AdsyndicateBlog A Beginner’s Guide to Media Planning and Buying
media planning and buying guide

A Beginner’s Guide to Media Planning and Buying

It’s a fairly obvious fact that simply making ads does not result in success of your brand; ads have to be strategically placed in front of the right audience. You might also understand that in this day and age, advertising just isn’t what it used to be. There’s more competition now than ever, more consumers with specific interests to deliver your message to, and more means what means you should use to reach them. In a lot of ways, it’s a revolutionary time with great opportunity to be inventive, tactical and dynamic.

The good news is that there’s an infinite feed of data and case studies available at your mere fingertips [the internet] that lend extensive insights about where to begin and what the best practices are and that’s barely even scratching the surface.

What Is Media Planning

It is the process of combining various media outlets in an effort to convey a single, uniform message, mostly about the brand or its services. It involves researching, identifying, analysing, comparing, planning, and working within the constraints a brand’s budget.

What Is Media Buying

The complementary, secondary process by which a brand takes the insights gleaned from its media planner and begins to find and negotiate buying ad space across the intended media channels is called media buying. This is usually automated but can also be done manually depending on preference, objectives, audience, budget, etc.

What Is A Media Plan

The entire, collective result of both of the above will give you a final evaluation of how successful the campaign was.

The Process:

Media Planning

You can consider media planning as the first line of defence for a marketing campaign on the works. The media planner is responsible for several elements such as….

Conducting Market Research

Both internal and external. A competent media planner will first work with the business to completely understand it before going to the market and strategizing to market the product. The external research will depend on what the brand aims to attain out of the campaign and its values.

Establishing Media Objectives

Once the market research is completed, a media planner will dig deep into the market to determine the medium of communication to the target audience. Will it be traditional media like television, radio, print advertisements in magazines, billboards, newspapers, etc? Or will it be digital media like mobile, social media, video, SEM? Consumers engage with content in several ways, both traditional and digital. A media planner’s main responsibility is to figure out the most effective mixture of mediums to reach their target audience effectively. Then the request for approval is submitted.

Budgeting Appropriately

This is one of the fundamental functions of media planning. The planner needs to submit a plan allocating funds for each medium he has prescribed and also take due care that the costs stay within the constraints of the budget.

Now the buyer takes over

Media Buying

Media buying is the act of taking the strategy off of the planning sheet and putting it out into the world (or the market). Hence, you could call a media buyer “The Executor” because they’re responsible for executing the plan through. Media buying can be quite dramatic since it’s all about negotiations and also relationships. His responsibilities include,

Establishing Relationships

A media buyer is essentially a salesperson, therefore he should know how to create and nurture lasting business relationships. As automation tools are used more regularly for purchasing ad inventory these days, the direct need to maintain relationships may not be as important as it once was, but it’s still a very desirable skill to have especially in a country like India.

Negotiating & Buying, Buying, Buying

Once the RPFs have been sent and the plan has been passed, it’s time to negotiate the purchase of ad space. Everything from billboards to newspapers to website ads have to be negotiated and bought at the budgeted amount or less than that. Purchasing within the allocations of the budget is one of the most fundamental responsibilities of a media buyer.

Monitoring & Optimizing Ad Performance

Once ad space has been negotiated and purchased, it’s the media buyer’s job to examine the ads over the course of their campaign cycle and make sure that each of them is being optimized. If it isn’t, the media plan must pivot.

Media Planning Terminology

By now we’ve thrown around a few industry terms so let’s try to define them;


It technically describes the amount of ad space a publisher has to sell or that a media buyer chooses to buy. It applies to both analogue and digital advertising. It’s often used interchangeably with ad placements.

Media Mix

It is essentially the mixture of media distribution mediums your agency or yourself uses to achieve your campaign goals. If you use social media, radio, and newspaper to promote your marketing campaign, that’s your media mix. If your agency using direct mail, SEO, and online videos, then that’s your media mix.


The schedule by which the campaign abides by. This schedule decides when and what time of the day the ads will be served across each medium. It usually depends on the target audience. The term is self-explanatory.


Targeting is the process of identifying the target audience of your campaign.

Target Market (or Audience)

The final audience that has been chosen to bring the campaign across. They can be in varying specifics.

Manual Bidding

The act of changing the bid on a particular set of ads based on factors such as keyword performance, engagement, cost, etc. The difference here is that it’s done manually. This is the direct opposite of automatic bidding.

Automatic Bidding (or Programmatic Media Buying)

It is also the process of buying and selling ad spaces and optimizing ad performance. But since it’s done digitally, it’s automated. It’s wholly based on algorithms. Here digital technology replaces manual negotiations.

What’s the Future of Media Planning?

If you expect your ad to capture the attention of your target audience, then the need for media planning and buying is clear. Moreover, automation in the marketing industry is only set to steadily increase its domination over the market. Adsyndicate’s media buying and planning services are a testament to this. With the introduction, and the consequent penetration, of algorithm based buying into the ad market over the last decade, there’s absolutely no doubt that the need for integrating automation across each and every form of media is only growing. The growth is, in fact, inevitable.

Are you planning efficiently?

Adyndicate’s media buying and planning services are one of a kind and we use the latest in technology and algorithms several of which have been developed in-house by our ADCODE team. To get your ad campaign to where it deserves to be, contact Adsyndicate today!

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