Media BuyerJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

Media buyers negotiate with media outlets to acquire advertising space for print, radio, television, billboard, and online campaigns to grow brand awareness and increase sales. They conduct market research to optimize the advertising medium and placement to effectively reach the desired target audience. Typically, they implement effective media buying strategies, negotiate ad space and time slots with a wide range of media outlets, and help identify target audiences. They also need to monitor costs and work within a budget. 

A media buyer must have high-level negotiating skills, excellent communication skills, be a critical thinker, and have strong interpersonal skills to build trust and good working relationships with clients and media professionals. Familiarity with media platforms and channels is essential to ensure ads are displayed appropriately. They need good research skills and must keep up with advertising and media trends. Good working knowledge of media analytics software, solid organizational skills, and the ability to effectively multitask is crucial to the role of a media buyer. 

Sample job description #1

As a Media Buyer at ABC Company, you will contribute to this mission by taking ownership over the negotiation of rates and management of advertising inventory across television, radio, and digital markets. You will report directly to the Director of Media and work closely with our Media Coordinators, Digital Marketing, and Creative teams.

In this role, you can expect to:

  • Monitor and analyze key metrics to identify underperforming markets, stations, media/vendors, and programs
  • Optimize the strategic plan by negotiating difficult circumstances with senior-level station personnel
  • Negotiate with large station ownership groups to gain access to key programming positions with ABC Company’s 2-minute commercials
  • Use findings from conference calls with research firms to enhance ABC Company content and improve results

What it takes to succeed

At ABC Company, we are Default Aggressive towards our goals and take Extreme Ownership of our results. We’ll provide you with the training and tools to set you up for success, and we hope that you’ll bring:

  • Demonstrated proficiency with Excel and spreadsheets
  • Exceptional knowledge of industry tools
  • Bachelor’s degree (preferred)

Sample job description #2

One of ABC Company’s top clients is seeking to hire a part-time Media Buyer for their Paid Policy Media team. They are primarily seeking someone to help bring the company Impact material to life by producing engaging and enjoyable content. The ideal candidate would be a social, and hard-working person who enjoys working beside a team. This person is passionate and devoted to their work all the while still being enthusiastic about the media buying and related marketing industries.

This would initially be part-time (around 20 hours/week), but their goal is to increase their demand to where they could potentially be needing full-time hours. They are shifting to develop positions that are/were currently completed by agencies to now creating those as in-house roles. This is where the potential conversion comes in, but there is no guarantee.

Starting with a smaller team you will be working closely with team members as well as cross-functionally. Collaborative on how to create other forms of buying outside of the typical digital market similar to media buying.

Key responsibilities

  • Create and design various materials for print and digital collateral
  • Ensure projects are completed with high quality and on schedule
  • Adhere to internal style guidelines, maintaining the quality of the company brand
  • Prioritize and manage multiple projects within design specifications and budget restrictions
  • Listen to internal stakeholders and the team around you, understanding their needs and vision and interpreting their requirements
  • Work with a wide range of media and use graphic design software


  • 3-5 years of experience in graphic design
  • High proficiency in design programs, especially Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign
  • Knowledge of layouts, visual fundamentals, typography, print, and the web
  • Previous experience producing policy or advocacy-related designs is a plus
  • Compelling portfolio of work over a wide range of creative projects
  • Getting ‘into the weeds’ and needing to be able to pinpoint why certain decisions are being made
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Excellent eye for detail
  • Ability to multitask and work in a fast-paced environment

Portfolio/nice to haves

  • Portfolio needed prior to scheduling interview
  • Working with agencies whether within or alongside
  • All social media platform experience – 1-2 nice to have, but all of them is best
  • Heavy on digital campaigns
  • Very nice to have previous experience with media buying such as radio, TV, and print while incorporating the typical digital media buying campaigns

Sample job description #3

What you’ll do

  • Negotiates with advertising sales agents to acquire cost-efficient and budget-conscious advertising, sponsorships, or product placements
  • Understand their client’s needs and wants and research what media are available in the markets afforded by a client’s budget
  • Purchases advertising time on our client’s behalf
  • Analytical thinking, communication, persuasion, and research abilities
  • Collaborate with internal teams to ensure seamless plan integration and workflow
  • Provide detailed campaign analysis and recommendations to internal and client teams
  • Experience purchasing and managing a variety of media campaigns and various deal structures including, CPV, CPM, CPC, and CPA
  • Solid experience in managing all aspects of buying, including tracking and media optimization
  • Monitor and review creative through the gathering of recorded copy and live air-checks
  • Vett out talent, shows, new media offerings, markets, stations etc. to determine value and if offerings align with the client’s strategy
  • Work with the strategists to help determine overarching media strategy, client goals, media recommendation, and plan
  • Build thoughtful media plans based on given criteria and narrative
  • Send payment requests to accounting for all CIA clients
  • Request financial information from new clients and/or vendors for accounting to set up in their system
  • Confirm media funds are inhouse prior to booking media
  • Input all media schedules into the system
  • Send orders to vendors, confirm orders and match out IO’s with contracts
  • Review pre/post logs to ensure media is running as ordered
  • Manage all makegood requests
  • Ensure monthly invoices are reconciled for all account assignments
  • Participate in internal meetings to review results and make recommendations to the team before the client call
  • Plan, negotiate, book, and optimize annual deals from multiple client
  • Assist with any additional task overflow within the department

What you’ll need

  • A bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism, mass media communications, advertising, or a related field
  • Minimum 5 years of radio buying experience, local, and national levels (Direct Response focused buying experience is a plus)
  • Must have exceptional Excel & PowerPoint skills, with knowledge of formulas, calculating, and manipulating data comfortably within Excel
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Advanced knowledge of Salesforce
  • Experience in the Strata media buying platform

Bonus points if

  • Demonstrable Media buying experience
  • Agency and/or Broadcast Media experience
  • Experience with Project Management
  • Experience in Communication Processes
  • Analytical, creative and innovative approach to solving problems
  • Attention to detail and high level of accuracy
  • Entrepreneurial mindset; comfortable in a data-driven business environment

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for Media Buyer is $68,000 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$67,650$91,450
Los Angeles, California$76,250$103,200
Denver, Colorado$63,550$86,000
Washington, DC$77,450$104,750
Miami, Florida$63,250$85,600
Orlando, Florida$58,350$78,950
Tampa, Florida$58,950$79,750
Atlanta, Georgia$61,850$83,650
Chicago, Illinois$71,050$96,150
Boston, Massachusetts$76,850$104,000
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$61,250$82,850
New York City, New York$80,950$109,450
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$65,850$89,150
Dallas, Texas$64,150$86,800
Houston, Texas$63,850$86,400
Seattle, Washington$73,950$100,050
National Average$57,800$78,200

Sample interview questions

  • What are the main responsibilities of a media buyer?
  • What types of advertising slots have you purchased before?
  • What would be the best medium to advertise a sports drink and why?
  • What qualities make you a good media buyer?
  • What techniques do you use when negotiating a deal for advertising space?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • How do you determine which channels to spend your advertising budget on?
  • What have you done to improve your skills as a media buyer in the last year?
  • Which audience tracking and analytics tools are you familiar with? Which do you prefer?
  • How do you prioritize your work?
  • What are your top metrics to track?
  • How have you used A/B testing to improve results?
  • What is the best way to create a successful digital ad campaign on a tight budget?
  • Can you give an example of a failed advertising placement? What did you learn from it?
  • Where do you see your career in 5 years?
  • What was your most successful ad? Why was it successful?
  • How would you limit advertising efforts to a specific area?
  • How do you deal with a difficult client?
  • What are the best methods to advertise to a younger audience on social media?
  • How do you stay current with marketing and technology trends?

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