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Paid vs Earned vs Owned Media

Posted on May 2, 2013 by Ian Byrne

There are a lot of buzzwords floating around our industry these days: integration, dynamic, content curation, selfies…

Then there’s a big one: paid vs earned vs owned media.

It’s kinda fun that the digital marketing industry gest to coin our own phrases. It makes my job a whole lot easier when explaining what’s going on in the market and helps conceptualise what can be an oft misunderstood and foreign idea for many brands out there.

So what is paid vs earned vs owned media?

Paid Media

Anything you spend money on that advertises your brand. So print ads, Google adwords, Facebook ads etc. The bread and butter of advertising.

Earned Media

When you do something that’s shared. Think word-of-mouth, Re-Tweets, Facebook shares, blog coverage, or the holy grail – virality. This is where quality of content comes into play. To dumb it down – the better your content/message is, the more chance you’ll earn your media. NOTE: you also have to optimise it accordingly.

Owned Media

Anything you have control over. So your website, social channels (to an extent), logos, mobile apps, brochures, content etc. You’re the one who dictates how everything is presented.

So which is the best for your brand?

Each one has unique benefits, but the impact of your messaging is magnified when combined. Amplification is the name of the game. The more areas you can have an integrated campaign the better, and as always, having quality content to share is the key.

For a more detailed breakdown check out this awesome Smart Insights blog post.

Ian is VP of 88 Creative. Follow him on twitter @ianobyrno .

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