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Effective Media Buying Requires Deep Audience Insights

Media buyers help marketing teams navigate the complex landscape of modern media to identify opportunities to reach existing and new audiences. Today, media buying depends on big data for audience insights to help advertisers keep pace. 

What Is Media Buying?

Media buying is primarily the process of arranging the purchase of ad space for clients or in-house marketing teams. Media buyers evaluate traditional media such as print, broadcast and cable television, and traditional radio, as well as new media such as streaming TV and radio, social media, podcasts, digital ad networks, and more. 

Media buying vs. media planning 

Media buying and media planning are two distinct activities. Media planners are responsible for planning which media sources are best suited for the goals of the client and campaign. They create the strategy for how the brand’s message will be conveyed to the target audience. Media buyers execute this plan of action to ensure the advertising creative gets in front of the intended audience at the best price possible. 

Direct media buying

As the name implies, in direct media buying, buyers work directly with media owners to negotiate the price for ad placement. There is no middleman. Advertising opportunities are usually bought on a cost-per-thousand-impression basis, which refers to how many times the ad was served to the intended audience. 

Programmatic media buying

Programmatic media buying is the automated buying and selling of advertising at auction via software. Programmatic media buying typically delivers higher ROI for advertisers because it uses traffic data and online display targeting to drive impressions at scale. While much of the process is automated in this type of media buying, marketers’ skills are still needed to optimize ads for continued performance.

Data Sources for Audience Insights

It’s impossible to know how best to invest ad spend without an in-depth knowledge of your target audience and various market segments. What do they care about? Where do they choose to spend their time online? What motivates them to buy? These are just a few of the many questions that data can answer. And media buyers have a plethora of data sources to supply this information.

Demographic data

Demographic data is the most basic type of audience insight. This data includes age, gender, income level, education, cultural background, marital status, group affiliation, and geographic location. Demographic data is foundational information that helps media buyers create target audiences based on a set of population-based parameters. 

Behavioral data

Behavioral data is more complex and involves understanding how consumers locate and engage with content online and offline. Behavior-based insights include website activity, online purchase history, app usage, and patterns of engagement on social media platforms. Understanding how consumers behave online can help media buyers further refine their target audiences and uncover new ones that may have been overlooked.

Consumer sentiment data

The most nuanced type of audience insight, sentiment analysis seeks to uncover how a target audience feels about a brand. As they interact with the brand’s advertising, products, and services, consumers leave behind a trail of valuable data that media buyers and planners can use to inform current and future ad campaigns. Powerful machine learning algorithms can conduct advanced analysis of text and images posted by a target audience, mining them for insights into what’s resonating well with consumers and pinpointing where urgent attention is needed.

Top Challenges for Effective Media Buying

Successfully navigating a fragmented advertising landscape to reach increasingly brand-agnostic, tech-savvy consumers is a formidable task. Below are four major challenges facing today’s media buyers and examples of how data-driven tools are helping them get the most out of their advertising budgets. 

Avoiding wasted ad spend

A poorly chosen target audience, platform, message, or timing can quickly drain a marketing budget with little to show for it. Advanced data analytics helps marketing teams evaluate data from numerous sources to help teams better understand their target audience and fine-tune their marketing message to maximize ROI. 

Capturing relevant data from new sources

Consumers are generating massive amounts of data that is highly relevant for marketing purposes. As the sources, types, and volume of data continue to grow, corralling it all into a single place can be a herculean task. Modern cloud data platforms such as Snowflake unify this disparate data, creating a single source of truth that provides marketers with a more holistic view of their target audiences.

Lack of in-depth customer profiles 

Even the most data-centric marketing teams have blind spots that can lead to inaccurate assumptions about their target audiences. For this reason, purchasing data from third-party providers can help fill in the gaps, creating more-accurate, in-depth customer profiles. 

Compliance with data privacy regulations

Forming data partnerships with vendors, partner agencies, and third-party providers gives advertisers access to a wealth of data. But complying with data privacy regulations such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) can hamper these efforts. To solve these challenges, advertisers can use data clean rooms, which provide a secure space for exchanging data without compromising customers’ personally identifiable information (PII). Data clean rooms place strict controls on the types of data that can enter and leave the clean room, what data can be exchanged, and what kinds of analytics each party can run on the shared data. 

Snowflake for Better Audience Insights

The Snowflake Media Data Cloud serves as a single repository for all your audience data, eliminating the data silos that can create an incomplete view of your current customers and prospects. With Snowflake, marketers and media buyers can construct robust 360-degree views of target audiences using demographic, behavioral, and consumer sentiment analysis. And with Snowflake Marketplace, marketers can enrich their own data with valuable third-party data sets, gaining a better understanding of their target audience and how to effectively market their products and services.

The Data Cloud also enables the creation of data clean rooms, providing marketing, media, and advertising teams a secure way to share data that complies with data regulations and facilitates data governance.

See Snowflake’s capabilities for yourself and give it a test drive by signing up for a free trial.