Report: Industry Split On Whether Media Plans Drive Buys Or Vice Versa

According to a new global media trading report from media and marketing consultant ID Comms,  the industry largely agrees — 92% said so in an underlying survey — that advertisers that treat media as a quality buy (and not a commodity purchase) are at an advantage. 

Per the report, people who think otherwise are out of touch. As one anonymous executive quoted in the report, stated: “Media has moved well beyond its legacy baggage as a commodity buy.” 

That said, there’s less agreement on whether media buying within agencies is driven by strategic planning or if channel and vendor biases tend to dictate buying decisions. 

Per the report, about 38% believe the media buy dictates the plan, while 40% believe the media plan dictates the buy. 

Advertisers are generally more pessimistic than agencies, with nearly half of respondents implying media-buying considerations take precedence over media-planning decisions. Interestingly, 38% of agency folks surveyed feel the same, “reflecting the intense commercial pressures and constraints that many agency trading professionals are operating under.” 



Tying media purchases to business results and ROI, the report found, is the biggest indicator of success in media, followed by better targeting and financial transparency. 

According to the report, more in the industry (86%) now believe auditing is a critical component of good media stewardship. However that’s truer of advertisers than agencies. Some 67% of advertisers “strongly agreed” that’s the case, compared to just 29% of agency respondents. 

As to in-house trading operations, finding the right talent remains the biggest challenge to expanding, followed by access to quality data.

The survey was conducted in December. The 162 respondents were comprised of media, marketing, and procurement pros with a range of global, regional and local market responsibilities. The breakdown: 62% were based in Europe, 27% were from North America, with the remaining participants scattered across the Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, and Latin America.

The respondent advertisers represented companies with combined global media spend in excess of $20 billion. All major agency holding groups and some independent media agencies were represented.



4 comments about "Report: Industry Split On Whether Media Plans Drive Buys Or Vice Versa".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 12, 2021 at 10:13 a.m.

    It is amazing to me that so many advertisers say that their media buys dictate their media plans. Huh? What's the point of having a plan at all---unless it's merely a spreadsheet to track the spending of the various buys in case a cancellation is comtemplated?

    The problem with this type of survey -- I'm assuming this based on how the findings were reported----is it's lack of specificity. What is the respondent thinking? Is he/she thinking about a branding campaign using ---mostly---traditional media? Or is the respondent thinking about a sales promotional effort involving direct response or search  bought by computers via digital media? Or both? In which case you tend to get very fuzzy replies. T

    Take the case of national or local TV. Is it possible that many adveftisers dont have media plans but merely spend their money at the buyer's discretion---until it runs out? And do the time buyers decide what dayparts, program types, network types,  to use, and who to target, etc.? Do the buyers determine when the activity should start, when it should heavy up, what commercial lengths to use, etc.? Of course not. And the same points apply to radio and print media. So when the buy dictates the plan---are we referring to programmatic buys in digital media. And, even so, does that make sense?

  2. Marcelo Salup from Iffective LLC, February 12, 2021 at 10:57 a.m.

    I didn't know people even discussed this any more. It is a true circle. I've been strategizing, planning and buying media since 1986. You create a strategy. The strategy is based on your client's objectives AND what is realistically available in the market. Then you create a plan. It is a "plan" not a mandate. Then you start negotiating, tinkering, seeing more of what is out there in detail. 90% is discarded. But there is always a 10% out there which comes up to the surface. You analyze it: does it make sense to add this and if so, at the expense of what. If it makes sense, then you do it, if it doesn't, then you don't. 

  3. John Grono from GAP Research replied, February 12, 2021 at 5:09 p.m.

    Spot on Marcelo.

  4. Bob Rose from SMA, February 12, 2021 at 7:14 p.m.

    Sounds like 40% know what they're talking about and 38% don't. This ratio is probably true for a lot of subjects. 

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