| 7 min read

What Does a Media Buyer Do?

by Ty Kiisel

The media buyer's role is primarily to purchase space on media like television, radio, print, and online outlets. As a result, they consume a lot of media to stay abreast of trends and to understand what type of media their customer audience might be the most interested in. Basically, they want to make sure their advertising is placed in media that is most likely to be seen by their target audience.

Things a media buyer could do include:

  • Manage both PPC and display buys across a network of clients.

  • Manage the client's Youtube page and report monthly on all social media platforms.

  • Manage the company’s  twitter account and provide RCI consumers with direct responses and posts.

  • Negotiate, develop, monitor and manage delivery of book campaigns on CPA, CPC and CPM models.

  • Negotiate media buys and contracts on CPA, CPC and CPM platforms.

  • Create social media content for all platforms including Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube.

  • Design, write, and build agency website, LinkedIn, and Facebook pages.

  • Develop media campaigns consisting of long form and spot TV, newspaper, radio, and online advertising.

  • Negotiate, place and maintain local TV, radio, cable, digital, print, and outdoor buys.

  • Collect data to create EPC, CPC, and ROI measures in order to support decisions to further refine campaigns targeting.

  • Spearhead and train team to execute digital campaigns more efficiently by proactively gaining expertise in advance ad operations.

  • Invoice reconciliation and post buy analysis reporting upon campaign completion.

Although some media buyers are more specialized than others depending on the size of the organization they work with, these responsibilities could be included in the media buyer job description.

How to find a good digital media buyer

A good media buyer is willing to tackle complex problems and has a good foundation in his or her industry and knows how to translate that into placing ads where customers are likely to see them. Mitchell Carey offers six traits, or attributes, a good media buyer should possess—and is a good list of what you should look for in a media buyer for your organization:

  1. Team Player: In addition to working with their counterparts on the marketing team, the media buyer will likely also work with internal stakeholders and with copywriters and ad designers. This usually isn’t a role for a lone wolf, but is better suited for someone who is able to collaborate effectively with others.

  2. Digital Expert: If your media buyer will be buying digital ad space or working with PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising, they might not need to be a digital expert out of the gate, but they will need to be, or become, experts in all things digital. You’ll probably want to look for someone who is an early adopter of new technology and platforms.

  3. Natural Networker: Carey suggests, “The job can become very social because it requires working with various partners and clients, often through networking and socializing outside of the office.” You’re looking for someone who is at ease meeting new people and building relationships among industry professionals.

  4. Skilled Negotiator: Most pricing for media is set within a range and a good media buyer will be able to negotiate the best rates for purchasing ad industry. He or she will have, or become familiar with current standard rates and will be able to purchase media at the best possible price to increase profitability.

  5. Resourceful Problem Solver: A good media buyer is a problem solver and is willing to roll up their sleeves to overcome challenges. It’s more than likely that stakeholders will rely on this person to be the expert. Which means, the solutions aren’t going to be simply handed to them. It’s not a perfunctory role.

  6. Intuitive Analyst: Any media buyer worth his or her salt will be able to explain why different types of users take different actions when viewing the ads. This requires a little bit of data analysis and a lot of understanding the customer journey and making intuitive decisions. The media buyer needs to be able to analyze qualitative data, quantitative data, media and market data, along with other information that can help identify what’s working and what isn’t.

Whether you use a media buying consultant or hire an in house expert will likely depend on your goals and the amount of advertising you do. These are some of the things you should be looking for whether you are hiring and agency or an employee.

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