Infographic | Paid, Owned and Earned Media: What's the Difference?

As the marketing and digital spaces continue to change as social media and online PR gain even more significance, processes of budgeting, reporting and investing in media have to adapt in order to target where target audiences are spending the majority of their time.
This is where distinguishing between paid, earned and owned media becomes all the more important, as all offer valuable opportunities to influence customers. Although these types of media aren’t new, it’s the prominence of and approach to owned and earned media which has changed, challenging the more traditional paid media.
All three media types are crucial for a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. The ratio of focus, time and resources will depend on the business, industry and target audience but all three have a place in the modern digital landscape.
In order to help you identify how each can fit into your marketing activities, we created this infographic. It highlights the key differences between paid, owned and earned media, gives direction as to who they each best target, and their key features for success.
The Media Octopus Paid Owned and Earned Media Infographic

Using media formulas via social media

Consider that advertising has changed from an approach which was heavily focused on paid media driving marketing initiatives to one which incorporates additional marketing channels, both on- and offline.
These days, owned and earned media are vital to campaigns, working together to help spread brand messages across various devices, screens and media where audiences are spending their time. These two media types, merged with paid, are in turn creating media hybrid patterns: Earned + Paid, Owned + Paid, Earned + Owned, plus all three working together.
Here are some examples of these ‘formulas’ in action in relation to social media channels:

  • Extend your content’s reach
    Create blog content and share it on your social media channels then, to extend its reach, make it a sponsored post to encourage wider visibility.
  • Maximise the success of downloads
    Invite your customers or loyal community to share ideas and tips for an eBook on your website. Present on SlideShare, then distribute the eBook to contributors individually via email – likely to be shared via their own networks and reach a wider audience.
  • Encourage social fans via discounts
    Create Facebook-only discounts so customers have to Like your company page to use it – they are exposed to your brand. This is the start of an online relationship which could develop into brand loyalty.
  • Get influential industry people on board
    Invite (and pay) influencers to write articles or features for your company blog, then amplify this through social media, to generate mentions and wider reach.

Being more aware of the distinction between the three media types can help to guide your digital marketing strategy and actions for future campaigns, while assisting in content creation and curation. By combining all three, you’ll have an overall approach with a wider reach to help target the right people.
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About the Author: TMO