Media Essentials in Digital Marketing: Types of Media, Planning and Purchasing

Types of Media in Digital Marketing

In the contemporary digital landscape, securing online visibility for your business is a significant challenge. The sheer volume of available marketing channels and methodologies can easily overwhelm you. However, a structured approach navigates this complex environment and equips you with the most effective strategies to achieve your marketing objectives.

This is where media essentials and SEO tools in digital marketing come into play. With different types of media come different strategies and purchase options to choose from. Depending on your target audience and marketing goals, you can select the best-suited option to channel your traffic through media spaces.

What is Media Planning?

Media planning is the strategising of business advertisements to reach your target audience. It helps you identify your target audience and narrow down your products and services aligning with their needs. Planning helps you maximise your sales and channel your marketing resources in the right direction. It also helps you time your ads as per the activity of your audience, thereby building a consistent connection with them.

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Types of Media in Digital Marketing

Digital marketers have three primary options when choosing media channels to reach their target audience. They are:

Owned Media

These channels are solely controlled by the brand including all the content and even messaging. For example:

  1. Website: This is the focal hub of your online business that showcases your brand, products and services and all other necessary information for potential clientele. 
  2. Blog: This is more of an opinionated, personalised and communicative channel that allows you to establish relationships with your target audience. It also helps you share valuable content relating to your industry and enables thought leadership. 
  3. Social media profiles: Social media platforms are one of the most engaging forms of owned media platforms that help you build brand identities and identify your target audience.

Paid Media 

This involves renting or buying advertising space on channels not controlled by the brand directly or indirectly. You contact these channels or websites who rent their digital spaces for advertisements in exchange for a fee. Such as:

  • Display Ads: Helps you secure visual placements on websites, apps and blogs your target audience frequents.
  • Social Media Ads: Targets specific demographics (your target audience) and interests on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to engage them with content they react frequently with.
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Gets your ads seen at the top of search results using platforms like Google Ads.

Earned Media

This refers to unpaid media coverage gained through public relations efforts, word-of-mouth marketing and influencer marketing. Earned media eliminates the need for paid promotions and boosts reliable, organic ads. Some examples are:

  1. Positive press mentions: News articles, reviews and testimonials can significantly boost brand awareness and credibility.
  2. Social media mentions and shares: Organic engagement from satisfied customers and influencers can amplify your reach and message.
  3. Reviews and recommendations: Positive customer feedback through word-of-mouth or online reviews can build trust and encourage others to consider your brand.

How to effectively go about Media Planning?

There are several crucial steps involved in effective media planning that can elevate your marketing game to reach new heights. 

1. Define your marketing goals

What is the bullseye for your campaign? Brand awareness to amplify your company's reach? Website traffic to attract potential customers? Lead generation to build your sales pipeline? Or direct conversions to turn visitors into buyers? Defining your goals sets the stage. Then moving on, establish KPIs to track progress, ensuring every step steers your campaign towards success.

2. Know your target audience, use SEO tools

Understanding your market's demographics, online behaviour, interests and media consumption habits is essential for targeting the right channels and creating relevant messages through digital marketing. Utilise various SEO tools and techniques like competitor analysis, market research and social listening to gain deeper insights into your target audience.

3. Develop a content strategy

What message do you want to convey to your audience? How will you tailor your message to resonate with different segments of your target audience? Consider various content formats or type of media like images, infographics, videos and text to create engaging content.

4. Set your media budget

Determine how much you are willing to invest in your digital marketing efforts, allocating budgets across different media channels based on their anticipated effectiveness and cost-efficiency. Revisit this plan every quarter to reallocate your resources more effectively based on performance reports.

5. Select your media channels

Based on your target audience and marketing goals, choose the media channels you will utilise to reach your audience effectively. Consider factors like reach, engagement rates, cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and alignment with your brand image.

6. Define success metrics

Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the effectiveness of your media plan. Examples include website traffic, lead generation, conversion rates and social media engagement.

7. Develop a campaign schedule

Plan the timeline for launching, running and monitoring your campaigns across different channels.

Purchasing Media: Putting Your Plan into Action

Once your media plan is finalised, it's time to secure the necessary advertising space or placements:

1. Research media platforms and vendors

Each platform and vendor has its advertising options, audience targeting capabilities and pricing structures. Thoroughly research options before making purchasing decisions.

2. Negotiate and secure placements

Utilise your research and market knowledge negotiate rates and secure the most cost-effective placements that align with your budget and campaign goals. This might involve directly negotiating with platform representatives or utilising media buying agencies with expertise in specific channels.

3. Utilise programmatic buying

Instead of relying on manual negotiation, advertisers can leverage technology and SEO tools to buy ad space across various platforms. This automated system, called programmatic buying, uses real-time auctions based on specific criteria you set, like who you want to reach and what you aim to achieve. This approach is ideal for large campaigns and allows for sharp targeting.

4. Prioritise transparency and control

Ensure clear communication and contract terms with chosen vendors regarding pricing, campaign performance reporting and ad delivery details. Maintain control over your campaigns by setting targeting parameters and budget limits and monitoring results regularly.

5. Optimise and adapt

Don't just set your campaign goals. Regularly monitor their performance using the key metrics and SEO tools. By analysing this data, you can easily narrow your options down to what resonates with your audience and what does not. Now you can fine-tune your media buying strategy and budget allocation on the fly. 


Understanding the various media types, the art of media planning with the help of SEO tools and negotiating effective purchases are crucial for success in digital marketing. By following these guidelines and staying current with industry trends, you can create a comprehensive media strategy that maximises your reach and ROI, while boosting engagement.

To help you understand marketing tactics like media planning better, Imarticus brings the Post Graduate program in Digital Marketing. This comprehensive degree course enables you to dive deeper into the world of online marketing and helps you unlock the industry secrets to kickstart your career as a digital marketing professional. 

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