Media Buying 101: what it is and how it works [+16 platforms to use] (2023)

Have you ever wondered who is behind this?To sueon the websites you visit most often? Or the Super Bowl commercials we talked about weeks after they aired? The answer is media buyers.

Media Buying 101: what it is and how it works [+16 platforms to use] (1)

When a brand receives a marketing budget, a portion often goes into paid advertising. This is where media buying comes in.

This isn't talked about much in the marketing industry, but this process is responsible for the highly targeted ads we see today.

Let's dive into this process that many of us receive from.

What is media buying?

Media buying is the process of buying advertising space and time on digital and offline platforms such as websites, YouTube, radio and television. A media buyer is also responsible for negotiating ad inventory with publishers, managing budgets, and optimizing ads to improve campaign performance.

Whether they're watching a TV show or browsing a website, media buyers put brands at the forefront of their audience.

It's not like social media where users come and find you. It is an exit strategy that is only effective if you have a well thought out strategy.Rex Gelb, director of advertising and analytics at HubSpot, says one of the biggest mistakes brands make is not thinking about their marketing goals.

"Some ad placements may be good for a number of goals but bad for others. Say you're an airline and your focus is on impressions and awareness rather than an instant sale. You could buy a placement that's known to be cheap." Impressions" , he said.

Yellow continued, "Let's say you're a CEO who wants to promote a 'letter to our customers.'" In this case, you're worried about cheap clicks. Buying cheap prints, which made sense in the example above, no longer helps you achieve your goal."

This is why media planning is such an important step in helping you get the most out of your ads.

Today, buying media is done in two ways:

  • direct purchase– Media buyers build relationships with publishers to negotiate ad inventory, for example by working with a newspaper to run an ad in the next issue.
  • Programmatic purchase– The purchase process is carried out using automated technology.

Media buying vs. media planning

Media buying and media planning belong to the same category but are two different processes. While media buying focuses on getting the most impressions from the right audience at the lowest cost, media planning focuses on the strategy behind the campaign.

During the planning phase, determine which media will be most effective in reaching a specific audience. As soon as media planning is complete, media purchasing follows. It's also important to note that media planning isn't just forNotice, is for any media promoting a brand.

However, in a small or medium-sized business, the work can be done by the same person or team.

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How buying digital media works

When buying digital media orProgrammatic purchase, the purchase of copies is automated. Technically, trading is still happening, but it's being done much faster through open and private markets.

The traditional approach, on the other hand, involves negotiation and building relationships with publishers.

This automated purchasing framework consists of three components:

  • Demand-Side-Plattformen (DSPs)This is where advertisers and ad agencies set up their campaigns, bid on ad inventory, and optimize their ads based on performance.
  • Supply-Side-Plattformen (SSPs)where publishers sell their ad inventory. It is the editor version of the DSP.
  • the exchange of advertisementsMarketplace where advertisers and publishers buy or sell ad inventory via real-time bidding (RTB).

RTB is not the only way to buy prints, you can also use private marketplaces where publishers restrict participation in the auction. Another option is called Programmatic Direct, which sells ad inventory at a fixed price per thousand impressions (CPM) with no bids.

What about ad networks? Well, these platforms collect ad inventory from multiple publishers and tailor it to the needs of advertisers who act as middlemen. ThinkGoogle adsmiFacebook audience network.

Buying digital media can be more cost-effective and allow teams to focus on ad performance instead of negotiating back and forth. With the latest restrictions on cookies andAppTrackingTransparency von Apple(ATT) in iOS 14, it is unclear how this will affect the media buying section.

"With the next release, Apple will ask all of its users for permission to track when they open an app, and big ad networks like Facebook won't be exempt from that," Gelb said. "It goes without saying that many iOS users are retiring, which will have a negative impact on targeting and conversion tracking."

"No one knows exactly what the impact will be yet," he added, "but we in the industry are crossing our fingers and hoping for the best."

To learn more about why your business should consider investing in programmatic buying, here is a video on the top five trends in paid marketing.

Media Buying Tips

1. Strategize.

Before you start your advertising campaign, you need to clarify a few things.

The first question is: What is the goal of your campaign? Do you want more website traffic, brand awareness, social engagement? Aligning your team with a goal allows you to focus your efforts and better track the success of your campaign.

This brings us to the Key Progress Indicators (KPIs). You need them to monitor your campaign and determine if adjustments are needed. Finally, your campaign needs a budget. If it's a long-running campaign, you can set a daily budget.

These steps are typically completed during the media planning phase. In some cases, however, media planners are also responsible for buying ads.

2. Identify your destination and where to find it.

Your next step is to determine who the campaign is targeting and which networks are best suited to reach them.

Suppose a health-conscious vegan desserts company wants to launch an advertising campaign targeting health-conscious vegan consumers in the next quarter. The marketing team may want to advertise on YouTube videos with vegan content, fitness and nutrition websites, or even cooking and recipe sites.

When buying media, you can target audiences by device, location, behavior, interests, web browser, and more.

3. Set up your campaign.

This step varies depending on the media buying platform used.

(Video) Programmatic Advertising Basics Explained in Under 4 Minutes

However, if you normally use a DSP, enter your campaign details, e.g. B. Campaign type, creative assets, budget, audience, and bid strategies. Once this process is complete, just launch and wait for the results to appear.

If you take a direct approach, it will likely be a collaborative process between your team and your publisher's account manager.

4. Track and optimize results.

The most exciting (and possibly scariest) part of launching an ad campaign is tracking its performance.

Once launched, you can begin collecting data about your ads' performance. In this phase it is important not to make decisions too quickly. You should gather enough data to get a complete picture before shifting gears.

Let's say you ran an ad campaign on the Google ad network with the same vegan dessert company. You have two static image ads and one video ad. After a week, they notice that the video ad is significantly outperforming the banner ads. The media buyer may choose to reallocate funds to this type of display and placement as it will yield better results.

A media buyer's job is to maximize the ad's potential without breaking the budget. That way, adjustments can and should be made throughout the campaign if the ad isn't performing as expected.

The best shopping platforms for digital media

  1. Google Screen and 360 degree video
  2. the negotiating table
  3. display colony
  4. Amazon DSP
  5. AdCritter
  6. Adobe Advertising Cloud
  7. verizon midi
  8. Criteo
  9. StackAdapt
  10. AcuityAds
  12. adelphisch
  13. Amobe
  14. basis per center
  15. invest xandr
  16. AdRoll

1.Google Screen and 360 degree video

Within the Google Marketing Platform you will find Display & Video 360. Originally DoubleClick Bid Management, DV360 integrates seamlessly with Google Analytics and other Google products. So if your team is already using these tools, this might be the right media buying tool for you.

There are five modules in DV360 to build your campaign, manage your audience and creative assets, analyze your data and access ad inventory from top publishers. It also offers automatic bidding and personalized targeting using first-party and third-party data, making it easy to reach the right audience.

Finally, the platform allows advertisers to reach users not only on websites and YouTube, but also on TV.

2.the negotiating table

If you want access to premium publishers, Trade Desk is the place for you.

The platform features ad inventory from some of the biggest publishers, including Spotify, ABC, Wall Street Journal, and ESPN.

One of the key features of the platform is AI-powered "Koa", which uses data from over 600 billion daily queries to determine the smartest and most cost-effective way to run your digital campaign. Trade Desk also has cross-device targeting capabilities to optimize the reach of your campaign.

3.display colony

AdColony helps brands reach mobile app users on iOS and Android.

The platform offers multiple video formats and channels including full screen, interactive, banner and interstitial. This allows marketers to test multiple formats to see which performs best.

AdColony also has over 90,000 direct app integrations and a base of 450 million app users.

4.Amazon DSP

Every time you think Amazon has outgrown it, another vertical pops up.

(Video) 4 Reasons Why You Should NOT Become a Media Buyer

According to Amazon DSP, it is one of the most used DSPs by brands and advertising agenciesan article by Ad Exchanger. With this DSP you can reach users on Amazon owned websites like Audible and IMDb and other Amazon partners.

They also prioritize brand safety to ensure ads don't appear in risky or inappropriate environments.


AdCritter is a DSP for small and medium-sized businesses.

The platform has an ad builder and a library of ready-made templates for businesses that may not have their own creative assets.

With AdCritter, media buyers can even manually select the websites they will appear on to ensure their ads reach their target audience. You can also target consumers based on demographics and behavior.

6.Adobe Advertising Cloud

In 2017, Adobe released a powerful DSP to link Adobe Audience Manager and Adobe Analytics.

Like Google, Adobe's platforms integrate seamlessly, making collaboration easier and simplifying analysis across data.

Adobe also has powerful performance optimization features to maximize return on ad spend (ROAS).

7.verizon midi

If you're like me, any mention of Verizon pops up automatically."can you hear me now"To mind.

Well, it turns out Verizon offers a lot more than just cell phone coverage. In 2019, they reported that their DSP generated a 71% higher average conversion rate from campaigns compared to third-party segments.

Its platform leverages omnichannel strategies to engage consumers, such as out-of-home digital advertising (i.e. billboards and in-car advertising), streaming audio platforms, and connected TVs.


This platform has access to a large network of premium merchants, making it a great DSP for brands looking to reach online shoppers. Think Best Buy, CVS Pharmacy, Macy's and Kohls.

They rely on their own data, and not third-party cookies, to optimize ads and determine the right time and place to engage shoppers.

Criteo's flexible attribution models also make it easy for teams to analyze data.


When your brand operates in the alcohol, marijuana, and gambling industries, navigating advertising regulations and compliance policies can be difficult. StackAdapt helps brands empower their messaging and overcome these challenges.

Key features include dynamic retargeting, machine learning optimization, and cross-device capabilities.


The best feature of AcuityAds is its intuitive user interface.

With this DSP, your team can create an ad storyboard for each campaign and visualize the customer journey.

There is a drag-and-drop feature that streamlines the media planning process. AcuityAds also features a journey map that brands can use to quickly visualize how a campaign is performing.

(Video) Ad Tech Simplified: What is a Supply-Side Platform (SSP)?

Some DSPs offer preset audiences for ad campaigns, which can be limiting depending on who your team is trying to reach. offers custom targeting options to ensure accuracy.

The platform also encourages cost transparency and analytics. Marketers can see a detailed breakdown of where their ad dollars are going and how much is going towards platform fees.

Another outstanding feature of is location features to reach audiences at the finest level.


If customer support is important to your team, consider Adelphic. This omnichannel DSP consistently reports a customer satisfaction rate of over 95%.

Unlike other DSPS, Adelphic offers a flexible pricing model with a subscription-based structure. That means media buyers pay a fixed monthly fee for unlimited media.

Additional features include advanced reporting tools and data integrations.


With Amobee you can create cross-platform digital campaigns for multiple browsers and devices.

This DSP individually identifies potential consumers using its proprietary identity diagram called "Amobee ID". This tool allows brands to predict the performance of their campaigns across multiple devices and channels.

The platform can also access the APIs of social channels like Facebook and Instagram to automate social campaigns.

14basis per center

With more than 9,000 suppliers and 11,000 contacts, Basis has one of the largest inventories on the market.

That isartificial intelligenceThe (AI) tool can also check more than 30 campaign parameters and make optimization suggestions for best results. Basis also has scalable features suitable for both small and large businesses.

15.invest xandr

Zandr Invest specializes in reaching audiences through connected TV advertising.

Powered by AT&T's proprietary data, the platform gives brands a unified view to implement targeted campaigns. Marketers can segment users by lifestyle, interest, intent, demographics, and audience.

Xandr also offers an elegant interface for campaign planning, launch, and tracking.


If your site has a shopping cart or a login button, check out AdRoll. You probably know them as the retargeting leaders who have helped over 120,000 brands convert website visitors into customers over the past 15 years. But to meet the demands of e-commerce retailers, AdRoll has expanded its offering to allow brands to connect with known and unknown contacts across display ads, social media ads and email - the only platform that does this.

IfAdRoll HubSpot-Integration, you can even sync your HubSpot email lists to AdRoll right from your account, match your contacts with anonymous website visitors, and build audiences.

AdRoll also has integrations with all major ecommerce platforms, including Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and Wix, making it super easy to get campaigns up and running quickly, pull your product feed instantly, to create dynamic emails and ads to create, and help you identify high value. visitors to the destination.

When buying media, no ad placement is random. It involves some trial and error when you start, and the optimization process lasts throughout the campaign. However, once you have a strategy to follow and an intuitive platform to track performance, it will result in effective ads that meet your marketing goals.

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Subjects: media planning


What is a media buying platform? ›

A Media Buying Platform is simply a tool which enables the purchasing of advertising space around the web. It facilitates a transaction between the advertiser (buyer) and a publisher (seller).

How does media buying works? ›

Media buying includes purchasing traditional media, such as television, radio, print, and outdoor, as well as digital channels, including websites, social media, streaming services, and apps. Media buyers typically perform the media buying; they seek to match the context of the ad with the medium.

What are the media buying categories? ›

Media buys can include both traditional and digital channels. Traditional channels include TV ads, print ads in newspapers and magazines, radio ads, and classic Out Of Home (OOH) ads — anything that isn't digital. This last type of ad — Digital Out Of Home — creates exciting opportunities for media buyers.

What are the three most important rules of media buying? ›

The three most important rules of media buying are:
  • Using the right media.
  • Running the ad at the right time.
  • Targeting the right audience.

What are the three types of media platforms? ›

The three types of media are commonly known as news media, social media, and web media, but you might also see them referred to as earned media, shared media, and owned media.

What is an example of a media platform? ›

Some popular examples of general social media platforms include Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

What are the stages of media buying process? ›

In advertising, Media Buying is the process of actualizing the Media Plan which includes buying strategy, media research, RFPs, insertion orders (IOs), performance tracking, vendor bill reconciliation, and campaign reporting.

How do I get started in media buying? ›

How to become a media buyer
  1. Determine if it's the right career path for you. The first step to becoming a media buyer is determining if it's the right career for you. ...
  2. Pursue a relevant bachelor's degree. ...
  3. Gain experience in advertising or marketing. ...
  4. Consider pursuing a master's degree. ...
  5. Apply for open media buyer positions.
Apr 29, 2022

How do I get better at media buying? ›

How to Become a Successful Media Buyer
  1. Analytical Skills Go a Long Way.
  2. Rationality: Using Your Brain Like Mark Twain.
  3. Attention to Detail: Any Small Change Can Impact Everything.
  4. Business Knowledge: If You Wanna Swim with the Sharks, Learn How to Dive.
  5. Become the User – Learn How to Be Your Target Audience.
Mar 31, 2022

What are the 7 types of media? ›

Modern media comes in many different formats, including print media (books, magazines, newspapers), television, movies, video games, music, cell phones, various kinds of software, and the Internet.

What are 5 types of media? ›

Types of Media / Media Classification
  • Print Media (Newspapers, Magazines)
  • Broadcast Media (TV, Radio)
  • Outdoor or Out of Home (OOH) Media.
  • Internet.
Oct 23, 2017

What is the golden rule of media? ›

The key to the golden rule of communicate is to communicate with your audience and not at your audience. Communicate transparently, honestly, and genuinely with every post and response on social media. Over time, doing so will build trust with your audience.

What are the important factors that we should consider in media buying? ›

As a media buyer, you should have expertise in the factors that will impact the success of each campaign, such as:
  • What do leads usually cost in your industry?
  • What is the cost of standard ad placements on various sites?
  • What types of ads, display sizes, etc. perform the best on specific sites?

Which is the most important function of media buying? ›

Planning is the first and most important function of effective media buying management.

What are media platforms used for? ›

Social media platforms allow users to have conversations, share information and create web content. There are many forms of social media, including blogs, micro-blogs, wikis, social networking sites, photo-sharing sites, instant messaging, video-sharing sites, podcasts, widgets, virtual worlds, and more.

What are the 5 stages of buying? ›

The consumer decision-making process involves five basic steps. This is the process by which consumers evaluate making a purchasing decision. The 5 steps are problem recognition, information search, alternatives evaluation, purchase decision and post-purchase evaluation.

What are the 3 kinds of buying process? ›

It is the journey or buying process that consumers go through to become aware of, evaluate, and purchase a new product or service, and it consists of three stages that make up the inbound marketing framework: awareness, consideration, and decision.

How much can a media buyer earn? ›

Media Buyer salary in India ranges between ₹ 1.5 Lakhs to ₹ 9.5 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 4.3 Lakhs.

How do media buyers charge? ›

Media buyers focus on getting the most impressions from the right audience at the lowest cost. Some agencies charge a commission for broadcast and digital media buys. A typical range is 15-20%, although this may vary. Some businesses look at media buying and consider doing it themselves to save money.

What are the Big Six media? ›

The big six media companies right now
  • Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA)
  • Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS)
  • AT&T (NYSE:T)
  • Paramount Global (NASDAQ:PARA)
  • Sony (NYSE:SONY)
  • Fox (NASDAQ:FOX)

What are the 6 types of new media? ›

What Are the 6 Types of Social Media? The six types of social media, though this can be broken down in many ways, include social networking, bookmarking, social news, media sharing, microblogging, and online forum sites.

What are three best examples of media? ›

Some examples include:
  • Newspapers.
  • Magazines.
  • Television.
  • Radio.
Sep 15, 2022

What are the five functions of media? ›

In general, the mass media serves information, interpretation, instructive, bonding, and diversion functions:
  • Information function. ...
  • Interpretation function. ...
  • Instructive function. ...
  • Bonding function. ...
  • Diversion function.

What are the two types of media? ›

What are the types of media?
  • Print media: Print media refers to printed materials, such as books and magazines, that contain words and images.
  • Broadcast media: Broadcast media includes information transmitted through one of several mass communication channels, such as television and radio.
Jan 13, 2021

What is the 80 20 rule social media? ›

The 80/20 rule indicates that 80% of social media posts should be useful to your audience — meaning, it educates, entertains, or offers a solution to their problems — and only 20% should explicitly promote your business.

How many laws of media are there? ›

McLuhan prescribed his so-called Four Effects (laws of media) as a complementary method to Aristotle's well-known Four Causes: Material, Efficient, Formal, and Final. The Four Effects, which I will briefly elaborate on below, were named as follows: Retrieval, Reversal, Obsolescence and Amplification or Enhancement.

What are the five social media rules? ›

The 5 Golden Rules of Social Media Marketing

What does a good media strategy require? ›

The three pillars of an effective media plan — purpose, audience, and reach — are interconnected but must be considered separately during the early stages of plan formation. Here is an overview of the factors of effective media planning.

What is the most effective media for advertising? ›

Word-of-mouth advertising is considered the most effective form. It has the desired qualities of strong credibility, high audience attention levels, and friendly audience reception.

What is media buying in affiliate marketing? ›

Media buying is the process of purchasing ad space to promote your message. It's essentially buying paid traffic for exposure for your brand. In relation to affiliate marketing, it is often understood as someone who buys ads to drive to an affiliate link that gives them commission.

What are the common media platforms? ›

Global social networks ranked by number of users 2023

Meta Platforms owns four of the biggest social media platforms, all with over one billion monthly active users each: Facebook (core platform), WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram.

What are the benefits of media buying? ›

Media buying teams can create impactful relationships with media owners that result in greater reach with less investment. This enables marketing teams to increase conversions and demonstrate high ROI to clients and stakeholders.

What is the latest media platform? ›

7 social media platforms to watch in 2022
  1. BeReal. Launched in 2020, BeReal is a push-back against overly curated content and is capitalising on the drive for authenticity. ...
  2. Supernova. Supernova claims to be the social network that gives back. ...
  3. TikTok. ...
  4. Instagram. ...
  5. Twitch. ...
  6. Discord. ...
  7. The Metaverse.
Jan 28, 2023

What are new media platforms? ›

New media is any media—from newspaper articles and blogs to music and podcasts—that are delivered digitally. From a website or email to mobile phones and streaming apps, any internet-related form of communication can be considered new media.

How do media buying agencies make money? ›

Ad agencies typically sell their owned media, include it in client ad campaigns or retain the rights to media they create for the client's campaign. They might agree with the client for a specific percentage of earnings from any owned media, or sell it outright to clients and other ad agencies.

Does affiliate marketing really pay? ›

Compensation software company Payscale reports that the average annual salary of an affiliate marketer is over $53,000, based on over 7,000 salary profiles, with many affiliate marketers earning significantly more.


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