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Media Buying – Getting It Right for Best Results

With all the new methods of digital marketing that are being presented to you, it’s hard to choose the right one. For starters, you don’t understand most of them.

Before you make any investment decision, it is crucial to fully grasp the details to understand what you are getting yourself into.

The article helps you understand the entire concept of media buying, including some tips to give you success with the method.

What is Media Buying?

It is the process of purchasing media placements for advertising on websites, radio, TV, magazines, digital signage, or publications. It’s a common method among agencies. The primary goal of media buying is getting exposure to many people with the lowest cost possible.

Media buying involves a negotiation process, and it starts after media planning (the process of purchasing a media space).

Since a buyer only gets the space for a specific duration of time, the latter is a major factor in the process.

Why is media buying necessary?

Market expertise. Media buyers are always on top of the latest trends in the industry. They have also been around long enough to know what works and what doesn’t. With your business goals in mind, they are, therefore, able to get you the best path to follow. Their other leverage is their networks, which they have established with time, which gives them trust and buying power.

Cost-efficient. Since media buyers bring a lot of business to their vendors, they are able to negotiate better deals for you at a lower price. Sometimes, they may even get you a discount or bonus of more time in the media space.

Media buyers also have access to all the tools that they require to make the process a success.

Who is a Media Buyer?

For a better flow in the process, let’s define who a media buyer is.

This is the individual responsible for the negotiation and placement of your ads on television, radio, digital, and print.

How Does Digital Media Buying Work?

Digital buying simply means the process of acquiring ad placements on apps, websites, and other digital platforms.

Agencies use real-time bidding (RTB) to secure the advertising space on the publisher’s website.

RTB allows web owners to sell views (ad impressions). The latter is sold in real-time as it becomes available.

This has completely changed the buying and selling of display advertising in the industry.

Components of Real-Time Bidding

Following are the main parties involved in RTB;

1. The publisher: This is the website that users visit. It can be a news website, a travel blog, or a publication such as Facebook.

If a publisher decides to add ad space as an income, they add it to their inventory.

2. The Supply-Side Platform (SSP): This is designed to help publishers sell their inventory and manage them efficiently.

3. The Ad Exchange: This is a technological platform that allows the buying and selling of available ad impressions.

4. The Demand- Side Platform (DSP): This is the section that displays ads that the publisher would love to apply on their website.

The Real-Time Bidding Process

It all begins when an internet user visits the web application. The publisher’s website informs the SSP of the available impression which then evaluates the user’s information (web history, location, age, gender, and any other information available). The acquired data is then forwarded to the ad exchange.

From here, the information of the user is relayed to the DSP which is used for media buying and location-based mobile advertising. The ad exchange then opens a bidding session, where the DSP bid based on the value of the impression which is further based on the measurements is set by the advertiser.

Needless to say, the highest bid wins. It is then sent to the publisher and displayed to the website users.

This process goes on each time a user visits the page or even refreshes a page.

Programmatic Advertising

This is the automation of buying and selling ad inventory in RTB through an automated bidding process.

The sophisticated system helps publishers to buy ad impressions in milliseconds. This, in turn, reduces the costs since no human labor is required.

According to invesp, in the US, two-thirds of digital ad display is programmatic advertising.

Mobile programmatic ad revenue accounted for only 6% of mobile ad revenue in 2013 but has since then shot to 43% in 2018.

programmatic advertising

The spending on display mobile programmatic advertising is speculated to be over $45 million in the US.

eMarketer predicts that by 2020, 86.3% of ad spend will be programmatic.

Programmatic marketing has made it possible to reach the right audience by providing details such as location, gender, age, and social standings of site users.

The Process of Media Planning and Buying

The three phases of media buying include;

  • Pre-launch: decision making on vital media decisions
  • Launch: Ensuring media delivery is effective and runs as per the plan
  • Post-launch: Measure the results and make any necessary adjustments for maximum benefits.

1. Stage One: Pre-Launch

Planning is essential in any business decision. It helps identify all the resources required and evaluate available options.

This reduces the risk of failure of any project.

When buying media, it’s best to take time to lay out all the aspects that will go into the project to avoid any disappointments.

Here is a cheat sheet for your pre-launching stage;

Know Your Target Market

Advertisement is only useful if it reaches the right audience. Poor research on who your target audience should be will lead to wrong media buying and, subsequently, poor results.

Here are questions you should be able to answer when choosing your target audience;

  • Who do you want your message to get to?
  • Who is your target?
  • What is their gender?
  • How old are they?
  • How much do they earn?
  • Where do they reside?
  • Where do they work?
  • Are they married, engaged, single?

Understand Your Target Market

After identifying the group you are targeting, you need to master their behavior online. This will help in determining where to place your ads. If you only don’t have adequate funds, we suggest you use secondary research.

Your focus here is to know the online platforms they are using, the websites they are visiting.

What is Your Competitor Up to?

Research to know what successful methods your competitor is using. The following questions about your competitor can help you answer the question comprehensively;

  • Who is your competition targeting?
  • How are they buying media?
  • In what platforms are they running their campaigns?
  • Where are they placing their ads?
  • Which media channels have they classified as ineffective and effective?

The answers will help you compete favorably in the market.

Create Your Media Strategy

Based on your findings on who your target audience is, where to find them, and your competitors’ behavior moves: come up with your strategy.

  • Will you use one channel or multiple channels?
  • Where will you advertise? On radio? Movie theaters? Outdoor billboards?

Make Your Goals Crystal Clear

You have to know what you are trying to accomplish, or you will be all over the place.

Do you want more people signing up for your newsletter? More engagement with your brand? Increased sales?

This will help you decide if the media you choose can help attain your objectives.

Price Negotiation

Don’t be afraid to bargain regardless of the media channel you choose. Compare prices of different publishers to be aware of the market price.

Be on the lookout for any bonuses and discounts.

Following are some tips to polish your price negotiation skills;

  • Is there something you have that would benefit media owners? If yes, use it to have a win-win negotiation.
  • Don’t be a one-time deal kind of investor. Create a long-term relationship with the media owner.
  • Give a second chance. Don’t bail out if you don’t get results the first time working with a media owner. Allow them to try to tweak their approach – you may be shocked by how well people can deliver when given a second chance.
  • Don’t burn your bridges. Remember that your network is your net worth. Always live an open door with your media owners whether you work with them or not.
  • Have a Budget

To avoid being swayed by all the opportunities you land, set aside the amount that you are willing to spend in the campaign.

Only put your money where there is a potential of getting returns.

2. Stage Two: Launch Your Campaign

This is the phase in which you ensure that media delivery is executed in the plan. It’s also time to see any issues that you may not have speculated in the planning stage and make changes.

Media Delivery

Follow up to ensure your message is being shown to the right audience. Also, observe how they are interacting with your media. Are they sharing it instead of commenting? Are there any dropouts?

All these answers will help in efficiently evaluating your media delivery.

Track and Tweak

Even plans of the greatest experts have flaws. Don’t lose faith in the process if you are not getting the results you were expecting.

Instead, learn and make the necessary changes.

3. Stage 3: Post Launch

This is the chance to reflect on how your campaign performed.

Analyzing Campaign Performance

This is the time to evaluate the details of your campaign. What setbacks did you encounter? What were the total charges? Were the results worth it?

This will help you know whether you can continue with the campaign or not.


Final Words

Trends in digital marketing are changing every day. Unfortunately, to compete in the market, you have to keep up.

We hope that the above pointers on media buying will give you clarity on the process and help you run a successful campaign.