About Reach Planner

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Reach Planner is a Google Ads campaign planning tool designed to accurately plan for reach-based video campaigns across YouTube and video partners sites and apps.

Reach Planner’s data is based on Google's Unique Reach methodology, validated with third parties and consistent with actual reach and bids reported. Reach Planner is updated weekly to use the most up-to-date data available.

Note: Reach Planner shows reach and frequency estimates, but doesn’t guarantee performance. Actual campaign performance depends on other factors (such as ad quality, ad relevance, and campaign settings).

Before you begin

You can use Reach Planner to:

  • Plan the reach, frequency, and spend of your ads across YouTube and Google video partner sites.
  • Create and compare the effectiveness of different mixes of campaign types (for example, TrueView discovery and TrueView in-stream).
  • See detailed reach, demographic, and device insights for your selected media plan.

In addition, the new version of Reach Planner includes these updated features:

  • Make changes to individual line items in your Media Plan: Click the pencil icon Pencil icon / edit icon next to a line item in Reach Planner to quickly adjust the budget, location, targeting, frequency cap, networks, and more for that line item.
  • Ad format recommendations: You can let Reach Planner choose ad formats and budget allocations for you. When you use a recommended plan over a plan you create, you allow Reach Planner to estimate the best combination and mix of ad formats to help you achieve your marketing goal. Learn more about recommend plans in the new Reach Planner
  • A complete redesign of the interface: The new version of Reach Planner includes better visualizations of your media plan’s estimated performance.

How it works

Reach Planner is designed for media planners who plan future brand or video campaigns, and strategy planners who want to incorporate digital video into their media plans.

Reach Planner provides a forecast for how your media plan might perform, based on your desired audience, budget, and other settings such as geographic location and ad formats (“product mix”). Forecasts are modeled on trends in the ad market as well as the historical performance of similar campaigns run in the past.

To capture recent trends, forecasts are based on the most recent data available from a time period equal in length to your campaign’s planned dates, up to 92 days. For example, if your campaign is set to run for a 5-day period that includes weekdays and weekend days, your forecast will be modeled on the previous 5-day period that includes weekdays and weekend days. Forecasts do not explicitly account for upcoming seasonality and holidays.

Customize your ideal audience to accurately plan the reach, frequency, and spend of your ads by using the following metrics:

  • On-target reach: The number of people within your campaign's defined age, gender, and geographic location (also known as “target audience”) that your plan is expected to reach.
  • On-target percentage reach: The percentage of your campaign's defined target audience that your plan is expected to reach.
  • Average frequency: The average number of times someone can be expected to view your ad during your campaign period.
  • Total CPM: The cost-per-thousand (CPM) impressions across your plan’s total reach, and not just within your target demographic (on-target reach).
  • On-target CPM: The cost-per-thousand (CPM) impressions within your target audience (on-target reach).
  • Target rating point (TRP): This is also known as on-target Gross Rating Points (GRP). TRP is calculated as the on-target reach percentage times the average frequency. For example, if your media plan reaches 10 percent of your target audience at a frequency of 1, your TRP is 10. This is calculated differently than GRPs because you’re basing it on the people in your target audience, not everyone in that geographic location.
  • Cost per target rating point (CPP): The amount of money spent in order to achieve a single TRP in a campaign. The CPP is calculated as the total cost divided by the TRP.
  • Census population: The total number of people in your target demographics and location based on census data.
  • Digital population: The total number of people in your target demographics and location who reported using the internet in the last 30 days.
  • TV population: The total number of people in your target demographics and location who reported watching TV in the last 30 days.
  • YouTube population: The total number of people in your target audience that can be reached by ads on YouTube and Google video partners during an average 28 day period.
    Populations are only used to calculate metrics like reach percentage and target rating points. Your plan's total reach could be greater than a select population size.

Availability

Reach Planner is available in the following countries:

  • Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, United States, Venezuela
  • Europe, Middle East, and Africa: Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Finland, France, Hungary, Israel, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom
  • Asia-Pacific: Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam
Note: Depending on your country, TV and YouTube population data may not be available in your media plan forecast.

Forecasts

Your media plan forecast takes your audience, ad settings, ad formats, budget, and pricing models into account to estimate future performance. When you use Reach Planner to get forecasts of your media plan, you’ll see an overview of your expected performance as you hover over the reach curve and more detailed forecasts in the table.

  • Audience and content targeting: You can specify the group of people you want to see your ad. Note that adding multiple layers of audiences to your media plan or individual line item can result in a limited reach. You can define the audience by:
    • Location (by country and currency)
    • Age and gender
    • Affinity
    • Custom affinity
    • Custom intent
    • In-market segments
    • Consumer patterns
    • Life events
    • Parental status (“Parent” or “Not a parent”)
  • Ad settings: You can customize how long your ads will run, the frequency cap, and the devices and networks where they’ll show.
    • Date range: You can choose a date range of 1 to 90 days.
    • Frequency cap: You can cap how many times a user will be shown your ad, per line-item, per day, week, month, or none at all.
    • Device type: Desktop, tablet, mobile, and connected TV devices.
    • Networks: YouTube and Google Video partners or YouTube only.
  • Ad formats and budget: Choose from a variety of ad formats and then set your budget for each to better reach your audience. Compatible ad formats include:
    • Masthead
      • CPM Masthead
    • Video ads
      • Bumper ad
      • Non-skippable in-stream
      • Outstream
    • TrueView
      • TrueView discovery
      • TrueView for reach
      • TrueView in-stream
    • YouTube Select
      • 15 or 20 second video ad
      • 60 second skippable video ad
      • Bumper ad
  • Pricing: You can edit your pricing at any time in Reach Planner to generate new forecasts and factor in client-specific CPMs and CPVs.
  • Account-level content exclusions: You can set content exclusions that apply to all Video campaigns in your Google Ads account. Account-level content exclusions are reflected in your forecasts and they include inventory types, content types, digital content labels, placement exclusions, and placement exclusion lists.
YouTube Select ad formats are available for reservation only. If you’re interested in learning more about using YouTube Select ad formats, contact your Google account representative.

Best practices

Target ages

Reach Planner doesn’t support targeting minors or the 13-17 age bracket. All age targeting must be 18+. If you want to understand the overall reach of your campaign while not using age targeting, you can select “All people” in your media plan’s settings.

Reach curve

The highest point on the curve is often referred to as the maximum reach point, showing the maximum number of people that can be reached in your campaign (given your media plan settings). It isn’t the maximum reach of a particular audience on YouTube.

The maximum reach point shouldn’t be confused with editorial reach (the total number of people viewing YouTube content), which is often shown by other industry solutions. Editorial reach is even greater than commercial or total monetizable reach and thus may significantly exceed the maximum reach of a single campaign.

Third-party planning tools

Google is committed to helping improve the data accuracy of independent industry tools and is working closely with them to enable more holistic and accurate planning of YouTube. If you use other planning tools, you may notice a discrepancy between their data and the data from Reach Planner. This may happen because the methodology for Reach Planner is different than the methodology of other tools, leading to potential discrepancies. Many industry tools plan for editorial reach (often including inventory that isn’t monetizable) while Reach Planner plans for commercial reach (the reach that’s addressable by ads). Directionally, the results should be similar.

Average frequency and frequency cap

People may notice that the average frequency of their campaign is higher than the frequency cap they have set. YouTube currently supports frequency caps on cookies. For example, each cookie can be capped to 3 impressions to account for people that browse YouTube on multiple devices. The model takes this cross-device exposure into account, and may sometimes account for more than 3 impressions per user. Reach Planner also applies a frequency cap per plan line item, so the reach of the campaign overall can be larger than the frequency cap.

Effective frequency

Some advertisers consider a minimum number of exposures of their ad to their target audience in order for their campaign to be the most effective. The minimum volume of exposures or impressions is called “minimum effective frequency”. You can see how many people are reached at that "minimum effective frequency" by adjusting the “1+ On-target reach” drop-down menu in Reach Planner. The number you choose (from “1+” to “10+”) indicates the number of people who have seen the ad that number of times.

Missing reach percentage or total population of a plan

The total population and reach percentage (reach %) by extension are removed if non-demographic targeting layers are included (such as parental status, affinities, and in-market segments).

Reach percentage is expressed as a function of a target over a demographic population. When you add additional targeting, Google Ads can no longer match your reach to a widely accepted denominator. Since there’s no consensus on the number of people considered “Luxury Shoppers” and because the number of people “in-market for appliances” constantly changes, Google Ads is left to highlight your absolute reach instead of your reach percentage of that population.

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