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Advertising media buyer

Media buyers buy advertising space in newspapers and magazines, on TV, radio and cinema.
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What does an advertising media buyer do?

It's your job for the ads to reach as much of the target audience as possible. You would need to do this at the lowest cost for the client. 

Key tasks include:

  • working closely with media planners to identify the target audience and deciding how best to reach them through advertising
  • keeping up with industry research into people's TV viewing and reading habits, and their lifestyles
  • building relationships with clients and media sales companies
  • negotiating with media sales people for the most suitable advertising spots at the best rates
  • preparing costings for clients
  • managing budgets and keeping the client informed about spending throughout the campaign
  • monitoring audience figures
  • analysing sales data, to judge a campaign’s effectiveness

You usually work on several accounts at the same time. In smaller agencies, your job might be combined with media planning.


What do I need to do to become an advertising media buyer?

Employers will usually be more interested in your personal qualities, such as creativity, quick thinking and business sense, rather than formal qualifications.

However, advertising is a very competitive industry to enter, and you may have an advantage if you have an HND (a blend of vocational and academic learning) or degree in:

  • advertising
  • marketing
  • statistics or operational research
  • communication and media studies
  • business studies

In smaller advertising agencies you might start in a more junior position, such as administrator, and work your way up as your experience 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. 


Related skills

  • Analytics
  • Attention to detail
  • Business management
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • IT
  • Numeracy
  • Organisation
  • Teamwork
  • Time management

Academic route

  • HND or degree in advertising, marketing, statistics or operational research, communication and media studies, or business studies

Related subjects

  • Business studies
  • Media studies

Where to find out more


Where could I be working?

You would be mainly office-based, but may also travel to meet clients and media sales representatives.

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