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Why Media Buying Should Be A Three-Way Conversation

The next time you’re hiring a digital media agency to support your nonprofit’s objectives, ask this question: “Will you let me sit in on the conversations you have with the vendors you’re purchasing ads from on my behalf?”

The response should always be a fast yes.

Media buying is a wild world that can be cloudy and confusing given the layers involved. At Media Cause, our goal is to empower you to understand and contribute to the decisions that we’re making together to position you and your team for success. Here are our tips on what to keep in mind when interviewing us or any other vendor about how they’ll run your investments:


1. Remember that YOU are the expert on your brand.

Even if you’re hiring a vendor to support you in the areas that they understand more intricately, you still play a crucial role in the success of that tactic based on your seat inside your organization. You can and should know the third-party media vendors that your agency is working with — and you should have a point of contact that you can reach out to from within each and every one of those third-party partner organizations. This not only keeps everyone honest, it helps those third parties do their jobs better by hearing directly from you what success looks like, what your brand’s positions on an issue are, which sites you really want to appear on, and so on. Don’t let media buying become so intimidating in your head that you don’t engage.


2. Your data autonomy is crucial.

Ask yourself how you’re going to be able to evaluate the success of an advertising campaign that’s running today when you look back at it five years from now. Are you getting regular raw data exports from your vendor, or are you relying simply on a write-up analysis from their team? Make sure your contract positions you to secure all of the raw transaction files you need to be able to seamlessly integrate the data your vendor is collecting on your behalf into your CRM of record — and that your vendor is contractually obligated to give it to you — so you can pivot data as you need to, when you need to, with or without your vendor’s help. When given the choice between ad serving from your organization’s owned properties (like your Facebook Business Manager account) or your agency’s owned properties (like their Facebook Business Manager account), always choose your organization’s. Even if that means some extra work at the outset, you need this so you can look back at data at any time.


3. Your agency should help you understand where your money is going and why.

Like Cody wrote earlier last year, payment structures that call for a commission on media fees can easily turn into something ugly if not kept in check. You should never feel like your vendor has any other incentive to tell you that you should invest more besides the incentive to make you successful. Ask upfront questions about alternate payment structures like reimbursing on a time and materials basis and paying third-party partners directly, so you have a window into markups.

Join us in the conversation, we’re eager to make your media buying work even harder for you.

Ready to talk more? Let us know.


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