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5 Media Buying Mistakes Businesses Make

Posted by on 3:08 pm

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I’ve heard many people refer to advertising as a “necessary evil” over the years, and while it always brings a smile to my face (after all, who wouldn’t want to be a necessary evil consultant?), I usually hear an underlying current of frustration in that statement.

When you manage advertising on your own, it’s easy to goof up, especially when it comes to media buying. Most of these errors are just bad habits you may not even realize you have, and they are all preventable. Here are some of the most common media buying mistakes businesses make on a regular basis.


If you are buying advertising on a website, TV show or radio station because you like it and think your customers do too – please cease and desist, post haste.

While some customers might enjoy the same programming you do – you may even talk to them about it on a regular basis – making advertising decisions on this assumption is a really bad idea. Like all business strategies, media buying is effective when based on research and data that prove long-term audience delivery. Basing your decisions on anything else is a gamble.

not using audience targeting

Digital media has revolutionized the way advertising is bought and measured, bringing a new level of efficiency to reaching an audience. Instead of using content placement as the primary method to target your ads, you can target specific audiences instead.

Ad networks, like the Google Display Network, let you plug in demographic information about your audience and the platform will target the ads for you. These networks are comprised of literally thousands of websites, and once your audience is defined, the network will locate these people wherever they are on the web and target them with your message. Audience-based targeting eliminates waste and boosts results. If you aren’t taking advantage of it now, it’s time to get on board.

Overspending on one channel

Media is extremely fragmented today. Everyone knows this, and yet many businesses pour a ton of money into one media channel, ending up frustrated when the results don’t measure up.

Maybe ten or fifteen years ago that newspaper or radio station campaign was all you needed, but things are different today. Advertising depends on strategic planning, placement and timing across several channels in order to maximize results.


Just getting my name out there.”

This is the single worst advertising goal a business owner can have, and it never seems to go out of style. The problem, of course, is that it can’t be measured. When the campaign wraps up you have no idea whether or not it worked because there is nothing to quantify.

You should always aim for measurable benchmarks, just like any other investment. Everything that goes into the ad campaign – from the copywriting and creative production, to the schedule and call-to-action – should support that objective.


Many a good campaign has been sabotaged by stale creative. You can have the best strategy in place, with optimal placements and a powerful message, but if the creative does not resonate with people and move them to action, your campaign is toast.

Creative is important, but having fresh creative is even more important. If you’ve been running the same ad for months (or even worse, years) it’s waaaay past time to freshen things up. People respond to repetition, but when an ad looks and sounds the same over an extended period it will lose steam. Guaranteed.

Successful media buying today depends on experimentation and testing, as well as experience. By setting measurable goals, using audience-based targeting, diversifying your distribution channels and shaking up the ad creative, you can breathe new life into a brand that’s been sputtering for years and achieve greater results.

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Topic: Advertising ,media buying

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