The increasing use and capabilities of the Internet have given digital marketers access to hundreds of delivery and marketing channels.
It is undeniable that the opportunities have massively increased for marketers to target their audience online. However in order to this effectively, they have to master an ever-evolving number of strategies, channels and tactics.
To engage the modern consumer, today’s digital marketers have to create a multi-channel strategy that makes use of all three types of digital media: paid, earned and owned. It’s important to understand the difference between each of these types of digital media and how they can work together to benefit your business.
What is Owned Media?
Owned media is a term that refers to the online properties that belong to the brand or business. This includes the company’s website, blogs, social media channels, apps, and online stores.
Paid and earned media are both designed to drive prospects to a company’s owned media, so it’s important that it is designed in a way that converts these visitors and leads into paying customers.
What is Paid Media?
With paid media, a brand pays to advertise on another channel with the objective of driving traffic to their website, or other owned media property. Before embarking on a paid media strategy, it’s important to ensure it is well thought out and executed, with effective calls-to-action that will direct a prospect through the buying funnel to sale.
The following are some of the most effective paid digital channels:
- Display Ads: Display ads are a cost-effective way of reaching your target audience on relevant websites. Targeting is extremely refined with display advertising, which makes it an effective option for online advertisers.
- Paid Search:Paid search advertising shows text-based ads on search engine results pages to people who are searching for your products or services. As you only pay when someone clicks your ad, this can be a cost-effective method of online advertising.
- Social Media ads: Social media platforms capture 33% of the timeusers spend online, so they are a good place to advertise. The different platforms, from Facebook to Twitter, Linked In and YouTube all offer a range of advertising options for businesses.
- Content Syndication: Placing your content on popular websites as “Related Posts” or “More From Around the Web” links is a great way to get your content out in front of a much larger audience. There are a number of paid services that syndicate content across a network of publishers, to deliver content to targeted and relevant audiences.
Paid media is a vital part of any online marketing strategy. The beauty of paid marketing is that while it does cost to advertise, it doesn’t need to break the bank. On all of the above channels, you can start with a very small budget, find out what’s working and increase it as the leads start to come in.
What is Earned Media?
Unlike its counterpart, earned media can’t be bought. It is basically the online form of word of mouth advertising, where the customer or client talks about, shares, likes, or comments on a brand. This can involve discussions around the brand’s content, or sharing their own experiences with the business. Simply put, it is where influencers convince other prospects to look further into a brand, or its products or services. When done well, earned media can result in increased visibility and reach.
Earned media generates increased brand exposure by placing your message in new and different media environments. It also promotes the brand through authoritative sources, which is extremely effective in building trust in your business.
Businesses are often attracted to earned media as it is ‘free’. However, it often takes a lot of background effort to generate enough interest in the brand for an influencer to take notice of it. It’s also important to consider that with earned media, you have very little control over the content and its placement.
Getting Paid and Earned Media to Work Together
From the above, it’s clear that there are many differences between paid and earned media. The main being that paid media is typically easier to control and target, however, earned media has greater potential to spread.
The most effective digital marketing strategy will incorporate both paid and earned media, as well as owned. The better these channels integrate, the more success you’ll see in your campaign.
Integrating these channels and optimising your strategy doesn’t need to be complicated, simply follow these core principles:
- Use your owned media to house content that is engaging, customer focused and solves a customer’s problem
- Strategically spread that content through targeted paid media
- Build trust in your brand to develop a strong network of brand advocates
When you can get these channels to truly work together, you’ll start seeing the results in your campaign.