3 Reasons Why Your Media Planning Team Needs to Stop Using Excel
Why bother using Excel when a superior, purpose-built media planning and buying software designed by media planners is available?
19:32 28 October 2019
Media agencies and advertisers have many new challenges to deal with in today’s digital world but running and scaling their media buying seems to be the most challenging of them all.
Excel Doesn’t Cut it Anymore
An industry study reveals that Microsoft Excel is still the go-to-tool of more than 75% for media planning professionals. It’s not surprising to see why a vanilla application like Excel is the application of choice. Rather what’s surprising is that a lot of companies, despite knowing that Excel is not their answer, do not want to give up on it for good. They stick to using Excel even when it’s clear that the demands of the industry have long overgrown what the Microsoft application makes possible. But why? Many factors are at play, however it comes down to fear of change or familiarity in most cases. Let’s face it, MS Excel is a general purpose tool. No media planning and buying feature or functionality is baked in to the application, and your media planning team’s can’t help but have to create different spreadsheets with separate templates for different plans. If creating a plan on Excel is a difficult task, maintaining it is even harder. When the plan gets circulated around, there is a chance for any of the formulas, cell references and data to be altered by anyone accidentally, which will have a considerable impact on your plans from the data integrity and security standpoint. Also with Excel where each plan is stored on a different spreadsheet, there’s no standards to keep and there’s no scope for version control. These are huge negatives that many media companies have learned to live with. But why settle for less when there is a purpose-built media planning software to help? Any purpose-built software with superior features can make media planning and buying easier. Not only does it allow your media planning team to define their own layouts, and create formula for calculations, it can also be programmed to ensure that there’s good version control and standards in place. And that means everyone across the media buying agency team would be working from/on the same plan and there’s no need to spend so much time sifting through spreadsheets in search of the latest plan or to incorporate any recent edits in them.
Intelligent Reporting and Analysis on Tap
Lack of reporting capabilities is another common complaint among media planners that use Excel extensively to create and manage their plans. The data concerning each media plan is stored in a separate spreadsheet and could have distinct formulas, references used in them depending on the nature of plan. And that makes it virtually impossible to run reports across all these plans. But advanced software tailored for media planning and buying present solid reporting capabilities as all the data from all the plans is typically stored in a common data repository. Excel isn’t any better on the analysis part either. Gleaning critical insights from multiple databases is vital to coming up with ideas and campaigns, but a general purpose software like Excel doesn’t help in this aspect at all. In fact, setting up Excel for advanced data analysis is cumbersome and tedious. Think about it. Sifting through thousands of rows of data stored across different spreadsheets is simply not going to be effective at all, given the level of data that is stored and retrieved on a daily basis. Think of all the productive time wasted in navigating through sheets, spotting errors in calculation, searching for missing data and struggling with poor workflow and analysis. It’s not going to help your team’s productivity at all. Leave alone productivity, think of all the missed opportunities that your media team could have cashed in on but couldn’t because they could only do so much with all those spreadsheets. This is where a media planning software application with powerful reporting and analytical features comes in handy. What was a superior alternative to Excel a few years ago has now become an industry-staple. No surprises, there. Inbuilt reporting and analysis modules are intelligent enough to dice and slice data and reveal critical business insights that were otherwise very difficult to extract even with the advanced pivot tables that Excel provides. These intelligent tools let you analyze your media plan with respect to different key aspects and dimensions involved in a plan such as ad unit, vendor, channel etc.
Streamlining the whole process
They allow media planners and buyers to be more efficient. Rely on a robust media planning software like https://bluhorn.com that can seamlessly integrate with your marketing platform and let your team streamline their costs, interact with and visualize real time data. This way your media buying team will be able to plan their campaign across different channels such as traditional and non-traditional media and produce optimized results every time without fail. To add to it, sophisticated software such as Bluhorn.com can make integrations easy with industry leading media rating agency like Neilsen and Comscore and as a result your team will get access to ratings subscription for both TV and Audio all within the same dashboard.
So to conclude, investing in a proper media planning software is more than a necessity now for all those media buying teams that are looking to get ahead of their competition.If you are reliant on Excel to manage your media planning process, it’s high time you look at some of the latest software and tools that are creating a solid impact in the media industry.