3 Stages of the Media Buying Process

Reading time: 8 minutes

In today’s cut-throat business environment, only businesses with innovative and robust marketing strategies can stand out from the pack. While conventional marketing techniques like PPC ads and social media get the job done, you’ll need to think outside the box to get the edge over your competition.

Media buying is an effective way to reach your target audience through various channels, including television, radio, print, and digital media. However, before you incorporate media or ad buying into your marketing strategy, it’s important to clearly understand the process. That way, you can make the most of your media budget and avoid potential pitfalls.

Today, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the different stages of the media buying process and what you need to do at each stage to ensure a successful campaign[4].

What Is the Media Buying Process?

The media buying process refers to a business owner’s steps to select the most appropriate media outlets and advertisements for their campaign. This encompasses all the purchases, negotiations, and ad space arrangements with the media distribution channels to have them convey your message.

The process ensures that the various ads reach their target audience and achieve the desired results without straining the company’s budget. With that out of the way, let’s now look at the three stages of media buying.

1. Pre-Launching Stage

This first stage involves doing your research and identifying your target audience. You’ll also need to determine your media objectives and key performance[3] indicators (KPIs). This will give you a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your media buying campaign. 

The major tenets of the pre-launching stage include:

  • The Target Audience – You need to know who you’re targeting[5] with your ads. media buying process. This includes their age, gender, income, interests, and media consumption habits. The point is to ensure your value proposition reaches the right people and converts into actual sales.
  • The Competition – Understanding how your competition is using media and ad buying will help you always stay one step ahead of them. You’ll need to find information on what platforms they’re targeting and what media channels they’re using.

    By understanding their strategies, you can make informed decisions about your own media buying campaign and identify ways you can beat them at their own game.
  • Your Objectives and KPIs – Once you know who you’re targeting and what your competition is doing, you need to set realistic objectives for your media and ad buying campaign. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Drive traffic to your website? Make more sales? Whatever your goal may be, make sure it’s achievable and measurable.
  • The Budget – This is arguably the most important part of the pre-launching stage. You need to have a clear idea of how much money you’re willing to spend on media buying. This will help you determine the media channels you can afford to target and the number of ads you can run.
  • The Execution – This is all about putting your media buying plan into action. You’ll need to purchase ad space on your selected media channels and create your advertisements. Once that’s done, you must sit back and wait for the results to come in.

It’s important to note that your target audience may not always be who you think they are. You’ll need to do your due diligence and figure out where they consume media so you can reach them effectively.

Smart business owners usually create target personas to help them conceptualize their target audience. A target persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer or client.

Once you’ve done your research, you’ll need to develop a media plan. This will help you map out the different steps you’ll need to take to reach your target audience. The media plan should also include a budget so you can keep track of your spending. It should also spell out the timelines for each stage of the media buying process.

The pre-launching stage is all about planning and preparation. By taking the time to do your research and develop a media plan, you’ll be setting yourself up for success.

2. Campaign Launch

As the name suggests, the campaign launch is where you launch your campaign to reach your intended audience. This stage usually involves creating the actual ads that will be broadcast or published.

To succeed in your campaign launch, you need to understand how your target audience consumes media. You also need to decide where and when the media channel will deliver your advertisement or announcement. As with other forms of marketing, timing and placement is everything.

You’ll need to create different versions of your ad for each media outlet you’re targeting. That way, you can tailor your message to fit the specific audience you’re trying to reach. For example, if you’re running a television ad, you’ll need to create a 30-second spot. However, if you’re running a print ad, you’ll need to come up with a completely different design.

Once the ads are created, it’s time to start negotiating with media outlets. This is where having a clear budget comes in handy. You don’t want to overspend on media placements and end up blowing your entire budget.

At this stage, you’ll also need to decide on the frequency[6] of your ads. You don’t want to bombard your audience with too many ads, or they’ll start tuning them out. However, you also don’t want your ads to be so spread out that people forget about your brand. It’s important to strike a balance so you can reach as many people as possible without turning them off.

The campaign launch is all about putting your media plan into action and getting your message out there. By taking the time to create effective ads and negotiate media placements, you’ll be able to reach your target audience and achieve your desired results.

3. Post-Launch Reflections

After concluding your campaign, it’s important to take some time to reflect on the results. Doing so helps you determine what works and what doesn’t. One of the best ways to do this is by comparing your results against your KPIs.

Some of these KPIs include media exposure, leads generated, and sales made. Comparing these metrics helps you determine whether or not your media buying campaign was successful.

It’s also important to take note of any changes in your target audience’s media consumption habits. This can help you adjust your media buying strategy for future campaigns. For example, if you notice that more people are using streaming services like Netflix, you may want to consider running ads on those platforms.

The post-launch stage is all about taking stock of your results and making adjustments for future campaigns. By reflecting on your KPIs and taking note of changes in media consumption habits, you’ll be able to fine-tune your media buying strategy and achieve even better results next time around.

It’s also important to get feedback from your target audience. You can do this by conducting surveys or focus groups. This will give you valuable insights into what people thought of your campaign. It’ll also help you figure out what you can improve for future media buying campaigns.

The post-launch reflection stage is all about taking a step back and assessing your results. By taking the time to reflect on your campaign, you’ll be able to learn from your mistakes and make adjustments for future media buys.

Automated Media Buying With Programmatic Advertising

In recent years, there’s been a shift from traditional ad buying to programmatic advertising[1]. Programmatic advertising is a form of media buying that uses algorithms to purchase ad space in real time. This allows you to automate the media buying process and get your ads in front of your target audience more quickly and efficiently.

Programmatic advertising works by targeting a specific audience and then using data to figure out which media placements will reach them. This is done by analyzing factors such as demographics, media consumption habits, and purchase history. Once the target audience is identified, the algorithms take over and start bidding for ad space.

Some benefits of programmatic advertising include:

  • Reduces Advertising Costs: By using data to target a specific audience, you can avoid wasting money on ads that aren’t relevant to them. Business owners can save a ton of money by optimizing where and when they show the ads in question.
  • Improved ROI: Since programmatic media/ad buying is more efficient, businesses can see a better return on their investment.
  • Enhanced Flexibility: If you want to reach a larger audience, programmatic advertising makes it easy to do so. You can quickly and easily adjust your budget and target new audiences with just a few clicks.
  • Provides Better Insight into Customer Behavior and Patterns: By analyzing data, businesses can get a better understanding of their target audience. This helps them make more informed media buying decisions in the future.
  • Reduces Campaign Launch Time: With programmatic media buying, you can launch your campaign almost immediately. This is because there’s no need to negotiate media placements or wait for ad space to become available.

If you’re looking to improve your media or ad buying process, consider using programmatic advertising. It’s a more efficient and cost-effective way to reach your target audience.

Here’s how you can use programmatic advertising to push your company’s agenda:

  1. Research and Set Your Marketing Goals – Before you start your ad buying process, you need to have a clear understanding of your marketing goals. What are you trying to achieve with your campaign? Do you want to increase brand awareness or drive sales? Once you know what you want to accomplish, you can start researching your target audience.
  2. Understand Your Target Audience and Pick Your DSP[2] – Once you know your marketing goals, you need to understand who your target audience is. What are their demographics? What media do they consume? Once you have a good understanding of your target audience, you can pick a demand-side platform (DSP) that will help you reach them. The DSP should be one that resonates with your target audience and is more likely to reach them.
  3. Pick Your Campaign Perimeters and Collect Data – Now it’s time to start setting up your campaign perimeters. You’ll need to decide how much you’re willing to spend, what media placements you want, and what type of ad format you want to use.

    Once you’ve decided on these factors, you’ll also have to determine what data sets apply to your campaign and where you’ll collect the data from. Collect all the necessary data via the plethora of data collecting methods, using only those that work best for your particular campaign.
  4. Upload Your Creative[7] to the DSP and Launch Your Campaign – Now that you’ve collected all the necessary data, it’s time to upload your creative to the DSP. Make sure your ad is compliant with the DSP’s guidelines and then launch your campaign.

    Monitor your campaign regularly and make changes as needed. If you see that certain media placements aren’t performing well, consider removing them from your campaign. You should also keep an eye on your budget and make sure you’re not overspending. Continuously optimize your campaign so you can reach a wider audience using fewer resources.

The Media Buying Process Simplified

Media buying is an incredibly effective marketing strategy that you can use to get an edge over your competition. Now that you know everything there is to media buying, it’s up to you to implement the right processes and procedures to ensure a successful media buying campaign for your business.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to give programmatic advertising a whirl. That way, you can get bang for every buck you invest in your media buying campaign. With the right budget, protocols, and an organized rollout, your campaign is destined for nothing but success.

Don’t forget to check out the other posts on the site for more informative reads!

1. programmatic advertising. Programmatic advertising entails using machine learning and technology suites to buy and sell ad inventory with a data-driven process.
2. Demand-Side Platform [DSP] ( DSP ) A Demand Side Platform or DSP is a platform where advertisers can buy digital inventory to easily and more directly connect with sellers in a programmatic and real-time ecosystem.
3. performance. A form of advertising in which the purchaser pays only when there are measurable results.
4. campaign. A set of bidding instructions that at a minimum includes a bid price for inventory. Most campaigns also include criteria such as a specific start and end date, daily or overall budgets, frequency restrictions, and targeting based on user or inventory data.
5. targeting. Choosing to serve ads to a particular segment as well as when, where, and how often to serve ads.

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