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Job Description of a Media Buyer: Outlook, Duties and Salary

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a media buyer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties, and salary projections to find out if this is the career for you.

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Media buyers typically hold a bachelor's degree and possess skills in sales, communication, design and research. They work with advertising agencies, product placement groups, magazines and many other media entities and outlets.

Essential Information

A media buyer purchases advertising space in print, outdoor, broadcast, and online outlets, such as magazines, billboards, radio stations, television stations, and websites. They may work for advertising agencies or individual companies. Excellent communication skills are vital in this profession, as well as business knowledge. Educational requirements vary with the employer, but many jobs call for a bachelor's degree in a relevant field.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in a relevant field
Projected Job Growth (for purchasing agents and buyers) 2% (2014-2024)*
Median Salary $44,160 (2016)**

Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com

Media Buyer Job Description

A media buyer negotiates with advertising sales agents to acquire cost-efficient and budget-conscious advertising space, sponsorships, or product placements. A buyer must understand his or her clients' needs and wants and research what media are available in the markets afforded by a client's budget. Analytical thinking, communication, persuasion, and research abilities are instrumental to a media buyer's success.

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Employment Outlook and Salary Information for Media Buyers

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not maintain statistics for media buyers. It did report that the rate of employment for advertising and promotions managers was expected to grow by 9% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov), while the rate of growth for purchasing agents, managers, and buyers would only be about 2% during that decade. Although the industry is alluring, potential media buyers can expect to encounter a great deal of competition for relatively few job openings. The median salary for media buyers across the U.S. was $44,160 as of October 2016, according to PayScale.com.

Job Duties of a Media Buyer

A media buyer is responsible for acquiring desirable time slots and media space for advertising clients. Using market research information, such as demographics, media usage, ratings and the type of content in a given vehicle, the media buyer must choose the best possible venue or medium for an advertising campaign. Media buyers need to form good relationships with advertising sales agents to obtain the best prices and values for advertisement placements, campaigns, or even media bundles. Buyers also monitor the purchased media to make sure the advertisements appear as planned, and they credit or bill clients as necessary to settle accounts.

A media buyer acquires advertising space for clients in all forms of outlets, including print, online, and broadcasting. These professionals hold a bachelor's degree and have skills in product placement, communication and advertising, as well as business acumen. The median annual salary for media buyers was approximately $44,000 in 2016.

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