What is media buying?

Media buying is the process of purchasing ad space on digital and offline platforms to maximize profit from audiences. Those who buy media are called media buyers. These professionals find and purchase ad openings in optimal locations, site placements, and run times to reach consumers. A media buyer will negotiate for preferred ad placements at lower costs to ensure higher revenue. 

What is the difference between media buying and media planning?

Media buying and media planning often are combined into a singular process. Media planning starts before buying and includes conducting research, defining a specific audience, and establishing a budget. Advertising space is generally purchased after the media planning phase has concluded. There are three types of buying tactics in media purchasing: direct, programmatic, and manual. 

Direct: Purchasing ad space directly through an ad platform or specific channel

Programmatic: Using AI and other technology to buy digital ad space

Manual: Bidding on ads through a specific platform (demand-side, supply-side) 

Why is media buying important?

Media buying can be an effective means to stand out amongst other organizations. Attracting attention to a product against competitors can increase popularity, resulting in higher success. Reaching desired audiences at ideal times and places is fundamental to successful advertising. Beyond capital transactions, media buying teams foster relationships with organizations that result in greater reach with less investment. 

How is media buying used?

The process of buying media includes:

  1. Strategizing and planning specific goals to allow for maximum output
  2. Identifying and reaching a specific audience for improving projected profit
  3. Setting up campaign types, budgets, and desired audiences
  4. Documenting a result history and optimizing growth for future advertising 

By using media buying tactics, businesses can enhance sales and popularity. Media buying benefits digital platforms and other channels by paying for advertisement space. 

What is a media buyer?

Media buyers are professionals who purchase advertising space on digital platforms. Media buyers facilitate online acquisitions from other media specialists, such as magazine directors, social media coordinators, or radio hosts. After procuring investment space, media buyers determine which advertisements will fulfill specific campaign goals across these platforms. Impressions, clicks, visits, and subscribers are some of many key performance indicators media buyers study to measure success rate. 

How to become a media buyer?

To become a media buyer, employers will usually require a bachelor’s degree in marketing or business-related departments. Media buyers working with larger organizations may earn advanced degrees to enhance their field knowledge. Experience in marketing and advertising is crucial for media buyers. Media buyers use skills such as technical proficiency, communication, negotiation, and critical thinking to access top advertisement locations. 

Media buying terminology

Impressions: Overall number of times an advertisement is seen by an individual

Ratings: Measurement of an audience percentile to the total population, used for reaching specific audiences

Reach: Percentage of a population viewing ads during specific time periods

Frequency: Average number of times an individual views a given advertisement in a time period

Flight dates: Amount of time an advertisement campaign runs, start to finish