Paid, earned and owned media

What’s an effective paid, owned and earned (POE) media strategy?

02/03/2021 12:44:32
The notion of the ‘paid’ ‘owned’ and ‘earned’ media framework was first defined by Forrester Research way back in 2009.

But what do we mean by each of these three categories which form part of the armoury of media touchpoints used to communicate to the target audience and which is the most effective to utilise in an ever increasingly digital-centric media landscape?

‘Paid’ media

Facebook advertisingTV and radio adverts as well as print advertising were more at the forefront of paid media when the framework was first devised. But while these traditional media formats are still relevant, online spend in the form of Pay Per Click (PPC) adverts and promoted social media posts have become core elements of the paid marketing stream to reflect the huge growth in digital communications channels and social media. 

Successful paid media spend with a positive return on investment (ROI) has always relied on effective targeting; and with social media campaigns in particular, this is certainly achievable. Without breaking the bank, paid campaigns via Facebook or promoted Tweets have the potential to grab attention and drive conversions because they can be specifically targeted at the distinct profile and lifestyle of the user.

‘Owned’ media

Owned media including blogsWebsites and social media channels are the mainstay of the ‘owned’ media space these days with blogs also increasingly integral. This is the channel which can be readily controlled by a business, but consumers are becoming more sceptical when it comes to learning about a company or brand from the company or brand itself.

Yet paid and earned media content will often mean consumers will circle back to owned media channels and interpret them in a different light. So, having an effective SEO strategy in place whereby owned media platforms rank higher in organic search listings than competitors is vitally important from a visibility perspective.

‘Earned’ media

There is little doubt that brand advocates and influencers have become hugely influential in the ‘earned’ space with more and more consumers relying on the views of their own peers before making a purchasing decision.

And by that we’re increasingly talking about the influence of bloggers and social media users, in the earned media space as the most powerful adversaries shaping our decision-making rather than merely celebrity endorsement and traditional media outlets.

However, it’s often the result of well executed paid and owned media activity consumed which dictates the sentiment for a company or brand that bloggers and social media users will convey to their own audience; this demonstrates precisely why the three types of media can never work in isolation.

An integrated campaign

The truth is that each element is much more effective when it is implemented in tandem with the other media streams and not in complete isolation, so convergence and overlap remain essential.

Social media usage is a prime example of this overlap in motion. A Facebook or LinkedIn comment (earned) or promoted tweet (paid) can be the first time someone hears about a company or brand and that drives them straight to a website (owned).

Whilst the actual content assets produced for either ‘paid’, ‘owned’ or ‘earned’ media channels have changed significantly over time, there’s no doubt that they are all still vital as part of a fully integrated marketing campaign.

Above all else, be it by implementing more of a focus on content via paid, owed or earned media channels, it’s always been a compelling proposition effectively communicated that will successfully engage with the target audience concerned.