A Brief Guide to Media Buying Platforms

BriefBid’s Brief Guide to Media Buying Platforms
“Supply and demand.” We all know the phrase that perfectly summarizes the economic tug-of-war on which every company either thrives or falters. Media buying is a space where these words are on full display (no cheesy marketing pun intended). Let’s take a shallow dive into the world of ad tech to better understand media buying platforms.

What does the media buying process look like?

Before we get to the “how” of a media buying platform, it’s critical to understand the “what” and “why” of the media buying process.

Marketers who want to advertise their products or services may select various media channels to show their ads. Think print versus TV versus digital display.

Within those channels are individual publishers who are in control of the ad space and publish the ads. Think YouTube.com for video, or BBC.com for digital display.

For marketers to place ads within the ad space owned by those publishers — and reach a target audience among those publishers’ users — they have to buy that ad space. Media buying platforms facilitate this transaction.

What is a media buying platform?

A media buying platform is software that enables the purchasing of ad space. Remember supply and demand? Marketers who want ad space, also known as ad inventory, create the demand. Publishers, the ones with the ad inventory, offer the supply.

This is why you may have heard of two types of media buying platforms that coexist to create the exchange of ad inventory: demand-side platforms (DSPs) and supply-side platforms (SSPs). These subsets of media buying platforms delineate which side of the transaction they are helping – advertisers or publishers.

Benefits of Media Buying Platforms

Media buying platforms offer several benefits to advertisers, the most obvious of which is that it provides the media buyer with a centralized location for discovering and securing ad space. Other benefits include:

  • Addressability: Buying platforms allow agencies and advertisers to hypertarget their campaigns with custom, granular targeting capabilities. This means that buyers can get the most ROI from their ad spend by only reaching the users most likely to engage with their messaging.
  • Inventory Access: DSPs perform the bulk of the work for buyers within the media buying process by finding the inventory. Some ad exchanges and DSPs offer wide ranges of inventory across channels, while others specialize in various niches or focus on a few types of channels only. Either way, buyers benefit from a marketplace they can explore without needing backdoor connections.
  • Scalability: Technology has made media buying a more convenient, hugely scalable process. With the help of automation, buying and selling large quantities of ad inventory can happen seamlessly and instantaneously.
  • Data: Regardless of buying media via an open or private marketplace, advertising online is increasingly accomplished by real-time bidding. This means that you buy audiences based on the real-time data available to the DSP.

How is automation changing the world of media buying?

Now that we understand the basics of the media buying process and how media buying platforms work inside of it, let’s wrap up with a glimpse of technology’s impact.

Programmatic advertising, or programmatic media buying, is the automation of media buying using technology — real-time data and algorithms, to be more specific. Programmatic technology is changing how advertisers perform digital media buys by eliminating the need for manual labor in the buying process. Programmatic allows for the best possible ad campaign performance by securing ad space in the right places at the right times to reach a highly specific target audience.

Vet and Discover Media Buying Platforms

There’s so much more to explore with programmatic and media buying, but for now, you know the BriefBid basics! Not all media buying platforms are created equal, so it’s important to vet various partners, learn about their inventory, and assess their targeting capabilities, data access and vertical expertise. Plan your media campaigns and simplify the RFP process with a few clicks while you’re at it. Learn more about how BriefBid can help you find the right platform and media offerings from specialized ad tech solutions.

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