Advertising Media Buyer

Job Description:

Media buyers book advert space on newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and websites.

Job Category:
Marketing & Advertising

What you will do:

You could:

  • work out who the audience is and where to put adverts so they’ll see them
  • build relationships with clients and media sales companies
  • negotiate for the best advert spots at the cheapest rates
  • manage budgets and outline costs to clients
  • monitor campaign audience figures
  • analyse sales data to judge a campaign’s effectiveness


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to organise your time and workload (organisational skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things (creative skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Becoming an advertising media buyer typically involves a combination of education, skills, and experience. While there are no strict subject requirements for this career, certain subjects can provide a foundation for skills knowledge relevant to the field. Here are some GCSE subjects that can be beneficial:

  1. Mathematics: A strong understanding of mathematics is important for budgeting, data analysis, and calculating media buying costs. Skills in statistics can also be valuable.
  2. English Language: Effective communication is essential in advertising, so a good grasp of English is crucial for writing ad copy and communicating with clients and media outlets.
  3. Business Studies or Economics: These subjects can provide a basic understanding of economic principles, which can be useful when negotiating media buying deals and understanding market trends.
  4. Media Studies: If available at your school, taking a media studies course can provide you with insights into the media landscape and the advertising industry.
  5. Information Technology (IT): Proficiency in IT and digital skills is important in today’s advertising world, where much of the media buying process is done online.
  6. Marketing: While not typically offered as a subject, if you have the opportunity to study marketing or have access to marketing-related resources, it can provide valuable insights into advertising strategies and consumer behaviour.

Ultimately, the specific qualifications and skills required for advertising media buyer positions can vary depending on the employer and the type of media buying you plan to specialise in (e.g., digital media, traditional media, programmatic advertising, etc.). Therefore, it’s advisable to research the specific requirements and qualifications expected by the employers or organisations where you intend to apply for media buyer roles.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • specialist courses run by professional bodies

You could get into advertising with any degree subject.

However, for this role some employers may prefer subjects like:

  • advertising and marketing
  • statistics or operational research
  • communication and media studies
  • business or management

You could do an advertising apprenticeship like an assistant buyer higher apprenticeship or an advertising media executive advanced apprenticeship.

With experience these may give you some of the skills, knowledge and industry contacts you need to move into advertising media buying roles.

You could start in a junior position like office assistant in a small advertising agency and work your way up through training and promotion.

You’ll find it useful to get experience before you apply for roles. It will help you understand the industry and make contacts.

You could try:

  • work experience
  • internships
  • temporary employment
  • You could contact agencies directly to ask about placements or contact companies on sites like Twitter or LinkedIn.

Other Routes
In the UK, you could study the Foundation Certificate offered by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

To apply, you must have less than one year of experience in an advertising, marketing or communications role.

Career tips
Employers will usually be interested in your personal qualities, like creativity, quick thinking and business sense, as well as your formal qualifications.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typical you could work 38-40 hours a week.

You could work in an office or at a client’s business.

You may need to wear smart business clothes.

Career Path & Progression:

You can choose to specialise in buying radio, online or TV adverts.

With experience, you could eventually become a:

  • media planner
  • account planner
  • account executive