Turning an idea for an advertising campaign into reality isn’t exactly simple, but it always begins with creating a concrete and detailed advertising plan.
Your plan will help you present a clear path for return on investment (ROI), get buy-in from leadership, and share your proposal with relevant stakeholders.
In this post, we’ll explain what an advertising plan is and highlight the major sections you should include in your advertising plan so you can guarantee your next campaign is a success.
What is an advertising plan?
An advertising plan outlines the strategies you’ll use to reach your target audience and achieve your advertising goals. In it, you’ll outline the channels you’ll use, key messaging, and required budget — all of the elements and information you need to enact your advertising strategy.
Advertising Plan Template
Pro Tip: HubSpot created the following advertising plan template for you to download so you can organize your advertising campaign — it’s broken down into relevant sections and can be shared with your stakeholders when it’s completed.
In it you’ll find:
- Advertising campaign outline,
- Advertising campaign timeline, and
- Advertising budget template.
Now let’s dive into how you can prep your ad plan.
How to Prepare an Advertising Plan
Before you jump into your tactical advertising ideas, the first step in the process is to provide those reading your ad plan with a high-level overview of your initiative.
1. Provide an overview of your advertising plan.
Specify the following elements so anyone reading your plan will have a basic understanding of what your campaign is and what you’re trying to accomplish:
- Campaign Name: Make the campaign name catchy, unique, and easily identifiable so your team can get behind it.
- Campaign Description: What is the purpose of your campaign? Explain in 2-3 paragraphs what the inspiration behind your campaign is, how it aligns with your company initiatives, what customer problems you’re solving, and what the final deliverables of the campaign will be.
- Target Audience: Ideally, who’s on the receiving end of these ads? You can be specific to age, sex, region, or any number of demographics, or name which of your buyer personas you’re targeting.
- Advertising Platforms: How will you be getting your message across? Here, identify the platform you’ll be using, since you’ll get more into the details of what the actual ads will look like in a later section.
- Goals and ROI: Explain what the end goal of your campaign is. Most ad campaigns are intended to produce a direct profit or return on investment, so if that’s your goal, identify that number. If your campaign goal is something else — event sign-ups, product awareness, etc. — be sure to identify and quantify it.
2. Choose your platforms.
Here’s where you’ll provide more detail on the advertisements themselves and on which platform they will be promoted. For each ad you intend to run in this campaign, you should provide the following:
- Platform name
- Ad type
- Description of the ad
For example, your content in this section might look like this:
Platform #1: YouTube
- Advertisement Type: Video
- Description of Ad: A 15-second pre-video ad. The video will be an animated look at our new app with a link to the app store at when someone clicks.
- Timeline: July 1 – July 31
- Budget: $10,000
3. Develop your timeline.
Working on an ad campaign takes a ton of time and resources, so everyone involved will want to know what tasks they’re responsible for, when they’re due, and how long they have to do them. In this part of your advertising plan, list the tasks that are due, when they are due, and who’s responsible for accomplishing them.
4. Outline your budget.
Because ROI isn’t guaranteed, the budget can be the toughest part of your advertising project to get approved — which is why it’s important to break up your requests by line item and present them in your plan.
Rather than simply stating, “We need $65,000 for this project”, organize your budget into a detailed visual, like the example below.
Naturally, you can (and should) expect questions and pushback on certain line items.
For example, you may be asked to find another designer or video freelancing team who can complete the job for less money. So, arrive at meetings prepared to defend which costs are necessary for the campaign’s success and which expenses can be reconsidered.
5. Explain your DACI framework.
The DACI framework outlines who the key contributors in the project are and what each of their responsibilities entail.
Here’s how a DACI framework is broken down:
- (D)river: As you might have guessed, this person is the project’s main driver or directly responsible individual. (Chances are, this will be either you or your direct manager.) The driver will coordinate all of the moving pieces of the project, seeing it through from inception to wrap-up.
- (A)pprover: This will be the person who must approve a project and is typically a director, VP, or manager. They’ll give feedback, recommendations, or approval on the overall project and have a final say in all project deliverables.
- (C)ontributors: Contributors will be the individuals who are responsible for creating one or more deliverables for the project. In an advertising campaign, this can include copywriters, video producers, animators, designers, and digital advertising specialists.
- (I)nformed: These are employees who are kept in the loop as the project goes on. Examples include the department heads and the managers of project contributors. These people have no direct responsibilities but benefit from knowing about the project and its status.
Your DACI framework should include the name of each stakeholder, his or her contact information (email, phone, and/or Slack handle), and that person’s responsibility or deliverable.
This framework makes project delegation crystal clear for everyone involved.
6. Provide additional resources.
This will act as the appendix of your advertising plan. Share the ad campaign that inspired this one with your readers, link to the product page you’ll be promoting with this initiative, or link to your company’s brand style guide — this way, designers and writers get a refresh on how to create externally-facing content.
7. Host a campaign kickoff meeting.
After you complete the outline, hop on a call with your team to explain the campaign concept, timeline, and deliverables. Compile all of them in HubSpot’s advertising project pitch deck and present your advertising plan. Then, open up the floor for any questions and suggestions with project contributors.
Advertising Plan Example
It can always be helpful to reference examples, and below we’ll go over one.
In this plan, a business outlines the different channels it will use to reach its advertising goals: YouTube, Facebook, and Google Ads. It outlines the type of ad for each channel, a summary of what each ad will be, a target timeline, and an allocated budget. While it is simply an overview, it has the key elements it will execute in its advertising strategy.
While this is a high-quality example, be mindful that it is merely an example. You can personalize this template to meet your business goals by inputting what works best for your needs.
Over to You
Now that you know how to write your own advertising plan, download HubSpot’s free template to get your own advertising campaign project plan off the group.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.