A Beginner’s Guide to Media Planning and Buying

As we’ve covered before, media planning and buying are distinct and vitally important functions for any successful advertising campaign. To be a successful media planner, you need to know what media will be the most effective for a new campaign. You need to conduct internal and external market research, and set the right goals and objectives for your campaign. 

To be an effective media buyer, on the other hand, you need to be able to create and leverage contacts. You also need to know when and how to pivot a campaign already in flight to ensure success. At Bloom Ads, we know how crucial each of these roles is to our clients’ campaigns, which is why we’ve always emphasized intelligent and effective media planning and buying.

If you’re finding gaps in your performance or in ensuring the efficiency of your campaigns, you may be wondering if you should take a closer look at your media planning and buying operations. To that end, we’ve put together a simple and straightforward beginner’s guide to media planning and buying to help you make sure that your campaigns operate up to their fullest potential. 

Ask the Right Questions

Effective media planning and buying depend on collecting the best information to inform future campaigns. This involves getting questions answered not only from clients but from publishers, too. Here are just a few of the questions we typically ask our clients as we start the media planning and buying process: 

  • What do you expect to get out of this campaign?
  • What is your current CPA (cost per acquisition)?
  • What budget are you comfortable spending?
  • What have you done in the past that has worked or not worked?
  • What creative assets do you have? 
  • What’s your ability to generate new creative assets?

To make sure you collect all of the necessary information from clients, you should create a media brief. A good media brief will include all of the campaign parameters such as timing, budget, goals, target audience, and market. All of this information will allow media planners and buyers to determine which marketing channels will be most beneficial, cost-effective, and impactful. 

As a part of the media planning process, the media brief is only the start. Clients rely on media planners and buyers to collect and provide all of the necessary information to guide the campaign. Once your client has filled out the brief, it’s time to start reaching out to publishers and platforms.

Use the Right Tools

Once a brief is complete, the planner/buyer should instruct the media coordinator to begin research using tools provided by Claritas, Scarborough, Nielsen, and Comscore. This research helps us refine our target audience and understand their media consumption. Usually, more questions result from the research conducted by the media planner and buyer. These questions often include:

  • Is the target audience defined by the client accurate?
  • Can we refine and flesh out based upon media habits and consumption?
  • How and when is the target audience consuming media?
  • Is there room in the budget for this media or do we need to rethink our budget or goals?
  • How realistic are the conversion rate and return on investment goals?

Once these questions are resolved, a media planner and buyer should create and send out requests for proposals (RFPs) to the relevant publishers and stations. 

Always Refine Your Plan

Once the RFPs are sent back, a media buyer and planner should evaluate, negotiate, ask questions, and summarize their findings into a comprehensive media plan. At Bloom Ads, this plan is reviewed internally by supervisors who then communicate the plan to the client. 

Often, more questions can arise from this process, which leads media planners and buyers to refine and update their media plan ahead of launch. Here are some common questions our team has for publishers: 

  • What is your effective CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions)?
  • What will be our share of voice?
  • What is the ad load in your commercial pod?
  • What is your viewability guarantee?
  • What impressions will you guarantee?

In instances where a client’s goals and budget are misaligned, or a media planner and buyer discovers more potential opportunities in the market, it can be very beneficial to develop multiple media plans that achieve different goals. At Bloom Ads, we aim to develop strategies that can be multi-integrated across tactics which allow us to reach the desired target audience at the proper frequency and reach. 

We also recommend developing stretch goals that, though they often require additional budget than what is provided in the initial media brief, can demonstrate to a client the full range of possibilities available to them. For example, a client may not provide a budget for TV spots, but research uncovers that TV spots would be most relevant to their target audience. We would then recommend a supplemental TV schedule to achieve their goals.

Even if clients do not take advantage of incremental plans or campaigns are limited by budget, it’s good for media planners and buyers to complete their research, gain a full understanding of the market, and communicate those opportunities to clients. It can help inform future campaigns. 

Prepare for a Successful Launch

Once a plan is developed and signed off on by the client, the media planner and buyer should ensure everything is prepared for launch. Even after a campaign has launched, knowing when and how to tweak campaigns in flight is fundamental to effective media buying and overall campaign success.

As a beginner to the media planning and buying process, the most important thing to consider is the quality of your information. Getting the most helpful information from clients and publishers will ensure the best media plan is developed and launched.

Of course, if you’re looking for a professional media planning and buying agency in Los Angeles at the heart of the entertainment and media industries, reach out to learn more about how Bloom Ads can help you.

How is Media Planning Different from Media Buying?

Media planners and buyers work together like drivers and navigators.

Two of the most important cogs in the grand engine of media advertising are media buyers and media planners. Without them, the creative elements of media strategy would be left without a connection to an actual platform, wallowing in the darkness of obscurity, away from the warm glow of the attention of potential leads.

Although they often get lumped together, media planning vs. media buying is actually a keenly fought battle, with both sides claiming to be of greater importance. In fact, it’s probably better to describe their relationship as symbiotic rather than adversarial, since both perform at their best levels when working in tandem.

So, what is the media planning vs. media buying debate really all about? Let’s look at the main differences.

Media Planning vs. Media Buying

One way to think of the two roles is like a driver and co-driver setting out on a long-distance road trip.

The co-driver, i.e. the media planner, decides on the best route to take, considering the car’s capabilities, previous journeys that have been taken and what they’d like to do along the way.

The driver, or media buyer, on the other hand, has the focus of getting them to all the key waypoints with maximum fuel efficiency and within the set timeline, making adjustments on the road to make sure they stay on track.

What is Media Planning?

Media planners are the ones who figure out what media will be the most effective platform for a new campaign. They conduct research, figure out the best way to achieve what the client wants, outline the campaign goals and objectives, and set how the budget should be spread across the various platforms chosen.

The Roles of the Media Planner

Conducting Internal Market Research: This helps them to uncover exactly what the client’s brand identity is, what their market proposition and unique selling points are, and what the particular customer persona is.

Conducting External Market Research: This is to assess the lay of the land in the client’s particular field. Media planners explore how the brand is currently advertising, what their competitors are like and what they’re doing, what motivates and attracts their target audience, and which media channels are the most effective in reaching them.

Setting Campaign Goals and Objectives: The meeting of minds between what the client wants to achieve and what the media planners believe they can and should achieve is probably the most important interface in a campaign.

Trust and confidence are crucial for any long-term relationship, which is why integrated agencies like Bloom Ads are able to give clients the clearest picture of how they are making every dollar work for them. Media planners can set goals that they know they are going to be able to reach, as long as they work side-by-side with media buyers.

What is Media Buying?

Once media buyers receive the media strategy from the planners, their goal is to make sure the campaign features on the most appropriate media channels and with the greatest cost-effectiveness.

This is a considerably specialized role, as good media buying requires an intimate understanding of the marketplace and the nurturing of relationships with media vendors over years. It’s not something that can just be picked up a couple of times a year. For this reason, it is most often performed by a specialist media buying agency, although buyers and planners can be integrated under one roof.

The Roles of the Media Buyer

Creating and Leveraging Contacts: In most industries, it can be more about who you know than what you know, and that maxim certainly applies in media buying. One of the reasons why media buyers are able to create such great ROIs for clients is because they know the right people in the right places.

Knowing Where the Space Is and How to Get It: As much as knowing the right people matters, a media buyer also needs to have an impressive understanding of exactly which media channels appeal to which cohorts of society. The ultimate goal is to find the perfect space to get the best return for the client, then negotiate like their life depends on it to get even more.

Tweaking and Perfecting Campaigns in Motion: Once the strategy leaves the planner’s hands, it becomes the media buyer’s baby. It is up to them to optimize the channels being used to ensure the campaign’s effectiveness throughout its lifecycle. During this period, the media buyer will have to be flexible, gathering and interpreting data about the campaign’s performance. Certain tools, such as real-time bidding for ad space and programmatic advertising, allow buyers to make instantaneous shifts in direction to keep the project aligned and on the right course.

While for some, media planning vs. media buying might be an actual dispute, with one side trying to outdo the other, in our experience, they work best when both are in harmony. That’s why we have always believed, and proved through our results, that an integrated approach to creating, planning and disseminating your message always delivers the best ROI for advertising spend. Talk to us and find out for yourself.

Media Buying 101: Important Terms to Understand

Successful, ROI-positive marketing campaigns don’t just have strong, relatable messages — they also need to be seen by the right people, at the right time, all at an affordable price. That’s where media buying comes into play.

Media buying is the practice of negotiating and purchasing ideal ad spaces, programs, or times for your marketing message. As you can probably guess, this can be a complicated process, which is why so many businesses trust media buying agencies to find the best possible placements and ad rates for them.

Even if you’re leaving the complex stuff to the experts, you can rest easier by brushing up on your knowledge of media buying terms. That’s why we’ve put together a crash course to help you speak to media buying agencies in their vernacular.

Scroll down to learn more.

Media Buying 101: Terms You Should Know

We’ve broken down our handy guide into three sections – general terms, television and radio buying terms, and digital media buying terms – so you’ll be well equipped no matter your preferred channel.

General Terms

Cost Per Thousand (CPM) – The price of serving 1,000 ad impressions.

Flight Dates – The exact start and end dates of a marketing campaign or promotion.

Frequency – This is the average number of times a household or person views a given program, station, or advertisement over the course of a set period (i.e., one month).

Impressions – The number of homes or individuals who see a specific advertisement or group of ads. In digital marketing, impressions refer to the total number of times an ad delivers online.

Media Buying – Media buying is the method individuals or marketing agencies apply after a media planner completes research and devises a campaign strategy. Media buyers use these insights and plan to find and negotiate the buying of ad space across the proposed media channels. This process can be automated or manual depending on preference, objectives, audience, budget, media channels, and technology.

Media Mix – This refers to the distribution of time and money allocated to your advertisements across multiple platforms, including TV, radio, print and digital.

Media Planning – This is the process of selecting the optimal mixture of media outlets for marketing a particular business, product, or service. Media planners use research to identify, analyze, and plan campaigns all while staying within a brand’s budget.

Net Reach – The number of individual people that a commercial or ad serves to at least one time.

Rotation – Rotation refers to the distribution of spots or ads across certain days and hours within the flight period.

TV and Radio Media Buying Terms

Audience Turnover – A radio station’s cumulative audience compared to the average quarter hour audience. Turnover equals cume persons divided by the Average Quarter Hour Audience. Generally, it is the number of times new listeners replace an audience within a daypart.

Avails – Avails refer to the availability of unsold units of time available for broadcasters and radio stations to sell to marketers.

Average Quarter-Hour Persons (AQH) – The average number of persons listening to a particular radio station for at least five continuous minutes for 15 minutes.

Average Quarter-Hour Rating – An approximation of Average Quarter-Hour Persons represented as a percentage of the measurement population.

Block Programming – A series of programs with a specific demographic appeal. Placing ads in this programming is perfect for advertising messages that all target the same audience.

Cable Activity Report – A report that Nielsen Media Research provides cable networks. It outlines information on average and cumulative household audience information by daypart.

Cost Per Point (CPP) – The price of reaching an Average Quarter-Hour Persons audience that is equal to roughly one percent of the people in a demographic group.

Cume – The number of individual persons who listen to a radio station during a daypart for at least five continuous minutes.

Daypart – Radio and television advertisements are divided up into time segments for scheduling purposes. These segments include primetime, daytime, late night, early morning, and total day.

End Rate – This is the actual rate that an advertiser pays for a set television commercial time after all of the negotiations and discounts.

Fixed Position – A broadcast or radio spot on a schedule to run at a precise time or to run within a specific program.

Pre-emption and Pre-emptible – This is a displacement practice replacing a scheduled broadcast or radio spot in favor of another spot, usually due to a higher price.

Run of Schedule or Run of Site (ROS) – In television or radio, ROS is scheduling to run across multiple dayparts and multiple days. Usually Monday-Friday, 6am-12Mid. In digital marketing, it refers to running on a website with no preference as to specific pages or times.

Spot Television – Spot television is all the commercial advertising time that is available for sale or purchase from a local TV station. These spots can be either local or national.

Digital Media Buying Terms

Ad network – These are companies that connect marketers with a multitude of websites that want to host their ads.

Banner ad – A banner ad, or a display ad, is an ad displayed on websites that gain revenue by placing ads within their content. The ad consists of a static image or animated visual in a box or rectangle (.jpg, .png, .gif, or HTML5).

Click Through Rate (CTR) – A term used in digital marketing that refers to the measure of success an advertisement had in getting a user to click back to the website.

Cost Per Click (CPC) – The cost a marketer pays for each user click on a particular ad. CPC mostly applies to paid search advertising or search engine marketing.

Media Made Easy with Bloom Ads

Many marketers fail with media buying and planning – and lose money – because they don’t have the right initial guidance. We want you and all our clients to be successful with your marketing ventures. Sharing what we know will only make your budget work better and prove our value.

We know this is a steep set of media buying terms to digest, but at its core, media buying is relatively simple. We hope our Media Buying 101 glossary serves as the guide you need to speak intelligently with your internal stakeholders, media buying agencies, and industry peers.

To learn more beyond Media Buying 101, including our media planning and media buying services, contact us on our website or give us a call at 818-703-0218 to speak with an expert directly.

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The Advantages of Media Planning & Buying with Bloom Ads

 

The first place consumers go when they want to learn more about a business, product, or service is the internet. Not only do they want to check out reviews, but they want to make sure that the company in question is trustworthy and maintains an active online presence. Currently, those implications are complex and far-reaching.

Some might be looking at a business’s website or blog. Others might be looking at their presence on social media sites. Still, others might want to see what kinds of reviews a business has. They might have faith in a company if they show up on the first page of Google. They might be looking for deals, sales, and specials they can find online.

There are many factors consumers look for when choosing the brands and companies they want to work with or purchase from, and we haven’t even touched on paid digital marketing and the many advantages of media planning.

The Advantages of Working with a Media Planning Agency

The scope of digital marketing is vast and ever-changing. No matter the size of your company, it can be hard for business owners and marketers to find the time to handle digital marketing on their own, let alone doing so without wasting money. That’s why it’s so beneficial to work with a media buying agency.

Media buying agencies are doing this type of work day in and day out. Not only do we know and understand the current best practices of running digital marketing campaigns, but we know when and how to pivot as the industry evolves. It’s the job of a media buying agency to stay on top of new trends, platforms, and strategies to offer the best return on investment to our clients.

From gaining access to competitive research to saving on resources, here are just a few of advantages of media planning agencies.

Market and Competitive Research

One of the core advantages of media planning with professionals is the fact that many media buying agencies have access to proprietary marketing research and competitive research tools that can provide valuable data about a multitude of industries, products, and services. This research can inform strategies, budgets, and bidding before a campaign even launches, ensuring your business and its campaigns are one step ahead of the competition.

Strategy & Media Planning

Today’s consumer is sophisticated, empowered, and active across a multitude of digital platforms. One advantage of media planning with an agency like Bloom Ads is that we prioritize the platforms that are most likely to convert first while leaving some budget behind that’s intended to drive brand awareness and engagement with individuals who are early in the buyer’s journey and still need some nurturing and encouragement.

We have the experience and know-how required to understand which platforms and the overall mix of platforms and budget to use to reach your business goals. These strategies are the business advantages of media planning with an agency that will give you the best bang for your buck.

Changing Trends

Marketing trends change all the time, and unless you have the time and resources to stay on top of these trends, campaigns will suffer and spending inefficiencies will arise. You probably remember the issues that Facebook had with their data early in 2018. Because users lost faith in Facebook’s data privacy and protection, Facebook decided to remove certain types of targeting from their ad platform.

Save Resources

Budget and people are both resources that your business needs. Another one of the advantages of media planning agencies is that they can save your business on both. Companies that forgo building their own in-house media buying team save significantly on their marketing investment. Agencies have multiple experts on staff to assist in different areas of marketing, and by hiring an agency, you aren’t paying multiple salaries, medical benefits, and extraneous benefits like 401Ks.

Bloom Ads is a full-service media buying agency that will help you effectively reach your business goals. Reach out to us anytime using our online contact form or call 818-703-0218 to speak with a digital marketing expert directly.  We can answer all your questions about the advantages of media planning and buying with Bloom Ads.

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Bloom Ads Global Media Group | 818.703.0218 | info@bloomads.com
20720 Ventura Blvd. Suite 140 Woodland Hills, CA 91364