Allen Klosowski explains how brands overcome common media planning hurdles

February 14, 2023

Allen Klosowski

Are you reaching your audiences with relevant ads at the right times? Are you able to understand how your messaging impacts their buying decisions? Chances are, maybe not. It’s never been more challenging to connect with consumers, thanks to the rapidly proliferating number of advertising channels and formats.

To learn more about how marketers can work to overcome these hurdles, we spoke with Allen Klosowski, principal of media planning, measurement, and data science at Amazon Ads. Klosowski talks about what he thinks marketers are getting right—and what they can improve upon—as they plan their advertising campaigns. He also offered his perspective on how marketers can work with Amazon Ads to take the right steps to holistically engage audiences with relevant ads and “move the needle” for their businesses.

How has media planning changed, as the number of advertising channels and consumer touchpoints increases?

Understanding how your message is reaching consumers has become a lot more complicated. There’s no clear path to reaching everyone, and what used to work in the past is no longer as effective as it once was.

As a marketer today, you’re not just trying to understand the impact of your advertising spend across all of your inventory suppliers, but you also must contend with the fragmented touchpoints across which consumers interact with your ads, as well as how they’re interacting. Take TV, for instance—the way TV content reaches audiences can be very different from one household to the next. One household may be consuming traditional linear television only, while another might be only watching streaming content, and a third could be viewing a combination of both.

Marketers must seek to understand how they’re reaching audiences across touchpoints and delivery methods. That’s a big part of what we’re trying to solve: helping advertisers see the impact of their media spend holistically. It’s never been more important to ensure you’re reaching the right audience, with the right message, at the right time.

So much attention is being paid to measurement, especially in light of economic uncertainty. Do you think the planning phase of a campaign should receive a similar focus?

It makes sense that for many, the initial focus was on measurement; you can’t plan something you can’t measure. The industry as a whole is certainly getting better at measurement, but a challenge that remains is understanding how to plan with measurement in mind. Marketers need to be focused on not only how to reach relevant audiences, but also how to use unique insights and audience attributes to reach them at the right point in their journey.

As an example, if consumers are looking for a specific product for only a few days or a few weeks over the course of years, which we do see in several industries—like automotive, for example—it’s critical to stay top of mind. But marketers also need to understand how to use different tactics to reach audiences when they’re at the point in the journey when they’re most likely to take action.

How do you know whether to do big, broad awareness-branding campaigns versus some combination of awareness and more focused messaging that drives results and outcomes? This is what you aim to figure out during your planning stage. The challenge for our team is making sure we’re delivering the planning tools and the insights that help marketers to plan a campaign and then optimize on it. And finally, tie it back into measurement: Were we able to do what we said we would be able to do?

How do you know if your media planning tools are working?

It’s a good question, and the answer changes based on a brand’s objectives. There are, for example, marketers who must plan on the upfront cycle, and others who are much more tactical. Either way, it’s important for marketers to ask: Is the bulk of relevant audiences reachable? Does a particular supplier that I’m investing with not only have the demographic audiences at scale I’m seeking, but later—as I become retail aware of tactics I should consider—do they consistently have the insights and scale that will help me pivot? Do I have enough flexibility to change tactics at a later date?

You saw with the pandemic, what happened was much different from what advertisers had planned during their upfronts. You need the ability to be flexible and navigate, even under changing conditions. At Amazon Ads, we’re dedicated to working with brands to help them identify opportunities specific to their brand and category, and creating an insights-driven objective, inclusive of audiences, placement, and budget.

What’s different about the media planning offering at Amazon Ads that most benefits advertisers?

We believe our depth of insights sets Amazon Ads apart, and our planning tools are specifically designed to help our customers leverage those insights. That’s especially the case for streaming TV inventory available today, which often is disconnected from actual end users of a product. At Amazon Ads, we can understand whether consumers go on to make a purchase.

There’s a lot of value in our insights when it comes to delivering the right messaging at the right time, as well, and our advertisers can tap into that at scale. Bringing Amazon insights into planning tools, and helping our customers plan campaigns based on the audience insights we offer while also offering the ability to use their own audiences, is a pretty big value and one of our top requested features from customers.

We want to make sure that our customers have the best results possible; our goal with our media planning tools is to try and help make our customers successful. It all goes back to Amazon’s obsession with customers. Everything that we do as a business—from the quality of content that we’re bringing in, to the experiences in how we do advertising, to the results that we aim to drive—works back from this customer obsession.

When you look ahead to the future, how do you expect media planning to evolve?

We expect to see advertisers continuously reach consumers across their entire media consumption journey this year. That could include audio, video, display, search—you name it. Historically, what we have seen from advertising agencies is that their internal teams have different job functions and are often working in a silo. For instance, performance teams usually aren’t connected to planning teams, and TV buying teams aren’t necessarily connected to digital video teams. We believe that the walls between those teams are starting to break down and will continue to break down. Instead, the focus will be on making sure advertising investment is appropriate across all ad products and formats, and is working together in a way that’s both efficient and impactful.

Our job is to give our customers tools that help them understand audiences and tactics across every stage of their journey, and provide them the reliable insights and recommendations they can use to really move the needle for their business as they plan their campaigns holistically.