How to Create an Advertising Campaign Calendar that Boosts Performance

Advertising Campaign Calendar

Every other marketing blog post will tell you that advertising needs to bloom from a robust, sturdy strategy. When advertisers evaluate the results of their marketing efforts, they’re really evaluating the strength of their strategy and reconstructing their strategic outlook in the process.

This relationship is so interdependent that we’d like to put it a different way: Advertising is strategy. Strategy is planning — carefully considering one’s future actions, including the timing and context of those actions.

So, advertising is planning. What tool helps us plan for the future better than a simple calendar?

In this article, you’ll learn what an advertising campaign calendar is and why you need to use one as the foundation for your marketing strategy.

What is an advertising campaign calendar and why is it worth using?

An advertising campaign calendar, also called a marketing calendar or a media campaign calendar, is a tool used to plan your marketing efforts. Visualizing the pieces of your campaigns in a calendar view allows you to understand when your media is in market, what deadlines you’re working against, and what kinds of content you have in the mix moving forward.

Marketing campaigns are built around the execution of media placements across every possible media channel. Whether you’re launching a large scale programmatic display run across hundreds of sites or a blog series on your own website, an advertising campaign calendar condenses all of your efforts into an easy-to-view timeline.

Timing is a vital piece of any content marketing or paid media strategy. It’s sensible for businesses to want to diversify their offerings and ensure that they are reaching their target audiences across various media and long stretches of time. Even though you might be targeting a specific audience segment with display ads, you might also create content like a blog post that will be relevant and evergreen months, or even years, in the future on a search engine. 

Your marketing team can’t truly grasp the interplay of your ad campaigns without seeing the timing of them all. This is the overarching value proposition of an advertising campaign calendar.

Let’s break down the true benefits of creating an advertising campaign calendar:

Know the way forward

The most immediate benefit of an ad campaign calendar is the ability to plan for months and even years down the road. Before you can execute any sort of marketing campaigns, you need to understand the five Ws and H of them all. A centralized advertising campaign calendar focuses on this need. It will be your content marketing calendar, your email marketing calendar, your social media calendar, your editorial calendar and your marketing team’s work calendar overall.

Stay on track together

With an advertising schedule, you’ll be able to actively manage the timelines of your campaigns, shifting dates around as needed. Even best laid plans are subject to change, of course, but if you create a marketing calendar, you can keep your whole team updated on the progress of campaigns, what marketing activity is coming down the pipeline next, and assign team members accordingly. 

Reach your goals

When you understand the essentials of your plan — the five Ws and H of your marketing strategy — you have the best shot to meet your marketing goals. Whatever those goals may be, having a plan in place gives you the space to react and adapt as needed, fulfill your framework and optimize toward your chosen KPIs.

Who should use an advertising campaign calendar?

Anyone who wants to market their products or services can benefit from keeping an ad campaign calendar. Proficient students often rely on detailed planners to stay on top of their busy school and extracurricular schedules. Think of this calendar in the same vein — it’s an advertising planner structured to keep you on track, no matter what incidents arise.

Marketing and communications teams, from executive to intern, will benefit from using this tool.

How to create an advertising campaign calendar

Here are the essential steps you should take — and the information you need to know — to create an advertising campaign calendar.

1. Know Your Audience

This is priority item #1 because your customers should always stay at the top of your mind when considering your marketing strategy. The whole point of marketing is to successfully reach, engage and convert your target audience into paying customers. When you understand who your audience is, you can begin to plot how best to become a brand from which they want to buy.

2. Know Your Team

People have always been the most important part of any business, and, parallel with understanding your audience should be understanding your own marketing team. How is your team structured? Who is responsible for what pieces of your marketing strategy? This extends beyond just the strategists — how do you communicate with the Web team and the designers, if your team is that large? If it’s a small and nimble team, how can everyone be productive without burning out? If you’re a manager, make sure everyone on your team understands how the workflow goes.

3. Know Your Budget

Every business runs on cash, and you can’t plan your ad campaigns without considering how the media spend adds up. Ad campaign calendars should include notes on your budget for every campaign and the types of content in them.

4. Collaborate

Brainstorm — and consider brainstorming as a team — to list your goals, your ideas, your deadlines, your budget and your responsibilities. This is where your ideas become somewhat concrete.

5. Finalize Your Calendar

Now that you know how you’re going to plan it and at least some details to get started, you can make that marketing calendar a reality! Immortalize your plan in the platform, establish a workflow that makes sense to your team, and don’t be afraid to let it change as life goes on. This calendar is meant to be as dynamic as your team is.

Start strategizing today

Your advertising campaigns will succeed if your strategy is comprehensive and solidly built on what you know. “Know thyself,” as the ancient Greek aphorism goes. Executing anything at the massive scale of which modern digital marketing consists can’t be completed without some major care being put into your planning.
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