Media Planning, Buying, & Placement: Where To Start

POSTED BY Greg Keating ON Jun 6, 2024 4:11:03 PM



Let's Talk About Media Planning, Buying, & Placement: Where to Start

In the world of digital marketing, figuring out media planning, buying, and placement is super important for any brand's advertising game plan. As a media centric agency, we get a lot of questions about how to navigate these processes. So, here's a handy guide to help you wrap your head around the basics of planning, buying, and placing digital media.

Media Planning: Setting the Groundwork


  1. Getting to Know the Brand and Goals:
  • Brand Vibes: Before diving into anything, it's key to really understand what the brand is all about including its values and the message it wants to get across.
  • Campaign Goals: Clearly spell out what the campaign is trying to achieve. Is it about boosting brand awareness, generating leads, keeping customers around, or a mix of all of these.
  1. Knowing the Target Audience:
  • Who They Are: Pinpoint important stuff like age, gender, income, and education level.
  • Their Lifestyle: Get the lowdown on what the audience likes, values, how they live, and what they get up to.
  • Their Online Habits: Use data to figure out what the audience does online and what they’re into.
  • Segment the audience into groups based on similar traits that influence purchase decisions.
  1. Picking the Right Channels:
  • Mixing it Up: Find out which channels work best to reach each segmented audience. This may involve auditing past campaigns or doing smaller tests across various channels like social media, display ads, video platforms, and search engines.
  • Looking for What's New: Keep an eye out for new platforms and trends to find fresh ways to connect with your audience. There’s never been a client that isn’t at least interested in learning more about what’s new in the industry. Automation and AI is the current hot topic of conversation, check out SmartHub’s take on it here.
  1. Budget Stuff:
  • Spreading the Wealth: Share your budget across different channels based on their potential to bring in the most return. In today’s programmatic world, this budget should get optimized in real-time and allocated to the specific tactic that is generating the highest return.
  • Stay Flexible: Always be ready to shift funds based on how your campaign is doing and what's happening in the market or in case there are unexpected pivots coming from the client’s shifting objectives.
Media Buying: Snagging Great Deals


  1. Programmatic Buying:
  • Bid on the Fly: Use real-time bidding to grab ad spots in quick auctions. Cost efficient and often effective.
  • Direct and Premier: Go the direct route to book premium ad space at a fixed price without the auction hustle. This can be ideal for reaching a very specific audience.
  1. Deals and Networks:
  • Hitting Exchanges: Jump into ad exchanges to get a ton of ad space from different publishers.
  • Team Up with Networks: Partner with ad networks to tap into their range of ad space and targeting tools. We use Google DV360 to take advantage of targeting parameters across all of Google’s software suite and tracking via Google Analytics. It also allows access to many ad exchanges.
  1. Playing by the Rules:
  • Keep it Legit: Stick to industry standards and rules to keep your ads ethical and legal. Always be aware of advertising rules across networks especially for restricted products like alcohol and supplements.
  • Privacy Matters: Stay in the loop on privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA to keep consumer data locked down.
Media Placement: Making the Plan Happen


  1. Getting Creative:
  • Make Cool Ads: Craft ads that speak to your audience and fit the platform's style.
  • Test it Out: Compare different ad styles to see what's working best.
  1. Targeting and Slicing:
  • Spot-On Targeting: Use fancy targeting tools to reach the right folks with your ads. Sometimes this comes in the form of an entirely separate software like Nielsen Media Impact.
  • Split Your Audience: Categorize your audience based on the segmentation we mentioned earlier such as what they do, like, and engage with to give them a personalized experience.
  1. Keeping Tabs and Tweaking:
  • Check Your Stats: Keep an eye on how your ads are doing in real-time. Cut off poor performers to take advantage of remaining budget.
  • Keep Improving: Use data to make smart changes to your ads for better results on future campaigns.
  1. Put it all Together:
  • One Plan, Many Channels: Make sure all your ads line up with one message across every platform. Conveying a consistent thematic is hugely important.
  • Know What's Working: Use data to see which channels are making the biggest impact. Hammer the ones that take off like a rocket ship.
Final Thoughts

Media planning, buying, and placement can be a bit tricky, but by knowing the core stuff and staying open to new tech and trends, brands can reach their audiences and crush their marketing goals. At Hangar12, we love coming up with smart, data-driven solutions that help our clients succeed. Whether you’re just starting out or want to polish up your approach, this guide is a great starting point to build on.

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