Informed Media Buying

By Claire Herriott

The student media landscape grows increasingly complex each year, as more websites, apps and solutions are developed to reach emerging talent in new and innovative ways. It can be challenging keeping up with the ever-growing range of offerings available to target graduates, school leavers, and reach influencer groups such as parents, teachers and careers advisors. And identifying which channels, solutions or apps are going to deliver results is one of the biggest challenges facing organisations of all sizes.

At White Label we’re often asked how we navigate through this complex mix of media offerings. In this article I have explored how we use persona marketing combined with data to plan solutions and improve our client’s media buying decisions.

The widening spectrum of audiences (Personifying the audience)

Successful attraction marketing starts with understanding your audience. One of the key models that we employ at White Label to better understand who we’re targeting and to drive effective engagement is candidate personas – a semi-fictional representation of our client’s ideal candidate or influencer. These personas are formed by defining the characteristics, skills and behaviours that make up target talent audiences and should be based on actual data rather than assumptions.

Using the information gathered we then identify trends and similarities to develop hypothetical candidate persona stories. Our personas are given a name and we add demographic details such as location, educational background, skillsets and personal circumstances. We also create interests and allude to online and social media behaviours. Adding a picture to a persona also helps to better identify with the candidate because by thinking of candidates as real people, it helps get inside their head and market to them better.

The insatiable desire for quality data

We love data, we spend very large amounts of time calculating, sorting, and quantifying everything we can to sharpen the grey areas into either black or white.

The insights we gain from data helps us to innovate and make smarter decisions based on facts, instead of gut feeling. Being data-driven is about providing reliable data that informs the decision at hand.  From across all channels that capture attention, data that is properly analysed and interpreted leads to decisions that draw the best conclusions.

How to get better data to inform media buying decisions:

  1. Don’t always rely on 3rd party data, assembling high-quality data requires strong data infrastructure – build tools and capabilities – look for an approach, focused on using your own data to drive decisions.
  2. Meaningful use of data begins with who will access, analyse, or review the data and for what purpose.
  3. What is the objective? Create a set of metrics directly related to the objective(s) e.g.: brand awareness vs driving applications; always on vs pay per click; organic social vs paid for social; low hanging fruit vs hard to reach fruit.
  4. Be obsessed with understanding the candidate activity Click through rate (CTR); Cost per click (CPC); Cost per application (CPA), but most of all ruthlessly concentrate on conversions: Conversion rates from impressions to clicks; Conversion rates from clicks to application.
  5. And, remember that no two candidate journeys are the same – the decision-making might be linear, but the journeys are all sorts of crazy.

Using data decisions in the media campaign planning process, allows you to keep using the channels that are really working, freeing up budget to test some of the new emerging channels, and in so doing continually evolving your media attraction to keep pace with the ever-changing media landscape.