How to Hire the Right Media Buyer and Never Get Burned Again

Finding the right media buyer or agency to run your ads is more challenging than ever. The market is flooded

Finding the right media buyer or agency to run your ads is more challenging than ever. The market is flooded with self-proclaimed experts who have minimal experience, making it difficult to discern who truly has the skills and knowledge to deliver results. Many business owners have horror stories of being burned by agencies, misled by overpromises, and ultimately mis-hiring, which can lead to wasted time, money, and opportunities.

The digital advertising industry has grown a lot in the last few years, which has seriously lowered the barrier to entry so much that anyone with basic knowledge can claim to be a media buyer even if they don’t really know what the heck they’re doing or how to actually get results.

This makes it super crucial to conduct thorough due diligence and research when hiring someone to manage your ad campaigns, especially when you’re spending a ton of money ads. Trust me, you’re going to want to make sure you have the right A-player in the driver’s seat. It makes all the difference.

At Mediabuyer.com, there’s a reason why we emphasize the importance of a rigorous vetting process. Having been in the industry for years and having personally experienced the frustrations of mis-hiring, I wanted to create a platform that helps business owner hire media buyers properly the first time so that you don’t make the same mistake I did when I was getting started.

I’m eager to share some insights on how to enhance your hiring process. Here are six steps to ensure you never mis-hire again, providing a structured approach to finding the right media buyer.

1. Pre-Requisites: Make Sure You’re Actually Ready

Before hiring a media buyer, you need to spend time making sure that your business is ready for one. Here’s the deal: whether you like it or not, hiring prematurely can lead to some serious inefficiencies and terrible results that end up tanking your ad spend, harming your brand, and damaging your bottomline. Consider these following prerequisites to check off before you consider hiring:

  • Proven Offer: Your product or service has a strong market fit and has shown positive results in the past. This means having concrete data and customer feedback that validate the demand and appeal of your offering. Your offer needs to not only be profitable but also have the potential for real growth. Otherwise, what’s the point?
  • Optimized Funnel: Your sales funnel should already be converting visitors into customers efficiently. An optimized funnel means that your business processes are in place and functioning well. This involves having clear stages in the funnel, from awareness to conversion, and ensuring each stage is fine-tuned to maximize efficiency. If you’re not converting with your current funnel, consider going back to the drawing board and running some smaller campaigns to test your funnels effectiveness before you start cranking up the ads with a media buyer.
  • High-Converting Creatives: Your messaging, visuals, and copy should be tested and proven to convert. High-quality creatives are absolutely essential for effective ad campaigns. This means having a bank of tested and validated ad creatives that resonate with your target audience.

By having these fundamentals in place, you can be confidence that you’ve set a strong foundation for a media buyer to build on, which ultimately increases the chances of success. An experienced media buyer will leverage these assets to amplify your marketing efforts rather than having to build from scratch, which can be time-consuming and less effective.

2. Clarify Your Needs

Understanding what you need from a media buyer is crucial. That means you MUST spend time defining your goals and the specific requirements for the role. Here’s some factors to think about before you start hiring:

  • What are your ROI goals and KPIs? Set clear objectives such as cost per acquisition (CPA), return on ad spend (ROAS), and cost per lead (CPL). These metrics will guide your media buyer’s strategy and help measure success. Clearly defined KPIs provide a roadmap for your media buyer and help in assessing performance.
  • What’s your ad spend budget? Determine your budget for ad campaigns. This will influence the scale and scope of your media buying activities. A well-defined budget ensures that both you and the media buyer have realistic expectations about what can be achieved.
  • What is your industry and who is your target market? Provide detailed information about your industry, niche, and target audience. Understanding your market is essential for creating effective ad strategies. This includes demographic, psychographic, and behavioral insights about your target audience.
  • Do you have a quality job description? Create a comprehensive job description that outlines responsibilities, expectations, and background information about your business, funnel, and offers. A detailed job description attracts the right candidates and sets clear expectations from the outset.

A clear understanding of your needs will help you attract candidates who are a good fit for your business and its goals. It also ensures that the media buyer can hit the ground running, as they will have a comprehensive understanding of what is expected and how their performance will be measured.

3. Rigorous Verification and Vetting Process

Proper vetting is critical to avoid making a bad hire. Scrutinize every aspect of a candidate’s claims, experiences, and track record.

Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your hiring process:

  • Verification: Don’t take claims at face value. Avoid relying solely on screenshots or easily manipulated data. Instead, request verifiable results and case studies. Look for detailed reports that include context, such as initial challenges, strategies employed, and final outcomes.
  • Technical Assessment: Conduct a technical assessment through a call or written questions. Ask about their approach to specific scenarios, campaign structures, budget management, and creative testing. Ensure you know what technical skills and knowledge to look for. This could include questions about their experience with different ad platforms, tools they use for optimization, and their approach to A/B testing.
  • References: Speak with at least 3-5 references to verify claims and experience. References provide valuable insights into a candidate’s reliability and performance. Ask specific questions about the candidate’s ability to meet targets, their communication skills, and how they handled challenges.

At Mediabuyer.com, we emphasize the importance of verifying that the person you’re considering is the real deal. It’s all too easy for people to fake their experience and results, so thorough vetting is essential. This step ensures that you are hiring someone with a proven track record of success, rather than someone who can talk the talk but not walk the walk.

4. Conduct In-Depth Interviews

You need to assess the candidate’s understanding of your industry, technical skills, and strategic approach through detailed interviews before you consider hiring them. There are many false prophets out there who claim to be good at media buying in your industry but have ZERO experience running ads that meet your needs. Consider these factors to avoid hiring the wrong fit:

  • Inputs vs. Outputs: Focus on the inputs that lead to successful outputs. For instance, instead of asking if they can do copywriting, inquire about the most influential or helpful copywriting books or courses they’ve studied. This gives you insight into their foundational knowledge and commitment to learning.
  • Technical Questions: Ask about metrics they prioritize, how they handle tracking and mis-attribution, and their optimization and creative testing processes. This helps you gauge their depth of knowledge and practical experience.
  • Scenario-Based Questions: Use scenarios to gauge their strategic thinking and problem-solving abilities. For example, ask how they would respond to a sudden drop in campaign performance. Their answers can reveal their critical thinking skills and ability to handle pressure.
  • Learning from Interviews: If you don’t learn something new from the first call, reconsider the candidate. Aim to interview 15-30 candidates to find the best fit. This extensive interviewing process increases the likelihood of finding someone who truly stands out.
  • Culture Fit: Ensure the candidate aligns with your company’s culture and values. A good cultural fit can enhance collaboration and overall performance. This can be assessed through questions about their work preferences, values, and how they handle teamwork and conflict.

5. Strategic Discovery Project

Before making a long-term commitment, ask candidates to develop a detailed media buying strategy and plan for your business. This will give you excellent insight into the long-term vision and thinking process of your hire and will help you assess if they are a great strategic fit for your team:

  • Real or Mock Situation: Provide an overview of your offer, funnel, and goals. Ask them to create a strategy based on this information. This should include a detailed plan with specific tactics, expected outcomes, and timelines.
  • Time Investment: The project should take approximately 3-4 hours of their time. This helps you identify candidates with a deep understanding of your business and alignment with your goals. It also demonstrates their ability to quickly grasp your business context and develop actionable strategies.

A strategic discovery project allows you to assess a candidate’s strategic thinking and how they would approach your specific business needs. It provides a clear indication of their expertise and whether their approach aligns with your business objectives.

6. Trial Project

Before fully committing, offer a trial project to see the candidate in action and assess their performance. This will help you weed out the pretenders and zero in on the high performers:

  • Show Their Work: A trial project allows candidates to demonstrate their skills rather than just talking about them. This could be a small campaign or a one-time project where they run your ads for 14-30 days. Observing them in action provides valuable insights into their practical capabilities and work ethic.
  • Multiple Trials: You can trial multiple media buyers simultaneously, giving each their own campaign or ad account. Although this can be costly and time-consuming, it provides a comprehensive comparison of their abilities. This approach can highlight subtle differences in strategy, execution, and results.
  • Set Clear Parameters: Establish a modest ad spend budget, specific target KPIs, and a defined timeframe for the trial. Evaluate candidates based on initial campaign performance, quality of work, and communication.

A trial project is a simple and practical way to make sure the candidate can deliver results and work effectively with your team. It provides a real-world assessment of their capabilities and fit with your business.

Bringing it all together

Hiring the right media buyer is probably the most important factor when it comes to the success of your ad campaigns. By following these six steps, you can avoid the pitfalls of mis-hiring and ensure you find a skilled, reliable, and strategic media buyer who can drive your business forward. Conduct thorough due diligence, clarify your needs, verify candidates’ claims, conduct in-depth interviews, and use strategic and trial projects to make informed hiring decisions.

This comprehensive approach will help you build a strong, effective partnership with your media buyer and achieve your advertising goals for the long haul.

Good luck :).


At Mediabuyer.com, we pride ourselves on being the world’s top marketplace for media buyers. Our platform connects you with the top 1% percent of media buyers who have been rigorously pre-vetted to ensure they meet the highest standards of expertise and performance.

Click HERE to apply to join Mediabuyer.com today to browse our marketplace and discover the perfect media buyer for your business.

If you’re ready to take your digital advertising to the next level, we invite you to explore our pool of exceptional media buying talent. Complete an interest survey and book a call with a member of our team to learn more about how Mediabuyer.com can help you find the perfect media buyer for your business. Visit Mediabuyer.com today to get started and never worry about mis-hiring again.

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