AD BUYING BASICS: The Media Buyer’s Cheat Sheet


Jana Ferreira
Content Writer | Sugatan
November 24, 2021


It’s easy to hit up google or YouTube and go down a rabbit hole of ad buying best practices. But we’re not here to tell you what the absolute best media buying strategy is. 

We’re going to break down the basics of how we do it successfully. 


Our ad buying philosophy


Don’t listen to strategies

There are media buyers out there who swear by a fool-proof strategy. We don’t buy it! Analyze your own campaigns, data, clients, and products. Make the call based on your unique situation. Every brand requires (and deserves) a unique, tailored strategy. 


Don’t rely on only one platform. Go wherever your audience is and beyond. Explore TikTok, Taboola, Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram, and organic media like Stories, Reels and live broadcasts. Both paid and organic media can work, depending on the brand.

The ideal ad buyer:

  • Watches accounts like a hawk, checking them multiple times per day.
  • Budgets like a boss.
  • Spots signals for the future and prepares for tomorrow, today.
  • Rotates strategies like they’re on a merry-go-round.
  • Never makes these 11 crucial but common mistakes.


How to manage ad performance


  1. Be adaptable and keep rotating 

Don’t be afraid to change your strategy if an ad isn’t performing well. Try them all until you find your golden goose. Instead of simply rotating between platforms like Facebook and Instagram, try changing your budget from lifetime to daily or look at your DCAs and cost caps to see what works best. Explore every option available to you. 

Three levels of ad rotation

  • Campaigns (e.g. CBO/ABO and budget types)
  • Ad sets (e.g. audiences, attribution windows and optimizations for ad delivery)
  • Creatives
  1. Test, test, test!

Test every option –  at campaign level, ad set level, creative level, and ad account level. By doing that, you’ll end up with 10, 20, 30 different combinations of tests to learn from and capitalize on. 

Let’s say you’re running on a 7-day click conversion. That means you can test the following: 7-day with value, 7-day with the lowest cost, 1-day click with value, 1-day click with the lowest cost, with cost caps, without cost caps, different placements, daily budgets, lifetime budgets, ABOs, CBOs, audiences, and the list goes on.

Don’t have enough money for all these tests? Analyze the data patterns, including markets, audiences, countries, ages, specific hours, and days. Prioritize tests based on the data.

Use the results to set a foundation for a successful account. And remember, every account will be different.

  1. Check on your accounts

Never drop the ball! Check your accounts several times a day. A good ad buyer will wake up knowing what their revenue will be at the end of the day. How? Because the signals will tell all, and you’ll know how to read them. 

  1. Manage your budget

Use the cues from your signals to project your budget for the week, month, 3 months, and so on.

Tip: Try lifetime budgets and daily budgets on Facebook. Why? Because lifetime budgets will adjust the daily spend based on your campaign results whereas daily budgets aim to spend your entire daily budget on that day. See what works for your account. 


What to do if performance drops


Focus on what is working and capitalize on that. Look at last year’s benchmarks if you were doing well then, and base your solutions on that. Be innovative and follow the “test, adapt, test, adapt” method.

When things aren’t working, it’s usually because of one of two things:

  1. You’re paying too much for your traffic
  2. Your traffic quality is low (low traffic quality = low conversion rate)

In the spirit of Black Friday coming up soon, here’s a little bonus for you.


How to develop a basic Black Friday campaign


If your account ranges from $100 to $1000 ad spend per day, it’s all about timing and rotating communications. Long timeframes aren’t necessary if your account falls in this range.

Here’s an example of what we’d do:

Oct – run lead generation ads
Nov – run singles throughout BF/CM week and weekend (4 to 5 days)
On bigger accounts, the campaign length would be 7 to 10 days for one campaign. 

Our proven successful strategy:

  1. You should have the simplest offer (that your EBITDA can handle)
  2. Have super clear messaging
  3. Stick to what has worked in the past

How we use what worked in the past to create a BF/CM campaign: 

We take all our past viral ads that had the best engagement rates and re-engage them. That way it will fight with CPM increase. At the same time, we optimize every old ad with a new headline about Black Friday & Cyber Monday. 

We shut down the ones that aren’t working at the end of day one, and rotate the ones that are working. It’s important to make sure that you have backup campaigns for both TOF & Retargeting. Remember, you want to scale/downscale your daily budget for one ad set/campaign at least two or three times per day. 

If you give this method a try, let us know how it goes!


Did you find this article helpful? Then you’ll definitely enjoy reading about how to scale a brand from $0 to $100k in monthly revenue. Read it here.

Watch this video to find out which media buying mistakes you should avoid at all costs.





Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *