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Media Buying 101


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When looking to make a digital media buy you are most likely going to purchase an ad on one of the five most visited sites in the world: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. When you make an ad purchase on one of these five sites you have two main options for how you purchase by impressions or by clicks. Marketers purchase impressions by CPM (cost-per-mille) which means cost per thousand impressions. This is most commonly used in social, display, and video purchases. Marketers purchase clicks by CPC (cost-per-click). This is the most common media purchase in search channels.


When you are crafting a digital media strategy your goals will fall into one of three categories: awareness, conversion or branding. With each of these three categories of goals comes different ways to measure success.


Social Media - Social advertising campaigns target users on different social media platforms. One of the huge benefits of social media is that it allows you to add a visual touch to your ads that search doesn't. In the past social advertising has been seen as too expensive, however social advertising has come a long way and is now a much more cost-efficient strategy. When looking at your social media advertising strategy you should consider the pros and cons of these platforms Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.


Anyone can advertise in digital media, especially with each channel having its own ad buying platforms, however, you must define your goals, measurement systems, and channels before you make a purchase. The different unique features and capabilities of each platform make it easy to fall into different traps and money grabs. To learn more about getting started on a paid media strategy, reach out to info@bostondigital.com.


Media buying is the practice of negotiating and purchasing ideal ad spaces, programs, or times for your marketing message. As you can probably guess, this can be a complicated process, which is why so many businesses trust media buying agencies to find the best possible placements and ad rates for them.


We know this is a steep set of media buying terms to digest, but at its core, media buying is relatively simple. We hope our Media Buying 101 glossary serves as the guide you need to speak intelligently with your internal stakeholders, media buying agencies, and industry peers.


Media buying is the process of purchasing ad space and time on digital and offline platforms, such as websites, YouTube, radio, and TV. A media buyer is also responsible for negotiating with publishers for ad inventory, managing budgets, and optimizing ads to improve campaign performance.


It's not like social media where users come and find you. It's an outbound strategy that is only effective if you have a well thought-out strategy. Rex Gelb, director of advertising and analytics at HubSpot, says one of the biggest mistakes brands make is not thinking through their marketing goals.


"Some ad placements might be good for one set of goals, but bad for another. Let's say you're an airline and your focus is impressions and awareness, rather than an immediate sale, you can buy a placement that is known to get cheap impressions," he said.


Media buying and media planning fall into the same category but are two different processes. While media buying focuses on getting the most impressions from the right audience at the lowest cost, media planning focuses on the strategy behind the campaign.


During the planning phase, you determine what media will be most effective to reach a particular audience. So once media planning is complete, media buying follows. It's also important to note that media planning isn't solely for advertising, it's for any media a brand puts out there.


With digital media buying, or programmatic buying, buying impressions is automated. The negotiation still technically happens but it's done at a much quicker rate through open and private marketplaces.


So what about ad networks? Well those platforms aggregate




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