What is Digital Media Buying 101 in 2022? The Complete Overview

by | Jul 19, 2022 | Competitive Analysis, Digital Marketing, Pay Per Click

Digital Media Buying 101: The Primer You Didn’t Know You Needed

The world of digital advertising has evolved dramatically over the past decade. From the rise of social media to the explosion of mobile devices, the way we communicate, consume information, and shop has changed forever. In 2017, digital marketing spending accounted for just over $200 billion worldwide. And while there are still plenty of opportunities to reach consumers via traditional media like TV, radio, and newspapers, digital is quickly becoming the primary channel for most brands.

So how do you know whether you’re getting the best return on investment (ROI) possible from your digital budget? How do you decide which channels to use? If you don’t have a plan, you could end up wasting money on ineffective channels and miss out on potential growth. But if you take the time to develop a comprehensive approach, you’ll save time and resources in the long run.

In today’s post, I’ll walk you through the process of building a solid digital media buying strategy. We’ll start with some foundational questions and work our way toward a solution that works for you.

So, What is Digital Media Buying?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details, it helps to understand exactly what digital media buying entails. The term “digital media” refers to any form of content or communication delivered online. It can include websites, blogs, apps, social networks, email campaigns, video ads, display ads, search engine optimization, and more. “Buying” is the process of planning and executing the purchase of the media through different channels, like Google, Facebook, or Linkedin.

For many companies, digital media represents the majority of their overall marketing spend. So, when you think about all the different ways people interact with your brand, it makes sense that this would be where you’d want to focus your efforts.

But before you get started, make sure you’ve got a clear understanding of what digital media buying actually means. Here are three key points to keep in mind:

1. Digital media buying involves planning and execution.

2. It requires a strategic approach.

3. It includes multiple touchpoints across various platforms.

Let’s dig deeper…

How Digital Media Buying Works

Digital media buying is becoming increasingly popular because it allows product marketers to automate the process of finding the best advertising opportunities for their brand. This automation saves time, money and resources while improving the quality of the campaign.

The traditional approach, on the contrary, involves negotiations and relationship buildin with publishers. This method requires a lot of effort and takes a long time. In addition, it’s not always profitable since the advertiser needs to pay a premium price to reach the audience.

With digital media buying, or “programmatic buying,” there are three components: demand side platforms (DSP), supply side platforms (SSP) and real-time bidding (RTB). DSPs act like intermediaries between advertisers and SSPs. They manage the entire process of creating, optimizing, measuring and reporting on campaigns. Advertisers buy media directly from SSPs via RTB, which is the most common way to do it today.

How Media Buying and Planning Has Changed

Just two decades ago, media buying and planning in advertising consisted of print (broadsheets), radio, out-of-home (OOH) and traditional television. In those days, there wasn’t much social media. And let’s face it, there weren’t many mobile devices either. So how did we manage to survive? We bought what we knew best and planned accordingly.

Today, however, the landscape has changed dramatically. Today’s consumers are bombarded with information via multiple platforms and channels, which makes it difficult to know where to focus our efforts. As a result, media planners and buyers must now consider several different types of media—including online video, mobile apps, social networks, ecommerce sites and others—as well as the channels through which they reach audiences.

This shift in thinking has led to a fundamental change in the way people buy and plan campaigns. Online techniques like paid search, display advertising, email marketing, mobile app development, social media and influencer marketing. But even within each channel, the role of media planning and buying continues to evolve.

For example, some companies still prefer to hire ad agencies to do media planning and buying because they want to control the entire campaign. However, there are plenty of reasons why agencies aren’t necessarily the best option for every client. These include limited agency resources, lack of expertise in certain areas, lack of access to data and analytics tools and high fees.

However, technology is now enabling us to make better decisions based on real-time data. For instance, Facebook recently announced Instant Articles, which allows news organizations to publish articles directly onto the social network. This gives readers instant access to breaking stories without having to wait for a slow loading web page.

The same concept applies to the life science industry. Technology enables us to combine data from multiple sources and analyze it in real time to provide actionable insight. In fact, according to a recent report by Adobe Analytics, nearly half of respondents say they already use machine learning to improve decision making.

So, what does digital media buying include? Continue on dear reader…

1. Planning and Execution – Start with Defining Your Goals

Digital media buying is often referred to as a “strategic” process because it requires a thoughtful approach. In other words, you shouldn’t just throw money at the problem hoping something works. Instead, you should take time to understand your objectives and develop a plan that aligns with those goals.

For example, let’s say you’re launching a new mobile app and want to promote it through paid search. Before you spend any money, you should think carefully about why people would download your app. What problems do they face? How could your app solve their issues? If you can answer these questions, you’ll be able to craft a strategy that targets the right audiences and delivers results—or ROI (Return on Investment).

When product marketers talk about digital marketing ROI, they usually mean return on ad spend (ROAS). But what does that really mean? Is there another way to look at it? What do you want out of a digital marketing campaign? Do you want people to know about your brand? Are you trying to convert leads into customers? Or perhaps you just want to build up your brand recognition.

There are three basic types of goals that you could use to define your objectives: awareness, conversion and branding. Each type of goal has a different measurement method.

Awareness – How much awareness do you want to generate? If you are running a PPC campaign, how many impressions do you want to achieve?

Conversion – How many conversions do you want to see? For example, how many leads do you want to turn into sales?

Branding – How much do you want to increase your brand presence? You might want to target influencers or even specific keywords. Regardless of the goal, your objective needs to be clearly defined to ensure that you are measuring success appropriately.

Once you’ve decided on your goal, you need to choose the right channels to reach them. This is where things get tricky because there are so many options! In fact, there are over 1 billion active users on Facebook alone. And while most of these users aren’t interested in your business, there are still plenty of opportunities to connect with those who are. To help narrow down your choices, consider which channels will deliver the best results for your budget.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you start thinking about your strategy:

• Which channels have the highest engagement rates?

• Which ones offer the greatest potential for growth?

• Which ones are the easiest to scale?

• Which ones require the least amount of resources?

• Which ones allow you to test new ideas quickly?

• Which ones give you the most flexibility?

The answers to these questions will help you decide which channels are worth investing in. Once you’ve narrowed down your list, take time to research each one thoroughly. Learn everything you can about the channel, including its strengths and weaknesses. Then, once you’re ready to execute, make sure you understand all aspects of the process from beginning to end.

3. Know Where to Find Customers Online

Now that you’ve chosen your channels and researched them well, it’s time to find your audience. That means finding out where people spend their time online and are open to receiving your message.

The online advertising landscape is constantly changing. As advertising dollars continue to shift online, traditional methods are being replaced by newer forms of marketing. While it’s easy to think that one size fits all when it comes to social media marketing, there are many factors to consider.

As the audience continues to grow, businesses must adapt to reach consumers where they spend most of their time. Advertisers are now able to target specific audiences based on interest, age, gender, location, and even education level. This allows advertisers to better serve their customers while still reaching a wide demographic.

Although the audience can be very specific, different demographics consume media in vastly different ways. For example, some people prefer reading news articles over watching videos, while others prefer listening to podcasts. By understanding how each type of person consumes information, marketers can develop campaigns specifically tailored for those groups.

While social media offers great flexibility, it does come with certain limitations. In addition to targeting, brands must pay attention to the fact that different demographics use social media differently. A study conducted by eMarketer found that millennials are less likely to engage with brand advertisements on Facebook compared to older generations. They also tend to avoid sponsored posts altogether.

In contrast, Gen Z prefers to receive messages via text, email, and phone calls. They also enjoy engaging with brands on Snapchat, and are open to receiving information via video.

Brands looking to increase their social media presence should test out multiple platforms to determine which ones work best for their products. Depending on the nature of the product, it may make sense to focus on one platform over another. For instance, a health-focused consumer app might advertise Facebook, whereas a medical device company might choose to advertise on Twitter.

By testing different platforms, brands can find out which ones perform well, and adjust accordingly. However, it is also important to understand the differences among different demographics. If a campaign works well on one platform, but fails on another, it may indicate that the ad needs to be reworked.

4. Choosing Keywords

Now that you know who you want to target, you’ll need to choose the right keywords. You can use several methods to determine which terms will deliver the highest ROI.

One common method is called keyword research. This involves identifying potential keywords based on the content of your landing pages. For example, if you sell kitchen equipment, you might look for phrases such as “kitchen,” “oven,” “toaster oven,” and “microwave.”

Another option is to conduct a competitive analysis. This involves analyzing how well your competitors are ranking for specific keywords. It’s important to note that this type of analysis isn’t always accurate since many companies pay to boost their rankings. However, it can provide insight into what types of keywords customers are searching for.

5. Setting Your Budget

How do you determine your online advertising budget? There are two main factors to consider: cost per click (CPC) and cost per impression (CPI). CPC refers to the amount you pay when someone clicks on an ad. CPI refers to the amount you spend on ads regardless of whether or not anyone clicks on them.

The first step in determining your budget is to calculate your average daily cost per thousand impressions (CPM). CPMs vary depending on the size of your business, but most businesses start around $0.10-$0.20. Once you have your average CPM, you can multiply it by the number of days you plan to run your campaign to get your estimated total monthly cost.

6. Creating Ad Copy

Once you have determined your budget, it’s time to write some ad copy. While there are no hard-and-fast rules, here are three things you should keep in mind when writing your ads:

• Be clear and concise. If you’re using long sentences, try breaking up your text into paragraphs.

• Make sure your headline matches your ad copy.

• Include relevant keywords throughout your ad.

7. Creating Ads

After you’ve decided on your campaign objectives, chosen your audience, and set your budget, it’s time to start creating your ads. To get started, simply head over to AdWords and select Create Campaign from the menu bar.

You’ll then be asked to name your campaign, select your objective(s), and enter some basic information. The next screen allows you to choose your ad groups, keywords, and bids.

8. Testing & Optimizing

Once you’re happy with your settings, you can begin testing your ads. Simply repeat steps 3 through 6 until you find the combination that works best. If you notice any issues, you can easily change your settings and try again.

You should also take advantage of the free tools available at AdWords. These include the ability to track conversions, view reports, and analyze performance.

Crafting a Paid Media Strategy

Anyone can advertise in digital media; however, you must define what you want to accomplish before making a purchase. Each channel offers its own set of benefits, such as targeting options, analytics tools, and reporting capabilities. The difference between one platform and another is often subtle, but sometimes there are significant differences that impact how well you achieve your objectives.

The different unique features and capabilities offered by each platform make it easy for advertisers to fall into different traps. Some platforms focus solely on cost per impression (CPM), while others offer performance-based pricing. Others charge based on impressions or views, while still others allow you to target specific keywords. However, some platforms offer no way to measure performance or even view data, which makes it difficult to evaluate whether your campaign is working.

To avoid falling into these pitfalls, you must understand the unique characteristics of each platform and determine which ones best suit your needs. Once you do that, you can craft a plan that allows you to measure success and optimize your spending. If you don’t know where to start, contact us today to discuss your next steps. We’ll help you identify your goals, develop a measurement system, and choose the platforms that best fit your budget.

Some Final Thoughts on Digital Media Buying

When you buy digital media, you’re not just paying for an ad; you’re also paying for the creative assets required to deliver it. That means you need to consider everything from the type of technology used to create the ad to the specific audience targeted by the campaign.

When you buy digital media, it’s important to remember that the goal isn’t simply to place as many ads as possible. Instead, you should be thinking about how each individual ad will drive action. For example, if you’re running a Facebook campaign, you might want to target users who have already expressed interest in your product or service. Or maybe you’re looking to increase engagement among existing customers. Whatever the objective, you need to determine the best way to achieve it.

The good news is that digital media offers a lot of flexibility. You can choose between several types of ads, including text, image, video, and carousel ads. You can also select between static and dynamic ads, depending on your needs. Dynamic ads change based on user behavior, while static ads remain unchanged throughout the duration of the campaign.

If you’re new to digital media, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools designed to help you navigate the landscape. One popular option is Google AdWords. This free tool allows you to test different keywords and ad formats to see which ones perform best. Once you’ve identified the most effective keywords and ad copy, you can use them to build a custom campaign.

Another great resource for learning more about digital media is the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). They offer a wealth of information on the latest trends and technologies in digital advertising. Their website also features a library of educational resources, including videos, articles, and white papers.

(Don’t forget to check out our blog post on the top 10 mistakes life science companies make when they first start using digital media.)

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