Media Planning and Buying Terminology

Media Planning and Buying Terminology
When working on an advertising campaign, you’ll come across many different terms that you may be unfamiliar with. The terms that correlate to media planning and buyer are:

Inventory is another word for ad placements that can describe the amount of available ad space. This could be an amount based on what a publisher can sell or what the media buyer purchases.

You’ll hear this term in traditional and digital advertising.

Media Mix
Media mix refers to all of the media channels a brand will use to achieve its campaign goals. For example, your media mix could be online videos, radio, social media, and SEM.

Whatever you use for a campaign to reach your marketing goals is considered your media mix.

A media planner and buyer will schedule certain ads at a time and on a specific day for various media channels. Scheduling will depend on the target audience.

Targeting is one of the more common terms you’ll hear in marketing. A media planner will identify the ideal audience that should hear the campaign message through internal and external market research.

Target Audience/Market
This is another common term you can’t go without hearing in the marketing world. Once targeting is complete, the audience that has been chosen is the target audience/market. These groups can be specific or broad.

Manual Bidding
Manual bidding is not the same as automation or programmatic buying. It is the opposite.

Manual bidding involves changing the bid on ads based on engagement, keyword performance, cost, etc.

Automatic Bidding/Programmatic Media Buying
Automatic bidding, otherwise known as ad programmatic media buying, is an automated process of buying and selling ad space. If done in real-time, it is known as real-time bidding (RTB).

It replaces a manual negotiation as it is based on algorithms in digital technology. We’ll go more into detail about this term later in the article.

Real-Time Bidding (RTB)
Real-time bidding is when ad impressions are sold by media vendors through an ad exchange platform. Every impression is sold when it becomes available in real-time, hence the name.

As the market conditions change, advertisers can adjust their bids.

Guaranteed Inventory/Direct Buys
A media planner or buyer can secure bulk ad placements at a fixed CPM (cost per thousand impressions). This method guarantees that certain people will see the ad from their campaign.

The guarantee comes at a higher cost, but since there is no risk, many brands find it worth it.

Non-Guaranteed Inventory
Non-guaranteed inventory is sometimes interchangeable with real-time bidding. It works similar to an auction as advertisers bid against each other to secure the best ad placement possible.

It is called a non-guaranteed inventory because the ad placement is not guaranteed. Guaranteed inventory will have top priority for the best ad placements over this method.

For those with smaller budgets, this method may work best. However, it involves a lot of monitoring of the ad performance in real-time.

Cost Per Thousand (CPM)
CPM refers to the cost of an ad per 1,000 people that see it. The price will be higher if more people are going to see it and vice versa.

Request for Proposal (RFP)
An RFP is a document that a media buyer or other member of an agency will submit during the bidding process. The intent is to express interest in ad placement by reaching out to a media vendor.

The Media Planning and Buying Process in Simple Terms
Simply put, the media buying and planning process takes just five steps to complete. Those steps being:

Identifying a target audience through market research
Understanding the interest of the audience
Finding the audience at their most receptive times
Delivering content that drives the audience to take action
Testing ad placements over and over to see what is and is not working
The five-step process can help a brand connect with its audience as they are going through the buyer journey. The four stages of a buyer’s journey are attracted, convert, close, and delight.

During the attract stage, a brand can reach the audience through any of the following media buying tactics:

Social media
Digital display
At the convert stage, brands will target the audience using social media, video, content, retargeting, and landing pages. They are then led to the close stage where lead nurture campaigns, email optimization, and CRM database management can be used.

Last, we have the delight stage. This is where a customer falls in love with a brand after it has worked so hard with media planning and buying. This stage typically involves client communications and social media engagement.

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