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When I watch ABC’s Modern Family online, which I tend to do quite often, I laugh a lot. I also typically encounter a few ads that I must watch in order to continue enjoying the show. To me it seems like a great place for a brand to advertise because they’re reaching an engaged audience. Beyond that I’m sure brands must consider the demographics and interests of a show’s viewers when deciding where to run their advertisements. The person tasked with the job of making sure a brand is reaching their target audience in the right place is a media planner. The exciting news is that job opportunities in this field are currently growing–ad agencies are actually facing a widening gap of talented digital media planners and buyers.
A media planner helps their clients (advertisers) achieve their goals by selecting the best placements available for them to reach their audience across a number of media platforms–everything from billboards, to television, to blogs, to buses–while staying on budget. To do this, media planners analyze target audiences, pay attention to media developments, read market trends, and understand the motivations of consumers.
A typical workday for a media planner is a bit hectic and involves a lot of research to figure out how to reach their target audience. They might read reports about what TV shows moms watch, what billboards in key cities might those moms see, what blogs they’re reading, or what magazines might they subscribe to. Digital planners typically use tools like Quantcast, Google Ad Planner, and Comscore, which analyze audience characteristics of various websites, to help them hunt down the best media. Media planners also communicate with creatives, media buyers (who purchase the placements), ad traffickers (who are responsible for serving and delivering the ads–making them show up on sites) and account management teams within an ad agency in meetings, and present their findings to clients.
A media planner makes roughly between $30,000 and $56,000 per year. And there are lots of opportunities for advancement. From there you can become a media supervisor ($39,000-$80,000), an associate media director ($60,000-$118,000), or a media director ($30,000-$132,000).
Right now these cities are offering the highest salaries for media planners:
To be a media planner you’ll need a college degree, preferably in business or advertising. In addition you need excellent quantitative skills, the ability to communicate effectively (excellent presentation, writing and interpersonal skills), and attention to detail.
If a career as a media planner still sounds like your cup of tea, here are a few things you should do to get started.
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