Media Buyer Job Description: Responsibilities, Skills + Salary

Daniella Alscher
Daniella Alscher  |  September 6, 2019

Location, location, location.

After planning and designing an ad campaign, you can’t put it just anywhere. There are certain places that will make more sense than others, and spaces within and outside of your budget.

Someone is selling that space, and media buyers are buying it.

What is a media buyer?

The platforms in which an advertiser can place their advertisement are seemingly endless nowadays. We still use traditional platforms like newspapers, billboards, and even bus stop benches. But are those going to be as effective as banner ads, TV commercials, or YouTube ads?

Maybe. It’s up to the media buyer to make that decision.

Media buyers can work directly for an independent company, but many work for an advertising agency. Often, media buyers specialize in a particular advertising format, such as digital advertising or traditional advertising.

Media buyer responsibilities

A media buyer is responsible for all of the steps of the media buying process. There are three phases to the media buying process that they actively participate in.

media buying process

Phase 1: Pre-placement

Media buyers must work with advertisers throughout the entire process, but working together in the beginning is especially crucial. In the beginning stages, a media buyer will assist in identifying a target audience for a campaign, as well as the best channels for reaching and translating to that audience. Before making any buying decisions, media buyers are responsible for choosing mediums that align with the goals of the advertising campaign and the target audience.

This phase also includes negotiations. Media buyers are responsible for finding the most appropriate time slots and spaces at the best price. They are working on a budget; developing relationships with media vendors can prove to be extremely beneficial when it comes to saving a few bucks.

Phase 2: Placement

Once the ideal spaces and time slots have been found at the best prices, media buyers are responsible for making sure that the media is delivered to the vendors in the appropriate format and following up with the vendor to make sure that the media has been placed.

Phase 3: Post-placement

Media buyers are responsible for keeping an eye on the media that they handed over to the vendor. Measuring advertising effectiveness is a crucial part of the job. Constant review and adjustments are often necessary – it’s all part of the process. What an audience pays attention to changes over time; your ad placement should change with it.

Media buyer qualifications

So, what does it take to become a media buyer in advertising?

Typically, a degree. A majority of those working as media buyers hold bachelor’s degrees in marketing, e-commerce, advertising, public relations, or communications. Some even go on to achieve their master’s in these areas.

Attaining a position as a media buyer without a degree isn’t impossible. If you have previous relevant experience and you’re an exceptional communicator, you’ve got a shot.

Media buyer skills

If the above list of responsibilities doesn’t imply this, we can reiterate here: there’s a lot to keep track of as a media buyer. First and foremost, it takes an incredibly organized professional to become a media buyer. Following exceptional organizational skills, media buyers should:

  • Be remarkable networkers and have excellent interpersonal skills
  • Have great teamwork skills
  • Have numerical, analytical, and research skills
  • Have good written and oral communication skills
  • Be able to hone in on negotiation skills confidently

Media buyer salary

It’s not uncommon for media buyers to earn a portion of their income from commission. The more space and time they can acquire for advertisements, the more money media buyers earn.

In regards to salary, the national average is $51,714 in the United States.

That’s a wrap

Media buyers are the people in the advertising industry who really make the magic happen. While designers can create something beautiful and copywriters can write powerful words, nobody sees that hard work without the media buyer taking action and ensuring that the creative results are in the most optimal locations.

Looking for a job with a more creative flair? Read more about an art director’s job description.

Daniella Alscher

Daniella Alscher

Daniella Alscher is a Content Marketing Associate for G2. When she's not reading or writing, she's listening to murder podcasts or sitting on the couch. Or both. (she/her/hers)