How to Become a Media Buyer

How to Become a Media Buyer: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a media buyer, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a media buyer:


• You have an interest in sales and marketing

• You are skilled at choosing vendors with the best combination of price and quality

• You are able to source media vendors and develop relationships with their representatives

• You have an outgoing personality

• You enjoy negotiating and trying to persuade others

• You have an interest in studying the specific products and/or services to be advertised


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a media buyer. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Media Buyer

The educational requirements of becoming a media buyer depend on the size and type of the employer. Many employers prefer to hire applicants for media buyer jobs with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as marketing or communications.


Some organizations however, will hire applicants with only a high school diploma. These employees typically being their careers in entry-level positions, and with enough experience can work their way into junior and senior-level media buyer jobs. 




Experience Needed to Become a Media Buyer

Employers generally prefer to hire candidates with previous experience in sales and marketing, although it may not be necessary to get a job as a media buyer.



Who Creates Jobs for Media Buyers?

Media buyers are hired on a part-time, full-time and contractual basis by the following types of organizations:


• Advertising agencies

• Multimedia buying companies

• Government agencies

• Marketing departments of large corporations

• Marketing departments of colleges and universities

• Private consulting firms

• Publishing firms

• Self-employment



Media Buyer Job Description

Media buyers are responsible for purchasing media space on behalf of their clients for marketing purposes. Media buyers are generally employed by advertising and media agencies, and may work across several or all forms of media, including newspapers, magazines, posters, internet, television and cinema.



Media Buyer Job Duties

• Identify the target audience for a particular media campaign

• Determine the best method of communicating a client’s message to the target audience

• Negotiate with media sales representatives in order to obtain the best rates and most appropriate media spaces in online, broadcast or print advertising

• Book individual media spots, pages, internet banners, etc.

• Ensure the advertisement runs as planned so that the message is properly received by the target audience

• Confer with media sales people to adjust media schedules in response to audience figures

• Build and maintain relationships with clients and media sales representatives




Media Buyer Salary

The salary level of media buyers can vary, depending on factors such as their personal qualifications, the size and type of their employer, the specific responsibilities of their job, and many other factors.


Media Buyer Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for American workers in the Purchasing Managers, Buyers, and Purchasing Agents occupational group is $60,550. The lowest 10% of salaries in this group are below $34,990, and the top 10% are above $110,050 per year.





Skills Needed to Become a Media Buyer

In order to become an effective media buyer, you need to posses a certain set of skills. These skills will allow you to perform your job duties with competence, and employers will likely need to see them listed on your resume when you’re applying for media buyer jobs.


• Able to choose a supplier with the best combination of price and quality

• Able to compare prices from different suppliers to ensure that their organization is getting the best deal

• Able to source media vendors and develop relationships with their representatives

• Excellent organization and planning skills

• Excellent communication skills, including presentation skills

• Able to negotiate beneficial terms of a contract with a supplier

• Able to monitor response from advertising, and adjust buying strategy as appropriate



Characteristics Needed to Become a Media Buyer

In order to enjoy performing the duties of a media buyer, you need to have certain personality traits. Some employers of media buyers place as much or more importance on personality traits than they place on formal qualifications.


Taking enjoyment from your duties as a media buyer is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, as well as find helps you find fulfillment in your work, which usually leads to having a long and successful career.


• An outgoing personality

• Able to relate well to others

• Enjoy negotiating and trying to persuade people

• Persistent and highly motivated

• Interest in studying the specific products and/or services to be advertised

• An interest in sales and marketing

• Self-confidence



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Careers Similar to Media Buyer

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Media Buyer, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Advertising Agent


Marketing Coordinator

Pricing Analyst




References: Media Buyer Career Information

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a media buyer.


Occupations in Alberta:Purchasing Agent.” (March 9, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 2, 2020.

Business & Financial:Purchasing Managers, Buyers, and Purchasing Agents.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved January 2, 2020.

Explore Careers: Advertising media buyer.” (n.d.). National Careers Service website. Retrieved January 2, 2020.



Please Note: Some of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.



Scholarships for Becoming a Media Buyer

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Media Buyer can be found on the following pages:


Communications Scholarships

Marketing Scholarships

Mathematics Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Media Buyer: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a media buyer. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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