Recap of Weekly Meeting: What is Media Buying?

On Thursday Oct. 24, 2013, Katelyn Thompson, Senior Media Planner/Buyer, Conover Tuttle Pace spoke to our Chapter about media buying.  We’ve heard about it, we know it’s essential to mass communication, but what exactly is media buying?

What happens to an advertisement after it is created? How does it go from the designer’s desk to a magazine page? How does a television commercial go from the editing room to the television screen? The answer: media buying.

Creative makes an awesome advertisement. The client is happy and everything is great, but now that ad has to go somewhere where people will see it. That’s where media buying comes in. Media buyers work within the client’s budget to purchase the actual spaces in which advertisements are placed – in the digital, video, and print spaces. If it is a television advertisement, the media buyer purchases airtime. If it is a print advertisement, the media buyer purchases space in a newspaper or magazine.  If it is a digital advertisement, the media buyer purchases banner ads on websites or promotes a Facebook post.

Media buying seems like a fairly straightforward process, however, there are some things to keep in mind. It is important for media buyers to:

  • Be aware of trends. Digital has become increasingly more popular than traditional print advertising. Which medium best suites the client’s needs?
  • Understand what is out there. Media buying extends far beyond spots on television and in newspapers. New technology and social media afford options that have never before been available.
  • Know the audience. Maybe you don’t need the largest possible audience to see your ad, just an audience that is the most interested in your product or service – Who wants to see it? Where will these people be? These are important questions to ask when looking into spaces.

Thompson’s advice for students interested in media buying:

  • Research digital space—it’s a fast growing area. Be aware of how it is changing.
  • Learn how to use third party research. The more you can understand about the media and your audiences, the better.
  • Be comfortable speaking publically and presenting your ideas. There’s a lot of interaction with clients and vendors—know how to talk to them.
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