Media Buying 101: Everything You Need to Know

Media Buying 101: Everything You Need to Know

Trapica Content Team

Marketing Guides
4 min read
April 5, 2021

What is media buying? It’s a marketing process that has garnered much attention in recent times, and it has led to the birth of the media buying monitoring niche. Media buyer monitors enable advertisers to get the help they need in identifying opportunities across multiple channels simultaneously. With advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning models, the tools allow for real-time adjustments with campaigns and automation where it previously wasn’t possible (no more spending hours on things that technology can do in mere seconds!).

Media buyer monitoring is a growing field, and we’re going to explore everything you need today (including the stats that marketers look for when choosing a tool).

What’s Media Buying?

When advertising, there are two sides to the process - the ad itself and the placement. For a campaign to succeed, we need to create relevant ads while ensuring that they’re placed in front of the right people. With media buying, we’re dealing with the second half of this equation. Therefore, media buying is all about negotiating and purchasing ad space for the lowest possible price.

As marketers, we need to buy the right ad space to provide the right environment for our ad to thrive. Otherwise, we spend all that time on creating an ad only to put it in the wrong place. To deliver conversion actions (whether sales or brand awareness), the ad should be present to the right people at the right time. Therefore, it makes sense for marketers to bid on placements that allow this to happen.

With all of this in mind, a media buying monitor is a platform used to assist marketers in managing this process. Paragone offers a media buying monitor within its service platform which helps identify opportunities while ranking audiences, campaigns, and creatives. With certain metrics available (more on this later!), marketers can make better decisions regarding the whole media buying process and also make adjustments whenever necessary.

In this field, you’re likely to see people talking about media buying and media planning. Do they have the same meaning? No, they describe different parts of the advertising process. While media planning covers the research stage, the media buying stage contains the implementation of the planning. Without planning, it’s easy to get media buying wrong. This is why the three different stages of media buying play an integral role.

The Three Stages of Media Buying


As marketers, you know that it’s impossible to make major ad campaign decisions on the spot. It requires significant research, meetings with team members, and a great deal of planning. During the pre-launch phase, one of the biggest challenges is learning about the target audience and the best routes to reach them. Without knowledge of the audience, how do you know which ad placements will generate the best conversion?

During this phase, marketers consider interests, behaviors, demographics, and geolocation. Where do these people go online? Where do they make purchasing decisions? Do they buy in physical locations or do they prefer to order online? The more you know at this stage, the more you can enter into a media buying monitor tool.

Before generating your strategy, the pre-launch phase should also include a deep dive into your competitors. How are they marketing to your audience? What’s working and what’s not. Having a more complete understanding of your audience and your competition will help you establish reasonable goals along with the necessary means to achieve them. With a demand-side platform, these tools help to find the right ad space for your goals. You’ll compare offers from publishers, negotiate prices, and choose the most effective ad spaces.

Finally, this phase ends by choosing your budget, your ideal return on investment, and estimated costs for the campaign.


After all the planning, it’s time to execute. At this point, it’s natural to feel nervous, but the support of effective platforms makes everything a little bit easier. At this stage, a media buying monitor shows its true value. Instead of monitoring everything yourself, these platforms constantly assess the performance of campaigns and look for opportunities to improve. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, the tool learns what does and doesn’t work for the target audience. From here, it generates high-quality insights and also compares expected performance to actual performance.

Here, marketers can track all the critical KPIs and ensure that campaigns are moving in the right direction. In the next section, we’ll discover the most important stats for marketers when it comes to media buying monitoring.

In addition, you’ll learn about conversion rates and how the intended audience reacts to ads. What happens if the audience doesn’t click, buy, sign up, or engage in further interactions with the brand? Normally, the media buying monitor will pick up on these trends and suggest a different course of action. If you’re drifting away from the initial goals, the platform suggests ways to get back on course.

Post-Launch Management

After the launch phase, it’s important not to lose focus and just forget about ad campaigns. A media buying monitor continues collecting data facilitating further marketer investigation as well as automatic actionable insights. In addition to your own conclusions, see what the technology suggests.

In the world of marketing, it’s unnecessary to do everything alone. There are too many effective tools and solutions to ignore, and most will lend a helping hand when you really need it. Naturally, they will automate certain tasks, and this means you can focus on the bigger picture rather than the smaller details every day.

Important Statistics and Metrics for Media Buying Monitoring

Throughout the guide, we’ve alluded to statistics and metrics during the media buying process. When looking for a monitor, which are the most important? With a platform like Paragone, you’ll see all ad campaigns listed next to a select handful of stats. This includes overall spend, links, cost per link, click-through rate, and more.

Elsewhere, marketers also pay particular attention to CPM (cost per thousand). As a traditional measurement in this field, this single metric explains the cost of displaying an ad to 1,000 people.

The benefit of this stat is that it provides a level playing field for comparison between different ad spaces. Since each ad space has a different cost, size, and opportunity, you can compare the CPM of them all equally. Although tempting, don’t make decisions based on CPM alone because price doesn’t always equal quality. Just because an opportunity is cheap, doesn’t mean that it’s worth the investment. An example of this would be a TV commercial for elderly people showing at 3am.

As you keep a close eye on the media buying monitor, you’ll also look at the click-through rate of each; this metric is found on most tools. With the right ad space, you should generate a good click-through rate because you’re reaching the audience directly. If the click-through rate is low, this suggests that either the ad is failing to encourage clicks or that the ad is in the wrong place.

Other potentially important stats for marketers when using a media buying monitor include:

  • PPM (price per thousand)
  • PPC (pay per click)
  • Conversion rate
  • Cost per conversion
  • GRP (gross rating point)
  • Impressions
  • ROAS (return on ad spend)

Potential Challenges with Media Buying - Importance of Monitoring

As marketers, you need a reason to invest in a media buying monitor, and there are no better reasons than to overcome common media buying challenges. First, and perhaps most obviously, you need to meet targets and ensure that the marketing budget is spent efficiently. As discussed, a monitor does this by continually reviewing data and the performance of ALL campaigns.

Furthermore, another challenge with media buying is protecting the image and reputation of the brand. When advertising, the last thing you want is for the ad to appear alongside controversial content. Unfortunately, consumers sometimes draw links between content and ads, and this can harm your reputation moving forward. Fortunately, media buying monitoring involves identifying such issues and preventing them from occurring.

Another issue is the lack of transparency in the market; this makes it difficult for beginners and those with little experience to get started with media buying. Again, this won’t surprise you, but monitors make media buying more accessible for all marketers and businesses. They review ad performance automatically, provide actionable insights, and guide marketers through the process as much or as little as required.

When choosing any DSP or media buying monitor tool, pay attention to the interface and user experience. Even with something as complex as media buying, we don’t think a digital tool has an excuse for an over-complicated interface; the very best tools have a simple interface and make media buying a breeze.

Additionally, you should look for customer support, data, metrics and KPIs, and the level of automation available. With this, you know everything you need to get started with media buying and media buying monitoring!

Marketing Guides
4 min read
April 5, 2021
Trapica Content Team

The Trapica Content Team aims to share relevant industry news, marketing tips, and company updates to make sure our readers have the best info about digital marketing.