Media buying and media planning, What’s the difference? And which is more important?

The products and services of a brand need to reach its audience to make a name for itself.  Not everyone is your customer, so to reach the potential customers, to make them aware of your presence, Marketing is needed.

The word is not that simple as it looks; one needs to follow the proper concept that is needed to be done to promote the products and services of that brand. Strong marketing tactics can do wonders for a brand.

One of the major parts of marketing is advertising. When you advertise products, you create demand for them amongst the audience and make them aware of the brand. We get to have the idea of a brand through Billboard, Television ads, radio ads, or just while scrolling through our social media, somehow or the other the best ones always left an impression of them in our mind.

Advertising a product or service will get you to your desired result but it all depends on how you do that. Media is through which, advertising is possible and one needs to learn how to use it properly to get the best result possible.

What Is Media Buying?

The process that is used in paid marketing initiatives is media buying. The idea is to find and buy ad space on channels that are relevant to the target demographic at the best possible price at the best possible moment. Media buying is a procedure that applies to both traditional and digital marketing platforms like television, radio, print, magazine, billboards, websites, social media, and streaming. A media buyer has to negotiate, manage budgets and optimize advertisements to increase the campaign’s effectiveness with publishers.

Do you want to attract more customers to your business? If so, then you should explore the many benefits associated with media planning and the media buying process. This process is proven to help companies reach their target markets. Want to answer the question “What is media buying or how to get involved?” Keep reading to find out more!

Media buying also has a track record of helping companies increase their brand impact through a variety of outlets. That said, you must understand how the process works before you dive into using this strategy. 

Understanding Media Buying

Media buying is the act of acquiring real estate or inventory where advertisements may be placed. In television buying, a variety of factors must be considered, such as time, space, rates, lead demand, and more. The price of a television media buy will depend on the specifics of the advertising campaign, such as whether it will appear in a single city, regionally, or nationwide. On a website, the price for media buys would be determined by factors such as where the ad will be placed on the page, how many pages of the website the ad will appear on, how large the ad will be, how many days the ad will run for, how much traffic the website receives, and the website’s user demographics. The more exposure the advertiser is expected to receive, the more expensive the media buy will usually be. A media buy is different from earned media and owned media in that it is purchased.

Why Media Buying is Important ?

Effective media buying goes far beyond the actual transaction of money for ad space. 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. 

There are a few key benefits that come with using an experienced media buying team and process. 

Get the Best Deal

Media buyers often have a wide network of relationships, which they can leverage to maximize the value of your investment. Media buying professionals are well versed in negotiation techniques and common industry standards, such as the average cost of leads or what brand exposure should cost. Media buyers can also help extend the benefits of an agreement. In advertising the terms “value-added” or “added value” refer to ad space or impressions tacked on to an agreement without charge. Experienced media buyers can negotiate prices to increase reach or frequency and can often get value added at media channels they have worked within the past. 

Get the Best Slots

Media buyers understand where your advertising dollars should be spent, and which placements tend to get the most engagement. Media buyers stay aware of trends and world events (such as the Olympics or political campaigns) that may influence ad availability and negotiate ad placements directly into the contract to ensure ads are delivered as promised. 

Plan Campaigns with Best Practices

Media buyers understand what strategies will best lead to conversions (for example: placing ads at a certain time of day). Media buyers have experience working across publishers and channels. They bring the best practices they learned in previous campaigns and can apply them as they negotiate ad placements for maximum returns. 

An Example Media Buying Strategy and Plan

Here is an outline of a media plan and strategy that tends to work best for me:

  • Executive Summary (What is the summary of the strategy)
  • Objectives and How Will You Achieve Them
  • Identify your Overall objectives
  • What publications or media outlets have you chosen based on the previous steps?
  • What’s your budget?
  • How much will you spend with each outlet and why?
  • What objective do you hope to achieve with each outlet?

Media Planning

Today’s digital landscape is a competitive one. For any business to find success today, it must create and share media content (such as images, videos, written content, and podcasts) with its audience.

Publishing new media is how you boost brand awareness, engagements, conversions, and revenue for your business. Not to mention, media content helps you stand out from competitors.

Over time, though, it can become confusing to keep track of, plan, organize, distribute, and analyze all that media content.

The best way to combat these issues is through media planning.

What is media planning?

A media plan details what kind of media you will create and where and how you’ll publish it to best engage and convert your audience. Some media plans align with larger company initiatives and campaigns, following along with pre-approved messaging and content.

Other media plans are standalone strategies that detail how organizations plan to leverage media (written, video, audio, etc.) to connect with followers and customers.

Benefits of Media Planning

Media planning aids with parts of content creation and distribution, including:

  • Getting to know your target audience on a deeper level so you can effectively reach them through your media content
  • Deciding which media channels and platforms on which you’ll share your content
  • Determining the timing and frequency of the media and content you publish and share
  • Keeping up with the latest media trends and technology
  • Sticking to your budget as you work to create, publish, and share high-quality and engaging media content
  • Conducting analyses to measure the success of your media planning process

Creating a Media Plan

The goal when creating a media plan is to reach target customers – those who are most likely to buy from you, at the exact moment that they have decided to buy. Using advertising, you can educate and inform those likely customers, to make them aware of your business and to persuade them to buy a particular product from you rather than another business.

To make that happen as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, it is important to weigh the following when developing your media plan:

  • Reach. One of the two most important factors to consider, reach is the number of people you want to get in front of during a particular timeframe, such as a week or a month.
  • Frequency. The second most important factor is frequency, which is the number of times your target customers will see your ad. Obviously, the higher the number, the better, but cost is also a factor. For example, you may want to run an ad daily in your local newspaper, but the cost for such a purchase may exceed your annual budget.
  • Cost-per-thousand. One way to measure the cost of advertising is to divide the total cost of advertising in a particular outlet by the media’s thousands of customers, to get the cost-per-thousand value. For newspapers and magazines, you’d divide the cost by total subscribers. For blogs, you’d divide by subscribers.
  • Selectivity. Depending on how targeted your product is, you may want a measure of how well the media outlet reaches your particular prospect. For example, advertising Rolls Royces through the local newspaper will attract attention, but what percent of the newspaper’s subscribers fall into the target market of prospects likely to buy? It might be too low a number to make sense.
  • Impact. How many senses can the media outlet being considered reach? Magazines can appeal to sight, and perhaps smell (with those perfume inserts), while websites can appeal to sight and sound. The same is true with TV. You should consider what senses will make the biggest impact on a customer’s purchase decision.

Media planning vs media buying – how are they different?

Media planners consider the products being advertised, the target audience, and the campaign goals when making a purchase. Media buyers manage the initial purchase and make efforts to improve ad performance throughout the entire campaign process. To make sure that a campaign is run as efficiently as possible, both processes are needed. Many companies consider one to be more valuable than the other, but they often miss out on the benefits they can reap when both methods are used.

You will often hear the terms media buying and media planning used in similar ways. These tasks may even be conducted by the same agency or internal team, which can further blur the line between them. Media planning and buying should be closely integrated to create a cohesive, successful ad campaign. 

That said, we can make a distinction between these two tasks. Media buying and media planning are two separate pieces of the advertising puzzle. One way to understand the difference in media planning versus media buying is to see media planning as more of the strategy element in a campaign and media buying as the means of implementing that strategy. 

Both processes are integral to a successful ad campaign. When you skip the planning stage and launch straight into buying, you are not likely to optimize your spending or your results. You cannot limit yourself to just planning — you need to put the plan into action.