Omnichannel vs. Multichannel Media Planning: Which One Is Best For Your Business?

There’s a lot to think about when setting up an advertising campaign. The advent of new communications channels, from YouTube to Snapchat and far beyond, has given advertisers many more options than there used to be.

You will inevitably use multiple channels in your media plan. The question is: Should you pursue an omnichannel or multichannel strategy?

Omnichannel media planning is when you look at the consumer experience as one unified interaction with your brand. New and traditional media are used together in a macro-level effort to achieve your communications goals.

Multichannel media planning is when you separate your channels into smaller groups. For example, you could look at social media as a separate group from traditional broadcast media. This optimizes each advertising team’s micro-level strategy.

It’s good to understand both methods. Each strategy has valid applications in the modern media planning environment.

Omnichannel Media Planning

This strategy is built on a simple thesis: Media is becoming more unified, even as it spreads out across a more diverse set of communications channels.

An early example of this was when the reality show Big Brother started selling advanced memberships, enabling superfans to access more content online. People started by watching the television broadcast, then carried that interaction over onto their computers. More recently, fans can vote for many reality show competitions via Twitter.

Omnichannel media planning gives you the advantage of maximum synergy. There are often efficient omnichannel strategies for communications goals that would be prohibitively expensive via a multichannel strategy.

For example, consider the Fan Funnel Strategy:

1. Build a Social Media Audience

2. Convert Social Media Followers into Email Subscribers

3. Give Away Coupons and Quality Content via Email to entice subscribers to become customers.

This sort of strategy is very effective, but requires use of multiple channels in an organized macro-level plan. Many brands have tapped into Snapchat and other modern channels via omnichannel planning.

Multichannel Media Planning

Each advertising channel has its own quirks. Accomplishing your communications goals on network TV is an entirely different beast from organic social media marketing with a Facebook page, for example.

When you separate your channels, you allow your team to maximize the benefit of each individual platform. The level of sophistication involved in Facebook advertising, for example, is enough to keep a full-time employee busy for weeks. You won’t get that kind of focus with omnichannel planning.

Multichannel planning is ideal if you want to maximize your share of voice on a small number of channels. For example, imagine a one-time local event that wants to sell out several hundred tickets.

The best method for this event might be to buy a ton of Facebook ads that target people within 20 miles of the event. A Facebook ad blitz for a few weeks could sell hundreds of tickets by hitting the precise target market with a very high frequency. This is the most affordable way to accomplish the goal of selling tickets.

One-time events and niche projects are prime targets for multichannel planning. If your goals can be achieved within a few months, this is a way to crush them.

What’s Right For You

There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to media planning. Every campaign is different. The best method for you will vary depending on your budget, your target audience, previous campaign results, and a lot more.

As a rule of thumb, focus on multichannel strategies for very short-term goals and use omnichannel strategies for long-term ones.

If you use these strategies properly, your business will be better off for it. Being aware of the different media planning methods will help you make the right decisions during the early stages of your advertising campaigns.