Understanding the Difference Between Owned,Paid and Earned Media

 Which Type of Media do You Need to Brand Effectively?  Earned, Owned or Paid Media.

Remember good things come in three, and this is no exception.

With the onset of the interactive marketing space, there are ongoing talks and confusion about what the terms “earned, owned, and paid (aka bought) “media” mean today. So much so, that all these types of “media” have been lumped together as a simplified way for interactive marketers to categorize and ultimately prioritize all of the media options they have today.

Dan Goodall’s 2009 posts did an excellent job at pioneering the concept of this simple model.  Many agencies, including  AH Marketing Group (my company), R/GA, Critical Mass, Sapient use the model to help develop digital strategies. On top of that, many industry leaders such as Pete Blackshaw, and David Armano have written about the subject.

Forbes magazine has written a good article about earned media measurement and the expansion of earned media, to in addition to magazine and newspaper, now include blogs, social posts, and videos too.

Owned Earned Paid Media

So simply put, here is what earned, paid and owned media mean:

Earned Media is when you have done something so fascinating or newsworthy that the public, and the press, want to use their own channels to tell others about it, and hence you earn media. In other words, the mentions are “earned” because they are given by others without coercion or financial rewards.

Paid media is when you pay a third-party channel to give authority to your brand and company. It may come in the form of sponsorships, sponsored articles, advertising on third-party sites, and hiring brand ambassadors to tweet or post on your behalf, endorsement falls into this category too.

Owned media is when you take advantage of the promotion opportunity that a channel you create and control offers you.  Many channels fall under this category. Think of your company blog, Facebook Page, Twitter account, YouTube channel, your website, and your Instagram.   Even though you don’t own your YouTube channel or your Facebook page, your company controls the content produced and published on it.

(Full disclosure: My company offers earned,owned and paid media solutions.)


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