POV: Better Media Planning With Performance Data

How underused post-sale data can help media companies grow revenue 

“How do you put together the best plan, bring in the right products, bundle, cross-sell, and price it all correctly?” asks Jeremy Hines, Enterprise Account Director at Boostr. Every media sales organization faces this critical question, but most fail to leverage a key source of insight that can help: past performance data.

As everyone in Sales knows, it’s easier to keep and grow the accounts you already have than to acquire new ones constantly. Performance data is the key to keeping current accounts—and can be a secret weapon for getting on the plan with net-new clients. 

Most media sales organizations don’t use past performance data enough. Ad Ops teams are laser-focused on delivery, not leveraging performance insights to plan for the future. Account Executives, pressed for time, tend to sell what they know best, regardless of whether it’s the best set of products for a particular advertiser and their business goals. For Hines and Rob Lewis, Vice President of Sales at Boostr, whose combined 30-plus years of experience give them much wisdom to share, the ways in which media companies leverage performance data can be the difference between just getting by and crushing their targets. 

When using performance data to increase revenue, Hines and Lewis point to three best practices: know what works for the client, identify additional products that perform similarly, and price new plans appropriately.

Best Practice #1: Know What Works

“Many, many moons ago, I was a media planner, and I’d ask my counterparts, ‘How did the campaign perform?’ Sales and Ad Ops would tell me, ‘It was great. We delivered 100% of the impressions.’ I actually started changing my phrasing to, ‘How did the campaign perform for the client?’” 

It can be difficult for Sales teams to get information from clients and agencies on how campaigns perform for the advertiser, but it’s worth the effort. 

“Agencies have a lot at stake,” Hines explained. “They need to make a plan and then present that to the client, defending why specific media and platforms were chosen. On the publisher side, it’s your responsibility to help make that case so you can get in on the buy.” 

This can be done by requesting or accessing historical data by individual clients, knowing what worked well for them, which line items performed best, and taking into account other KPIs they may have, such as a particular CPA they want to achieve. “Knowing what works and opening up a dialogue sparks opportunities,” Lewis said. “It just requires getting a little out of your comfort zone.” 

This type of data can also help Sales organizations win more business. For example, if sponsored content is performing well for CPG advertisers, that’s great insight to take to a new business meeting with a pasta brand. 

Best Practice #2: Expand With Similar Products

Performance data can be used to identify gaps in an advertiser’s strategy, which savvy publishers can step up and fill. “Most of the time, you know what people want to buy,” Hines said, “but you’ll never meet growth goals unless you expand from there.” 

This means looking at an individual client’s performance data to see which verticals and products perform well for them and identifying additional SKUs that may function similarly. For example, if a company’s ads worked well in sports media, expanding creative units within sports is a rational strategy. Alternatively, taking the same unit and extending its reach into additional sports-related inventory can also drive results. “It’s a bundling play—and a cross-selling play,” Hines said. “And it opens up the possibility for competitive conquesting, adding incremental revenue on top of what exists in their contract.” 

For radio or local television broadcasters, finding adjacent SKUs might mean expanding to a new format, such as podcasts, digital display, or video. 

“With performance data, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Lewis explained. “What worked last time is more important than experimentation. Identifying what performs similarly that wasn’t on the campaign in the past helps publishers grow.” 

Category performance insights can also inform expansion strategies. If the top-performing Financial Services advertisers all have a particular set of line items in their plan that your Financial Services client doesn’t, that’s an area ripe for upselling. 

Best Practice #3: Price Right

Agencies continually look at historical data—especially past pricing data—and sellers must keep up to remain competitive. “A lot of people fall prey to depending on an algorithm that tells them what the supply is, raising or lowering CPM accordingly—but an agency always knows what they paid last time,” Hines said. “If what you propose is higher than last time, they aren’t going to pay it. If it’s low, that becomes the new bar, and it can become a race to the bottom.” 

To strike the right balance, Hines recommends creating plans based on eCPM, or effective cost per thousand impressions, which lets publishers keep premium pricing where needed while still hitting the agency’s or advertiser’s desired cost. 

To effectively plan based on eCPM, publishers must know what eCPM the client is trying to achieve. If it’s not on the RFP, ask. Then, consider your margins and create a plan that isn’t too expensive out of the gate. 

“You have to manage eCPM strategically,” Hines said. “Whether it is offering higher value placements—and having the data to prove it—or something niche, getting to the right eCPM without hamstringing your future business or destroying value is essential. Get creative, add low-value inventory with little risk to you, and stay on the plan while driving performance. It’s a win-win.” 

Another trick Hines recommends is checking an advertiser’s or agency’s past spend data. Even if an RFP calls for a $100,000 proposal, it can be worth generating a second, higher spend option, such as a $125,000 proposal with a lower eCPM that incentivizes the client to carve out a greater share of wallet.

Maximizing the Value of Performance Data 

Performance data can help ensure no gaps are left unfilled and every media plan puts the best set of products forward, at the right price. Here are three steps to help maximize the value of your performance data:

1. Unify data in a single platform: Leveraging performance data across operations is only possible with a single source of truth. Without unified data, it’s impossible to generate  the types of insights outlined above—especially within the limited time window provided to respond to RFPs. 

“It needs to be easy for Sales to access this data. At Boostr, we have a lot of prebuilt reports in our analytics tab that give Sales leadership data that is very actionable,” Hines said. Products like Boostr’s Proposal-IQ  further standardize media planning by recommending optimal media mixes based on user-defined objectives. 

2. Align pre- and post-sales around advertiser results: “You have to get into the mindset of the advertiser and think about how they are looking at their returns,” Lewis said. “It isn’t enough to say, ‘We delivered the campaign.’ It has to work for the client.” 

Wherever possible, plug advertiser performance data back into the system and share that data across Sales, Ad Ops, and Rev Ops so they can learn from it. 

“When everyone can see the same focused reporting,” Hines said, “they can manage it and strategize around it. They can collaboratively build better plans, justify what’s on them, and see the deal through.”

3. Scale your insights: It’s great when a seller uncovers a set of products that work particularly well for a marketing objective or category; it’s game-changing when the winning strategy becomes the default for the entire organization. 

Make sure your performance insights are shared across the company and institutionalized. 

Boostr delivers robust performance data with out-of-the-box configuration to unite teams through every phase of planning and delivery, empowering them with accessible, real-time data that adds profitability to every plan.  Find out how Boostr can help you grow your revenue.


Boostr is the only platform that seamlessly integrates CRM and OMS capabilities to address the unique challenges of media advertising. With boostr, companies gain the unified visibility necessary to effectively manage, maximize and scale omnichannel ad revenue profitability with user-friendly workflows, actionable insights, and accurate forecasting.

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