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Media buying in 2024

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Author Niyathi Rao

Media buying is a crucial component of any advertising campaign. It involves the strategic planning, negotiation, and purchase of ad space and time on various media channels to reach a target audience effectively and, with the rise of digital advertising, media buying has evolved to include both traditional and digital channels.

What is media buying?

One of the key elements of media buying is identifying the target audience. This involves understanding the demographics, interests, and behaviors of the audience that a brand wants to reach. By knowing the target audience, advertisers can select the most relevant media channels to deliver their message.

Programmatic advertising has revolutionized the media buying process. It utilizes automated technology and data-driven insights to optimize real-time ad placements. Advertising agencies commonly use a demand-side platform (DSP) to manage programmatic media buying. It enables advertisers to set their campaign goals, select the relevant channels, and leverage real-time bidding to place ads on supply-side platforms (SSPs). With the advent of digital advertising, media buying has become more precise, allowing advertisers to reach their desired audience at the optimal time and lowest cost possible.

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Media buying vs. media planning

Media buying and media planning are two integral components of the advertising process, both crucial for a successful marketing campaign. While they may sound similar, there are distinct differences between the two.

Media planning focuses on the strategic aspect of the campaign. It involves identifying the target audience, understanding their preferences and behaviors, and selecting the most effective media platforms to reach them. Media planners work closely with marketing teams to develop a comprehensive plan that aligns with the brand’s goals and objectives. They conduct market research, analyze industry trends, and evaluate various media options to determine the optimal channels and placement strategy.

On the other hand, media buying is the tactical aspect of executing the media plan. Once the media plan is in place, media buyers negotiate and purchase the advertising space or airtime on behalf of the advertiser. They work with advertising agencies, media sales representatives, and various platforms to secure the best rates and placements for the campaign. Media buyers also focus on maximizing the return on investment for the advertiser by strategically positioning the ads and optimizing their performance.

Successful advertising campaigns require both thorough media planning and savvy media buying. By understanding and leveraging the strengths of each function, advertisers can optimize their marketing initiatives and drive the desired results.

Stages of media buys

Media buys consist of several stages that advertisers go through to ensure optimal results for their advertising campaigns. These stages help advertisers strategize, execute, and evaluate their media buying efforts.

The first stage of media buys is planning. This involves defining campaign goals, target market, and marketing budget. Advertisers work closely with their marketing teams to develop a comprehensive plan that aligns with their objectives. This step includes conducting market research, analyzing industry trends, and identifying the most suitable platforms and channels to reach the target audience.

Once the planning stage is complete, the next step is negotiation. Advertisers collaborate with media sales representatives, advertising agencies, and various platforms to secure the best rates and placements for their ads. Negotiations involve determining the pricing, ad placement, and any additional features or benefits.

After the negotiation stage, comes the execution stage. Media buyers place the ads on selected channels and platforms. They ensure that the ads are positioned strategically to maximize their performance. This includes considering factors such as the target audience’s demographics, interests, and behavior, as well as the optimal time of day for advertising.

Following the execution stage is monitoring and optimization. Media buyers track the performance of the ads and make necessary adjustments to improve results. They analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) such as conversion rates, click-through rates, and engagement metrics. By closely monitoring the campaign, media buyers can identify areas for improvement and refine their strategies to optimize the campaign’s effectiveness.

The final stage of media buys is evaluation. Advertisers assess the overall performance of the campaign against their initial goals. This includes analyzing the return on investment (ROI) and determining the campaign’s success in reaching and influencing the target audience. Evaluation allows advertisers to identify strengths and weaknesses, gather insights for future campaigns, and make data-driven decisions.

By following these stages, advertisers can maximize the impact of their media buys, reach their target audience effectively, and achieve their campaign goals.

Media buying tips

Media buying is a crucial aspect of any successful advertising campaign. It involves making strategic decisions about where and when to place ads in order to maximize their impact and reach the target audience effectively. To help you navigate the complex world of media buying, here are some essential tips to keep in mind.

Define your target audience

Before diving into media buying, it’s important to define your target audience clearly. Understand their demographics, interests, and behaviors to ensure that your ads are reaching the right people. This targeted approach will help maximize the effectiveness of your campaign.

Set clear campaign goals

Determine what you want to achieve with your advertising campaign. Whether it’s brand awareness, lead generation, or sales, setting clear campaign goals will help guide your media buying strategy. Align your goals with your target audience to create a compelling message that resonates with them.

Research the market

Conduct thorough research to understand the media landscape and identify relevant channels to reach your audience. Look for the platforms, publications, or websites that your target audience frequently engages with. This research will help you select the most suitable media outlets for your ad placements.

Seek out advertising agencies

When making buys of substantial size, a marketer should consider partnering with advertising agencies that specialize in media buying. These professionals have the expertise and industry connections to negotiate the best deals and secure optimal ad placements. They can also provide valuable insights and recommendations to enhance your media buying strategy.

Establish a budget 

Determine your marketing budget and allocate a portion specifically for media buying. By setting a budget, you can prioritize your spending and make strategic decisions about which channels and platforms to focus on. Remember to leave room for flexibility to take advantage of unexpected opportunities that may arise.

Monitor and analyze performance

Regularly monitor the performance of your ad placements and analyze key performance indicators (KPIs). This data will help you understand the effectiveness of your media buying strategy and make informed decisions for improvement. Adjust your campaigns based on the insights gained to optimize your results.

Stay up to date with industry trends

The media landscape is constantly evolving, so it’s essential to stay updated with the latest industry trends and innovations. Keep an eye on emerging platforms, technologies, and media buying strategies to ensure that your campaigns remain effective and relevant.

By following these media buying tips, you can maximize the impact of your advertising campaigns and achieve your marketing goals. Remember to stay focused, be adaptable, and continuously refine your strategy based on data-driven insights. With the right approach to media buying, you can reach your target audience effectively and generate the desired results

Challenges of Media Buying

Media buying can be a complex and challenging process, with several key obstacles that advertisers and agencies must navigate. Understanding and overcoming these challenges is crucial for a successful media buying strategy.

One significant challenge of media buying is identifying and reaching the right target audience. In today’s fragmented media landscape, where consumers have countless options and platforms to choose from, it can be difficult to pinpoint the most effective channels to reach your desired audience. This requires extensive research and data analysis to determine which platforms and channels are most relevant and impactful for your target market.

Another challenge lies in the ever-evolving nature of digital advertising. As technology continues to advance, new programmatic channels and tools emerge, making it challenging for advertisers to keep up with the latest trends and techniques. Constantly staying updated and adapting to new channels and strategies is crucial to remain competitive in the digital advertising space.

Furthermore, measuring and optimizing campaign performance can pose a significant challenge. Monitoring and analyzing key metrics such as conversion rates, engagement rates, and return on investment (ROI) requires robust tracking capabilities and advanced analytics tools. Without accurate and actionable data, advertisers may struggle to make informed decisions and optimize their media buying efforts effectively.

Budget constraints are also a common challenge in media buying. Determining an appropriate marketing budget can be difficult, as advertisers have to balance their campaign objectives with the costs of media space and buying tools. A limited budget may restrict the reach and frequency of advertisements, potentially impacting campaign effectiveness. Advertisers must find innovative ways to maximize their returns within their budget constraints.

Lastly, the increasing competition in the advertising industry poses a challenge for media buyers. With more advertisers vying for limited advertising space, the demand and costs can skyrocket. Finding the right opportunities and securing prime placements can be highly competitive and require strategic negotiation and relationship-building with publishers and advertising networks.

Media buying presents several challenges that require careful consideration and strategic planning. Overcoming these challenges necessitates a deep understanding of the target audience, staying updated with the latest trends and technologies, implementing robust tracking and analytics, effective budget management, and adept negotiation skills. By addressing these challenges head-on, advertisers can optimize their media buying efforts and achieve their campaign goals.


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