So what is Media buying ?

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Knowing when and where to spend advertising shillings, and determining how to most effectively reach a targeted audience, is a skill most business owners do not possess. While many attempt to muddle through the mess of mediums, price negotiations and premium slots, few have the time to invest in becoming proficient, much less successful, at media buying.

In order to maximize budget, advertisers must collaborate with a media buyer such as Saracen Media who possesses the knowledge and skills to get specific messages into the most appropriate media outlets at exactly the right moment. However, the ever-evolving nature of the publishing industry makes this a difficult task. Yet the industry has always been tied to the evolution of the publishing industry. In 1914, Campbell’s Soups dropped the “outdated method” of newspaper advertising in favor of the thriving magazine industry, while Woolworth’s became an innovative leader that same year when two New York department stores broadcasted a series of ads to a limited radio audience.

For much of the 20th century, large advertising agencies created ad campaigns and purchased media space. In the late 1980s, cable television revolutionized the industry, motivating advertising agencies to unbundle the planning and buying departments so they could compete with the media conglomerates that wielded immense negotiating powers.

Media buying is once again experiencing change as digital advertising changes how messages are marketed. Consumers today are inundated with competition for their attention, which is why niche markets that attract targeted audiences are becoming key to launching successful campaigns.

Top Concerns of Today’s Media Buyers

Media buyers are responsible for negotiating the purchase rate of time and space for advertisements developed by the creative team. Launching an event to increase brand awareness, updating a website to generate targeted traffic or mailing direct advertisements to drive sales requires a unique combination of ad types and targeting tools. It is the media buyer’s responsibility to ensure the creative team’s message actually reaches the intended audience.

When advertising space and airtime is purchased properly on behalf of a client, a media buyer can generate significant savings. This is because media buyers possess in-depth knowledge of the publishing industry, including pricing rates, lead times, format and quality of the mediums, demographics, location and competition for the space. These considerations play a crucial role in determining how much time or space is purchased.

A media buyer’s goal is to help advertisers reach the most consumers at the smallest expense. All options are carefully weighed against the budget. An experienced buyer knows the quantity and quality of views a publication, station or website can generate. They must choose which strategies will provide the most appropriate and effective means to achieve their goal. This is especially difficult as the format may change depending on the client’s desire to sale a product or share a message.

Along with relationships, media buyers must develop strong negotiating skills in order to secure the most competitive prices and the premium ad placement spots. They also negotiate different pricing structures for ad sizes, formats and viewing impressions, and they must understand the technical aspects of the industry, such as how to submit an insertion order to purchase space for an advertisement.

A strategically placed ad can generate a considerable amount of viral buzz for a company. Volkswagen’s Stars Wars-themed “The Force” commercial that aired during the 2011 Super Bowl produced nearly $100 million in free publicity. To promote its 2012 follow-up commercial “The Bark Side,” VW released a YouTube teaser video that attracted more than 9.8 million views a week before it aired.

Reaching the largest audience with the most effective method requires a great deal of research and analytics on audiences, platforms, ad sizes and trends. A media buyer must take calculated risks with emerging formats and newly launched media outlets. Media buying software can assist business owners in identifying advertising space, but it will never be able to negotiate the best rates or deliver the most appropriate ads to targeted visitors as effectively as an experienced media buyer can.

Media Buying Platforms

Media buyers have a very technical job. They track sales, stick to rigid budgets, forecast trends and analyze mountains of data to optimize purchased ad space. They also keep up with technological advancements in digital media and traditional publishing platforms.

Media buyers have a vast assortment of outlets to promote their clients. Print methods include advertising in newspapers, magazines and outdoor signage. Although publication circulation has experienced a drastic dip, currently two-thirds of the revenue generated by newspapers comes from advertising spend. The magazine industry is actually thriving due to special interest and industry-specific publications, which make excellent resources for targeted advertising.

Ads can also be broadcast on the radio as well as through Pay TV ( such as DSTV)  local television ( NTV, KTN, Citizen) . In addition to placing commercials, media buyers work with the film and television industry to strategically place products in front of consumers. This can be an especially effective technique now that delayed recording is significantly impacting commercial viewership.

New Media encompasses satellite radio and television, social media, mobile and digital advertising. With Internet advertising, media buyers pay for ad space and the number of viewing impressions. Unlike traditional print outlets, which have set subscriptions, online publishers must guestimate the number of impressions their websites will generate each month, which cause these rates to greatly fluctuate in price.

Most often, media buyers purchase space in all three categories to successfully promote a product or service in the marketplace.

Media Buyers Change the Advertising Landscape

While some companies continue to employ in-house staff, most entrust their campaigns to outside consultants who are intimately familiar with the industry. In exchange for their services, media buyers are typically paid by the campaign.

Most media buyers follow the same model first established by N.W. Ayer in 1875 by charging a commission on the net cost of space sold. Typically, the publisher or broadcaster, rather than the client, pays the buyer a standard 15 percent commission. This is the fee that would have been given to the company’s sales representative. The amount paid by the client does not increase.

New agencies and freelancers may offer to split the commission with the client. In contrast, experienced buyers can often negotiate bundled packages for multiple clients, which results in lower rates and prime placement slots. With a media buyer, clients gain an objective insider who can advise them on how best to spread their budgeted advertising spend  across multiple platforms. The best asset media buyers bring to the table is their connections with traditional and online publishers. Their shrewd negotiating skills always obtain the most competitive pricing.

General Motors recently admitted that hiring a media buying agency was the best thing to happen to the auto company in years. The $3 billion deal with Aegis Carat to establish a new culture is something “we probably should have done many years ago, and that became painfully clear during the presentations,” GM Global Marketing Chief Joel Ewanick told

While making the most of your advertising spend, [Client] ensures that every aspect of a media campaign is relevant and valuable to the targeted audience. Our unsurpassed negotiating skills and widespread relationships with publishers means clients receive the most affordable rates for the best advertising slots. As the boundaries between traditional and digital media continue to blend, we guide our clients through this ever-evolving publishing industry.

Feeel free to contact us to Maximise Media reach for your Brand.


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On June 12, 2015

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