In this column, we usually find information on whether it will be online, press, outdoor, or television.


the specific name of a given channel will appear here, e.g. Onet, TVP, Gazeta Wrocławska etc.


The users who these specific actions are aimed towards.


Understood as the buying model, for example

  • FF – flat fee – we pay in advance for the agreed result,
  • CPC – cost per click – the cost is charged for each click,
  • CPV – cost per view – we pay a fixed amount for each view of our video.

These are only some of the more popular buying models, you’ll be able to read more about it soon on our blog (so we invite you to subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss out!).


the number of views of the given ad or, in the case of print media, its circulation.


In this column, we can find the estimated number of people who will be shown the ad.

CTR (click through rate)

Estimated percentage of users who will click on our ad format.


Often split into two columns: one with unit prices, e.g. for a single click, and one with the entire budget for that publisher.

At the bottom of the media plan …

There should be summaries of the estimated results and the funds allocated to achieve them. Often there is also the ‘agency fee’ – the cost for the agency’s work, and more specifically for the people coordinating the implementation and optimisation of the campaign, charged as a percentage.

The above are the most popular examples of elements of a media plan. You may come across other terms, however, so if you don’t understand something in the document you’ve received, don’t be afraid to ask the creator what they meant.

It’s just a plan!

Often, both the agency and the client treat the media plan like a guru. We go through it step by step, according to the schedule, completing all the objectives and implementing each planned element. We forget that it’s just a PLAN!

What does this mean?

A good campaign should be continuously monitored and optimised.

We should not only focus on implementing individual elements, but also observe the results and the impact of different actions on the achievement of the ultimate goal. At this stage, close cooperation between media professionals and the client is invaluable.

Based on the actual results, they can decide to make changes, reallocate the budget, stop ineffective actions or increase the budget for the best-performing actions.

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