Advertising media buyers also known as advertising media executives, work for advertising agencies as consultants, advising clients as to which media should be used to best advertise a product or service. They then purchase the advertising ‘space’ and ‘time’. Space refers to newspapers, magazines and posters; time refers to radio, television and cinema ads. Buyers aim for the advertisements to be seen and heard by the highest possible number of the target audience at the lowest possible price for the client.
Buyers record transactions and prepare costings for the clients, often working on more than one account at a time. In smaller agencies the roles of planner and buyer are combined (see Advertising Media Planner profile). In larger agencies jobs may be more specialised.
Working hours are normally 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, but may vary in order to meet deadlines. Some agencies have flexible working hours on the understanding that staff will work late if a job needs finishing.
The work is office based, although some time may be spent visiting clients and media owners.
To be an advertising media buyer you should:
Advertising is a very popular career among graduates, and applicants frequently outnumber vacancies. Agencies with a structured graduate recruitment programme are listed in the IPA Factfile (see website listed in Further Information) although the best approach may be to contact agencies directly.
Specialist media agencies have developed in response to the growth of ‘new’ media industries such as cable and digital TV, and the Internet, which may provide further job opportunities.
Career progression is based upon experience and ability. Gaining qualifications, such as those mentioned in the Entry and Training section, is an advantage. Most media staff start as trainees and become established planners or buyers after about a year. Further promotion to senior or director level is based on performance. Head-hunting is very common, as is movement between agencies.
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