| 5 min read

What is Media Buying?

Successful advertising requires that you know who your potential customers are, where you can find them, and can successfully allocate your marketing budget to get them to take action and buy your products or services. Media buying can be an overlooked part of the advertising process, but it’s critically important if you want to get your message in front of those who are most likely to respond to your offer.

Media buying?

Successful media buying is purchasing ad placements in the places (or the media) that are most relevant to potential customers. It also involves timing the ad placement to be seen by the biggest audience.

Traditional media buying included purchasing placement in media like television, radio, magazines, newspapers, and outdoor advertising. Today, it also includes buying placement on digital channels that include websites, social media, streaming services, and even apps.

What does a media buyer do?

Because a media buyer’s main job is to buy media space, they pay attention to what is broadcast so they can place media where it makes the most sense. In other words, they consume a lot of media from a lot of different sources. In bigger organizations, media buyers will specialize in one type of media, TV or digital channels, for example. In smaller organizations, the media buyer needs to be skilled at placing media in many different types of outlets.

Some of the things a media buyer might be expected to do include:

  • Work with other departments to align strategy and goals

  • Provide insights into campaign performance

  • Evaluate relevant media KPIs

  • Determine media buys for different platforms and oversee the day to day

  • Manage ad budgets for paid media

  • Conduct keyword research for digital advertising

  • Maintain knowledge of media buying best practices

Some of the metrics a media buyer would be responsible for include:

  • ROAS (return on ad spend)

  • On-site conversions

  • Cost per click

  • Impressions

  • Website traffic

Why is media buying important?

It really doesn’t matter if your ad is compelling and you have a good offer if it doesn’t get placed in front of the right audience. That’s the goal of a good media buyer. He or she will get your ads placed in the media that makes the most sense to achieve your goals and meet your budget regardless of whether or not it is digital media, traditional media, or some combination of both.

Programmatic media buying

Programmatic media buying makes it possible for advertisers to programmatically purchase digital ads directly through the auction process on demand-side platforms like Amazon DSP. Media buyers can use real-time bidding (RTB) to buy ads this way and purchase space when impressions become available. This is considered to be a more efficient way to purchase digital ad space.

Media buying process

The mechanics of the media buying process are pretty straightforward:

  1. Set your budget

  2. Send your Request for Proposal (RFP) to the appropriate media outlets

  3. Finalize the Insertion Order (IO)

  4. Send your ad creative to the outlets

  5. Launch the campaign

  6. Measure and optimize the ad for performance

  7. Monitor the budget and reconcile actually spend to budget

Media buying includes a lot of pressure to make sure you have the best ad placement to maximize the value of your ad budget. This is a specialized role for most organizations that spend a lot of money on advertising. Therefore, many companies use an agency or contractor that specializes in getting media placed.

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