Owned, Earned and Paid Digital Media

A Breakdown of Owned Earned Paid Digital Media

What is Digital Media?..It’s Confusing…I Don’t Understand All This Mumbo Jumbo!

Great question. It definitely can be confusing. In this blog post, I will help clarify what digital media is…in layman’s terms.

Digital Marketing is defined as the promotion of a brand using all forms of digital advertising, which includes Internet, mobile, TV, radio and outdoor. Digital Marketing can be categorized into three types of media – earned, owned and paid.

Hence, the term digital media.

Due to the evolution of Internet and mobile, consumers have changed the way they respond to advertising and make buying decisions. There are a plethora of brand options at consumers’ fingertips now, which puts them in charge, not the marketer.

Today, the market responds to “pull marketing strategies” (listening to consumer needs, research, production and marketing), rather than “push marketing strategies” (research, production and marketing). Business owners and marketers must make this adjustment, if they want to achieve marketing ROI and sustainable profitability.

Continue reading for a breakdown of digital media and marketing, based on consumer behavior today. Let’s take a look at “digital earned media”, “digital owned media”, and “digital paid media”.

Infographic below from the view from hereEarned, Owned, and Paid Media

Digital Earned Media

Digital earned media is any advertising or marketing activity that is unpaid, such as search engine optimization, word-of-mouth, online PR, viral marketing and others. Therefore, the word “earned” in this sense should be taken literally. Earned media is synonymous with inbound marketing (or pull marketing strategies). It represents good ol’ fashion creativity, strategy and hard work. Of the three types of digital media, earned media requires the smallest budget spend. The correlating expense is primarily staff related, due to high level of expertise required to obtain a share of the market.

Earned media tactics require consistent workflow and they generally don’t produce short-term returns, but the effects of earning media is often the most influential to consumers. When combining earned media tactics into an integrated marketing communication plan, the results can be accelerated. In particular, an effective online PR campaign can position your earned media program to acquire quick search engine placements and social media presence. It’s been my experience that businesses should plan for a long-term earned media program, consisting of 6 to 12 months of activities in order to penetrate their market, generate a measurable return and acquire market share.

Digital Owned Media

Digital owned media is any advertising or marketing activity that is owned or controlled by a company, such as your website, blog, microsites, mobile apps, social media presence, videos and others. Therefore, the word “owned” should also be taken literally. It represents good ol’ fashion ingenuity, innovation and working capital. Of the three types of digital media, owned media takes the longest to produce a measurable return.

Owned media production requires highly skilled staff to plan and develop projects correctly. Often times, there is trial and error involved with the media development lifecycle, and consistent maintenance and management is required to keep owned media current. For example, websites of yesterday are no longer acceptable for consumers of today, in lieu of responsive websites. However, businesses that accept the responsibility of owning their media and are early adaptors of modern web technologies can position themselves to win and have the greatest influence on consumers.

When combining owned and earned media tactics into an integrated marketing communication, the results can be far reaching and the returns can be profitable. It’s been my experience that businesses should plan upgrades to their owned media annually, in order to reposition their owned media assets, penetrate emerging markets, gain market share and sustain profitability.

Digital Paid Media

Digital paid media is any advertising or marketing activity that requires payment for placement, such as print ads, TV, radio, display ads, paid search, direct mail and others. Therefore, the word “paid” should be taken literally as well. Paid media is synonymous with outbound marketing (or push marketing strategies). It represents good ol’ fashion big business, ad budgets and  investment capital. Of the three types of digital media, paid media is perhaps the most expensive, but it can produce immediate measurable returns if executed properly.

Today, paid media is more advantageous for big and medium enterprises, rather than small businesses. It requires experienced media planners and buyers to position brands, products and services in the marketplace strategically and systematically. The decline in paid media response is directly related to the abundant amount of paid advertisements and shift in consumer behavior. However, small businesses can win at paid media by monitoring, testing and scaling their paid media in accordance with performance.

When combining earned, owned and paid media tactics into an integrated marketing communication, it enables businesses to deliver a more influential brand message and save money on media production. It’s been my experience that businesses should test paid media on a small scale, and leverage the ad campaigns that work by scaling them to other channels in order to produce returns, gain market share and sustain profitability.

My Digital Media Conclusion

The current marketing environment lends to inbound marketing (ie..pull marketing strategies) over outbound marketing (ie..push marketing strategies). New technologies are constantly being introduced to the digital marketing landscape. Digital marketing is complex and it has a lot of nuances. Earned, owned and paid media gives us a platform to understand digital marketing better and how it can be implemented to contribute to digital marketing strategy and business growth.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this blog post. Please leave your comments below or send me an email.

All the best,

Anthony

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