We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What does a Media Planner do?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 02, 2024
Our promise to you
Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Practical Adult Insights, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A media planner is an advertising professional who specializes in determining the best placements for advertisements. Media planners work with their clients to develop a media strategy which will position their brand well and reach the appropriate target market. Some media planners work for advertising agencies, others as independent consultants, and others for firms which specialize in media planning services exclusively.

Special training is not required to become a media planner, although a college degree in advertising or a related field can be beneficial. Many media planners learn on the job, starting out in low positions and gradually working their way up the ranks as they gain experience and demonstrate competence. People skills are critical for this job, as is the ability to accurately identify demographics, and the ability to cut to the core of a company's mission and products to determine how the company could be best positioned for maximum sales.

Television owners may have noted that advertising tends to follow certain patterns. Advertisements for feminine hygiene products and erectile dysfunction medication, for example, don't appear on children's shows. Promotions for sporting events tend not to air with soap operas, while perfume ads are rare on baseball broadcasts. This is because media planners have evaluated the demographics enjoying these types of programs, and they have determined which types of programming would be most appropriate for the products they are marketing.

A media planner does more than just determining which kinds of demographics would be most interested in particular products. They also think about the specific programming which will be airing with their ads, which can require a media planner to review scripts and screener copies of media as part of their work to identify potentially problematic ad placement situations. For example, an ad for asthma medication might not be well received if it aired during an hour-long medical drama which featured a patient dying of severe asthma. Likewise, an advertisement from a company marketing to a conservative demographic should not air during a program which featured a liberal stance on an event or situation, because this might offend the demographic the company is trying to reach.

A media planner must think beyond basic demographic needs and consider brand image. While many products can be marketed generically to a large group of people, such as teenage girls or middle aged men, narrowing in on a specific demographic of interest can sometimes yield better results. Media planners think about how their brands should be positioned in the market, what kind of messages they want to send with advertising, and what sort of media programming their ads would pair with best.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Practical Adult Insights researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By Sara007 — On May 13, 2011

In my opinion brand image seems to really impact where media planners place their advertisements. I was watching an episode of a show that featured a lot of glamorous women living the high life, and noticed how many Chanel, Louis Vuitton and expensive cosmetics ads suddenly appeared.

You almost never see ads for these companies, so you can tell that they have a media planner in place to make sure their brand image is being linked to only likeminded programming.

Can anyone think of any other demographic that causes a very abrupt and noticeable shift in the kind of ads aired?

By manykitties2 — On May 11, 2011

You can really see media planning at work when you watch any shows aimed at teenage girls. It really is amazing how the entire vibe of a channel can change when it comes time to air for a different audience.

Suddenly you are faced with more fashion, accessories, beauty products, and acne medication advertisements than you would ever normally see.

I find it true with sports events as well. If you want to see beer, truck and Nike advertisements, watch a football game.

I think media planners do a fantastic job of targeting their audiences, and leaves no question about who the show you are watching is aimed at.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.