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Audiences | Media Optimization

What Is a Media Mix and Why Are They Essential for Influencing Your Audience?

February 15th, 2022 | 7 min. read

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When you’re planning an ad campaign, one of the most important decisions to make is which mediums you’ll place your ads on to reach your target audience. After all, ad placement is costly. You don't want to waste your outreach budget placing ads on a medium your target audience doesn't even consume, but how do you know which channels your core market is consuming?

This thought troubles advertisers of all kinds. Are you spending too much on broadcast? Did you spend enough on digital? What if your audience really only listens to the radio? Are you advertising on the right streaming platform?

To calm these fearful questions, many advertisers rely on media mixes to inform their targeted ad buying plans.

Tunnl offers its own media mix solutions for Tunnl Free and paying Tunnl users. Both media mix solutions show how a prebuilt or custom audience consumes media. What's the difference? Tunnl Free media mixes are nationwide only. Paying Tunnl users gain access to additional, more granular demographics like DMA and Congressional District. 

In this article we discuss:

  • What is a media mix?
  • How does Tunnl solve for media mix?
  • Why are media mixes important?
  • What insights are included in a media mix?
  • What is media mix modeling?

By the end of this article, you will understand what media mix is for advertisers, Tunnl's own media mix solution, and how you can get started benefiting from it -- for free -- right away.


What Is a Media Mix? Both as an Advertising Concept and a Tunnl Platform Feature

A media mix is a breakdown of communication channels preferred by a particular group of people. Media mixes help advertisers and media buyers understand where to place their message based on where their audience consumes the most media. 

Tunnl offers media mix insights for every prebuilt and custom audience that shows advertisers what channels the audience prefers . . .

  • Live broadcast and cable
  • Video on demand
  • TV and mobile streaming
  • Traditional and digital radio

And which social networks...

  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • Facebook
  • and more

And which streaming networks...

  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • HBO Max
  • and more

Here's an example of what a media mix looks like for one of Tunnl's prebuilt audiences.

Media mix on phone- wide

Media mix insights cover a national geographic for all Tunnl Free platform users.

For paying Tunnl platform users, media mix insights include more granular geographic breakdown options like state, DMA, and Congressional District.

Curious about the Tunnl platform? Check out this article, What is Tunnl, Who Is It For, and How Does It Help?


What Is an Overall Media Consumption Index?

The overall media consumption index is a scale of how much the audience consumes media through a particular medium compared to the general public. 

The scale’s baseline is 100, meaning the audience consumes media on that medium at the same rate as the general public.

If a number is higher than 100, it means you have a greater chance of reaching your audience on this medium because they consume their media here more often than the general public.

Anything below 100 means you will have a more difficult time reaching them and would need a more targeted approach to do so.




To illustrate, let’s take the above graph for example. Video On Demand (VOD), TV Streaming, and Social Media all have numbers well above 100. This means this audience is pretty easy to reach on these mediums.

This graph also shows Live Broadcast, Traditional Radio, and Digital well below 100. Now, this does not mean that advertisers using this audience should not advertise on these mediums. Rather, it means that should you advertise on these platforms, you'll need a very targeted approach to effectively reach this audience.


What Is Share of Media Consumption?

Share of media consumption shows where the audience spends their time-consuming media as part of a whole.


Screen Shot 2022-11-14 at 3.10.55 PM

For example, look at the pie chart above. This chart represents the percentage of time spent on each medium. This chart shows you that this audience spends most of their time on Live Broadcast and Live Cable.


Why Are Media Mix Insights Important? 

While there are many mediums for brands to connect with their audiences, some are better than others. “Better” is not referring to the superiority of certain mediums; it means members of your audience might spend more time on a specific medium than others, meaning targeting ads there might be more efficient.

A brand’s media mix is important for total ROI. Having a diverse mix of media means a brand is not putting all of its marketing or advertising budget in one place and relying on only one method to reach its target audience.

If one medium is underperforming, having a diverse mix means that the other mediums can help balance out the total ROI while you optimize ineffective (or less effective) options.


How Are Media Mixes Created?

There are different methodologies used by different ad targeting companies to create media mixes. Crucial questions to ask about media mixes are, “How did you create this?" and "What data went into it?”

We cannot answer for everyone, but Tunnl uses modeled reported behavior on media habits in combination with proprietary data on media consumption to create a unique index that reports on the overall mix of media consumption across various verticals.


How Can You Use Media Mix Insights?

Media mix modeling is a method used by advertisers to predict how media will perform based on a target audience’s previous activity and other factors. It helps marketers answer questions like:

  • What is the right mix of budget allocation that will result in the highest possible ROI?
  • How will different mediums perform now and in the future?
  • How do offline and online media contribute to my ROI?

Media mixes focus on gathering information from all available sources, determining how much each piece is contributing to the whole, and predicting how the media will perform over time. 


Where Can You Find Media Mix Insights?

All Tunnl audiences — and their media mix insights — can be accessed in the Tunnl platform. How you access your ideal audience's media mix insights, and the mix's geographic granularity, will depend on whether you access the free version of the Tunnl platform or if you are a paid subscriber.

With a free Tunnl platform account . . .

Anyone with a free Tunnl platform account can explore our growing library of 300+ prebuilt audiences that each include its own national media mix.

Create your free Tunnl account to begin exploring national media mixes for all prebuilt audiences within minutes.

Need a more granular geographic breakdown for your media mix than national? No problem. Request a tour of the Tunnl platform to explore our granular media mix solution available in a paid version of the Tunnl platform.

With a paid Tunnl experience . . .

Copy of Testimonial v1 - Large Headshot - Twitter Post-1

In addition to national, a paid Tunnl platform experience means that, you can granular geographic breakdowns of your audiences including...

  • State
  • DMA
  • Congressional District

Paid media mix users get dynamic media mix reports that allow users to drill down into the most granular media mix insights possible.

Copy of Image v3 - Twitter Post (1)-2Take the above image for instance. Upon clicking on this audience's Facebook index bar, a pop-up appears that delves further into the Influentials' national use of the social media platform. You can change the geography for your specific needs.


Get Started with Media Mix Insights

When you know where your audience is spending the most time consuming media, you can make better decisions on ad placement and understand where you may have gaps. Why wait?

Access national media mix insights right now with a free Tunnl platform account for all of Tunnl's 300+ prebuilt audiences. How? Create a free Tunnl platform account


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Want help understanding all that's in your free Tunnl platform like prebuilt audiences? Or maybe you're interested in exploring our more advanced solutions like granular media mix. Simply request a custom tour of the Tunnl platform and a member of our team will be in touch shortly to get it scheduled.