Media Placement 101

Media placement refers to buying and placing advertisements in various media. This process is a common function of the media buying and planning industry and includes research and planning to target media that caters to a target audience. There are five main categories of media: print, television, radio, out-of-home and digital. In other words, these are the places media is placed. Let’s take a closer look at each medium:

Media Placement in Print

Print advertising generally refers to newspapers and magazines. Many newspapers have experienced a downturn in the demand for print advertisements over the last few years. To combat this, newspapers have turned to offering content on the web, cashing in on online advertising to supplement income from print ads. While some magazines have struggled, the magazine industry as a whole has remained strong in the face of other media competing for ad revenue. Magazine ad revenue reached $4.3 billion dollars in the first quarter of 2011, an increase of 6% from the first quarter in 2010.

Media Placement in Television

Traditional television, like print, has been declared by some to be a dying breed in the era of Facebook, Hulu.com, DVR’s and mobile devices. While this may prove to be a reality in years to come, television is still king of media, at least in terms of time spent on the medium. According to Nielsen, the average person watched 38.7 hours per week of video in the first quarter of 2011. Ninety-two percent of that time was spent on live television, and the average person spends six times as much time on television as online. Since advertisers like to be where the eyes of consumers are, it goes without saying that television is the major player in the media buying industry.

Media Placement in Radio

Radio has also remained a strong medium for advertising. According to Arbitron, radio reaches 93% of Americans over 12. Furthermore, radio has retained its TSL (time spent listening) levels over the last five years. Seventy percent of listening is done while driving. With commutes often reaching an hour or more, radio captures an audience on the go like no other medium.

Media Placement in Out-Of-Home

Out-of-home (OOH) advertising is very local by nature, since an advertising unit can be can be purchased in a specific geographical location. Examples of OOH advertising are billboards, transit advertising (available for buses, taxi cabs, trains, etc.) and public video displays in locations such as malls, grocery stores, elevators and movie theater lobbies. OOH advertising can be very effective. The American Trucking Association reports that 98% of in-car audiences notice truck-side ads. Arbitron indicates that 29% of consumers said outdoor advertising caused them to visit an advertised retail store within a week of viewing the ad. OOH advertising, like radio, benefits from the increasing commute time spent in automobiles.

Media Placement in Digital

Digital is the “new kid on the block” in terms of media advertising, and online media buying is on the rise. There are several ways to advertise on this medium, including banner ads, text blocks, pop-ups, email marketing and video ads. Social media marketing is a byproduct of the online advertising movement, with sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn profiting from ads placed on their respective sites. Some businesses handle advertising themselves, dealing directly with media outlets. Others, especially larger companies, rely on media placement services to handle all of their media buying. A media buying agency will charge a fee for their services, but the savings resulting from an agency's volume buying and relationships with advertising vendors often justify the investment.

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