To put it simply: Media buying is the purchase of wholesale advertising space from a media company such as a TV network, radio station, newspaper, website or app and so on…
The media buying process is the process in which we media buyers strategically purchase this ad space for you by finding the perfect placement at the best possible price, across a multitude of media platforms such as those mentioned above.
Step 1: Pre-launching
Advertising decisions are not made overnight. Preparing to launch requires a lot of research and careful planning. In the pre-launch phase, the media buyer (us – in this case) has to ensure the media outlets we choose align with all of your advertising objectives. And this is how it’s done…
First, we find out exactly who your existing customers are. We need to know everything we can about them – age, location, and gender – even marital status. Once we have this information we look at similarities and patters among different target audiences. The next questions we ask are: how do they shop? Do they prefer to go in store or are they online shoppers? If you plan to go digital, think search engine ads, blogs, social media and websites.
Next, we research your competitors and get a feel of their strategy. Who are they targeting? What is working well (or not) for them? Learning from rivals’ experiences is an effective way to save time and get ahead of the game.
We then choose the forms of advertising that best align with your company and your campaign objectives. These may be in the form of printed ads in newspapers or magazines, video ads on TV or online, posters, billboards, radio etc etc.
Media buyers might decide on one channel or they could decide on a range of channels. The latter is more challenging as your message must be personally tailored to fit each individual channel.
A side note – if media buyers prefer to advertise online only, they need to understand a couple of things: how programmatic media buying works, and the basics of real-time bidding.
Just quickly: programmatic media buying basically means automated buying and selling of ad inventory (digital only, of course). Real-time bidding is a form of programmatic buying which allows digital publishers to sell their ad spaces using a real-time bidding system AKA an auction.
No matter who you choose to be your media outlet, it’s super important to negotiate the price beforehand. Shop around for the best deals and don’t be too shy to ask for discounts! Make sure you check for any hidden fees such as platform fees or service costs, and adjust the programmatic budget by setting the daily or monthly limits.
After identifying the ‘who, where and how’, it’s time to dive in. Set a target ROI and allocate a campaign budget based on your expected results – clicks, conversions, sign-ups etc. Think about how you’re distributing your marketing budget across all channels and don’t forget there will often be unexpected expenses so be sure to include a buffer!
Step 2: Launch the campaign
Woohoo! Go time. During this stage, the media buyers need to ensure the ad is exactly where it is intended to be – on the right channel, in front of the right audience and in the right context. They will be constantly monitoring the performance of the campaign. It is here that we must analyse what is working and what is not, before we go any further.
Sometimes things don’t go as planned and your ad might not have the outcome you so desired. If this happens – never fear. Be ready to adapt and change your strategy. Remember to keep an eye on your competitors and be aware of industry trends.
Step 3: Reflection time
The post-campaign stage is a time to reflect upon the good, the bad, and the ugly. Think about the delivery, the media space, ROI, and customer engagement.
Collect as much data as possible. Digital advertising uses data to build algorithms – data is a marketer’s best friend. Look for trends both big and small, and make sure you always have another set of eyes to help you examine the findings.
It’s 2021. Go digital!
Advertising is much more than making a pretty banner or a funny ad. You might design the most brilliant ad the world has ever seen, but it will be totally worthless if nobody sees it.
Successful advertising doesn’t only depend on what is shown and how, but also where, and in turn to whom. For this reason, media buying is incredibly important. These factors will determine the outcome of your entire campaign. When buying media, be clear about your objectives and choose the right channel for your marketing. In the words of Jef I. Richards: “Creative without strategy is called ‘art’. Creative with strategy is called ‘advertising’”.
Today, digital is where it’s at. This is where your customers and potential customers are hanging out. Programmatic advertising allows you to specifically target your campaigns and reach audiences across platforms and channels.