Digital Media Buying Fundamentals for AM/CSR

If you’re a client facing rep, have you ever been asked by a client to provide guidance for a possible media buying strategy? One that would satisfy and achieve the desired KPIs or asked to interpret campaign results? Ever been in that situation?

If you have and your response was “ummm, I’ll have to consult the media buying team”, fear not as the fundamentals covered below will equip you to handle those tricky media strategy situations. I believe that every client facing rep (account manager) should have a basic understanding of these digital media buying fundamentals, especially within the ever-changing digital industry.

Due to the nature of the digital industry, it is essential that digital account managers must stay updated and improve their skill sets to remain current with new release media platforms, publishers and industry updates. Here are the five key fundamentals to digital media buying

  1. Landscape Exposure (Available platforms)

We start off with landscape exposure, knowing what is out there, available platforms, publishers and the value they would bring to your campaign. The worst thing is if your client notifies you of a newly launched platform that they think would be perfect to satisfy a campaign’s KPIs. Take the time to research what’s new in the market, subscribe to service provider’s newsletters and consume said information to keep abreast of your environment.

  1. Understanding Ecosystem

Here we focus on the digital ecosystem and how all the campaign components fit together, like a jigsaw puzzle. Understanding how these components fit together will help you when approaching and viewing a campaign holistically.

By understanding the process, will help by making sure all components are in place before a campaign kicks off, whether it be that the correct creative is being used, the website UX is ready and optimised for mobile (if needed) or to making sure that the necessary tracking parameters are in place.

These are all the components that will make or break a digital advertising campaign. Of course, things are never as simple as we think, the biggest benefit is that campaigns happen in real time and as missing components are identified they can be included (realtime remember).

  1. Optimisation (campaign tweaks and amendments)

This skill might not seem as important as the rest but it is vital in providing value for your client campaigns. Understanding that slight tweaks and amendments in a campaign could benefit the campaign greatly by increasing its performance which would generate better overall results. Even though you might not have to ever make tweaks and amendments yourself, understanding how campaign optimisation works is imperative. It is important to note that a majority, if not all components are affected by optimisation, from the campaign landing page, campaign scope (budget and promotional period) to segmenting the desired target audience.

  1. Tracking and Integration (Analytics)

“In God we trust, all others must bring data.” – William Edwards Deming   I read that data drives information and that information is what drives insight. Ultimately it’s quality insight that guides clients and business decision makers in making better, more strategic and tactical business decisions. Hence the need for us to have an understanding of how tracking and analytics work, it’s importance and the value it brings to a campaign. Whether it be structuring a campaign’s specific UTM tracking link (, setting up and managing a GTM (Google Tag Manager) account or profile for your client or setting up a platform pixel. Making sure that the necessary tracking parameters (platform pixel) are in place in order to provide a holistic view of the campaign,  will put you in a position to analyse and interpret data better as well as help highlight campaign successes. All of this effort will ultimately help and guide clients in making better strategic and tactical business decisions for future campaigns.

  1. Data interpretation (understanding results)

Having a basic data analysis skill is as important as breathing for a media buyer,  not so much for an account manager but it is still a valuable skill to have.

Interpreting data is probably the hardest skill to acquire. Being able to see the big picture by seeing a campaign holistically will help provide better insight and ultimately better decisions. The skill combines the competence in finding, manipulating, managing, and interpreting data, including not just numbers but also creative elements as well.

The importance lies in identifying what the successes of a campaign were and what did not work. This valuable insight will benefit and help your clients save money and help future campaigns do even better.

As you can see it takes a special person to become a digital media buyer. That said, if you are a rational thinker, have a questioning mind, not afraid to fail and have the ability to remain calm then you should consider digital media buying as a career. If not, get the basic fundamentals on lockdown and help yourself out of those tricky situations.   Zayd Out

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