Full Screen

Media Buying

More Free Lessons in

Social Media Marketing View All →

Get cutting-edge digital marketing skills, know-how and strategy

This micro lesson is from one of our globally recognized digital marketing courses.

Start a FREE Course Preview Start a FREE Course Preview
Global Authority

The Global Authority

12 years delivering excellence


245,000+ Members

Join a global community


Associate Certification

Globally recognised


Membership Included

Toolkits, content & more

Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Paid advertising

Paid social advertising has been one of the fastest growing digital media channels; every year it’s increasing its numbers. But what’s most important about it is that it’s also the most cost-efficient form of digital media. Now that doesn’t necessarily say that it’s cost-effective for the actual impact, but it is cost-effective for the action. If you want a video view or a click or an engagement, the cheapest place you’re going to get that is through social channels.

And every single one of them has different values on your plan and there’s different characteristics.


Facebook works off of an objective buying bid model, so whatever it is that you want to actually achieve you can be very specific about it and Facebook will pursue that objective within your target audience. Do you want video views? They will get it. Do you want offer claims? They will get it. Site visits, site engagements. Do you want app downloads? Do you want app engagement? do you want people to attend an invite to an event? These are all very specific objectives that you can set out in the Facebook ad buying tool.

And really with Facebook they continue to innovate and launch new formats quite regularly and they continue to iterate as well and make the formats that they have better. So it’s important to understand that it might be a channel that people say less people are using – there are still 1.2 billion of them daily.


Twitter has started to decline. However, it still offers really interesting formats. But what you should consider Twitter for is what’s the real-time environment that you’re reaching people. Try not to think of it as a messaging platform that just messages out all day every day for a week. Think of it as what time can you put a message out and how relevant you can be to that specific time.

So it should be focused primarily on either consumption of short form content like short video of GIF, or driving conversations. Using hashtags, making your consumer actually have a conversation with you and engage with you. If you use Twitter that way, then it will be more effective. So is your audience really interested in a specific TV show, how can you engage around that, that’s relevant to your business? Do you have a sports sponsorship; can you use Twitter to engage around specific events to do with that sponsorship? So these are things to understand as places where you can integrate your social media behavior.


Instagram is owned by Facebook, so they have massively integrated the processes of Instagram media buying into the Facebook channel. So all the objectives that listed above you can actually buy the same objectives for Instagram, because they map the audiences from Instagram to Facebook. So it’s a really interesting way to be able to use Instagram, but use the existing Facebook audiences that you’ve already built to actually target them. Basically, it should be reserved for kind of your more influential audience. Instagram is a channel where Facebook is the broader audience, Instagram is the more niche at the moment. So think of who is the brand advocate and the influencer in the target audience that you want and how can you actually reach them and compel them to actually tell your story to their own peers.


Snapchat then is predominantly a younger platform but every day is starting to grow more and more. We will probably see within the next year that the fastest growing age category on Snapchat will probably be 35 plus, that’s normally the pattern that these sites take.


LinkedIn is the only channel that actually offers its own standard IAB. So, regular advertising formats like display banners, skyscrapers, and NPU formats. So it is more costly, but it is interesting that they are the only site that still offers those desktop display options. Now, they also offer sponsored stories, which are the equivalent to a promoted post on Facebook and they’re highly effective, but you should consider that LinkedIn is a more expensive media channel. But if you have a professional audience that you’re trying to reach or an audience that is necessarily more affluent you understand exactly the industries that they operate in that’s a very effective platform to be targeting them with.


There is Pinterest, but it’s restricted to certain markets. There are Tumblr ads; there are more ad platforms. If you’re starting out, try to stick to the kind of four or five major platforms that will offer you not only the ability to use media but really highly targeted media. And the highly targeted is important because it’s important that every dollar or every euro you spend is effectively used. And what’s really important here is that if you are effective and efficient, it makes that small budget go a lot further.

So think of the platforms they’re going to give you the most cost-effective return. So maybe you shouldn’t use LinkedIn if you have a smaller budget, you should probably focus on Facebook and Instagram, because that’s where you get the lowest cost per engagement or the lowest cost per site visit. It’s important that you learn what objectives you have, the results that you get, and where you get those results for at lower cost. If it’s engagement it needs to be more broader, but if it’s site visits, whatever it gets you the cheapest site visit, you chase it there and you make sure that all the budget goes there. If it’s about awareness you need to spread it, but make sure that you’re actually targeting your media spends within the object that you actually need and require.

Paid advertising channels

In a separate module we’ve actually addressed media buying more specifically. Here, we’ll recap the key watch outs for the media buying process.

  • You have your media plan. You know investment by month, you know what content is available, and you know what formats are there, you know when it’s going live.
  • On each platform, you need to set up your campaigns with your objectives. Is it for video or is it for site visits?
  • Make sure that you implement within the target audience that’s been outlined at every phase of this so far. We know exactly who we want to talk to, we know their interests, we know how to target them by interest, and we know their demographics. Make sure that all this information is going into the campaign.
  • We set our budgets and timeline for the spend based on what’s allocated on our media plan.
  • And then while live, it’s important to check your spends regularly for performance. Identify content that’s not working and content that could be optimized. Make sure that, as it’s live, you’re learning and you’re iterating your spends, to make sure that you’re spending towards things that are actually working and moving away from things that aren’t working.
  • You should track the performance and identify where these changes need to be made way ahead of the end of the week, or at the end of the month. It should probably be more of a daily practice.
  • And results should be included in your dashboard as well. These are your media results. What is the cost per view that you’re getting? If you know how many views you’re getting, how much they’re costing you and you know that that’s a KPI for you, then you would focus in on that? And make sure that you’re using the channel that’s getting you the lowest cost per view.

This again revolves around accountability. Make that at every stage of the day, you know who is responsible for actually feeding back to you these results. Now you can actually set up ways that the reporting can happen either daily. It might happen multiple times in the week and you can actually set up ways that the reports are automatically set to you through the different channels.

Back to Top
Matt Mooney

Head of Digital Strategy @ DDFH&B

  • Head of Digital Strategy @ DDFH&B
  • 8+ years working with brands in social media, content and digital strategy
  • Expertise in developing integrated digital strategy
  • Experience with local and global brands in the US and Irish markets
  • Five time winner of ‘Social Media Agency of the Year‘, 2013-2017

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

You will not be assessed on this content in your final exam.


    Strategy and Planning
    Matt Mooney
    Skills Expert

    This module teaches you how to create an all-encompassing social media marketing strategy. It starts by providing best practices for planning and conducting research into your strategy, and covers topics such as owned research, accessed research, desk research, audience research, competitor research, and social listening. You learn how to set measurable objectives and KPIs for your strategy, and how to analyze and track your activities. Finally, you learn how to build and execute your strategy, and how to measure its impact and performance.