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Confessions of a media buyer

4.13.23 / By Gerrit Mora

Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to create, oversee and help on countless paid media campaigns. That means I’ve seen the fundamental concepts and common challenges we often encounter in our line of work. And with that, I think it’s time to come clean on a couple things.

Confession 1: You don’t have the budget for that.

Media buyers are often presented with a healthy budget that, on the surface, looks like it’ll produce a strong response for the campaign. But that initial optimism can quickly be turned on its head once we start taking into consideration the various lines of business, products or departments that need to be addressed via paid media. If we’re not careful, this can turn into a situation where we’re spreading the budget too thin while trying to address everything as the #1 priority—and then everything ends up falling short.

To keep things on track, a media buyer will often look to the client and account team to help surface the campaign’s true priorities to ensure we can really drive performance where it counts. Reprioritizing campaign initiatives can become a give-and-take situation, and it’s how we’re able to plan for the absolute best possible outcome given the resources we have to work with.

Confession 2: I keep it simple.

I often tell clients and colleagues to be wary of snake-oil salespeople pushing the next hot thing. If my email inbox is any indication, there are an infinite number of new tools and technologies to use, platforms to advertise on, and ways to reach new and exciting audiences. When I review these options, they generally offer very little value toward actual performance or insights, but rather move data and control into “black box” technology that attempts to be a one-size-fits-all solution.

This isn’t to say I’m not constantly evaluating new ideas and solutions, but rather I lean on media buying and advertising fundamentals to drive my results. Leveraging these tools and platforms to work alongside you rather than offloading your workload onto them is the sweet spot. Setting campaigns on autopilot eliminates the possibility of finding deep insights that might only be realized when you’re in the weeds day to day.

Confession 3: Media buying is an artform.

One campaign, a million ways to build it. Sure, there are standard rules and procedures that must be followed in nearly every media buy, but there’s also quite a bit of room to build a campaign that considers the media buyer’s experience and preferences. Most people might not consider media buying a creative profession, but sometimes it feels like the art and science of meshing creative assets, data, and psychology to create something a million people will see. Ad Manager is my paintbrush, and I am Michelangelo (sigh).

So how do you make media buying work harder for your brand? Get in touch and we’ll find out together.


Gerrit Mora

Gerrit Mora is a Senior Media Planner/Buyer at DS+CO