Media Buying vs Media Planning

March 10, 2022 No Comments Written By: Cause Effect Digital


In the grand engine of media advertising are two of the most important elements that you need to know if you are delving into the world of digital marketing. Media planning and media buying, sound familiar? These two are the pillars that hold creative elements together because without them, the elements wouldn’t have a connection to an actual platform. You wouldn’t want to leave two vital ingredients to potential leads in the dark, would you?

Now don’t misunderstand—the two don’t always come as a package and joined at the hip. It is media planning versus media buying, after all, and they keenly fight in battle with both elements claiming to be of greater importance than the other. Although it is better to describe the relationship between them as symbiotic due to their impeccable performance when working in tandem. They are two of the most significant strategies digital marketing needs.

Let us first find out the main differences between media planning and media buying for us to further understand exactly what they are and how they each help your business grow in the age of digital marketing.

What is Media Planning?


Decisions are always made by people who know the impact of their choices and how it benefits them. When you’re running a business, then you must know that this is one of the essential parts of marketing your brand—making an effective decision. For instance, choosing a media platform to use for a new campaign can involve crucial decision-making, and media planners are the people responsible for it.

Research has to be completed to figure out the most effective decision and how to achieve what the client wants. Once this is decided, then a budget will be created alongside an outline of the objectives and goals for the campaign. If necessary, they will decide on more than one platform to increase the campaign’s engagements.

The skill sets that a media planner must possess to get their work done are:

  • Attention to detail
  • Negotiation skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Understanding of numeracy and data analysis
  • Confidence
  • Organisational skills
  • Interpersonal and communication skills

The roles of a media planner may vary depending on the campaign that they are responsible for. Here is the gist of three of a media planner’s important roles for better understanding.

1. Conducting Internal Market Research

This is where the media planner must get their hands on every detail of the client that they could possibly learn about. In order to understand a client’s brand identity and figure out what their unique selling point is, then thorough research is necessary.

2. Conducting External Market Research

Just like how the client must be understood, their competitors must be taken into account as well. A media planner will see how a particular brand is currently creating its advertisements and check those of its competitors to see how they compare. The audiences are considered just as much because they are clearly vital to the campaign, so a media planner must see what attracts the target audience.

3. Setting Campaign Goals and Objectives

The most important interface of a campaign is the combination of what a client wants and what the media planner believes they should achieve. Every penny in your budget can work in your favour through a good media planner and a campaign that works, so by working together with media buyers, a media planner is able to craft out objectives and goals that they can settle for.

What is Media Buying?


Once media planners are done with their strategy for the campaign, media buyers will receive the strategy and begin working on the most effective media platforms along with the cost-effective options. Because their work requires them to create and nurture relationships with vendors, they must understand the current marketplace completely.

These are not the set of skills that one can pick up within short periods of time, so the roles and responsibilities of a media buyer are typically carried out by a media buying agency, albeit buyers and planners can be integrated under one roof.

The skills that are essential for someone to become a media buyer are:

  • Communication and negotiation skills
  • Decisiveness
  • Understanding of media analytics software
  • Organisation skills
  • Ability to multitask
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to understand a lot of information at once
  • Identification of target audiences

The three main roles of a media buyer are as follows.

1. Creating and Leveraging Contacts

In media buying, sometimes it can be more about who you know than what you know, and that is nothing irregular in most industries. When a media buyer knows the right people in the right places, there is nothing stopping them from creating great ROIs for clients.

2. Have Knowledge of Media Channels

Knowing the right people is not enough to get the work done no matter how good a media buyer is at the job. They must also have an impressive knowledge and accurate understanding of the media platforms that cohorts society. Finding the perfect space to get the best return for a client is the ultimate goal, and a media buyer can negotiate like no tomorrow to get even more. The price of ad space is based on the traffic and exposure of the space, so if a media planner allocated the budget correctly, the price tag will be worth the return.

3. Tweaking and Perfecting Campaigns

The strategy is no longer the media planner’s responsibility once it falls in the hands of the media buyer. They must keep a close eye on the platforms used for the campaign to ensure that it is running smoothly and effectively throughout its confirmed duration. The media buyer can use the time during this process to gather the campaign’s performance data. If the campaign is off course, specific tools can be used to keep it aligned such as programmatic advertising.

After the campaign is finished, a media plan will be created. This plan is the collective result of the final campaign evaluation.

Utilising Media Planning and Media Buying in Your Campaigns


With the digital world expanding into the various corners of marketing and advertising, media planning and media buying appear different than they were before. However, they continue to remain as critical assets to a digital marketing strategy. Through the different processes that entail in each category, you can see how these strategies can help a business run its campaigns and how the people working behind them try their best to make it work.

At Cause Effect Digital, we are the best digital marketing agency Malaysia has for your business and we have experienced marketers who are experts when it comes to online platforms and social media. Find out more about us and reach out through our Facebook or Instagram where we can assist you to give your business the good online media marketing that you need.