What is Media Buying?

Media buying is a process involving purchasing ad space and time on digital and offline platforms. These platforms include websites, radio, TV, YouTube, and more. A media buyer is responsible for negotiating ad inventory, managing budgets, and optimizing their ads to improve campaign performance.

Does this sound like a lot? Don’t worry; New Target’s media buying services will have you covered.


Unlike social media, where users typically come and find you, media buying is an outbound marketing strategy that will only be effective with a well-thought-out strategy and experienced buyers. Understanding your marketing goals is key to effective media buying.

For example, if your goal is to get impressions and raise awareness and you aren’t concerned with an immediate sale, buying a placement known to get cheap impressions would be a good strategy. 

On the other hand, if you are trying to promote a “letter to our customers,” you will only really care about cheap clicks. So, buying cheap impressions wouldn’t necessarily be your best option. 

This is why media planning is a crucial step in the media buying process. Media buying can be done in two ways:

The first way is by direct buying. This method lets media buyers develop relationships with publishers and negotiate ad inventory. An example could be working with a newspaper to place an ad in their upcoming issue. 

Programmatic buying is a buying process conducted using automated technology. 

How Media Buying Works 

With programmatic or digital media buying, the buying impression process is completely automated. The negotiation still happens, but it is done much quicker through private and open marketplaces. 

The traditional approach, however, involves negotiating with publishers and building relationships with them. 

These are the three components of an automated buying structure:

  • Demand-side platforms (DSP): This is where advertisers and agencies set up campaigns, bid on inventory, and optimize their ads. 
  • Supply-side platforms (SSP): This is where publishers sell their inventory. It is basically the publisher side or version of the DSP.
  • The ad exchange: This is the marketplace where advertisers and publishers sell and buy ad inventory through real-time bidding (RTB).

Instead of RTB, you can also use private marketplaces to buy impressions. In private marketplaces, publishers are able to limit who can participate in the auction. Programmatic direct is another option where ad inventory is sold at a fixed cost per thousand impressions (CPM). This method does not use any bidding.

Ad network platforms aggregate ad inventory from multiple publishers and will match them to an advertiser’s needs. These networks, like Google Adsense or Meta Audience Network, serve as intermediaries. 

Media Buying Tips 

Have a strategy

Before launching your ad campaign, you’re going to need to figure out a few things.

Ask yourself, what is the goal of your campaign? For example, are you looking for more website traffic, or do you want to increase social engagement? Aligning your whole team to one goal will allow you to focus your efforts and effectively track your campaign’s success.

You will need key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor your campaign to evaluate if any adjustments need to be made. Your campaign will also need to budget, and for long-running campaigns, it’s best to set a daily budget. 

Identify target audience

Now it is time to determine who the campaign will target and which networks will help you best reach them.

For example, a health-focused Vegas company wants to target health-conscious consumers. Your marketing team might find it best to advertise on YouTube videos that provide vegan-friendly content or on nutrition and fitness websites. 

When buying media, you are able to target an audience by location, device, interest, web browser, and more. 

Set up the campaign

Depending on which media buying platform you use, this step can look a little different.

When using a DSP, you will enter your campaign details like campaign budget, type, target audience, bidding strategy, and creative assets. 

For a direct approach, you will collaborate with your team and the publisher’s account manager.

Track results and optimize ads

As soon as your ad launches, you can start gathering data that tells you how your ad is performing. It’s important not to make any decisions too quickly at this stage. Make sure you gather enough data to understand the full picture before making any edits. 

If, after a week or so, you notice that your video ad is outperforming your banner ad, your media buyer can make the decision to reallocate your budget to the better-performing ad type.

At New Target, our media buyers are experts at maximizing your ad potential while staying within the budget. 

New Target’s Media Buying Services

New Target’s team brings a comprehensive media planning strategy to all of our clients. From native ads to digital display ads, social influencers to sponsored content, PSAs, and commercials to host-read audio ads, we will make sure to place your story on the most effective platforms. Contact us to learn more about how we can work together to increase your reach, expand your influence, and drive more conversions. 

A global team of digerati with offices in Washington, D.C. and Southern California, we provide digital marketing, web design, and creative for brands you know and nonprofits you love.

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