Media buyer/planner

Secures advertisement space within, among other things, TV schedules and magazines, to maximise the impact of clients’ campaigns.

Job description

Media buyers and planners are involved in securing advertisement space within, among other things, TV schedules and magazines to maximise the impact of their clients’ campaigns. It is the responsibility of media departments to develop a plan that can target an idea or product at as large amount of the target consumer group as possible, familiarise them with the brand in the most positive and effective way, and guarantee an overall profit for the company.

Media Planners evolve media strategy, making recommendations on the target group, mediums to be used and identifying key timings. Much like in the client services department of a traditional agency media planners carry out a lot of pre-campaign research. Planners must manage the budget set by the client.

Media Buyers work with media planners to make the best purchase decisions. The difference between the two is that media planners select media to meet a client's marketing goals, while media buyers negotiate the best media rates and purchase the media.

In some organisations, media planning and media buying may be combined.

Work activities

Media Planner:
Identifying the most appropriate vehicle for building awareness of a client's brand.
Establishing and maintaining contacts with media owners.
Proofreading and checking content prior to release of advert.
Evaluating effectiveness of campaign.

Media Buyer:
Booking the space or airtime once the campaign plan has been agreed with the client.
Negotiating the best deals for the campaign to keep within the budget.
Monitoring the effectiveness of the campaign.

Work conditions

Travel: mostly office based but can involve travel within the working day to visit clients.
Working hours: mainly Monday–Friday office hours but can also involve long hours to meet particular deadlines.
Location: mainly in cities.
Opportunities for self-employment: freelance work is possible for those with experience and contacts.

Typical employers

  • Advertising agencies.

Career development

A willingness to change posts may be required for career progression as it is very closely linked to experience and individual motivation. Opportunities may exist in larger agencies to become a media director.


Republic of Ireland: Salaries will vary from agency to agency though a Media Planner can expect to earn between €38,000 and €42,000 while a Media Buyer can expect to earn €23,000 to €60,000.

Specific degree subjects required

Open to non-graduates and graduates of any discipline though a degree or similar qualification, and additional studies in advertising would be of a huge benefit.

Other relevant degree subjects

  • Advertising
  • Advertising and marketing communications
  • Art and design
  • Business
  • Graphic design
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Media
  • Psychology.

Postgraduate study

A pre-entry postgraduate qualification is not a requirement. However, there are a range of taught postgraduate programmes in advertising available including postgraduate diploma conversion courses and masters.


Practical training is mainly in-house.

Tips for applications

Gain relevant experience as an undergraduate. Apply for an Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI) internship.

Skills and qualities

  • Energy, stamina and the ability to work under pressure to meet deadlines and demanding targets.
  • High level of analytical and organisational skills.
  • Real understanding of print and web advertising opportunities.
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal and teamworking skills.
  • Commercial awareness.
  • Good attention to detail.
  • Good knowledge of computers and the ability to work well with numbers and statistics.
  • Excellent negotiating, bargaining skills and strong deal-closing skills.