The media industry is growing at an ever increasingly rapid pace. New advertising opportunities are revealed almost every day and the knock-on result is that media planning needs to keep up to speed with what’s new and what’s worth checking out.

As these new types of new media become available, companies need to find the latest and innovative ways to make their branding, product or service stand out from their competitors who are chasing the same customers.

Through effective media planning and buying, sales can increase exponentially, so the risk of investing in advertising can be worth it. But a great way to de-risk ad spend is by using media specialists.

In this blog post we breakdown exactly what media buying is, its forms and how it can affect your brand’s visibility.

What is media?

Before we get into media buying, it’s important to clarify what we mean when we talk about ‘media’. We all know what media is, and most of us use the term on a daily basis.

For a media planner, media is regularly categorised into two main types—traditional and digital.

Traditional media is the term used to describe the media advertising which has been around even before the Romans put up advertising signs in Pompeii.

Traditional media platforms include:

  • Television
  • Radio, which is now broadening to include audio through podcasting and virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa
  • Billboards and transport advertising on buses, the underground in London and in trains
  • Direct mail
  • Door to Door leafletting
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Ambient media like billboards on the side of trailers, washroom panels and clean advertising

Digital media is the term used to describe media which exploded across the market within the last decade. Digital media, still sometimes referred to as “new” media, develops every day as more and more media platforms are released and popularised.

Digital media includes:

  • Pay-per-click on, for example, Google and Bing
  • Digital advertising on TV, like Video-On-Demand
  • Networks
  • Facebook
  • Spotify, Dax and Instream
  • Instagram
  • Linkedin
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

Media Buying for Businesses

For media buying to be successful through both traditional and non-traditional methods, it needs to reach the target demographic.

Essentially, your business targets those demographics who already buy, or those who may be in the market to buy, the products or services you offer.

You may know your business’ consumer profile inside out, but reaching them through media campaigns isn’t as easy as you might at first think. A great media planner will be able to help you identify your target audience if you can’t be precise.

Just like you, there are hundreds of thousands of other businesses buying media. Think about it—how often do you actively pay attention to ads you hear on the radio or see on a poster site? Therein lies the challenge to make sure that the messaging is placed on media platforms which deliver impact and cut-through.

There is media advertising that you do take notice of. These are the examples of media buying done right—the instances where the message reaches its target audience at the right time, that are relevant to you and have a powerful message. For example, podcast advertising is a perfect platform for native advertising, in which the advertisement is so relevant to the listener that it blends seamlessly into the content of the podcast.

There is a way to increase the chances of your campaign achieving results with successful media buying. But it goes without saying that you need the specific skills, experience and strategic know-how to make this happen—and that’s where media buyers come in.

Successful Media Buying for Businesses

Media buying is an essential skill to ensure advertising budgets work hard. Some advertisers buy media themselves, which is very risky unless they have specialists in-house to do it. A media buyer will be in the market every day and it’s their business to know the prices and value of each media platform. More than that, the media planners will know what options there are amongst all the media available to choose the best channel to achieve the advertising objectives. The best media specialists will be media neutral and not favour a friendly media sales executive or buy because the media is cheap. It will be cheap for a reason.

Unlike an in-house team member who volunteers to step up for the role, an experienced media planner is equipped with an extensive knowledge of the local, regional, national and international media market and will have access to databases revealing the audiences and value of each of the media channels. They will also be seasoned negotiators and be able to extract the very best prices for the advertising.

Finding your target audience

For media buyers to use your business’ budget effectively, they need to know in as much detail as possible the profile of your target customer. This means pinpointing everything from their age and gender to their geographical location, affluence, interests and favourite media channels.

It’s through this information that a media planner will decide where, when and how best to advertise your brand.

For example, if you want to advertise a new beauty range for young women, your media planner will work to identify the platforms most popular with this profile. For example, the most suitable options might include Instagram, Facebook and TV. But it doesn’t stop there.

A media planner will use engagement analytics and metrics such as your business ROI to work out when, where and how your target audience uses the platform. From there they will decide how best to utilise your budget to advertise your product or service for the best possible engagement with your target audience.