Media Planner Career Path

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Media Planner Career Path

In the 21st century, when one out of every three people uses social media at least once a day, it has become crucial for businesses to have a strong presence in these channels. The best way to do this is by hiring a social media manager or planner. Media planners are responsible for designing and implementing strategies that will help their clients increase brand awareness and drive sales.

This article will explore what a media planner does, why they’re essential to companies today, and how to get into this career path yourself.

1. What Is a Media Planner?

Media planners are responsible for choosing which media channels to promote a product or service. For instance, if the company is launching its new app, the planner will determine where to invest its resources to acquire the most significant number of users. They also ensure that the chosen strategy is appropriate for the client’s resources and budget.

Media planners work with a client’s marketing team to determine the media channels that will have the most significant impact on their business. For instance, they might suggest using YouTube to promote a product or service since it’s a social media platform growing in popularity. Once they choose where to invest resources, they create an advertising campaign from scratch and implement it across various channels.

As you can see, media planners are responsible for creating strategies that will help their clients attract more customers. They do this by choosing which social media platforms or traditional advertising mediums to use, designing advertisements for these platforms, and implementing the campaign across all of them.

2. How Do You Become a Media Planner?

If you want to become a media planner, you’ll need to be interested in business and marketing. It would be best if you were well-versed in social media channels, whether through personal use or experience working in the field. Furthermore, you should feel comfortable brainstorming marketing strategies and developing innovative ideas for promoting a product or service.

To become a media planner, you’ll need a bachelor‘s degree. While this isn’t always necessary, it can be helpful for those who want to stand out from the crowd and gain experience working as an intern. If you decide to go back to school after earning your bachelor’s degree, you should consider majoring in business management, marketing, finance, or a related field.

After earning your four-year degree, you should apply to entry-level jobs in the media planning industry. Some of these companies include BBDO and Starcom Mediavest Group. You can also use social media sites such as LinkedIn and Indeed to seek out new opportunities and network with professionals in the field.

3. What Are the Career Options for Media Planners?

Once you have some experience working as a media planner, you can specialize in one specific area of the industry. For example, instead of planning campaigns across multiple social platforms, you can focus solely on Facebook or Twitter ads. This will enable you to build up your knowledge about this particular channel and make you a more valuable asset to the company.

If you want to take your career in a slightly different direction, you might consider becoming a media buyer. This position involves overseeing a client’s entire media plan, which means that you’ll be responsible for choosing how much money should be spent on each platform. In addition, when one of your strategies proves to be effective, you may be expected to execute it again in the future.

Media buyers often have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and experience working as media planners. They also must have strong negotiation skills and work closely with clients, creatives, and account executives.

As you can see, there are several different career options available in the media planning industry. While all of them require hard work and dedication, they can help you gain valuable experience working in an exciting and fast-paced field.

4. How Much Does a Media Planner Earn?

Entry-level media planners earn between $30,000 and $40,000 a year. This figure rises to around $60,000-$70,000 once you gain more experience and start taking on more responsibilities. Advertising managers usually receive salaries between $90,000 and $120,000 a year.
Top media planners can make as much as $150,000 a year.

5. What Is a Typical Day for a Media Planner?

A typical day for a media planner varies significantly from person to person and from company to company. Generally speaking, you’ll have to spend the majority of your time juggling multiple projects at once while coming up with creative and strategic ways to advertise your client’s product.

Some of the tasks you may be required to perform include

  • Analyzing the target market and determining which platforms will be most effective for reaching potential customers
  • Designing a media plan that balances your client’s budget with their advertising goals
  • Keeping an eye on competitors; identifying new trends in the industry
  • Working with creatives on an effective ad campaign
  • Negotiating with media vendors (e.g., Google, Facebook) to get a better price per impression
  • Updating spreadsheets to keep track of your progress
  • And much more…

It’s also worth mentioning that you will have to attend regular meetings with various other departments, such as marketing, account management, strategy, etc. These are important because they enable you to receive feedback about your work and ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the project at hand.

Media planners work in various settings, including creative agencies, PR firms, and marketing departments. They also specialize in one particular platform (e.g., social media). No matter where you end up working, though, your day-to-day responsibilities will be essentially the same. If you like the idea of working in this industry and want to make a career out of it, you’ll need to be comfortable with multitasking. You should also be able to work independently without having someone hovering over your shoulder at all times.

6. What Are the Different Types of Media Planners?

While most media planners specialize in one particular type of media, there are several different types of planners that you can become:
TV media planner: responsible for planning ad campaigns through TV advertising. They create a media plan that outlines the number and cost of ads to run in a particular market.

Print media planner: responsible for planning ad campaigns through print ads or magazines (e.g., billboards, bus ads, direct mailers). They create a media plan that outlines the number and cost of ads to run in a particular market.
Radio media planner: responsible for planning ad campaigns through radio advertising. They create a media plan that outlines the number and cost of ads to run in a particular market.

Digital media planner: responsible for planning anything online (e.g., website ads, social media campaigns). They create a media plan that outlines the number and cost of ads to run in a particular market.
Cross-platform media planner: responsible for planning ad campaigns through multiple platforms (e.g., TV, print, radio, digital). Their focus tends to be far broader than a typical media planner.

7. What Skills and Actualities Do I Need to Become a Media Planner?

If you want to work in this industry, the following skills and qualifications will be helpful

Analytical: Since you’ll be responsible for handling budgets, creating plans, etc., you must be able to think critically and analyze numbers quickly/efficiently. If you’re also good with numbers, then that’s even better.

Organization: You’ll be juggling multiple projects at once while working in a fast-paced industry. As such, you must juggle everything successfully while staying on track and meeting deadlines.

Creativity: You should be creative in your thinking and curious about new platforms. If you’re always looking for new ways to market a client, then that’s a good thing.

Communication: You’ll need to communicate with many different types of people from various backgrounds while working on projects that require input from multiple departments. It’s also a good idea if you’re happy to travel from time to time.

Integrity: You should have strong ethical values and abide by company rules at all times. In this industry, you’ll be working with budgets/money that belongs to clients, so you mustn’t misuse any funds or steal money in any way (e.g., by padding expenses).

8. What Is the Job Outlook Like?

The job outlook for media planners is solid. There are currently around 90,000 jobs in this field, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and that number is expected to increase by 10 percent through 2026. That’s about average for all other occupations on the whole.

9. Where Does a Media Planner Work?

Media planners can work in a variety of settings, including

Ad agency: A large company specializing in creating marketing campaigns for clients. Ad agencies often have many different departments (e.g., TV, print) and employ a range of specialized staff/professionals. Agency jobs tend to be reasonably competitive.

Large company: A large company that works with ad agencies to develop marketing campaigns for their clients. They tend to be more conservative than ad agencies and hire more specialized staff/professionals (e.g., media planners). Large-company jobs tend to be pretty competitive.

Smaller company: A small business or company that doesn’t specialize in marketing campaigns. These companies tend to hire staff/professionals on a more generalist basis (e.g., secretary, manager) and may only have one or two departments.

Freelancer: A freelancer is an independent contractor. They can work for any company they want and create their hours/schedule. This is the most flexible option and tends to pay less than full-time work.

This field overlaps with other marketing fields (e.g., advertising, public relations), so you’d likely qualify for some of these jobs if you don’t want to work as a media planner:

Advertising: If you want to create ad campaigns for clients, then advertising might be the route for you. You can get paid more than media planners and may also receive more on-the-job training (e.g., working with an experienced professional).

Public relations: These professionals manage how their clients look to the public. If you want something more flexible and less intense than what’s involved in media planning, then this might be a route for you instead.

Account management: These professionals handle interactions between their clients and other companies (e.g., suppliers). They tend to be good at dealing with people and sometimes make more money than other ‘generalist’ staff (e.g., secretaries, office managers).

11. Best Colleges to Study Media Planning

The media planning degree you get will be necessary, but it won’t make or break your career. We recommend searching for colleges with creative courses and strong industry connections. This way, you can potentially work with companies on real-world projects/assignments while studying – giving yourself a head start when it comes to job hunting.

Some schools we recommend

New York University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Media Planning and Management. It focuses on practical courses (e.g., marketing, communications skills, digital media planning) to help you get your job done effectively.

The School of Visual Arts offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications. This program focuses on branding, graphic design, digital media production, social media marketing, and print/digital advertising.
The College of Saint Rose offers a Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Media Design & Development. This program focuses on more creative courses (e.g., web design) that will give you the skills to work with companies directly on real-world projects.

12. Online Courses to Study Media Planning

If you have the time and motivation to work independently, it may be helpful to take some online courses in media planning. This way, you can study at your own pace (and maybe even start working as a freelancer while studying). Following are some of the popular ones are:

Media Planning & Brand Strategy for Advertising by Udemy- This course teaches you how to make a name for yourself in the media landscape. You’ll learn about different brands and how they appeal to their audience using advertising.

Apply Now

#1 Online Media Planning Course with Certification by IIDE- This course is designed to teach you the tricks of the trade when it comes to digital media planning and some basic tech skills. You’ll also learn critical domains related to this field, such as audience targeting and data management.

Apply Now

Media Planning by Coursera: This course is designed to learn how to develop and implement a successful advertising campaign by determining the best media channels for your client’s advertising goals.

Apply Now 


In conclusion, a media planner is responsible for creating and implementing strategies to distribute content through various channels. The job typically requires strong analytical skills, creativity, and digital marketing techniques such as SEO or PPC advertising. A degree in communications, public relations, journalism, or business administration can help you get started on your journey towards this exciting career path.

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