What Is A Media Buying Agency?

A media buying agency identifies and purchases advertising space on channels relevant to the client’s target audience, whether it’s a website or traditional media such as TV, radio, magazines, print ads, etc.

Media buying companies identify the optimal time frame and establish markets to reach the widest possible (target) audience at the lowest possible cost to achieve the clients’ goals.

A media buying agency may also have unique insights into the target audience because of the specific tracking it conducts for different ad campaigns.

From various forms of print media, outdoor, cinema and TV stations, there has been a plethora of advertising opportunities even before the emergence of digital media.

While this sounds simple enough to navigate, there’s a certain science to it, especially in the age where oversaturation is becoming a bigger issue than a lack of opportunities.

It takes heaps of planning and research.

This is where a media buying agency comes into the picture! They can help you successfully tap into that stream of exposure and ensure that you’re getting the maximum return on your advertising investment.

Although digital and social media ads hold the advantage of being more targeted and measurable (based on location, demographic and behavioral data patterns) print ads still play a key role in the marketing landscape.

Not to mention that the evolution of TV and radio that directly gave birth to streaming platforms and podcasts still hold a remarkable impact on a majority of visitors, especially when it comes to information-heavy ads.

Whether it’s the aftereffects of the pandemic or not, studies have found that by the end of 2021, 4.23 billion people worldwide will be TV users, which shows a steady increase compared to the previous decade. In fact, the number will grow to approximately 4.36 billion by 2025.

Media Buying Agencies

What Services Do Media Buying Companies Provide?

Media buying is done in one of two ways:

  • Direct buy: Establishing/forging relationships with publishers to negotiate ad inventory
  • Programmatic buy: The buying process is done via automated technology

When it comes to digital media buying and/or programmatic buying, the whole process of buying impressions is automated. There are three major elements to automated buying structure:

  • Demand-side platforms (DSP): Advertisers and ad agencies set up the campaign, bid on ad inventory and optimize it depending on the performance
  • Supply-side platforms (SSP): Publishers sell their ad inventory
  • The ad exchange: It’s a marketplace where advertisers and publishers buy/sell ad inventory through real-time bidding (RTB)

On the other hand, when it comes to traditional media, the same can be said about the approach – it involves negotiations and relationship building with publishers.

Although most media buying companies shifted their focus on digital media, they still actively maintain traditional media buying services.

As is the case when advertising anything really —it doesn’t matter whether you have the best product and/or service in the world or even the smartest, most innovative advertising creative. What matters is getting your message out there, preferably to the right people.

The best media buying agencies are able to identify the right ad mediums and manage the entire process, so their services can be divided into:

  • Negotiation: Expert media buyers know how to work with advertising vendors to get the best media buys for their clients which includes negotiating the best value, production incentives, sponsorship opportunities and more.
  • Managing: The management is just as important a step as the negotiation process. Media buying companies have the right systems in place to monitor the media buy while it’s running and catch any potential mistake.

The three phases of media buying include;

  • Pre-launch: Decision-making on vital media buying stages
  • Launch: Making sure media delivery is effective and goes according to plan
  • Post-launch: Measuring results and, if necessary, making adjustments for maximum benefits
Looking for the best digital marketing agencies?

What Is The Difference Between Media Buying Agencies And Advertising Agencies?

As a business owner, all you want is for your brand to get noticed by more people. That’s it. But should you opt for a media buying agency or classic ad agency and what’s the difference?

Rummaging through all these different titles and concepts can be confusing, but these terms aren’t interchangeable, but complementary services.

Simply put, ad agencies give priority to the message of the ad itself, while media buying companies prioritize media placements. A media buying agency typically establishes the requirements of the creative based on the media plan and that is where the ad agency jumps in.

Luckily, many of the listed agencies are well versed in both aspects, as having your advertising handled by two different agencies can result in conflicting ideas or confusion.

Maximizing the success of your campaign relies on a clever marketing strategy to get the ad noticed, clever placement within the confines of the chosen media, as well as quality creative to breathe life into your vision.

What Is The Difference Between Media Buying And Media Planning?

While media buying agencies and media planners work closely together, their roles are in fact very different. Media planning is the first step, a foundation for a media buyer agency.

Based on the conclusions and recommended strategies of media planners, media buyers execute the media plan.

The process of media planning focuses on establishing/building an audience, conducting market research, setting the budget and determining goals.

With the said plan established, media buyers connect with sales/account executives in the chosen media sites. They negotiate placement, time and cost.

How Much Do Media Buying Companies Charge For Their Services?

The most common way media buying companies get compensated for their services is by earning a commission on your total ad spend (a common rate is 15%.).

However, rather than earn a commission, the media buyer agency may charge you fixed service fees for various services.

In this case, you may be billed service fees anywhere between $100 and $199 per hour, or $5,000+ and even $100,000 per project.

As a business owner, you need to make sure ad campaigns are producing revenue and profits in excess of the ad spend.

Some agencies will not charge any upfront commissions or service fees for assisting with a media buy but will instead insist on getting paid based on performance.

For example, a media buying agency that opts for this approach may suggest taking a commission on each sale generated through the campaign.

Lastly, many media buyers opt for a hybrid model of compensation, a combination of guaranteed fees plus some form of a performance incentive.

Media Buying Companies Processes

Why Should You Hire A Media Buying Agency?

What are the main benefits of partnering with a media buying agency?

1. Sales Calls

If you’ve ever been contacted by a media sales rep, you know that it can often feel like you’re on the phone with the snake oil vendor at worst and a used car salesman at best.

Working with a media buying agency mitigates any potential discomfort as they are the point of contact.

2. Negotiation Skills

There’s nothing like leveraging the buying power of a professional agency.

That’s because an agency can use the collective budgets of all their clients to benefit every single one. This buying power can help your campaigns have lower costs and better ad positioning.

3. Experience

Would you rather leave your car to the mechanic that just started their trade or one that has performed hundreds of “car surgeries” over a couple of decades?

Expert media buyers understand the market, pricing and general trends. They can recognize a great opportunity from miles away and have established long-standing relationships with different media vendors.

4. Fresh Perspective

A media buyer agency can offer a fresh and unbiased perspective on your marketing objectives and give you valuable feedback according to their unique expertise and insights.

These professionals have no bias toward one medium or another, which allows them to offer valuable advice based solely on your marketing goals.

5. Focus On What Matters

Let’s be honest, you have more important things to focus on than to filter calls from various media sales reps, deal with accounting and pricing and/or conduct media market research. Working with a media buying agency helps you free up your valuable time for you to focus on high-priority tasks for your business, which helps you not only stay afloat but increase your revenue and scale your brand.

How To Choose The Best Media Buying Agency For Your Business?

The question isn’t whether you need to hire a media buying agency, but how to choose the right one.

You first need to determine your own business goals, needs and budget before you even begin searching for the best-fit media buying agency.

1. Tracking Skills

Tracking your media buying campaign is essential as it demonstrates the overall performance. Certain media buying companies have superior tracking skills compared to their competitors. Have in mind that tracking allows you to understand whether you need future media buys or not.

The best fit agency will have a creative but also effective tracking strategy that allows you to get an insight into the campaign efficacy.

2. Media Placement Strategy

Media placement is the most crucial factor in media buying. For the uninitiated, it could be a complex task, one that only the media buying companies can help resolve.

They have proven placement strategies that make wonders of any given campaign. Developing the right media placement strategy should be the key, most prominent component when searching for your future partner.

3. Versatility

While many media buying agencies only deal in their professional namesake, others don’t choose to limit themselves to just one service.

Agencies that offer a wider range of public relations related services including media planning, consulting, as well as general advertising are proven to be more effective in overall marketing as they can fulfill the majority of your goals by themselves.

Besides these, there are numerous factors that separate top-tiered media buying companies from the rest.

Professional media buying agency:

  • Insists on conducting marketing analysis review/research
  • Has all the necessary tools, platforms and resources
  • Has a deep media planning & media buying experience
  • Is willing to test media programs
  • Offers experienced creative input
  • Has a good reputation
  • And more
We've ranked the best PPC agencies.

10 Questions To Ask When Interviewing Media Buying Companies

Working with a media buying agency can grow your business and allow you to enjoy success in a shorter amount of time. However, since these agencies come in different shapes and sizes, sometimes the search for the right partner can be a stressful task.

Ask these questions to save time and help you decide which agency to work with:

  1. Which part of this project are you most excited about?
  2. How many clients are you currently working with?
  3. What work experience do you have with my industry?
  4. Do you outsource any aspects of your work?
  5. How do your media buying experts stay up to date with the latest trends?
  6. How do you manage your projects?
  7. What types of ads do you run?
  8. How long will it take to see results?
  9. Who will be our main point of contact and how often will we communicate?
  10. What makes you different from your competitors?

Takeaways On Media Buying Agencies

Hopefully, you’re now on the right track to choosing your ideal agency partner! Remember to be aware of all the services your prospective media buying company provides and the benefits they can offer to your business.

  • They handle sales calls
  • They have unique experience, insights and negotiation skills
  • They offer a fresh perspective on your advertising efforts
  • They let you focus on primary aspects of your business

Choosing the best one can be a difficult task, but to ensure you’re opting for the right agency, you should review their:

  • Tracking skills
  • Media placement strategy
  • Versatility

Best of luck!

Scroll Up To Find The Top Media Buying Agencies In The World And Choose Your Business Partner Today!