What Happens Behind the Scenes of Radio Media Buying?


Radio media buying is an industry that consumers encounter every day – but few know what actually goes into the process.

There’s a science and an art to matching advertisements for companies to the right audience, right time and right network (all at the right price). Radio media buying has the end result of delivering advertisements to select audiences – but for a radio media buyer it all starts with the client.

Effective Media Buying

The first step in effective radio media buying is understanding a client and a client’s marketing, advertising and overall business goals. Why do they want to advertise on radio and is it the best fit for their business goals? A media buyer will walk them through the process, and may compare the benefits of different types of strategies so that clients have a better idea of what they are working with.

If a client is committed to doing radio to start, a media buyer will do research based on the client’s target audience and demographic. It’s essential to find out which types of listeners are most likely to convert on radio advertising. This process helps narrow the field of opportunities for clients so that buyers can focus on negotiating with certain channels and networks only.

There are many different metrics that can be used to measure a campaign’s effectiveness. An essential part of a radio media-planning process is understanding the metrics that will be used to determine success. What should be measured and how does it relate to overall business goals? Once this metric – or metrics – have been established, it will be used as a success determiner throughout the life of the campaign. It will be used during the testing process and eventually the roll out.

Messaging and Radio Media Buying

The web copy (or ad copy) is another part of the buying process. Messaging is everything to the effectiveness of a campaign, so copy review is a must. Media buyers can put an advertiser on all of the right shows and in front of the right markets – but they won’t take action without strong copy. If the messaging is convoluted or ambiguous at all, it will fall on deaf ears.

The copy for the ad(s) and for the website needs to be tweaked, tested and refined so that the client can get the best level of success for the investment. There may also need to be several different versions of the same messaging. It’s important to remember that 15-second, 30-second and 60-second spots need their own unique spin so that the messaging gets through without any important pieces missing.



Starting Small With Radio Advertising

Radio is a terrific place to start for media buying because it has the lowest barrier of entry. Small-scale operations to corporate conglomerates can use radio advertising effectively to reach their audiences. It’s possible – with the expert help of a radio media buyer – to grow a very small radio presence into a large one with strategic moves and smart buys. Businesses of most any size can start off small and then scale up very quickly as their business begins to grow. Larger corporations can start small on new ideas and test concepts in local, broadcast markets before moving to national coverage. It’s an ideal medium to get started with advertising, test ideas and then make changes.

Radio media buying focuses first on the clients and their needs, then focuses on the target audience demographic to further narrow the best opportunities. Getting to know the audience, how it buys and where it listens to the radio can help media buyers make a strategic plan for purchasing time. Media buyers also review and improve copy so that it will have the biggest impact on the ideal audience. From start to finish, the radio media buying process focuses on end results and strategic decision-making.


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