September 15, 2014 | By: Megan Breinig | 2 min read
Listen to this blog

If a great commercial or advertisement appears on the air, and no one is there to see or hear it, does it make a sound? We don’t think so. Advertising takes more than making an awesome commercial (though your commercials should certainly be awesome). Someone has to see the commercial. And not just anyone – your target audience. That’s why effective media buying is so important. In this article we will take you through the ins and outs of media buying and share some tips on how to do it right.

What is Media Buying?

Introductory advertisement for CBS Eye logo. Fortune magazine De

Media buying differs from “earned” or “owned” media. It falls into the “paid” media category and plays an essential role in marketing. Media buying is the acquisition of media real estate for the most advantageous spaces and timeslots. Purchasable media options span from newspaper ads to prime time TV slots to online banner ads.

There are three integral aspects of the media buying process:


  • Networking: Media purchasers must be able to develop and nurture relationships with important channel owners. Airtime is not unlimited and in order to get the optimal spaces, it is important to know the right people.
  • Investigation: Find the latest, greatest, and most appropriate venues for distribution. Keeping up on the media trends is an essential task when it comes to media buying. The evolution of the communications business must be understood; purchasers must be on top of new platforms and their target markets and be able to translate that into beneficial client recommendations.
  •  Negotiation: Media buyers should not only be able to negotiate fair prices for the media slots. But also find deals or extras to profit clients.

The first step in media buying is distinguishing when and where your ad should appear. Keep your budget in mind. If you have a hefty advertising budget network television might be the best choice for you. Identify the demographic that you are trying to reach and choose a channel and time slot that is frequently accessed by your target audience. If you are a small business, it may be more beneficial to invest in local newspapers, magazines, and television stations.

After the appropriate channel for your ad has been chosen, the media buyer reaches out to the company that owns the slot to ensure that the ad can be aired on that venue as well as negotiate a price that ensures the best possible deal for the client.

Finding the appropriate venues for your media ads is no easy task. That’s why hiring an experienced agency that already has a developed network and industry know how is often the best option. On the other hand, if your budget is not large enough to hire the right people, begin by doing your media research. After you get to know the industry a bit, grow your personal network. Build a contact database and start reaching out to the appropriate media venues.  Remember the key to great marketing is great exposure, and an unseen advertisement is an investment with no chance for return.

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