There’s a better way to buy media. Why aren’t more people doing it?

There’s a better way to buy media. Why aren’t more people doing it? Blog from Media Bridge

You’re a CMO leading the biggest product launch in your company’s history. You’re relying on your media partner to spend your media dollars wisely. They say their plan will reach your demo — women, 25-54 — in multiple DMAs and drive millions of web sessions in three months.


You launch the campaign. You get the sessions. But almost nobody buys your product. Your CEO is furious. When you ask your media agency about the poor performance, they say, “Hey, we delivered on our gross rating points and session metrics. The problem must have been on your end.”


This scenario plays out every day across the media landscape. And in 2023, there’s no excuse for it.


There’s a better way to buy media — one that puts business metrics ahead of media planning metrics and aligns client and agency incentives to create more successful campaigns. It’s time for media agencies to embrace it.


“[Full Metrics Media] puts business metrics ahead of media planning metrics and aligns client and agency incentives to create more successful campaigns.”


Introducing “Full Metrics Media”

The traditional media-buying process has become fragmented and opaque. Strategy, planning, data and buying professionals sit in their individual silos and work in secret, with minimal collaboration or client input. They hold themselves accountable only to individual planning metrics (“partial metrics”) like reach, frequency and gross rating points. As long as they hit their numbers, they feel like they’ve done their job.


Full Metrics Media changes that. Instead of allowing media companies to measure their success by planning metrics, it creates a collaborative environment where business metrics lead and planning metrics support. Take a look at this snapshot of the major differences between Partial and Full Metrics Media, then we’ll jump into more details:


Partial Metrics Media

Planning Metrics Rule

Siloed & Unaccountable

Addresses Part of the Sales Funnel

Advertiser Has No Visibility

All Markets Created Equal

“Set It & Forget It”

Fragmented Performance Data



Full Metrics Media

Business Metrics Rule

Collaborative & Accountable

Addresses the Entire Sale Funnel

Advertiser Has Total Visibility

Market Nuances Addressed

Constant Optimization

Data Consolidated in One Tool


More Transparency


Because Media Bridge uses a Full Metrics Media approach, our clients are often surprised when they see the variety of people we bring into the process. FMM dictates that Strategy, Planning, Data and Buying all have a seat at the table. This gets everyone on the same page, clarifies the client’s goals upfront and creates agreement on which business metrics will ultimately determine the campaign’s success.


Does involving multiple perspectives and personalities sometimes lead to impassioned debates? Yes! But a healthy dialog between a media metrics pro and someone who specializes in cost per session will lead to a much better media plan.


More Accountability 


Some media agencies love “the big reveal”: They work behind closed doors, then pull back the curtain and say, “Ta-da, your perfect media plan!” It’s better when advertisers are involved in strategy upfront. The agency gets a window into the advertiser’s expectations. The advertiser sees who’s working on their campaign and can hold them accountable for its success.


Is this process more time-consuming? Yes, but only in the beginning. In the long run, it actually saves significant time by avoiding future problems. For example, a Partial Metrics media buyer might deliver the wrong leads, forcing their client to spend valuable time separating the wheat from the chaff.


Media Bridge once worked with a client that was literally bringing in poor leads: People wanted their product but couldn’t afford it. When we tweaked their target demo to include income, their web sessions went down and their conversions shot up, saving valuable time.



“In Full Metrics Media, the media team looks at the entire sales funnel, not just their part of it.”



The Human + Data Touch


Our chief marketing officer recently saw people inside the Green Monster manually changing scoreboard numbers at Fenway Park. “That’s us!” she said. Okay, it’s not literally us. But Full Metrics Media can’t be accomplished without human beings customizing every buy.


Example: One market could be great for a medical device manufacturer because it has high doctor enthusiasm, ample clinics to perform procedures and a favorable insurance climate. If one of our media buyers sees that a less optimal DMA is receiving the same media budget as that one based solely on demographics, they’ll change the plan to funnel more money to the more favorable market.


Humans are also better at knowing when numbers are inflated or unreliable. Say an automated media planning tool recommends that every DMA account for a maximum of 200 GRPs in a month. That might equate to only six spots a week in a certain market. But an experienced media buyer knows that ratings are traditionally inflated in that market. So they’ll bump up the frequency to achieve the right results.




Finally, Partial Metrics Media agencies often operate on a “set it and forget it” basis and miss opportunities to optimize campaigns. They’ll tell their planning tool that radio and TV are indexing high. They’ll plug in the points the client needs. Then it’s, “Go forth and conquer, media buyer!”


In a Full Metrics world, the buyer can say, “Hold on. Does the client have the infrastructure to handle the influx? If they don’t, how will this impact the next quarterly earnings call?” The media team looks at the entire sales funnel, not just their part of it.


FMM also means optimizing campaigns as they run. Media Bridge does this through a technology tool we’ve developed called eMBi, a centralized “place of truth” that shows us and our clients how campaigns are performing in real time. If an element of the media buy stops working, we’ll see it, and we can change it.


“Advertising is about growth, and growth is measured in business metrics, not planning metrics.”


Bottom Line


Advertising is about growth, and growth is measured in business metrics, not planning metrics. Full Metrics Media creates the kind of meaningful collaboration, accountability and transparency that fuels growth.


Why don’t more media agencies take an FMM approach? Because it’s harder and more labor-intensive than pressing a button, buying a cookie-cutter plan or holding yourself accountable only to GRPs, reach, frequency and impressions.


That’s too bad. Because when you truly care about helping a company grow, you’ll do things the better way, even when it’s the harder way.