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Media Buying for an Advertising Campaign


Media and its advertising opportunities are essential components of any marketing strategy. Marketing strategies, in turn, employ advertising campaigns as tools for raising brand awareness and increasing sales of a product or service. This paper considers five constituents of media planning as well as steps for selecting a media venue for an advertising campaign. It also dwells on the three most important rules of media buying and their relevancy for a client’s request.

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Five W’s of the Media Planning

Since media buying falls into the domain of media planning, it is worth considering the role of the media planner and the significance of the five components of planning. Nowadays, media planners have to come up with ways of delivering brand experiences to consumers in the most effective manner (Katz, 2017). To meet the client’s requirements, media specialists need to analyze the five W’s of media planning: why, who, where, what, and when. The essential W is ‘why,’ which corresponds to the underlying purpose of the advertising campaign. The purpose has to be aligned with specific and measurable objectives.

When the goal and objectives of the campaign are identified, it is necessary to determine who should be reached. The target audience is usually segmented according to demographics, geolocation, and behavior; however, other relevant subcategories can be added (Kovalenko, 2018). The next W in the planning process is ‘where,’ which relates to the media platform selection for advertisement placement. The ‘what’ component delineates what type of advertisement will be demonstrated. This stage is an opportunity for unleashing creativity to support brand visibility and reach out to the target audience. The last W is ‘when’ that defines the length of advertisements’ performance on the selected media outlets.

Steps for Selecting a Media Venue

Undoubtedly, the selection of the media venue is closely connected with the core elements of planning. The first step requires in-depth research of the market and consumer-level information gathering. The new era of the Internet has given advertisers more opportunities to find the right group of customers. Traditional mass media, like television and radio, do not allow tracking someone’s exposure to an advertisement (Danaher, 2017). Therefore, it is crucial to monitor the development of the market, the client’s direct and indirect competitors, and the characteristics of the product or service.

Once all the necessary data is collected, it is worth formulating the purpose of the advertising campaign and its objectives. The starting point for defining the purpose and objective can be the overarching marketing strategy of the client’s company. As long as the marketing strategy aims at the long-term performance of the brand, advertising campaigns need to fit into this framework. The next step is to detect the target audience for the advertising campaign. However, it is vital to investigate the existing customers and learn more about their attitudes and habits. Since advertising focuses on behavior reinforcement, there might be no need to engage more customer segments (Nelson-Field, 2020). Instead, the advertising campaign can be directed at sustaining existing relationships with the audience.

The final step before choosing the specific media venue is designing the media buying strategy. The strategy builds upon the initial market research and identified target audience. Then, it is essential to decide on forms of advertising corresponding to the objectives of the campaign (Ogden & Ogden, 2014). Besides, every media buying strategy should align with the campaign’s budget. The highly diversified online audience might be hard to reach through only one outlet; consequently, resources can be allocated to several channels.

Three Rules of Media Buying

Three essential rules that the media buyer should follow are the investigation of the market, response to customer behavior, and negotiation of the optimal venue price. The investigation of the market and the needs of the target audience can shape the whole advertising strategy. Analysis of data and trends will help to find a particular niche free from severe competition. However, the outcome of the advertising may not be very distinct and easy to track. As Nelson-Field (2020) underlines, “the more substantive impact of advertising is a small shift across the whole audience felt over time as buyers come into the buying window” (p. 47). As a result, the client will know exactly which advertisement forms and media channels are relevant for his product or service.

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Another critical rule deals with media professionals’ ability to respond to customer behavior. Sometimes audiences do not react the way it has been predicted at the pre-launch stage of the campaign. Hence, the strategy needs to be adapted or even changed in real-time based on the received feedback. Finally, finding and negotiating the best price for the media venue is essential to make the campaign work. Media buyers have to carefully determine the basis for the sale, which can be a cost per click or cost per transaction (Katz, 2017). This approach will inform the client on how the financial resources are distributed to achieve expected results.

To conclude, media buying is linked to the process of media planning. A successful advertising campaign requires a strategic approach to determining goals and objectives, the target audience, and the types of advertisements. The steps for selecting a media venue are the analysis of the market and competitors, identification of the target audience, and design of the media buying strategy. Compliance with the media buying rules predefines the choice of the outlet which will determine the outcome of the campaign.


Danaher P.J. (2017). Advertising effectiveness and media exposure. In Wierenga B., van der Lans R. (Eds.), Handbook of marketing decision models. International series in operations research & management science (pp. 463-481). Springer.

Katz, H. (2017). The media handbook. A complete guide to advertising, media selection, planning, research, and buying (6th ed.). Routledge.

Kovalenko, I. (2018). The 3 stages of the media buying process. Smartyads. Web.

Nelson-Field, K. (2020). The attention economy and how media works. Palgrave Macmillan.

Ogden, J. R., & Ogden, D. T. (2014). Integrated marketing communications: Advertising, public relations, and more. Bridgepoint Education.

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