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Sometimes knowing the right decisions to make as a media buyer can be difficult, but implementing these five basic strategies will drive any campaign towards success. 

As a professional media buyer, you’re responsible for purchasing, negotiating, and monitoring the various types of advertising space and air-time a client uses when establishing their brand presence. The idea is to give your customers the platform that they need to reach the largest number of people within the market that is most relevant to them for the lowest possible cost. Sometimes this will mean working throughout a wide range of different platforms from magazines and posters, to online videos and social media campaigns. In other circumstances, the job may require you to buckle-down and focus on a single platform for an extended period of time. But what do you do when you’re forced to grapple with an especially challenging campaign – or, as I like to say, when you come down with a case of the media buying blues?


Overcoming the media buyer blues relies upon your ability to track down the best possible solutions to your current problems and implement them with as little fuss and stress as possible. If your media buying strategy hasn’t been going completely according to plan, the following steps could offer you the advice and guidance that you need to get your wheels back on track.

1. Target the right audience

This may seem like an obvious piece of advice, but it’s one that can be frequently taken the wrong way in the media buying industry. Oftentimes when you try to reach a particular demographic – such as males between the ages of 18 and 30 – you might find another brand in your industry that has already achieved popularity with this group and simply copy their strategy. Unfortunately, as similar as your audiences may appear to be on the surface, using another brand’s strategy is unlikely to help you stand out and could even alienate you from the group you’re hoping to attract.

Think about all the different characteristics that may be displayed by your preferred audience, and make your targeting efforts more precise. With the right media and the right display options, you can basically buy the exact audience that you want to reach.

2. Consider behavioral targeting

When it comes to constructing a media buying strategy, buying a huge amount of media within a place that serves a wide and varied audience is one of the worst things you can do. Although that may seem like you’re avoiding putting all of your eggs into one basket, the truth is that it could actually be contribute to a reduction in the amount of conversions you open your business up to. Using techniques like behavioral targeting can help to ensure that you adjust your marketing schemes to attract the people that are most likely to buy from your client. In other words, you use less of their budget to achieve greater rewards.

3. Don’t expect money to fix all problems


Sometimes media buyers suffer because they refuse to let a failing campaign fade away. Unfortunately, even if a particular strategy was successful in the past, if the idea has since run its course, pouring extra money into the budget isn’t going to make things run more smoothly. As helpful as cash can be for any marketing attempt, it’s important to keep the data that you have gathered in mind and analyze the information you have. When you encounter a problem, use the information and experience you have to come up with a new solution.

4. Make sure you’re analyzing relevant metrics

A lot of marketers seem to spend all of their time obsessing over the C-metrics like CTR (click-through rate), CPA (cost per action), and CPM (cost per mille). While these are cost-based metrics and thus often appear to be important, all they really do is inform you about the cost of different campaign components.

Calculating ROI is crucial, however it’s also important to think about the metrics that will help you to understand and learn more about your customers and their journeys through the sales funnel. The more you focus on navigating consumers’ journeys towards conversions, the more chance you have of optimizing your campaign for the best results.

5. Let your creatives be creative

Finally, remember that media buying should be a versatile and creative process. Advertising doesn’t have to come in just one form, and believing otherwise could actually lead to your downfall.


In this day and age, it’s possible to easily test a wide range of different creative concepts to determine which will work best in each environment you’re involved with. With A/B testing, you can try different combinations of different ads then mix them all to make the perfect marketing recipe.

To bring it on home

At the end of the day, being a media buyer can be as exciting as it is exhausting. Keep your job and responsibilities in check by using the above suggestions to maintain a manageable workload, while exceeding clients’ expectations. To truly understand your media buying objectives, you have to know your client and their associated industry inside and out. Therefore, the more you educate yourself about your clients, the easier it will be to find a balance between self-motivation and productive communication. All of these things will help you shake off the blues and propel you towards success.

Homepage and article images via Flickr.

Note: This article was originally published on 12/15/15 by ClickZ.

Topics: Behavioral Targeting, Media Buying, media planning, Media Buyers

Tim Nichols

Written by Tim Nichols

Tim Nichols is a founding partner at ExactDrive, a digital media buying agency with white label, reseller and managed service options available. ExactDrive plans, manages, and optimizes online advertising campaigns with the objective of delivering measurable value and empowering clients to find precisely targeted audiences. ExactDrive has offices in Minneapolis, MN, Milwaukee, WI and SouthWest Florida.

Tim Nichols is also a contributing author on Forbes.com.

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