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Audiences | Media Optimization

What is a Media Mix? Why They Are Important and How They Are Made

February 15th, 2022 | 6 min. read

What is a Media Mix? Why They Are Important and How They Are Made

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You just got your advertising budget approved and you have an idea of how you want to spend it. There is just one fear lingering in the back of your mind.

How do you know your plan is the right one?

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 create their targeted ad buying plans.

At Tunnl, we have created thousands of media mixes for our clients in the last few years. In fact, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on targeted advertising guided by our media mixes.

In this article we discuss:

  • What is a media mix?
  • Why are media mixes important?
  • What is media mix modeling?
  • How does Tunnl create media mixes?

By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of media mixes as well as some next steps to take after you have them.


What is a Media Mix?


A media mix is the combination of communication mediums that brands and organizations can use to reach their audience. 

A media mix encompasses all the possible ways brands and organizations can connect with their target audience through avenues like:

  • Live Broadcast and Cable
  • Video On Demand
  • TV and Mobile Streaming
  • Traditional and Digital Radio
  • Social Media

When building a media mix there are several factors to consider. The three main things to think about are:

  • Your target audience
  • Where and how they consume media
  • How much time they spend consuming media

Here is an example of a media mix:


Screen Shot 2022-01-25 at 6.33.55 PM


What is an Overall Media Consumption Index?

Overall Media Consumption Index is a scale of how the audience consumes media through that medium compared to the general public. Think of 100 as the baseline - 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 media more often than the general public on that medium. Anything below 100 means you will have a more difficult time reaching them and would need a more targeted approach to do so.




An Example: Overall Media Consumption Index for the Tunnl Influentials Audience

Look at the graph above. 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. It just means that when you advertise on these platforms, in order to reach this audience, you need a very targeted approach.


What is Share of Media Consumption?

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




An Example: Share of Media Consumption for the Influentials Audience

Looking at the graph above, you will notice a pie chart. This chart represents the percentage of time spent on each medium.

This chart shows you that the Influentials Audience spends just over a quarter of their time on Live Broadcast and Video On Demand..


What is Media Mix Modeling?


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

  • What is the right mix of budget allocation in order for me to drive 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 and determining how much each piece is contributing to the whole and predicting how the media will perform over time. 


Why are Media Mixes 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 platforms - it means members of your audience might spend more time on a specific platform 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 data intelligence companies use to create media mixes. Crucial questions to ask about media mixes are, “How did you create this? What data went into it?”

We cannot answer for everyone but at Tunnl, we use 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.


I Want Media Mixes!

We offer audience insights, at no charge, for any of our 150+ Pre-built Audiences. Those insights contain media mixes for that specific audience. Once you find audiences that suit your needs, you can simply request the insights, and the media mixes will be sent to your inbox!

What if I Want Media Mixes for a Custom Project?

Pre-built audiences are not the best fit for everyone - some people need custom audiences. Do not fear. You can still get media mixes. Any custom audiences that we create, come with media mixes.


I Have Media Mixes Already. What's the Next Step?

After looking at the media mix of your audience, the next step is to refine your advertising and other communications plans.

You know where your audience is broadly reachable and where they are spending the most time-consuming media you can make better decisions on ad placement, earned media placement, and understand where you have gaps. As an example, if your audience is spending the most time streaming Netflix on TV, you may need to revert to reaching them on mobile using social media, or other native or display advertising.


I Have Media Mixes Already. I have My Overall Strategy. What's Next?

A good next step would be to use media optimization planning to help you plan a more effective and efficient TV buy. This will help you understand the right mix between Broadcast and Cable and find programming and daypart efficiencies for your audience.

If I Have Media Mixes, Do I Need Linear Optimization?

Truthfully, you do not necessarily need media optimization. It is a great fit for some organizations and brands but, it does not make sense for everybody. Media optimization can be expensive, check this out to understand what goes into the cost of maximizing your tv ad spending.