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How to Guide


How to plan and buy media

How to plan and buy media

What is Media planning?

Media refers to the means of communication, such as radio and television, newspapers, and magazines, that reach or influence people widely.

Planning is the science of choosing the right combination of media outlets for your advertising to maximise your value for money and fulfil your objectives.

This article gives a basic guide media, to help you understand how you should plan and buy the space for your advertising campaigns. Digital Media is covered more detail seperately.

Media planning is normally done by your media agency, though it can be done in house. Even so, you should have a good grounding in media to ensure that your agency is doing a good job.

When and Why to Media Plan

If advertising plays a part in your marketing mix, then you will need oversee the planning and buying of media to place your advertising in.

Media opportunties range from outdoor, like tube. Example of media types:

Outdoor: 48 and 96 sheet billboards, bus side advertising, 6 sheets such as bus stops, tube advertising, sporting events.

Press: Newspaper and magazine advertising, both classified and display; inserts

Online: banner advertising, search and affiliates.

TV: Ad breaks and sponsorship.

Media planning is the art of combining the right set of opportunities for your budget and objectives.

If you want to drive mass awareness very quickly and have a high budget, TV is a good choice. If you need to target a very specific audience, magazines or online would be better.

Media planners also provide advice on things like placement: where is the right section to place your advert within a magazine, for example.

Or which TV program is best suited for yoour advert to appear within. You need to ensure that the media that your planner suggests is the right one for your target audience.

Media buying is the art of getting your selected media for the best possible combination of price and value.

Media agencies are highly experienced at trading with media owners to get the best price, and use the collective bargaining of all of their clients to do this. This is why generally, though not always, larger agencies can get the keenest prices.

Media Auditing

It has bcome fashionable for companies to carry our audits of their media agencies planning and buying. Around 60% of the top 100 advertisers now do so, with the market leader being Billets.

The point of an audit is to benchmark the prices that you have paid vs the basket of advertisers that the auditor has as clients.

They compare price and quality with a number of metrics, giving you an index which allows you to judge if your agency is providing you with value for money. Media auditing is covered in more detail HERE.

Costs and Benefits

It is unusual, unles you are a very big advertiser, to have a media agency to conduct your planning and buying. Typical top 10 agencies are OMD, Carat and Walker Media.

Agencies generally charge a retainer, with a minimum of around £5k a month for a top 20 agency. Some will also retain a portion of the 15% discount that agencies recieve from media owners give them, and you should aim to pay only net prices – those after discount.

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