What is Media Buying?

Creating a successful ad campaign requires coordination with a wide range of people with different skill sets and priorities. Among creative planning, brand strategy, and account management, media buying can get lost in the mix.

However, media planning and buying is an integral aspect of every campaign that flourishes in the marketplace. Ultimately, media buyers and media planners play vital roles in the way consumers see and consume advertisements.

But, what is media buying?

What are the processes? What does it entail? Who is a media buyer?

What is Media Buying, Specifically?

Media buying, in its simplest form, is the practice of planning and purchasing time and advertising space for the purpose of advertising.

Depending on the medium, media buyers will evaluate a number of factors, including station formats, pricing rates, demographics, geographic placement, and psycho graphics, all relating to the product or service a particular campaign is advertising.

In addition, media buying requires a media planner to optimize what is bought, depending on the budget, which includes the medium, the quality of the medium and how much time and space is required. Advertising space can be bought on a spot basis, a regional basis, or a national basis. However, if a media buyer works with a national client, they will determine a plan on a state by state basis as rates, leads, space and time vary from state to state.

Therefore, a media plan must be adaptable enough to work on a national level as well as on a state and local level.

There are a handful of mediums that media planners often work with:

Print advertising primarily comprises newspapers and magazines. In this medium, media planners will research circulation, page size, rates, frequency and CPM. Special interests, especially in the case of magazines, can be targeted as well.

Radio advertising is a great way for media planners to reach specifically targeted consumers. Again, a media planner will take into account the demographics, pricing rates, and station formats before purchasing radio space.

Television advertising is a dependable and very effective medium for media planners and buyers. Broadcast television and cable television are the two primary sectors of TV. Media planners will research specific demographic information like gender, age, income level and race, among other elements.

Out-of-home advertising is synonymous with outdoor billboards; however, media planners are supplied with a bounty of options within OOH that encompass not just roadways, but grocery stores, airports, malls and convenience stores. OOH includes everything from your traditional billboard to LED screens and interactive digital panels.

Online advertising is the newest weapon in a media planner's arsenal, but it might also be the most complex and far-reaching. With search engine marketing, banner ads, social media, email marketing, and advertising networks, there are plenty of options for media planners.

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