man holding newspaper looking at media and ads.

The Difference: Media Planner Versus Media Buyer

In advertising, one of the most significant ways to make your campaign grow is to select the right form of media. We live in a world where we are transitioning from print to digital advertising, which means there are dozens of different types of media. From newspaper ads to billboard displays, to Facebook ads, there are countless sources of media. Depending on your audience, it can be a tell-tale sign as to where your campaign should be put. Both media planners and media buyers are responsible for placing your advertising within the right medium. Let’s break down the difference between media planners and media buyers and understand how they are similar. 


Media Planner


The role of a media planner is to plan what media channels will be the most effective for an advertising campaign. They are responsible for researching and understanding target audiences based on the advertising campaign. Every audience has its own most used forms of entertainment and media, so a media planner must do thorough research. A great campaign could fail merely because it is on the wrong forms of media. 


Another essential part of being a media planner is to set the overall goals for the campaign. Media planners have to understand what key metrics they will need for the campaign to go viral and what it will take to get there. 


Media Buyer


The function of a media buyer is to understand what channels within the media will make the advertising campaign the most successful. For example, if a media planner wants to put most of the planned content into radio, it’s the job of the media buyer to pick what radio stations to use and at what times they want to show the ad. 


Math is a key skill for media buyers to have because they need to be able to break down the cost of each ad on each channel on each source media. Plenty of thought and research also has to go into the workings of a media buyer because they need to find the media channels with the most impression for the lowest cost. 


Combining the two


It is common for agencies to combine the role of both the media planner and the media buyer because they work hand-in-hand. These are two different jobs with different skill sets, but one would not be able to work without the other. The media planner stands as the strategist for displaying the ads, while the media buyer puts the ads into media spots and get the ball rolling. 


Overall, both of these jobs within the field of advertising are influential for positively trending campaigns. More and more agencies are requiring digital experience as the world continues to grow with technology. For advertising to grow big, one of the most influential pieces of that growth