A complete guide to media buying
Media buying is a key piece of any marketing strategy, because the media buy helps ads reach the right audiences. This guide answers the questions: What is media buying and what is programmatic media buying? This guide will also explore why media buys are so important, the difference between buying and planning, and how Amazon Ads can help advertisers in the process.
Media buying is important because strategically purchased media can impact a campaign’s success. It’s not enough to have compelling copy and visuals—ads must be placed in the right locations and at the right times and frequencies, so that the right audiences see the ad. Media buyers can purchase ads across a mix of media, with traditional and digital media working together—such as radio and digital advertising, or television and Amazon display advertising running in tandem to help drive the best results.
Experienced media buyers may also successfully negotiate with media outlets or channels to ensure that advertisers maximize performance against campaign goals. By doing this well, media buyers can:
- Achieve the best possible results for their budget, driving the most impressions, or views of an ad, at a lower cost.
- Secure ideal ad placements.
- Receive “value added” impressions, included with no extra cost, to make a campaign more successful. For example, a brand could receive a certain number of digital impressions on top of expected impressions from TV ads.
Media planning is the precursor to media buying—it’s the roadmap that media buyers follow when they negotiate and purchase ads. Media planning is the research-based, strategic process advertisers go through before buying and launching ads, in order to gauge effectiveness and maximize return on investment (ROI).
A media plan includes:
- Campaign goals and objectives: Common goals include brand awareness, consideration, conversion, or loyalty
- Marketing metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs): These are dependent on your goals and objectives. Some KPI examples include impressions, store visits, app installs, ad engagement, video views, email list sign-ups, web site visits, sales, repeat purchases, and more
- Audience: Details about whom the campaign should reach
- Budget: The maximum spend for the campaign
- Research or relevant market insights: This will inform audience selection, messages, and media mix
- Media mix: The ideal combination of media types that will best reach key audiences and be the most cost effective
- Timeline: Including time to write, design, and produce creative
- Measurement tools: How and where you’ll monitor campaign progress
- Creative specifications
Without proper media planning, there is no guide for media buyers to follow, which may result in an ineffective media buy. Media buying is putting the media plan into action, focusing on buying the right mix of media to deliver on the campaign goals effectively.
There are several ways to purchase media:
- Direct: Purchasing ads directly with a specific channel or publisher
- Network: Bidding and purchasing ad space through demand-side platforms and supply-side platforms
- Programmatic: Using technology to buy and sell digital ads
There are several critical steps to the media buying process:
There are four key factors to consider when buying media or negotiating media buys.
Media buying trends
Over the decades, media buying has grown from traditional media buying, where buyers might purchase a single print ad in Ladies’ Home Journal, to the emergence of a vast world of machine learning to analyze audience signals, using insights from social media and other online content to help brands best understand how their customers discover their products and services.
Programmatic display advertising uses technology to reach audiences that a brand wants to connect with. Based on their media partners, advertisers can tailor ads to audiences informed by various behaviorial and lifestyle signals. This includes using insights to reach the right audiences and customize messages to adapt to analytics in real time, plus innovative approaches like connected home strategies to reach audiences where they are.
Another key trend is social media buying, whereby media buyers incorporate social media sites, such as Twitch, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and Twitter into their media mix. Paid social advertising can often benefit brands more than simple organic posting.
Finally, the rise in demand-side platforms (DSPs) is another key trend in media buying. Working with a DSP that has an extensive reach, excellent customer support, and sophisticated insights, analysis, and measurement tools can go a long way toward an effective media buying process.
Programmatic media buying and real-time bidding
Programmatic advertising is particularly attractive to advertisers because of the ability to focus on key audience segments. Programmatic advertising uses workflow automation and machine learning algorithms to deliver the most effective ads to audiences based on a variety of marketing signals, like demographics, shopping patterns, and more.
Programmatic buying lets advertisers purchase programmatic display ads directly or through auction. With programmatic buying , advertisers work with demand-side platforms like Amazon DSP to purchase ads at a fixed price. DSPs facilitate the process of buying ad inventory, and help advertisers discover and reach relevant audiences.
Real-time bidding (RTB) is a way to buy ads programmatically. With RTB, advertisers can participate in an auction when an impression becomes available. If their bid wins the auction, their ad is displayed instantly on the publisher’s site. RTB is not only efficient, but it helps advertisers to focus on the most relevant inventory.
How to choose a DSP
Consider these elements when evaluating DSPs.
Analyze the inventory
If you are a global company, make sure that the DSPs you’re considering offer strength in inventory in the regions you are looking to advertise. Ad inventory is more than reach—most important is the quality of the inventory, and if it’s unique and comprehensive. Inquire about the traffic sources and the ad inventory’s reputation .
Understand the approach to brand safety
Evaluate the importance of brand safety and quality standards for any particular DSP to ensure your brand shows up in brand-safe environments.
Confirm customer support details
When it comes to real-time programmatic ad buying, every second counts. How often does the DSP get updated? What is the service level agreement in terms of response to technical support? Do they offer a managed service option? The managed service option may be useful for large advertisers, or advertisers just getting started.
Evaluate the audiences and how you can reach them
Can you reach audiences to which you are most relevant? How sophisticated are the insights? What data parameters can you use? Test your advertising placements using your brand’s audience behaviors and lifestyles.
Amazon DSP for programmatic media buying
Amazon DSP is a demand-side platform that enables advertisers to programmatically buy display, video ads, and audio ads both on and off Amazon sites and apps. It is available to advertisers who sell on Amazon and those who don’t. Brands can reach new and engaged audiences through high-quality, brand-safe inventory that includes Amazon-owned sites, such as IMDb or Twitch, and leading publishers’ sites. Amazon DSP also provides reporting during and after campaigns at no additional cost to advertisers.
Amazon DSP can be used to support various marketing goals and offers flexibility in how much or how little advertisers would like to control their campaigns. They can take a hands-on approach, creating their own ads and staying in full control of the buying process. Or they can make use of Amazon Ads creative templates or video creative builder, plus opt for managed service.
Media buying is important for any advertising campaign plan because it has a direct impact on advertising ROI. Contact an Amazon Ads account executive to learn more about how services like Amazon DSP can help optimize your media buying process and plan strategic and effective campaigns.