Gone are the days when media buying and planning was an intimidating field that was supposedly meant for the pros. Today you can join the industry and compete with the…

An Unbiased Review of Media Buying and Planning Software Tools

An Unbiased Review of Media Buying and Planning Software Tools

Gone are the days when media buying and planning was an intimidating field that was supposedly meant for the pros. Today you can join the industry and compete with the rest provided you select the right strategy. One of the main factors that make a successful media buyer is the choice of media buying tools. But before we go there, what is media buying? In simple terms, it involves a media agency that channels relevant advertisements to a given group of audiences. For instance, a message about medicines meant for people above the age of 65 will not be ideal for children or teenagers – unless, of course, they have enrolled in a related course. As such, it would be wise to select the right time and place to display such ads, and that is where the media buyers come in.

Now back to our main subject: a media tool is essential to the success of any media buying agency. It can be quite cumbersome considering the trouble that these agencies have to go through to complete a day’s job. The market is full of different media buying tools, but not all of them are ideally designed for your specific purpose. Therefore, we have come up with a list of media buying tools that will meet your specific needs without tying you to some unwanted contracts. And remember, the speed and efficiency of your preferred media tool is directly proportional to the financial benefits. Here are some of the best media buying software tools according to user reviews. Please note that the list is not arranged in any particular order.


Although it is the most popular media buying tool, Excel is not the best – at least not in this time and age. Excel has been the first go-to software for many professional media buyers – Yes, the Microsoft Excel we all know. In fact, our research shows that it is still the most-used tool for creating media plans. A media team may use several resources, but at the end of it all, they turn to Excel to compile the information. The main advantage is the fact that it is fairly easy to use if you are looking to gather, organize, and present the selected data. However, that is just about all it can do for you.

One drawback that cannot go unmentioned is its lack of media-specific features. In other words, the user has to populate the spreadsheet manually since it doesn’t know what an impression, placement, or a campaign me. Imagine you have 50 spreadsheets for a given campaign, and you want to search for a specific result and in an unknown spreadsheet, quite tough, right? Well, that is another disadvantage of using Excel in this industry. Our verdict on this tool is simple; do not rely on it.


Speaking of Excel alternatives, Bionic ticks most of the boxes. The best thing about this media tool is that it comes with that Excel-like feel. It is flexible and easy to use but with more built-in features. In fact, it has been nicknamed “Excel on steroids” due to the improvements it has made as compared to its Microsoft counterpart. Some of the additional built-in features that you will find in the Bionic software include research capabilities, Requests for Proposals, advertising flowcharts, analyzing tools, and consistency. Do you want software that will help you in invoice reconciliation after purchasing media? Bionic fits the bill


Arguably the oldest media planning tool in the market, FreeWheel – famously known as Strata – has been around for more than 30 years. It provides a complete platform for media buyers, advertisers, and publishers. Also, FreeWheel also has a reporting feature that sets it apart from the likes of Excel.

What is more exciting about this tool is its attempt to make the industry more automated. Now that Excel is slowly being phased out, the next step in the world of media buying is to create software that will make work a lot easier. The developers of FreeWheel – Comcast Company – have made a step in the right direction by kick-starting that particular innovation. Part of the new features includes automated invoice reconciliation and mid-flight optimization.

Kantar Media Planningkarta media planning

The fact that many huge and successful companies across the world use it to maximize their advertisement output says a lot about the reputation of the Kantar Media Planning tool. This is an all-in-one media planning tool that allows the user to gain relevant information regarding their market. As such, your approach towards marketing will be more targeted, which is the main characteristic of a successful advertising campaign. Of course, this is something that most planning tools do, but what makes Kantar more advantageous is the inclusion of customer reviews on the company as a whole. This paints a clear picture of the improvements required for the products and services.



Finally, we have another excellent software tool that does just about anything that an ideal media planning and buying tool would do. BluHorn is probably one of the best currently in the market. Some of the main features that come with BluHorn include traffic management and real-time updates. Based on customer reviews, BluHorn has been voted among the best media planning tools together with Bionic. The best thing about BluHorn is that it only charges for the features used. Most media buying tools have extra properties for which one is expected to pay even if they are not using them. For your  Invoice reconciliation after purchasing media, do not not look too far, bluhorn is nulli secundus. While other tools come as  la Carte,  blueHorn is table d hote.


Closing Remarks

In conclusion, every media planning and buying tool in the market has its specific strengths and weaknesses. As such, you need to understand the benefits and see how they outweigh the disadvantages. Depending on the tool, you might need to pay for the extra features. This is another reason why you should make sure you have gathered enough information before finally deciding on which tool to subscribe to.



Helen Elizabeth Williams is the owner of DreamcatcherReality.com, where she is a staff writer. Her passions are: spirituality, meditation and polo. She adores all animals, but horses have a special place in her heart. She loves the diversity of our cultures, the beauty of simple people and the harmony of Mother Nature. ♥

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