Social media and search engine advertising is likely a part of your marketing strategy, and for good reason: with so many metrics available to measure results, you can easily optimize your ad performance to ensure you’re reaching the right audience.
But choosing the right media mix and creating the best ad campaigns can be a bit of an art. That’s where having strategic media buying practices in place can help you better connect to your target audience without blowing your budget for ad spend.
What is Strategic Media Buying?
Media buying is the overarching process of choosing the best ad platforms to help achieve campaign goals. Years ago, media buyers focused more on types of media that couldn’t as easily be tracked in terms of results, like billboards, traditional media, and ads with radio stations.
Today’s ad placement is a new animal entirely, thanks to algorithms that allow you to see real-time results. Media buyers may, in addition to choosing the platform, oversee buying keywords and creating the ads, as well as monitoring them and pivoting strategy as needed.
Media buying may be an in-house activity for some companies, and others may hire a media buying agency to assist.
Why Strategy is so Important in Media Buying
Successful media buying doesn’t happen by throwing a budget at an ad platform, picking the cheapest keywords, and seeing what sticks. Today, online media advertising has more competition than ever, and advertisers have to be strategic about their approach.
And that strategy may change from one day to another. With real-time bidding, you may see that a keyword that was seeing high conversion rates yesterday might no longer be hitting your marks, in which case, you’ll need to either find another keyword, invest more in this one, or tweak your ad.
Tips for Successful Media Buying
While your strategic media buying approach will be unique to your company objectives for advertising, there are a few tried and tested strategies you might consider incorporating.
Don’t Overlook the Importance of Planning
Before you can initiate successful media buying, you need successful media planning. To that end, you need to spend a significant amount of time determining what you hope to achieve with your digital media buying process. What does success look like? What are your goals? What metrics are important?
Take a Deep Dive Into Your Target Audience
You need to eat, sleep, and breathe your target audience. You need to know where they spend time online and what kinds of content they interact with. What LinkedIn groups are they commenting in the most? Which articles on Facebook are they sharing with friends? Which Instagram posts do they heart? What keywords are they typing to make a purchase?
Optimize for the Ad Platform
The ad you create for Facebook shouldn’t be identical to your pay-per-click (PPC) ad on Google. Each ad platform has certain features that you need to consider to get the most bang for your buck. Obviously, search ads help you with SEO, but you need to ensure that the copy that appears with your listing is enough to compel people to click.
For social media, each platform has its own personality. Instagram is all about images and less about text. Facebook is a balance between the two, and people look for value in the content they click on or share.
Consider Programmatic Advertising
Another great thing about digital advertising is that you don’t have to buy all your ads manually. There’s also what’s called programmatic advertising, which uses automated technology and data from algorithms to purchase ads that are the best fit. Many media buyers balance between manually and automatically buying ads.
Optimize for the Viewing Platform
Not only do you need to optimize for the media channels your ads appear on, but also for where the ad is being viewed. More than ever, people are searching for products or accessing social media on their phones, so the ads you create should reflect the mobile experience. Make sure that graphics are in a format that renders as mobile-friendly for the target market who uses its phones to view your content.
Test, Test, and Then Test Again
Never, ever rest on your laurels when it comes to the ads you publish. You might have a great run with one ad, but it becomes a dud after a few weeks. Constant monitoring of your conversion rates and keywords can help you modify your ads as needed.
A/b testing can help with this, as you can try out two versions of an ad to see which is better at converting. One small change, like the background color of an image, can make all the difference in the success of your ad.
See What the Competition is Up To
We won’t call it spying, exactly, but doing a little market research into what your competitors are doing when it comes to online ads can help you shape your own campaign performance. What keywords do they appear in searches for? Which platforms are they investing in?
On Facebook, you can even target demographics that like your competitors’ Facebook pages, so this could be a strategy to take some of their market share.
Hire Help if You Need It
As I said, some companies have their media buying in-house, but others outsource it. If you don’t have the know-how to strategize your media buys, you may be better off hiring an ad agency that can help you build brand awareness and boost conversions faster than you could. An agency can help you establish KPIs (key performance indicators) that can ensure you’ve got effective media buying to reach your goals.
The Financial Side of Media Buying Strategy
One final topic to cover when it comes to your media buying strategy is how you pay for those digital ads. Investing in ads on a daily basis requires a credit card, and that’s where things can get sticky.
Likely, you have a company credit card that you can use for this purpose. However, you might run into trouble if your ad spend is high and your credit card company becomes alarmed at the high amount being charged, especially if you aren’t paying down the balance quickly.
It’s happened one too many times: a credit card company flags an account with unusually high activity. The ad platform then suspends all ads as a result. You’re scrambling to call the credit card company to get them to release the flag, but you’re being batted from one customer service rep to another with no results.
Either that or you have to log into your card website every day and make a payment. Either way, this is a lot of wasted time that could be better dedicated to your digital marketing and ad efforts.
The Best Way to Finance Your Media Buying Strategy
dash.fi solves this problem. Instead of being a credit card with low limits and stuffy rules, dash.fi is a virtual card with virtually a 10-20x higher credit limit than traditional cards. It was designed with media buyers in mind: we don’t freak out when you spend a ton on ads.
In fact, the opposite is true. We even reward you for your purchases. We offer up to 3% cash back for your ad spend your first 60 days, and then 1-1.5% after that.
And if you don’t want to handle media buying on your own, we have an incredible network of ad agencies and media buyers that would love to help you optimize your ad spend. Sign up with your dash.fi card and get cash back simply by working with one of our ad agency partners.