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Investment in media is frequently grouped into the 3 media ‘buckets’ of earned, shared and paid which each give opportunities to influence customers. None of these media types are new, but what is new is the increasing prominence given to owned and earned media while paid media has always dominated in the past.
It’s a positive move since it poses questions about how best to measure the returns from social media and set the investment at the right level.
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In some sectors, there may be a tendency to focus more on the typically higher-cost paid media or lower-cost earned and owned media, but we recommend a balanced approach will often work best for “always-on” media activities, while for campaign objectives you may choose to ‘dial up’ a particular media/channel depending on your objectives.
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1. Paid media. Simple. Paid or bought media are media where there is investment to pay for visitors, reach or conversions through search, display ad networks or affiliate marketing. Offline traditional media like print and TV advertising and direct mail remain important accounting for a large share of paid media spend.
2. Earned media. Traditionally, earned media has been the name given to publicity generated through PR invested in targeting influencers to increase awareness about a brand. Of course, it’s still an investment.
3. Owned media. This is media owned by the brand. Online this includes a company’s own websites, blogs, mobile apps or their social presence on Facebook, Linked In or Twitter. Offline owned media may include brochures or retails stores.
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As you can see, each of the 3 media offers today’s digital marketer a plethora of approaches, and channels. As always, we recommend planning your goals and objectives before diving head-first into the world of media. As well as planning your own activity, setting clear digital marketing goals and objectives will help you get buy-in from colleagues and brief agencies better. Moreover, if you need to expand your paid media budget, you will need to have a clear justification to do so, and planning can help you produce the numbers to back this up.
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As you can see, there is overlap between the three different types of media. It is important to note this since achieving this overlap requires the integration of campaigns, resources and infrastructure throughout your multichannel marketing strategy.
A popular multichannel marketing tactic includes planning content on a content hub or site being broken down (atomized) and shared into other paid and earned media types. With the right budget, this activity could even be powered by APIs and widgets, taking the labour out of the task at hand. Clearly, multichannel marketing is key to unleashing the full power of your media content.
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When it comes to selecting media investment, our content distribution matrix tool helps to review the paid, owned and earned media options in terms of the value of the investment.
It works both to review the effectiveness of existing media investments or consider future investments, in line with your objectives.
Of course, the world of media is moving quickly so it pays to be scanning and anticipating media changes to continue to cut through the noise and reach your customers. Here’s what our matrix looks like at the moment, although you may want to tweak yours according to your own internal findings:
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Summarising a brand’s current use of paid-owned-earned media is a powerful technique as part of marketplace analysis for developing marketing strategy.
This marketplace mapping visualization presented by Rich Kirk at Brighton SEO over 5 years ago is still a great visualization for marketers today since it overlays different types of touchpoint point on the customer journey against Paid Owned and Earned media.
In conclusion, while none of these media types are new, digital marketers are certainly warming up to the opportunities available for owned and earned media types alongside paid media. You can use the diagrams/matrix to plan your media activity and dial-up your media mix according to your marketing plan.
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