Media Buying 101 – A Guide for Beginners


There are many different ways in which you can promote your products, services or the products that other people own (affiliate marketing).

Writing a blog, putting up some social media posts or using email marketing are all good examples but what about advertising?

In this article, we are going to have a look at the basics of media buying. From what it is through to the 4 stages of the process and why it can be very useful for an internet marketing standpoint.

It might not be the most complication process out there but it is something that a lot of marketers aren’t too familiar with.

guide for media buyers for dummies

What is media buying?

Media buying itself easy to define. There are various media buying terms and other jargon but at its core the definition is simple – it is buying space on the internet to place ads.

How to start media buying for beginners?

We are going to give you a brief introduction to the various stages of media buying and what it is you need to look out for.

Many people fail with media buying and planning and lose money because they don’t follow these 4 stages and take everything into account. If you want to be successful with your marketing exploits online then purchasing media space and targeting the right people is paramount.

So, what are the 4 stages of media buying for dummies?


Don’t just dive right into purchasing digital media space without doing your prep work first.

At this stage, you need to sit down and plan what verticals you are comfortable with using, selecting an ad network, what offers you are going to promote in addition to what areas you are going to target. This is important because the geo-location of your ads will depend on your budget and what it is you actually want people to buy or sign up to. Tier 1 countries are obviously the most expensive but have the best returns so this part really depends on how much money you have at the start. Many media buyers start off at tier 2 or 3 and then when they scale their operation (see below) they can move up a notch.


Ok, so you have everything planned out to the last detail. Now you need to actually create your campaign.

This is where you create and design banners and ads, work out your bids and begin the process of making your ad campaign ‘live’. There are various strategies around this for example whether it is a sprint or a marathon approach you want to take – basically is this a short-term venture for a quick gain or a longer-term approach to build something that will last?

Now that your ad campaign is underway, you now need to optimize your media buying strategy.

This involves looking at a lot of data to see what ads perform best and on what devices you get the most results on. Remember we said that the best way to be successful at media buying is to focus on various channels instead of putting all your efforts into one area, this is the stage that narrows this all down.

You can optimize your campaign based on the data you receive such as where the biggest payouts are, what countries people are finding you from and also what browsers and devices they are using.


The final stage in the media buying and planning process is scaling your operation.

You might be ticking along nicely however if you can upscale this to include tier 1 countries if you are not already doing so or targeting new groups then you can make more money.

By scaling you can focus on more geo-locations, more people, different devices and grow your business overall.

Media targeting

This feeds off the ideas that we have written about above and locks into the first stage of the media buying process.

You need to target the right people, locations and devices with your media. If you have an ad that focuses on a product that can only be sold in certain countries (we’ll look at this in a minute with adult media buying) then why are you targeting countries where it can’t be sold? This is just wasting money. Similarly, if a device can’t use a product or service then why are you targeting people that use that device?

Be smart with media targeting because it is very easy to waste money with the wrong approach.

Adult media buying

Before we conclude, we should mention adult media buying.

Adult media can only be shown in certain areas and to certain people so it is important than the preparation stage above is done correctly. It can be very lucrative and generally, TrafficJunky, ExoClick, TrafficFactory, Grand Slam Media and Media Reps are the main traffic sources for adult content.

It is just something to bear in mind as many would-be media buyers think they can push adult content and ads on every source and channel when the reality is that this isn’t true.

Media buying guide for beginners

Creating a solid media buying strategy and having the basics locked down before you even design anything or start a campaign is imperative to being successful.

With proper media buying and planning, you can get yourself ahead of the other competitors in your niche and generate traffic to your website, landing page, affiliate links or social media accounts.

Remember don’t’ just stop when you start becoming successful because scaling your operations can generate much more fruitful down the line.

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