Digital Media Buyer Job Description - Qualifications, Requirements & Salary Data

The process of placing and buying digital ad placement—it’s a lucrative job opportunity! Media advertisements are everywhere, and they don’t land where they do organically. Even so, it’s easy to think—what is digital media buying? Digital media buying is the process of ensuring that a media platform is laced with ads that cater to the platform’s specific audience—as well as bringing major value to the client paying for that ad.

As online advertising is only ever on the rise, digital media buyer jobs are growing exponentially as well. It’s a great time to jump into this field! However, there are specific education and experience expectations. In this article, we’ll look at some of the common themes going into being a successful digital media buyer.


Digital Media Buyer Job Description - Qualifications, Requirements & Salary Data

If you’re thinking about becoming a digital media buyer, then you need to know what you’re getting yourself into! In the following sections, we’ll discuss the details of the digital media buyer job description, delve into the digital media buying process, and even discuss the average digital media buyer salary.


Digital Media Buyer Description

If you’ve ever seen an advertisement anywhere on any internet-connected webpage or digital product, then chances are you’ve seen the work of a digital media buyer. Advertisements in digital products are an increasingly common and effective way to reach target demographics as more and more people spend more of their lives online!

Digital media buyers seek to optimize that eye-on-screen time by researching the digital habits of target demographics and buying up ad space that is most relevant to brands seeking to influence that target demographic. In order to do so, digital media buyers become experts on all media platforms as well as the statistics that characterize specific target demographics.

Then, digital media buyers will work with advertisers during the process of real-time bidding to get great spots on high-traffic websites. As the name ‘real-time bidding’ implies, this happens every single time that a site user clicks on or refreshes a publisher’s website! That means that there are literally thousands of opportunities (if not far more) to grab somebody’s attention via a well-placed digital advertisement. It’s the job of the digital media buyer to ensure that their client’s ad is seen by many.


What Do Digital Media Buyers Do?

In order to optimize the viewing potential of a client’s campaign, the digital media buyer will usually spend a lot of time becoming intimately familiar with the advertiser, the prospective publisher, the demand side platform, the advertisement exchange, and the supply side platform—in other words, the main cast of characters involved with real-time publishing an effectively placed ad.

To get this done, the activities that digital media buyers often complete are grouped into four different categories:

  1. Identifying the target demographic. Before the client prepares to bid, they’re going to want to know just how valuable the audience of a particular publisher will be to their brand—as that will inform how much value they’re likely to get from placing the ad there, and ultimately inform how much they are willing to bid on a specific spot. The client will turn to the digital media buyer for this information.
  2. Assessing the competition. Another factor that will go into the value assessment for a specific publishing spot is just how many other advertisers are vying for the limelight. To figure this out, it’s the job of the digital media buyer to look at the competition and help the client brainstorm ways that the client can set him or herself apart, monetarily and with other characteristics so that they can get all of the specific publishing options that they want.
  3. Manage the budget. As the name implies, a digital media buyer is often the one in charge of physically taking care of the money transfer and bidding process. Because of this, they will often be tasked with assessing the market and putting together a bidding budget, as well as taking care of expenses and providing the client with a prospectus detailing the projected monetary returns of the ad placement.
  4. Watch the ad run and optimize how it’s doing. After the ad has been placed, the digital media buyer is expected to track just how well it’s doing from a clicks and conversions (as well as ultimate consumer) basis. Therefore, having strong analytical and data-based skills is key. As the ad is running, the digital media buyer will be expected to make recommendations for any changes that should be made to the campaign to optimize its conversion ratios.

Ultimately, digital media buyers do a whole host of things that may not be listed above; however, the main points of success for a typical digital media buying day are mostly encompassed in the above list.


What Does a Typical Day Look Like?

The usual day in the life of a digital media buyer can change completely day to day based on the needs of the client and the other members of the digital media team—which is a good thing, as it keeps people on their toes. However, there are several ingredients that commonly make up the day-to-day life of a successful digital media buyer, including:

  • Lots of coffee. Most of the digital media buyers we contacted report that going about their daily routine takes a lot of energy!
  • Lots of time investment. Radio and other forms of media buying takes a lot of time—fortunately, or unfortunately. Digital media buyers need to be prepared to stick around for the long haul, which means that good skills to have as a digital media buyer include things like persistence and perseverance.
  • Reporting. Much of the time you spend on a day-to-day basis will be noting things down to report to your firm and to your clients.
  • Flexibility. The digital media buyers we contacted reported needing to change their day at a moment’s notice because a client needed them!
  • Reliability. At the same time, the clients and the firm working with the digital media buyer need to know that they can count on their digital media buyer for deliverables and consulting expertise. This means that this job isn’t necessarily just a nine-to-five—in some cases, depending on how demanding the project is, the digital media buyer can be on call after work and on weekends, too.
  • Analytics. A major part of the day and life of a digital media buyer involves getting up to speed with the digital media landscape, educating themselves on any new media platforms out there, and analyzing the data on recent and future purchases so as to make the best decision for the firm and the client.

The actual hourly processes undergone by successful digital media buyers can vary wildly from day to day, which many digital media buyers report finding very satisfying.


Digital Media Buyer Qualifications

We’ve talked about what a digital media buyer does on a day-to-day basis. If this sounds good to you, you may be wondering, next—what is it that people who are looking for a digital media buyer expect when they’re looking through resumes? As you may expect, every company and firm has a specific list of things that they’re looking for, depending on the nature of the clients and audiences that they’re trying to cater their services towards. However, there are a few general tenets that do stick out as qualifications for the most successful digital media buyer.


Typical Education Requirements

Job requirements for a digital media buyer usually include employers seeking a bachelor’s degree in advertising, sales, or marketing; or a bachelor’s specializing in knowledge of general media platforms. Further education in any of these areas, such as a master’s or doctoral degree (or any certificates which you may have received) would be looked upon as a bonus. Some firms mention that having a business education is considered a plus as well!

However, if a candidate does not have this formal education but does have several years of relevant experience, he or she could definitely be considered a strong candidate as well. This sense of initiative is something that most firms would value in a digital media buyer!


Preferred Skills

While there are many hoped-for skills that will certainly grace the successful candidate, typically clients and digital firms are looking for the following when they are searching for a digital media buyer:

  1. Able to work well on a team: The media team will comprise of several people, all with big personalities and high expectations. A successful digital media buyer will be able to work with a lot of different people successfully and manage the relationships it will take to do so in an efficient and empathetic fashion.
  2. Expertise with All Things Digital: As the digital media buyer will be in charge of placing and helping clients bid for top-notch media platform advertisement spots, the digital media buyer needs to be on top of all things media! Taking time to educate yourself constantly on new trends and platforms will definitely set you apart—even after you’ve been hired.
  3. Easygoing Networker: Once you’re in digital media, you’ll be seeing the same faces constantly. Being able to naturally make connections that you can later use to help clients is an incredible asset that you should definitely highlight in your application.
  4. Great Negotiating Ability: As a large part of being a digital media buyer involves bidding on and buying digital property, being able to negotiate a great price for the client while, at the same time, making sure that the client gets everything that he or she needs while outpacing their competition is a delicate balancing act but a necessary one for the field.

These four attributes together make up what most people are looking for when they set out to hire a successful digital media buyer for their advertising team!


Digital Media Buyer Career Outlook

Now is a great time to become a digital media buyer. Because there are more and more websites and other media platforms such as games and videos popping up every single day, the opportunities to jump in and be a great digital media buyer are expanding by the day. Because the job opportunities are on the rise, too, know that if you become a digital media buyer and remain competitive and good at your job, you’ll likely be able to hang on to this job for a very long time.


Digital Media Buyer Salary Expectations

The salary accrued by a digital media buyer can range significantly based on the size of the firm that you work for, your experience and education, and the number of clients you’re able to please. However, as a basic rule of thumb, a 2019 report places the median salary for a digital media buyer at 66,000 per annum, including a benefits package (which may vary from company to company). This does, however, come in the middle of a relatively stark range, which at its lower end is around 54,000 per year and at its highest peaks around 81,000 per year.


Find Your Digital Media Buyer Job at Digital Media Jobs!

Now that we’ve gone through all of the basic expectations and requirements pertaining to the job of digital media buyer, you can brush up your resume and apply! Make sure that you carefully consider what you’re bringing to the table first, though, so that you can apply only to the places at which you will be the most competitive.

Use the Job Listings page here on Digital Media Jobs to find a great job near you that could be a perfect fit! Good luck!