Social media and paid, owned and earned media


Social media has not only changed the way communication agencies work but have also changed and erased the boundaries between the different types of paid, owned and earned media.

By Alejandro Bagilet

Paid, owned and earned media

If you buy a Facebook ad or pay an ad in a print magazine those are examples of paid media, since we didn’t earned them. No matter how good or bad your product or message is, the audience will see/read/hear it. Users are becoming more and more suspicious of this type of advertising and brands/businesses tend to favor native advertising (Facebook promoted stories for example). This kind of advertisement adapts to the context where it is shown and doesn’t seem to be out of place or invasive.

Owned media shows up when a company/brand has its own blog, design infographics, create shareable content that can drive traffic to their website, for example. This kind of media might involve more time and investment than the other kind, but the results may be long term and can reach unusual places through viral distribution.

Thirdly, earned media means, for example, when an agency shows one of his works and other media reproduce it. The agency didn’t pay to display their material and therefore is considered earned. When the contents are attractive, creative and original, earned media is usually the reaching point. For example, the video of Jean Claude Van Damme doing a spectacular trick with two tractors was reproduced by Mashable, among other media, and got a huge exposure.

Other kind of media

Some companies or agencies negotiate between them to publish their content on each other’s communication platforms. Many companies are surrounded by bloggers or influencers to get more exposure and coverage and in these examples the boundaries between different media types are blured.

Shared media is where the influence of extremely user-generated content have the biggest influence. When a brand asks followers/fans to do something for it (through creative and original proposals) these fans or influencers take the baton and spread the word, carrying the brand “name” with them. This type of media is one of the most difficult to achieve because it involves creating communications that may got viral and enable continuous interaction and feedback with the users.

The influence of social media

The main goal of communication agencies is to ensure that everything is connected and work as an integrated environment. Social networking has created an ecosystem where the feedback and discussions are ongoing and we must pay attention to the effectiveness of our communication methods.

In this new media landscape the key point is the earned media. We can say that it’s the result of paid and owned media. When we create an advertisement or a promotion in Facebook, the key point is getting people to reproduce our message in their own media where they work or where they spend time and then it would become earned media.

In conclusion those in charge of each type of media must work together, coordinated to achieve the goals set at the beginning of the communication strategy. Check out thisexample.