Media Buying Basics


The digital world is progressing faster than we can keep up. A large aspect of this is the shift to marketing and advertising in digital spaces.

This is where media buying comes in.

Traditionally, media buying has looked like buying billboards, radio time, and space in magazines or newspapers. It’s objective is to buy space where people’s eyes are most likely to be.

With 3.5 billion of the 7.7 billion world population being online, media buying in the digital world has never been more impactful.

Project Purpose/Objectives

As a digital marketer, it was absolutely imperative that I begin learning these media buying skills. Luckily, there are many free, quality resources to get started. I designed a learning project for myself and included deadlines to make sure I met my goals and progressed consistently.

My end goal was to be able to 1) effectively use Facebook Insights/Creator Studio, 2) understand and be able to explain media buying language and best practices, and 3) create videos to help other people to do the same if they’re on a similar journey.

To meet these goals, I started a Facebook page and designed a brand and created content so that I could utilize the Facebook/Creator Studio tools, registered for Meta Blueprint to engage in media buying trainings, and sought out current media buying professionals to learn from their experiences.

The Project

To accomplish the first part of my goal to learn Facebook Insights and Creator Studio, I created a brand and an accompanying Facebook page. I had already established this brand on Instagram and used the creator tools and analytics on that platform, so I wanted to branch out and try Facebook.


I spent a lot of time creating content for both the Instagram and Facebook pages and using the analytics to learn about my audience and their online behavior. This helped me to understand the trainings I would do later on Meta Blueprint.

To learn about creator studio, I turned to the source — Facebook. This resource was helpful as I learned the tools and how to understand the analytics. I spent many hours playing with the tools and watching videos. I also asked questions to experts I know who use Facebook Analytics daily for their businesses. It helped me understand what tools are most helpful for understanding progress or regression in conversions and engagements.

I also spent time on Meta.

Some of my favorite trainings from Meta included a lot of the intros to concepts. These served as my launch pad for research and questions. It helped me put names and vocabulary to the things I didn’t yet understand but wanted to. That helped me to search online or ask professionals informed questions.

These courses gave me great starting points to ask better questions and research deeper the things I found interesting. I’d recommend them to anyone looking to get started in media buying.

Challenges Encountered in Completing the Project

One challenge I encountered was outdated information. This meant that I spent time learning a practice or skill only to discover later that it’s no longer relevant to current media buying practices.

This is a common challenge for anyone learning digital marketing skills, because these online platforms are always shifting and changing. For example, Facebook recently changed marketing practices by revoking the ability to target four main niches:

  • Health causes 
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religious practices and groups
  • Political beliefs

This is important to protect the data of audience members, but makes targeting an audience significantly more difficult.

This is just one example of how media buying best practices can change overnight. So even information that was helpful and accurate one day can be completely useless the next.

To overcome this challenge, I made sure to check my sources against other, more recent sources and consult professionals who are currently working with these platforms.

Project Processes

My process was a loop of research, question asking, and then application. I’d spend time in the trainings learning the basics of each practice, and then seeking better understanding from my friends and network with good experience in media buying, and then working with them to practice what I learned.

I was actually given access to BYU-Idaho’s Facebook Analytics, through which I learned some valuable lessons about reaching larger audiences.

Overview of My Experience

As a whole, my project grew with my understanding. My original goals were simple and the bare minimum. As my understanding increased, so did my goals. I tried new things and got out of my comfort zone by chatting with people I didn’t know that I met in LinkedIn Groups and networking. They each taught me new things and increased my understanding.

Both my personal and professional life has been improved through this project.

Key Takeaways/Lessons Learned

This project was valuable both in ways I anticipated and ways I did not expect. Obviously, I met many of my learning goals to understand media buying vocabulary and best practices. However, some unexpected lessons I learned include:

  • Be open to asking for help — most people are more than happy to help.
  • Doing your work/task ahead of time is one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give your future self.
  • Continuous learning is a vital skill professionally. Always be willing to learn.
  • A growth mindset will get you places a fixed mindset won’t.

These takeaways were learned through my processes of pushing myself to learn unfamiliar things, network with other individuals, and more.