Careers in Media Planner


Looking for an entry level job or internship in media planner? This is an overview of how to approach the search and a list of companies that might have relevant entry level and internship opportunities.

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.

Media Planner Careers

Photo Credit: Flickr user *USB*

Media Planner Career Guide Overview

  1. What a Media Planner Does
  2. A Typical Day for a Media Planner
  3. Salary and Career Progression for a Media Planner
  4. Best Locations for Media Planners
  5. Pros and Cons of Being a Media Planner
  6. What You Need to Know for a Career as a Media Planner
  7. Media Planner Resources
  8. Careers Related to Media Planning
  9. Companies with Jobs and Internships in Media Planning

What a Media Planner Does

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 Day for a Media Planner

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.

Salary and Career Progression for a Media Planner

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).

Best Locations for Media Planners

Right now these cities are offering the highest salaries for media planners:

  • San Francisco, Califonia
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Dallas, Texas
  • New York, New York
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Austin, Texas

Pros and Cons of Being a Media Planner

  • You get experience with a lot of different types of media
  • It can be fun to figure out creative ways to reach an audience
  • Fast-paced environment
  • You’ll be contributing to a team within an ad agency
  • Long hours, often overworked
  • Repetitive work and very quantitative
  • Tight schedules

What You Need to Know for a Career as a Media Planner

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.

Media Planner Resources

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.

Required Reading

Blogs and Websites

Networking Opportunities

Careers Related to Media Planning

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Companies with Entry Level Jobs and Internships in Media Planner

Team Detroit Logo

Team Detroit - Team Detroit is an ad agency that in 2006 brought together parts of five legendary agencies that were under the same ownership and already working with Ford.

See the complete Team Detroit profile

SheKnows Logo

SheKnows - SheKnows is a Scottsdale, AZ based “women’s lifestyle media platform” that “allows brands to distribute authentic content and integrated advertising at scale.”

See the complete SheKnows profile


WONGDOODY - WONGDOODY is based in Seattle, WA and “is the most awarded independent advertising agency on the West Coast.”

See the complete WONGDOODY profile

Centro Logo

Centro - Centro is a Chicago, IL based company that works “to improve the lives of those working in the advertising industry by building media management software."

See the complete Centro profile

Whalerock Industries Logo

Whalerock Industries - Whalerock Industries, based in Santa Monica, CA, brings together the "best and brightest minds to create world-class content, spanning all mediums and screens.”

See the complete Whalerock Industries profile

xAd Logo

xAd - xAd is a New York, NY based company that allows advertisers to pinpoint “target audiences at pivotal moments during the consumer’s decision-making journey.”

See the complete xAd profile

Flipboard Logo

Flipboard - Flipboard is a Palo Alto, CA based company that offers a “single place to discover, collect and share the news you care about.”

See the complete Flipboard profile

Tierney Logo

Tierney - Tierney is a Philadelphia, PA based agency that does advertising, PR, media, interactive, crisis management, and branding.

See the complete Tierney profile

Horizon Media Logo

Horizon Media - Horizon Media, based in New York City, is “the largest independent media services agency in the world.”

See the complete Horizon Media profile

Altitude Digital Logo

Altitude Digital - Altitude Digital is a Denver, CO based company that “empowers publishers to effectively monetize and optimize their online display, video and mobile inventory.”

See the complete Altitude Digital profile

BLITZ Agency Logo

BLITZ Agency - BLITZ is a Santa Monica, CA based agency that makes “brands Favorites by building digital ecosystems that result in durable connections between brands and consumers.”

See the complete BLITZ Agency profile

Attention Logo

Attention - Attention is based in New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA that “drives measurable business results by integrating social behavior across the customer journey.”

See the complete Attention profile

Trailer Park Logo

Trailer Park - Trailer Park is a Hollywood, CA based full-service entertainment marketing agency that serves “a broad spectrum of clients."

See the complete Trailer Park profile

Grey Logo

Grey - Grey (also known as Grey Group) is a New York, NY based marketing and advertising agency has been “famously effective since 1917."

See the complete Grey profile

Leo Burnett Logo

Leo Burnett - Leo Burnett is a Chicago, IL based advertising agency that was founded in 1935 and has one of the most impressive client lists of any agency out there.

See the complete Leo Burnett profile

A+E Networks Logo

A+E Networks - A+E Networks is a New York, NY based “global media company with joint ventures and channels all over the world.”

See the complete A+E Networks profile

Mullen Logo

Mullen - Mullen is a Boston, MA based agency that is “on a mission to work with the world’s most innovative marketers.”

See the complete Mullen profile

Engauge Logo

Engauge - Engauge is a “a full-service marketing agency” that helps grow their “clients’ businesses by leveraging creativity and technology to connect brands and consumers.”

See the complete Engauge profile

Spotify Logo

Spotify - If you’re streaming music, chances are that you’re using Spotify. The Swedish based company has offices in New York, NY and a ton of job opportunities.

See the complete Spotify profile

Gupta Media Logo

Gupta Media - Gupta Media is a Cambridge, MA based online marketing agency that focuses on the entertainment and music industries.

See the complete Gupta Media profile

Direct Agents Logo

Direct Agents - Direct Agents is a New York, NY based “digital marketing agency specializing in performance-based digital solutions."

See the complete Direct Agents profile

Tremor Video Logo

Tremor Video - Tremor Video is a New York, NY based company that is working hard to increase engagement with video advertising.

See the complete Tremor Video profile

Business Insider Logo

Business Insider - Business Insider is “dedicated to aggregating, reporting, and analyzing the top news stories across the web and delivering them to you at rapid-fire pace.”

See the complete Business Insider profile

Silver Chalice Logo

Silver Chalice - Silver Chalice is a Chicago, IL based company that “builds and operates a fast-growing portfolio of digital media businesses in sports and entertainment.”

See the complete Silver Chalice profile

Situation Interactive Logo

Situation Interactive - Situation Interactive is a New York, NY based agency focused on creating amazing experiences for amazing brands.

See the complete Situation Interactive profile

Doner Logo

Doner - Doner is a Southfield, MI based ad agency that provides brands with “constant energy, unwavering vigilance and a devoted belief in staying fresh.”

See the complete Doner profile

Captain Lucas Inc. Logo

Captain Lucas Inc. - If you're constantly in search of what's cool, then you need to check out the jobs at Captain Lucas Inc.'s Cool Hunting and Largetail.

See the complete Captain Lucas Inc. profile

HowAboutWe Logo

HowAboutWe - HowAboutWe is a NYC based dating site that is more about getting people out on dates than finding them a perfect match, and they're hiring.

See the complete HowAboutWe profile

HY Connect Logo

HY Connect - HY Connect is a Milwaukee and Chicago based fully integrated agency that offers some great job opportunities for new grads.

See the complete HY Connect profile

MediaMath Logo

MediaMath - MediaMath is a NYC based company that is empowering a "new breed of marketing professional”--the Math Men and Math Women, and they're hiring.

See the complete MediaMath profile

LearnVest Logo

LearnVest - LearnVest is based in New York, NY and helps women "live a richer life" by providing personal finance content and tools, and they're hiring.

See the complete LearnVest profile

Wunderground Logo

Weather Underground - Weather Underground is one of the top weather websites on the net, and they have a bunch of jobs for recent grads.

See the complete Weather Underground profile

mcgarrybowen logo

mcgarrybowen - mcgarrybowen is based in Chicago and New York, and they were just named Agency of the Year by AdAge. Sounds like a good place to land a job.

See the complete mcgarrybowen profile

Brunner Logo

Brunner - Brunner is a Pittsburgh, PA and Atlanta, GA based advertising agency that does some great work and has some great job opportunities.

See the complete Brunner profile

Josephson Institute for Ethics Logo

Josephson Institute for Ethics - Interested in ethics? Maybe you should check out jobs with Josephson Institute for Ethics in Los Angeles.

See the complete Josephson Institute for Ethics profile

Traffiq Logo

Traffiq - Ever wonder how an ad gets displayed? Traffiq has the answer along with some exciting jobs in the advertising industry.

See the complete Traffiq profile

Hill Holliday Logo

Hill Holliday - If you’re digging Hill Holliday’s portfolio, then you’re in luck, because they also appear to be an awesome place to work.

See the complete Hill Holliday profile

ConsumerTrack Logo

ConsumerTrack - If you’re intrigued by ConsumerTrack's multi-disciplinary approach to marketing, then you should take a look at their jobs.

See the complete ConsumerTrack profile

Wieden Kennedy Logo

Wieden + Kennedy - Wieden + Kennedy sounds like an amazingly cool place to work, so if you’re up for the challenge (they’re obviously only looking for the best) apply for a job.

See the complete Wieden + Kennedy profile

UrbanDaddy Logo

UrbanDaddy - You love free daily e-mails. Obviously. UrbanDaddy is one that's hiring, and they cover "the single thing you need to know every day about your city."

See the complete UrbanDaddy profile

Alloy Media + Marketing Logo

Alloy Media + Marketing - Alloy Media + Marketing is headquartered in NYC and specializes in targeted youth media and promotional programs. They operate a few businesses in those areas.

See the complete Alloy Media + Marketing profile

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