What is the difference between Earned, Owned and Paid Media?

Digital media has its own language. The terms can be confusing at times, so here is a definition of the three most important types of media: Earned, Owned and Paid

Earned:  Mainly comprised of organic traffic. Posts, shares, mentions, re-posts, reviews, recommendations or content distributed by the brand that third-party sites can pick up. 

Owned:  Any web property that is controlled by the brand.  Examples include websites, blogs and some social media channels.  The more owned media the brand has the more avenues for content to find its way outside of the brand's sphere and into the target audience and third-party sites. 

Paid:  Any paid promotion of content or offer.  This type of media can include native advertising, text ads, paid influencers, display ads...anything that requires a cost to air.  The most important consideration is that the ads are presenting the brand to potentially new audiences that otherwise would be difficult to reach organically.

Media will work only if it has quality and relevant content.  Once I had a client that was in the business of manufacturing a B2C product.  They had a blog, and one day they realized that the most traffic came from blog posts that talked about digital marketing.  They continued posting about digital marketing to increase traffic, but the problem was that the people consuming this content where not the right audience for their product.  So all that traffic was useless unless they wanted to start a digital marketing agency. 

You have one chance to make it right.  You have one touch to introduce yourself to that potential consumer.  Make it count. 
— Naira Perez

The most radical "spaghetti to the wall" tactics, throwing something out there to see if it "sticks" is cheap and easy to do:  Anybody can do that... Anybody can go to a channel and set up a campaign.  But this approach may burn bridges and hurt the brand in the long run. The results will be poor when in reality the exercise could have worked if the approach would have been thoughtful and deliberate.

Audiences easily cross channels and types of media, so make sure the strategies align between all three of them align.  Otherwise you will only create confusion and distrust in your brand.

We are here to help you understand more.  Sing up for more bite-sized pieces of knowledge that you can consume while in the train, while in the bus or during your kid's soccer practice (although make sure you also cheer for them when they score). 

By Naira Perez