Getting started with Media Buying

getting started with media buys

Last week I was lucky enough to attend Affiliate Summit Central and while I was there I met quite a few new interesting people. Without a doubt, the most interesting person I met was a guy named Max from Max is the COO of WhatRunsWhere and he was invited to ASC to have a sit down with attendees and discuss media buying. Prior to my discussion with Max, I did not have a whole lot of knowledge about media buying. I’ve done a few small media buys for PeerFly and I have a lot of publishers who make good money doing media buys, but to be honest, it just wasn’t something that I had given a whole lot of thought or research. Max, on the other hand, knows pretty much everything there is to know about media buying and he was nice enough to share a lot of information with me, which I am going to now share you with you.

What is a Media Buy?

A media buy is simply what it sounds like, buying media. You purchase advertising on a website or network of websites for a set time or budget. For example, you could email me and offer to buy the 300×250 banner placement on the right side of this post for $250 for a month. You are purchasing that media placement at a set rate for a set time. Often with media buys you will purchase the space at a set CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions). In that case, you would pay maybe $3.00 for every 1,000 times you banner is viewed (not clicked). Sounds good, but why is a media buy better than just buying some traffic on AdWords?

Benefits of a Media Buy

There are a lot of benefits to doing a media buy as an affiliate marketer. With most media buys you can get a direct link approved. So, if the advertiser has put together a great converting landing page there will be no need to put in the time and money to getting your own landing page together to presell the offer. There’s also a huge opportunity to scale.

Depending on the site you are doing you are media buy on, there may be a great opportunity to scale your campaign and get a lot of traffic. Not to compare apples to oranges, but one big issue a lot of my publishers are having with 7Search is simply scaling their campaigns. You work hard to get something to work and then there isn’t a huge opportunity to scale. With most media buys, that will not be a problem. For example, let’s say you do a media buy on E! Online. A similar demographic of user may be an avid reader of Perez Hilton and You can test their display traffic with a media buy, grab more of their inventory with a higher CPM, and scale through the roof.

Risks of a Media Buy

With most direct media buys you’re probably going to have to sign an insert order for traffic and it can cost anywhere from $5,000 – $50,000+. Obviously, there’s a lot of risk in simply handing over $5,000+ for some traffic that you aren’t 100% sure is going to convert for you. When I was talking to Max at ASC12 he said it’s really important that you pay close attention to the terms setup within the IO (insert order). Some terms will require you to use your entire spend (no refunds). If you run $1,000 worth of impressions and it’s not working out you definitely need to have the opportunity to get your balance back.

Also, with a media buy you may run into issues with getting placements updated or removed. If you’re running a set of banners on a site and the offer those banners is going to goes down you need to be able to switch out your creatives and update your links. If you are stuck doing this through an account manager then by the time everything is updated you could have wasted thousands of dollars. Max said at his peak he was running media buys generating over a million dollars a month in revenue and he would spend 18 hours a day monitoring his campaigns because if something went wrong he could easily lose $5,000+. It would be to your advantage to start small before you attempt anything on that scale and luckily there are some great places to do your own media buys with a much lower barrier of entry.

How can you do a Media Buy?

Setting up your own media buy is actually pretty easy. You can try doing a direct media buy with a website owner or you can go through a network that brokers out the display traffic of other websites. For my next media buy I plan to go through a network. Specifically, I plan to use SiteScout.

SiteScout is the #1 Demand Side Platform for the Data-Driven Media Buyer! We Are Experts in Online Display Advertising, Real-Time Bidding, Behavioral Targeting, and Ad Serving!

I’ve had many people tell me SiteScout is a great company to work with so they are going to be the company I use to setup a media buy case study (to be posted later). They have billions of impressions in their inventory and a wide range of websites you can buy media on. They also appear to have a knowledgable and helpful team. The minimum deposit is $500, which is higher than your average self serve ad platform, but it’s also pretty cheap compared to some of the other media buy platforms I’ve look at. If you’re interested in using a network to do a media buy I suggest you take a look at them!

As I mentioned, I plan to do a case study on my next media buy using SiteScout, so keep your eye out for that. I will mail it to my Affiliate Manager Exclusive subscribers first, so hop on my list if you aren’t on there already! :)

If you have any questions about media buying you are welcome to post them in the comments below or email me. Let’s make some money.

25 Responses to “Getting started with Media Buying”

  1. Good post.
    Beware run of network cpc. cpm often more expensive but better quality placements.

      • Luke -


    • Aysha -

    Great Post.
    Publish your sitescout case study soon, it will be really helpful.

    • Dan -

    Great post! What niches are successful with SiteScout?

      • Luke -

      There are a lot of different options because they have a large inventory of different sites in different verticals you can buy media on :)

    • Hasmita -

    Hi Luke,

    Thanks for this post. Have you had the chance to test out a media buying campaign yet on SiteScout? Would love to see the results!


      • Luke -

      Still a little behind so I haven’t gotten a chance to run a test yet :)

  2. Hi Luke. You’ve proven media buying?


  3. Interesting article. I want to start promoting affiliate offers via media buys, because I am tired of working my ass off with stupid niche sites in order to rank and then get crushed by Google.

    I subscribed the newsletter. Are you finished with the case study?

      • Luke -

      Haven’t even started the case study yet, but I plan to start the campaign at the beginning of January.

    • Lee LaCasse -

    Am looking at CPA Marketing so I really like your post
    I am giving away my Clickbank course at my site to any of your members for helping me.

  4. Nice post Luke! I’ve had success with media buys directly from the site and the site owner. I’ve found that contacting them directly can lower CPM costs. But, that’s for more of a small to medium sized campaign and it takes more time on my end to manage and track.

  5. I thought merchant or advertiser don’t let us to buy media be cause it is third party violate.

    • Ryan -

    Nice post. I have been reading and listening to as much information from Max and Chad Hamzeh. Have you tried your first attempt yet?…I’d love to see the case study.

      • Luke -

      Good to hear. I’ve messed around with a few media buys, but nothing too serious and nothing that I would be comfortable doing a case study with. I’m still planning to dive deeper.

    • Chris -

    Hi Luke, thanks for the good info here. I just bought a course on media buying by Los silva and he features Max in one of the modules. One thing he has taught me in his course that you mentiined is the direct buying…one thing though is that there are many sites you can advertise on for $50 per month which is likely better for newbies. I’m gonna get into media buying…I will try your offers at peerfly. I hear CPA email submits work well. Thanks again, Chris

      • Luke -

      Awesome, thanks for sharing :)

  6. what happened to the site scout test – i thought you were going to do it in january 2013 – it’s august 2013 – come on luke pull your finger out :-)

      • Luke -

      lol someday :)

    • Stasha -

    This ready a lot like a content marketing piece… Have tried SiteScout and with no luck. Google Display Network, Bing, and social platforms all drive better results. I define “good placement” as one that will convert. Am finding that crappier placements come with SiteScout because of the CPM model. Unless you’re driving branded awareness, do not recommend their DSP. Better to bid on a CPC.

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