Advertising & Arts

Advertising Media Buyer/Planner

Media buyers are responsible for buying advertising space in newspapers and magazines, and on TV, radio, cinema and online.

  • Entry-level education

    Senior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does an Advertising Media Buyer/Planner do?

As a media buyer you would be responsible for buying advertising space in newspapers and magazines, and on TV, radio, cinema and online. It would be your job for the ads to reach as much of the target audience as possible. You would need to do this at the most effective cost for the client. As a media planner, you will decide on which media is best suited to advertising your client’s products or services. You may use advertising media like television and radio, or press advertising, mobile or online media to reach the client’s target audience.


Work activities

As a media buyer / planner your key tasks would include:

  • keeping up with industry research into people's media viewing, internet and reading habits, and lifestyles
  • building relationships with clients and media sales companies
  • negotiating rates with media sales people for the most appropriate advertising spots
  • preparing cost projections for clients
  • controlling budgets and communicating with throughout the campaign on costs
  • monitoring audience data and figures
  • analysing sales data, to judge a campaign’s effectiveness.

Media buying and media planning roles are often combined, particular in smaller advertising agencies.


Key skills and interests

To become an advertising media buyer/planner, you would need:

  • the ability to work well with a range of people and as part of a team
  • good written and spoken communication skills
  • excellent presentation and negotiation skills
  • a logical and analytical mind
  • computer literacy
  • stamina, drive and persistence.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

Usually the role requires standard office hours, Monday to Friday, although sometimes longers hours might be needed to meet publication deadlines.


You would be mainly office-based, with some travel necessary for client meetings or to meet with media sales representatives. The role requires spending much of your time on the phone. 


How to become an Advertising Media Buyer/Planner?

Entry Level Education

You can work as a media buyer / planner without formal qualifications. Employers will usually be more interested in your personal qualities, such as creativity, problem solving and business sense. You should at least have completed your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent.

As the advertising industry is very competitive, your ability to gain a role may be improved if you have relevant sales qualifications. For example, you may have completed a relevant VET qualification in sales. In smaller advertising agencies you might start in an entry-level position, such as administration, and work your way up as your knowledge of the industry develops.

It's a good idea to try to find work experience in an advertising agency before looking for your first full-time job. You could contact agencies directly to ask about placements, or make industry contacts through relevant groups on social networking sites.

The Communications Council offers various short courses and certificates for people working in the advertising industry, which may assist with industry progression.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Media companies will continue to rely on advertising revenue for profitability, driving growth in the advertising industry as a whole.

Employment growth of media buyers will largely follow broader industry trends. For example, although newspaper print advertising is expected to decline, some of this decline will be offset by the sale of ad space on websites.

However, an increasing amount of advertising is expected to be concentrated in digital media, including digital ads intended for mobile phones, tablet-style computers, and digital radio stations. Digital advertising allows companies to directly target potential consumers because websites are usually associated with the types of products that possible customers would like to buy. The clients you would be working with are likely to be looking increasingly at digital avenues for advertising.


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