Tag Archives: Owned Media

Earned, Owned, Paid


Defining Types of Media

Before discussing the benefits of the different types of media and how they come to mature over recent years, I think it would be a good idea to go over some definitions, and make sure that everyone is on the same page.


We’ll start with the media that people are most familiar with. Paid media has been the traditional way of advertising for generations. It is structured around the fact that there is, and likely will always be the existence of high traffic customer channels that businesses want to use to reach their target audience. In the past this has been everything from print, to radio, to television. Since the development of the internet however, paid media practices have evolved significantly to include such channels as online video commercials, banner ads, paid search, etc.


Our owned media consists of anything that the company owns the right to, and therefore can continually be used to reach an audience, regardless of whether or not you are paying for coverage of it. The greatest examples of owned media are company websites. They are an asset that the company owns, continually develops, and that customers can engage with as frequently as they’d like. There are minimal additional costs to the business to keep a site up-to-date and functioning properly compared with traditional media costs through where price is based on audience and time-allotted.


Earned media is the most efficient media source out of the three. Essentially, any content that your users generate for you (UGC) becomes earned media for you. You are not hosting the content, paying for it, and you don’t even need to distribute it. Social networking does a pretty good job of that for you.  The best thing about this type of media is that it occurs so naturally. A customer is so involved with your brand that they are willing to give up a portion of their online presence to let others know about you. The trust that comes from a peer to peer word of mouth information transaction is invaluable to the future success of your business. Your goal should be to develop as many of these brand ambassadors as you can and make sure that they continue to feel appreciated, so that they continue to post about your business and continue generating awareness of your brand through word of mouth.

One issue that has come up on the owned media side of things is the use of cookies to track customer’s online behavior patterns. As most of you already know a cookie refers to a code that keeps track of which sites you visit, what your web searches consist of, etc. Now the issue with tracking cookies is that it can be seen as an invasion of privacy. People generally don’t like the idea that their movements are being tracked and the idea of someone watching their search history can seem malicious. The reality of the matter is that cookies are used by businesses to track your activity in order to create a more meaningful user experience for their customers or potential customers. Cookies help alleviate much of the dissatisfaction that individuals run into on websites because they are able to anticipate your actions and speed up the processes for you. Cookie tracking has become taboo lately and has even been outlawed in the European Union, where customers must now opt-in to cookies before businesses may begin tracking them. The upside to this is more privacy on the part of the user, and they feel more comfortable searching the web and navigating websites. The downside to this however is that many people don’t understand the positive effect that cookies will have on their user experience, and after opting-out of tracking, they will be more likely to have a negative experience on a website  and believe that the source of the problem is the company. I think this will hurt marketing efforts in the coming years and e-commerce in the EU will suffer because of it until the realization is made that cookies are not necessarily a bad thing. I don’t believe that the United States will implement any such law in the foreseeable future. They understand the nature of the e-commerce user experience and will resist change on that front.

Native Advertising

One thing that can help counteract the implementation of anti-cookie is the use of native advertising on your website. This is essentially catering your advertisements to the content that is being discussed on the website. This eliminates much of the need for cookies when attempting to cater your advertisements to the individual customers.

The sheer number of outlets available today can seem both exciting and intimidating at the same time. The duties of a marketing department have grown to involve a whole new spectrum of media outlets and tactics in a short period of time. Transparency and customer engagement are of utmost importance in the new age of owned and earned media. Customer voice becomes a huge influencer in brand strength and due to the visibility that a positive or negative review can have. This feature means that brands now actually have to be who they say they are. Those who don’t practice what they preach are exposed quickly, and the internet can be a cold and unforgiving place for them.