Always on Media Buying

How has media buying changed?

Media buying has changed forever.

It’s a heavy statement to make but if you look around the agency world you’ll see that media buying just isn’t the same.

Previously, traditional media buying (print, broadcast, radio, etc.) was more transactional. Advertisers planned the media, bought it, trafficked the creative (a ridiculous name for sending the right ad to the right station) and then some form of post facto measurement at the end of the flight.

The media buyer got a huge commission for brokering the transaction.

Yet, the landscape has shifted with digital and social rising to the top.

Now, we get rich, personal data back from ads almost immediately. We can use this data to make campaigns better.

For example;
Creative – we can rapidly test
Conversions – we can measure a performance metric and optimize it over time
Audiences – we can test different audiences and targeting strategies

Which means that the first day on the job is the day AFTER the campaigns are purchased because anything can change at any time and it’s all refundable.

If we’re looking at traditional media the question becomes: would you rather buy a billboard that can be changed daily or monthly?

Digital programmatic allows you to test and tweak based on the data. Whereas with traditional media it takes much more time to change aspects of the campaign.

However, even on digital platforms you cannot setup a campaign and sit idly by. It requires an active approach to media buying, where media buyers are always tuned into the campaign always.

Right now 85% of agencies outsource their buying to the programmatic agencies.

Hypothesis:programmatic agencies are optimized for ease of buying (because of the issues above, not for performance)

Why this doesn’t work

When I was at Borrowell we were approached by tons of programmatic platforms. Even after tripling their best in class results, we couldn’t project efficient acquisition from the platform, and were compelled to pass.

The talent to optimize campaigns in perpetuity doesn’t exist at this scale.

A lot of the time directors and people in more senior positions will pitch to win the business for an agency. Then these large agencies put very junior people on these massive accounts. It’s a lack of transparency that is contributing to the demise of full-service agencies.

Experience matters a lot when it comes to media buying. That’s why at Abacus the same people who are optimizing the accounts are the ones you will deal with directly to discuss your account. Maximizing transparency and ensuring you have a direct line of communication to the person managing your account.

At Abacus we deal exclusively with Facebook applications (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger) as a result we believe that until you’ve had a campaign plateau at scale and have successfully re-invigorated the campaign, you don’t know Facebook.

We coined the phrase Always On Media Buying to define the way we approach media buying.

So let’s break this down, what does Always On Media Buying mean:

  • Growth mindset – measuring the right metric. In fact, if you get this part right, the question will be “how much can we spend” not “how much do we have to spend”
  • Optimized in perpetuity – every day your team needs to work to reduce your one metric that matters
  • Scientific not artistic – you uncover the growth by running prioritized experiments constantly, and looking for data abnormalities, at various levels of scale
  • Facebook first creative – if you’re planning on bringing your highway billboard and sticking it on Facebook, don’t bother. Facebook demands it’s own understanding of platform + data + creative and the successful advertiser understands how to produce for FB specifically
  • Leveraging data – as your campaigns scale, you’ll begin creating your own proprietary data, that can be leveraged on platform for hyper results.
  • Full funnel – FB is the only platform that allows you to link the various stages of the funnel together (awareness, demand generation, and direct response) and retarget previous levels of engagement

So what? Why does this matter?

  • Don’t trust your social spend with traditional media agencies. The world has moved on and they’re still looking through the old lens
  • The future belongs to the specialists.  Find a specialist for every key area of marketing and acquisition. Don’t accept mediocre services
    Measure the right metric. If we can unlock an efficient growth model, we can deliver results for quarters and years to come

Final Thoughts

Always On Media Buying is a new-age way to approach media buying. It leaves those who aren’t actively engaging with the media that they’re buying and their campaigns in the dust.

It challenges the old way and brings forth the new. Abacus is an agency leader of the Always on Media Buying approach. We believe there is no other way to get optimal Facebook Ad results.

Jeff Goldenberg
Jeff Goldenberg

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