I’m hearing a lot of talk about Owned, Bought (Paid) and Earned Media but what do these terms actually mean? Forrester have summarised each of these digital media types and their roles:
Understanding the differences between these media types and how best to apply them is important when developing a digital strategy.
Essentially, owned media are objects and channels that brands control in terms of design and content. Owned media examples are a brand’s websites, mobile sites, blogs and eDMs to their opt-in database; as well as partially owned channels such as Facebook pages, YouTube and Twitter accounts.
As brands look at options for directing traffic, the identification and creation of strategic landing pages within social hubs are being used as a bridge that connects social experiences to owned website pages containing more information.
The first step in effective social media strategies is to listen. By investing in research, brands can uncover locations where their communities are already active and from there build a strategy for where to establish social presences and the frequency, time and extent of engagements.
Bought (Paid) media is the exposure that brand’s purchase such as display ads (banners), paid search, and sponsorships. Bought media obviously has a role but it can at times be exaggerated by agencies who make money based on percentages of media spend. While some argue over the future and fate of digital advertising, it’s clear is that when combined with owned and earned media as part of a holistic digital strategy, online paid presences can raise awareness and benefit programs where experiences are measured and promoted through the click path.
Earned media is where a brand has done something so cool that people want to create their own content to tell others about it and so it is “earned”. Earned media is reflected in the tweets, status updates, blog posts, comments and ultimately actions of the brand’s community of consumers, peers, and influencers.
A misconception is that Earned media is about getting free media when budgets are tight. Earned media is a not free, you have to work for it. It is not necessarily a cheap option, and is more time-consuming than buying media with big networks. Consumers don’t trust advertising but they do trust peer recommendation, earned media is about communicating with consumers on their level and gaining trust based on genuine understanding.
While earned media is something that brands cannot control, it can however be influenced. Social influence marketing is a product that a number of agencies are now selling to incite viral and word-of-mouth activity. It can be tied to communications and public relations programs as that seek to gain the attention of journalists, bloggers, analysts, and influencers who can drive awareness and behavior.