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What is the media planning and buying process?

Advertising is an essential part of business and is typically used to bring in new leads, move prospects along the sales pipeline, or remind current customers of how they could use your services. But how do you decide where the ads go and how much you should be paying for them? This is all done through the media planning and buying process, the foundation of any ad campaign. 

The media planning and buying process tries to put you in the best position possible to achieve the goals of your specific marketing campaign. Let’s take a closer look at the stages of the media planning and buying process:

  1. Clarify the business needs of the campaign: Targeted campaigns are successful campaigns, meaning you need to have a clear picture of what your campaign is trying to achieve. Setting objectives and establishing the metrics you will use to judge the success of the campaign is the start of the media planning and buying process.
  2. Audience identification: The next step is aligning your campaign goals with the audience that fits them. Your product or service might have a completely balanced customer base, yet the demographics can be skewed towards more specific groups for specific campaigns, such as acquisition. A key part of the media planning and buying process is identifying the exact demographic you’re targeting, including their age, occupation, and income, among other factors. This will influence the later steps of the process, so it’s important to get it right. 
  3. Outline campaign details: Where you will end up buying your advertising depends on the parameters of the campaign. These include the budget of the digital marketing campaign, what media channels you’ve decided to use, and how long you want the campaign to run for. 
  4. Create campaign plan: Once you have steps 1-3 nailed down, it’s time to create your campaign plan. Use data, metrics, and previous experience to identify the ad placements that will deliver the greatest ROI. While it is possible to tweak the plan mid-campaign, it’s best to set a time-limited plan and to follow it through. If it’s unsuccessful, the reasons why can be addressed for the next campaign.
  5. Analyze results: This next step of the media planning and buying process includes real-time and post-campaign analysis. Many platforms provide immediate metrics on the success of the ads you’re currently running, which is excellent for A/B testing and finding the best messaging and media mix.  As mentioned before, a campaign wind-down should also include an analysis of what went right and wrong, which can then be used to make future campaigns even better.

How does the media planning and buying process work?

Although knowing how to inform and create your plan is the very core of the media planning and buying process, many other elements are needed to make it perfect. For example, without understanding how each of the different media channels work and their features, you won’t be able to realize your objectives and get the best value for your advertising spend. The same is true of digital media buying and understanding how ads are bought and placed.

So here we’ll look at some of the most common channels for ad placement and what you need to know about them.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

PPC advertising is a standard medium for digital ads and is likely to be a core aspect of your media buying strategy. As the name suggests, advertisers only pay for each click they get on their ads, with a predetermined acceptable price for each. Usually, you will set a time-limited budget and when that runs out, the ads no longer show. Unfortunately, pay-per-click may not always be effective, particularly if the ads are being shown to the wrong audience, who will click and cost you money without much chance of conversion. 

Programmatic advertising

This refers to the use of automated technology in the media planning and buying process. While traditional ad buying methods involve proposals, tenders, quotes, and plenty of negotiation, programmatic buying uses software to buy and sell ad space. Though they may sound like drawn-out processes, there are thousands of auctions happening every second, and these auctions decide which bidder meets the criteria to appear on a specific person’s page. 

Social media buying

All major social media platforms have their own advertising features, which allow you to target very specific demographics on either a CPC or cost per mille (thousand impressions) basis. This can be very effective for reaching niches that search advertising can’t and is a vital tool when considering your target audience. There are also other avenues, such as social media influencer marketing, which can help define your brand in your audience’s eyes through a personality they already have a connection with.

Buying on TV and radio

With the move to digital marketing, some might have thought that ad buying on TV and radio was finished. But, the numbers don’t lie and data shows that people still watch TV shows and listen to the radio. Now, however, this element of media planning and buying is focused on OTT streaming advertising, podcast advertising, or advertising on music platforms such as Spotify.

Tap the experts

Successful marketing campaigns are built on great plans and execution. Meeting your objectives and delivering excellent ROI for your marketing spend comes from having an effective media planning and buying process. This process is something you should analyze and improve constantly to keep up with new trends and the shifting needs of your business.

If you want to up your marketing game and create a media planning and buying process that delivers consistent results for your organization you can always talk to the experts. To get in touch with us to find out how we can help at any stage of the process, you can contact us here.