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Media Buying and Planning Services Pricing Guide December 2023

Updated July 17, 2023

Media Buying and Planning Services Pricing Guide 2023

Media buying and planning are essential to ensure that advertisements are matched with the right audience and platform. Media buying-focused advertising agencies serve organizations looking for help with this marketing strategy and may be more affordable than you think. There is ad space for every budget, and media planners can help you find it.

Ad campaigns are made up of far more than the content itself. To be successful, ads need to be shown in the right places so they reach the right people. The media buying process takes place within the realm of traditional media, which includes ads on TV, radio, print, outdoor (think: billboards), and even digital channels like social media and web.

Regardless of whether you’re looking for traditional or digital media buying and planning services, projects on Clutch are wide-ranging in terms of budget.

Media Planning & Buying projects reviewed on Clutch typically cost

$200,000 >
< $10,000 $10,000 - $49,999 $50,000 - $199,999 $200,000 >

On Clutch, media buying projects range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of dollars. The final price point will depend on a multitude of factors, such as the scope of the marketing campaign and the complexity of the marketing services you’re asking for.

Media Buying and Planning Services by Industry

Marketing goals across all industries likely involve some sort of traditional or digital ads. While need for digital marketing services remains across client types, pricing can vary with the industry the client operates in.

Average Project Cost
Information Technology and Services
Less than $10,000
Private Healthcare

Note: Price ranges above are in U.S. dollars.

While paid media costs vary depending on the industry, the platform and type of content creation necessary will be the main drivers of price because they dictate the project’s complexity.

What is the Real Cost of Hiring Media Buying Companies?

The average cost of hiring a media buying and planning company on Clutch is $100–$149 per hour.

Note that marketing agencies will charge for their work outside the ad budget you’ve set aside for the advertisements themselves. The ad budget must be separate from the fees for the media buying agency.

Media Buying and Planning Pricing Models Vary

Media buying and planning companies may charge for their work using various different pricing models. Be sure to ask potential service providers how they charge in the interview phase before signing a service agreement.

  • Commission-based Pricing: agencies charge clients based on a percentage of the media spend, usually a predetermined commission ranging from 10%–20% on the total media expenditure.
  • Hourly Rate Pricing: agencies charge based on the number of hours working on their campaigns. Each team member's hourly rate is typically predetermined based on their skill level and expertise.
  • Project-based Pricing: agencies charge clients a fixed fee for a specific project or campaign, which is determined by the estimated time, resources, and expertise required to complete the project.
  • Performance-based Pricing: agency compensation is attached to performance metrics, such as sales, conversions, or brand awareness. The agency's fee is determined by predefined key performance indicators (KPIs) agreed upon with the client.

What Services Can Media Buying Agencies Deliver?

Media buying and planning agencies work closely with clients to devise effective plans of action for placing ads in a palatable contextual environment.

In striving to reach that goal, media buying agencies perform many services that encompass everything from strategic planning to campaign execution.

Service Type
Popular Ad Platforms
Cost of Ad Services
Stands for out-of-home advertising, which means any advertisement that is seen outside of one’s home. Buyers get placements based on desired amount of time for the ad to be shown, ad format, circulation, and target audience.

Billboards, Bench ads, Transit ads
Buyers and planners charge to earn placements in print publications according to requirements for ad size and location.
Newspapers, Magazines, Direct Mail
Media buyers and planners get audio ad placements on radio stations and streaming services, paying attention to requirements for when the ad should be played, ad runtime, and target audience.
AM & FM Radio, Sirius Radio, Podcast Advertising, Spotify
Media buyers get video ad slots on TV channels depending on the desired time of day and market. Running ads during popular programs increases the cost of advertising media buying fees.

Across these different media buying and planning channels, there are a number of functions a media buying and planning agency can fill. Most companies will include some if not all of these services in their offerings.  

  • Media Strategy and Planning: conducting market research, analyzing target demographics, and identifying optimal media channels to reach the intended audience. Part of this effort is defining suitable platforms, such as television, radio, print, digital, or out-of-home (OOH) advertising, and determining the optimal media mix to maximize reach.
  • Media Buying and Negotiation: liaising with media vendors and negotiating contracts to win the most cost-effective media buys. They use negotiation paired with data to optimize media investments that achieve a strong return on ad spend (ROAS).
  • Campaign Development and Execution: collaborating with internal and/or external creative teams to build cohesive messaging while integrating media assets smoothly. This process can involve anything from devising ad copy and visuals to coordinating production and distribution.
  • Target Audience Analysis: analyzing intended target audiences to understand their preferences, behaviors, and media consumption habits. In learning about audiences, agencies use market research, demographic data, audience insights, and media analytics to identify the most relevant audience segments for each campaign.

When researching which media buying and planning company to partner with, understanding whether they’re full-service or specialized is key. Be sure to evaluate each potential partner's skills and experience carefully with ad placements, negotiation, audience analysis, and more to confidently choose a provider that aligns with your needs.

Why Do In-House Marketing Teams Value Media Buying Services?

Some may hesitate to invest in media buying and planning services due to the cost. After all, you’re already spending a good deal of money on the advertising slots and creative. Why make the process more expensive?

The answer falls somewhere in the realm of: “You have to spend money to make money.” 

In many ways, media buying teams can make launching and assessing a campaign easier and more cost-effective by the end of an effort.

  • Cost Efficiency: agency account managers leverage their expertise and industry relationships to receive competitive media placement rates, which makes buying ad placements more affordable. Further, agencies make the most of advertising budgets by identifying cost-effective media channels, negotiating favorable deals, and minimizing wasteful spending.
  • Access to Tools and Technology: agencies have access to tools specifically created for media planning, something that most companies don’t have the budget to pay for themselves. These tools provide comprehensive analytics, targeting capabilities, and performance tracking. Clients are in a better position to make data-driven decisions and refine targeting strategies with access to tech.
  • Targeted Reach and Audience Segmentation: agencies work to understand consumer demographics, behaviors, and preferences to tailor messages and select best-fit media channels.
  • Cross-Channel Optimization: agencies build media plans to exist cohesively across channels, maintaining the brand reputation and experience. With synchronous efforts across channels like television, radio, print, digital, and social media, agencies help brands reach wider while strengthening core brand concepts.

By leveraging the expertise, resources, and industry knowledge of media buying and planning agencies, businesses can navigate the complexities of media advertising while getting the most possible bang for their buck.

Factors That Influence Media Buying and Planning Partnership Costs

As we’ve seen, the cost of media buying and planning services depends on many factors. While several things can impact price, some elements of a collaboration have a more significant effect on pricing than others.

  • Scope Complexity: extensive campaigns covering multiple media channels, audience segments, and geographical regions are considered more complex scopes than typical. These engagements need extra resources devoted to strategic planning, negotiations, and coordination, which drives prices upward.
  • Advertising Budget: as shown through pricing models, agencies often charge a percentage of the media spend as a commission or establish a fixed fee structure based on the budget. Larger budgets leave more room for negotiation and can influence agency compensation.
  • Media Channels and Platforms: wide-reaching channels, such as national television or high-profile digital platforms, have higher rates than regional or niche media outlets. The cost of media buying on specific platforms, such as programmatic advertising or social media advertising, varies with competition, demand, and targeting capabilities.
  • Market Demand and Seasonality: during peak advertising seasons, media rates may increase, which will also increase the cost of working with agencies.

Like any other industry, media planning and buying costs go up when a service is more challenging, requires more resources, or is in greater demand. Keep track of where your project falls, and remember that you can use these levers to help you craft a budget that meets your needs. 

2023 Pricing by Location

Browse hourly rates for media buying companies by popular locations.

CountryAverage Cost per Hour
United States of America$100 - $149
India$25 - $49
United Kingdom$150 - $199
Canada$150 - $199
Australia$100 - $149
Phillippines$25 - $49
Ukraine$25 - $49
Poland$50 - $99
Spain$100 - $149
Mexico$50 - $99

* Countries ranked by Clutch traffic

Media Buyers and Media Planning Services are Key to Reaching a Target Audience

Media buyers and planners are known for their ability to get ads placed in a compelling context in front of a target market. They can help clients determine which media platforms will make the most impact. Then, they create a cross-channel plan for cohesive advertising on those channels.

After ads are placed, you can rest assured that media planning agencies are up-to-date on ad performance for the appropriate metrics. While there are some fees associated with buying agencies in addition to total ad spend, it’s well worth it to know that your message will have a wide reach.

Search top media buying and planning services on Clutch.