What Is Paid Owned and Earned Media and Why Is Everyone Using It?

Everyone is talking about it but what is paid owned and earned media and wat does it mean for startup marketers?  

In this article we look at paid media, owned media, and earned media and considder how these are beig used to elevate marketing effectiveness. 

what is paid owned and earned media

So, what is paid owned and earned media?

Here is a short summary: When money is exchanged for exposure, this is called paid media (example: display ads or commercials) Definition of “Owned Media” – Media Outlets that You Have Full Control Over (example: your website) Earned media refers to when someone other than you promotes your business’s name and/or message (such posting a photo of them riding the new electric bike they bought from you on their instagram feed, or ratings on Trust Pilot or Google).

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Who wouldn’t want their start-up to be featured in the media? And some marketers seem to be very good at getting their brands featured everywhere you look.

A brand can interact with the public and increase visibility through one of three channels: owned, paid, or earned media.

But not everyone is aware of how the three channels differ from one another. Is social media, for instance, an owned or an earned channel? Which media platform gets the most traction for your start-up?

Examples of paid media, owned media, and earned media each serve a certain purpose and demand a particular strategy. The best approach to ensure that your message reaches your target audience is to take the time to learn about each one and how it fits into your entire marketing strategy.

In this article, we examine the distinctions between owned, paid, and earned media as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each. We also provide some examples of businesses that have successfully widened their market reach by utilising each of the channels.

what is paid owned and earned media

What is owned, paid and earned media?

Your brand can reach its audience through a variety of content kinds and distribution channels, including owned, paid, and earned media. Most of the marketing we observe belongs to one of these three categories of media, from social media sponsorships to YouTube advertisements.

Despite the differences between paid, owned, and earned media, they all have the same ultimate objective: to increase brand recognition and sales.

In actuality, the most effective marketers use a variety of mediums. They combine the three to produce a thorough media strategy.

However, in order to achieve this, you must first be able to distinguish between earned, owned, and paid media.

We describe each sort of media in detail and explain how it fits into a brand’s broader marketing strategy in the sections that follow.

Defining Paid Media

Any form of information or marketing channel that requires money is considered paid media. This form of paid media, including billboard advertisements, commercials, and PPC, is already recognisable to the majority of us (pay per click).

Paid media targets particular consumer groups, such a particular demographic or even previous clients.

Why should you pay for media coverage? If you’re just getting started and interested in establishing a clientele, paid media works incredibly well because it ensures that your content will reach your target audience.

Paid media tactics are useful for retargeting or remarketing to clients who have previously expressed interest in your company (i.e., past customers, past visitors to your site).

Paid media offers a great deal of potential when combined with other media types for targeting consumers with strong buy intent.

Reasons Start-Ups Use Paid Media


What is the price of paid media?

The channel and length of your advertisement will determine the price of paid media. For instance, social media advertisements are relatively inexpensive compared to full-page print advertisements, which may be rather expensive.

The cost is also influenced by the length or frequency of the advertisement. Will the advertisement run for a particular holiday weekend or for a month? The number of individuals who view your advertisement rises with a longer run period, but the cost does too.

The setup fee should also be taken into account because it frequently exceeds the price of the paid media placement. You will need to account for an additional contractor price if you don’t have someone on staff to generate your assets.

The creation of content, as well as its design, production, and website setup, are additional costs related to sponsored media.

How long does using sponsored media take?

Setting up a paid media campaign can take a lot of time if you’re starting from scratch with a new advertisement. On the other side, you’ll save a tonne of time up front if you’re promoting or updating an existing piece of content.

You might also seek to create landing pages to which visitors will be led after clicking the advertisement in order to get the most out of your sponsored media. Landing pages might take some time to construct and should be properly developed to convert leads into buyers.

Advertising, which is of course a form of paid media, will start working fairly quickly, assuming you have the targeting, message and value proposition right. People can view adverts as soon as they are posted. Because of this, paid advertising is especially useful for early stage business who miggt be impatient with attracting buyers, visitors or leads.

What is paid media’s return on investment (ROI)?

Depending on the type of channel, cost of goods supplied, client lifetime value, etc., the ROI for sponsored media can vary greatly. The good news is that most paid media channels allow you to track critical metrics and monitor them, allowing you to determine just how much ROI you’re receiving in comparison to direct spending.

Knowing your budget and the minimum amount of sales needed in advance can help you decide whether the paid media channel is worthwhile.

What about media and communication channels for paid media?

Paid media could obviously include traditional or digital media channels, or perhaps a combination of the two. It really just depends on where your market is. In today’s competitive market, as brands, we need to meet customers where THEY are. 

A common phrase used today is Omnichannel. This refers to understanding and using all the communication channels that surround our customers or clients. These customers do not think about digital vs non digital in a different way. Their interest is that their needs are met. So if this happens online or in the real world, makes little difference. So as a brand, as yourself where your customers are, in terms of communication channel options, and find the best way to engage them there.


Paid media approaches you could be using.

1. Display advertisements

One of the pioneers of online paid media, display adverts. Their widespread static banner advertisements that were displayed in website sidebars contributed significantly to their initial popularity.

But since then, display ads have advanced significantly. Here are a few alternatives for display ads right now:


A brief advertisement that appears when website users browse (these can be triggered depending on time, clicks, exit intent, etc.) Ads that fill the entire page as the background image of a website. 

When a user scrolls past an area of the page, a brief video advertisement will begin to play.

Display advertising are typically among the most reasonably priced forms of paid media. The price, however, also relies on the site you want, the precise paid media placement (above the fold will cost more), and the volume of visitors the site typically receives.

Display advertising is great  for remarketing or retargeting campaigns because their eye-catching visuals can quickly draw in potential customers and serve as a reminder of your company or website. 

2. Social media promotion

The majority of adverts on social media platforms are made to look natural in their surroundings. For instance, Instagram uses native advertisements that show up in your feed. You might not even realise that some of the social media posts are paid advertisements if you’re just skimming through them.

social media advertising


In-feed, promoted posts or listings, and search result advertising are examples of typical native advertisement kinds.

All businesses, both online and offline, are experiencing benefits from social media ads, which are growing in popularity. The ability to set up social media advertising as pay-per-click means that you only have to pay when you have actual leads from the ad. wooden doctor kit paid ad

It also counts as sponsored social media if you hire an influencer or brand ambassador to post about your company on social media.

3. Marketing on Search Engines (SEM)

With search engine marketing, we have both paid an organic type of marketing. Paid listings for search engine advertisements are found at the top of search results. These paid media are among the most well-liked kind of online advertising since they offer a rapid way to position your business (literally) head and shoulders above the competition. We discussed the difference between SEO and Pay Per Click in a previous post.

4. Offline print ads

One of the oldest types of paid media is print advertising, which includes flyers, billboards, newspapers, and magazines. Although it can be challenging to gauge a print advertisement’s efficacy, they are nevertheless often employed.

Consider how many commercials you pass while heading to your favourite café or local store. In addition to billboards and posters, you might also see some flyers in storefront windows. In reality, it’s likely that you’ve become accustomed to print advertisements and have a mental block against them.

However, offline sponsored ads may be a very successful component of your digital marketing plan if they are placed and timed correctly. To entice visitors to visit your website or download your app, you can also include an online component in your offline advertisement or utilise a tool like one of the finest QR code generators.

5. Radio Ads or podcasts

Radio or podcast advertisements are still a specialised subset of paid media, but they can be fruitful. They are played directly to a captive audience and are brief and succinct.

The trick is to complete your research within the limited time frame available. The effectiveness of radio advertisements can be increased by playing them repeatedly throughout the day because they can be as little as 15 or 30 seconds.

Particularly with podcasts, you typically have the choice of a pre-roll advertisement (played before the show begins) or the host reading the advertisement live. Do your homework before making a decision if you have a preference.

Naturally, certain brands will do better with a radio or podcast advertisement. 

6. Paid Ads on Video

Video consumption is on the increase. Although we are increasingly viewing more videos directly on Instagram, Tik-Tok or Facebook, channels like YouTube and Vimeo are still very popular. 

You might have already seen a few video adverts on YouTube channels and other streaming services.

A brief sponsored video commercial can still be viewed. Within streaming videos are where video advertisements are most frequently seen (not while browsing the site, but before or during an actual video).

A few popular websites will also rent out video ad space, which is programmed to start playing as soon as a visitor loads the page. Here is an article that details the price of YouTube advertising to give you an idea of how much video advertisements might cost.

Here is the most recent iPhone ad as an example. 

7. Influincer Marekting

Although consumers may often think of influincer campaigns as Earned Media, they most often starts as a paid campaign.

Dependent on the type of influincer marketing the level of cost might be different.

Some influincers work on an affiliate markeitng basis. This means that they only get paid based on the number of sales they generate.

Fortunately, such expense is only incurred when a new client is acquired. Whatever referral incentive you provide will essentially determine whether a recommendation or word-of-mouth occurs.

Popular Youtube influincer, Mr Beast, is a great modern day example of the power of influencers. 

What About Owned Media?

All content that is published on channels that you manage is considered owned media.

Your website, newsletter, and any social media accounts are all included. (Although you don’t actually own the platform, your account and content are yours.)

Most of the time, owned media serves as the end destination, with bought and earned media serving as the routes that direct traffic there. It has gotten much simpler to drive visitors to owned media channels because of the growing popularity of content marketing and social media.

However, what happens when a visitor arrives on your website?

Owned media performs best when it benefits the visitor. Instead of forcing goods and services on clients, it should encourage them to seek out your brand’s offerings.

While one of the biggest benefits of owned media is certainly the level of control you have over what you publish, as a start-up, the most significant drawback is lack of reach. Having the best website int he world with no visitors, will be of little benefit to you.

Lets look at some of te other benefits and drawbacks of owned media.


Making the Most of the Media Mix - ClydeBank Media

There are numerous excellent website platforms (such as WordPress.com or Wix.com) and social media accounts accessible for free if you’re searching for a straightforward site to get started producing owned media as soon as possible.

However, in the future you might want to think about buying your own channel. You might desire a larger website on your own server, for instance. Depending on the name and host you select, the cost may be as little as R250 a year or as much as hundreds or thousands of Rand, depending on your website needs..

Make a list of the qualities you must have, then start comparing costs. Particularly when bespoke design and development are involved, you’ll discover there are a number of things that might add up. The cost of a domain name, web hosting, a designer’s or developer’s charge, website themes, plugins, etc. is among these costs.

How Long Does It Take For Owned Media To Work?

Owned media requires time to set up. You should put some thought and work into your owed media channels because you have control over every aspect.

Of course, if you use a plug-and-play platform, you might be able to get something going quite quickly. However, even then, planning and preparation will still take a few days.

Owned media also doesn’t merely operate by itself. It needs ongoing maintenance in the form of new content and updates. Depending on your crew, you might be able to release a few unique articles each week that include both writing and creating photos.

Time to see results: It may take a few weeks or even a few months for your website’s pages to be accurately crawled and ranked. Therefore, if you’re using SEO Services, you might want to wait a few months before looking at any information.

On the other side, social media sites can quickly get you likes. However, developing a sizable fan base can still take time.

How profitable are owned media investments (ROI)?

How many things have been sold and how much money have you made? are the two simple questions to ask when calculating the ROI for an e-commerce business.

It can be a little difficult for other kinds of websites. You can use a tool like Google Analytics to analyse how much traffic your website is receiving, or you can check blog statistics to see how content marketing is boosting your overall ROI.

Examples of Owned Media Channels

Websites are the most prevalent kind of owned media. However, owned media outlets also include websites, social media, and other platform channels. Let’s go over a couple well-known owned media instances.

1. Your Own Website, Blog or Wiki

The website of a business serves as its online presence. In contrast to other owned media, a website is a durable, adaptable asset that your company has complete control over.

Although it typically takes the longest to gain popularity, a website is excellent for establishing your own niche in the market and cultivating client relationships.

2.Content Marketing

One of the finest methods to provide immediate value to your audience and build your brand’s place in the market is through content marketing. Today this is probably the most important type of markeitng you can focus on. For business to consumer brands it’s tipical to spend around 25-30% of their overall marketing budgets on content marketing, and for busines to business brands, this increases to around 40%.

This is a useful basic outline from Hubspot of the types of content used in B2B vs B2C marketing.

earned media and content marketing


One important content technique that strengthens your brand is blogging. They enable you to converse more casually and disclose more information about your business.

Your content marketing efforts will be most successful if you keep adding new content frequently and share your posts on other paid media channels.

3. Using Social Media 

Although you don’t actually own the platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or LinkedIn), your social media accounts are nonetheless seen as owned media. All content that is added to each account is something you produce and manage.

The ability to communicate with a sizable, focused audience is one of the main advantages of social media platforms. After creating a free account, you can immediately start sharing your material with only a few clicks.

4. Email Campaigns

Email marketing is regarded as a form of owned media, similar to social media. Even if your business pays a provider or service for email marketing, it still controls the email list and email content.

In terms of owned media, email marketing is one of the most adaptable. It is a technique to directly provide personalised material to interested readers and can be used in conjunction with other forms of media (for instance, to send blog articles or website updates).

5. Word-of-mouth 

One of the primary advantages of employing owned media channels is word-of-mouth advertising. For instance, you might have a fresh blog article, an online promotion, or a referral scheme.

By updating your social media accounts, you are distributing your owned media (the campaign or the content) on another owned media (the social platform). Two times as much word-of-mouth advertising!

What About Earned Media?

Earned Media

Any discussion or reference of your brand that originates voluntarily from others is considered earned media. You cannot purchase or own this kind of media. Instead, earned media is something that you obtain naturally (even if it comes from owned or paid media).

The most typical forms of earned media include unpaid news stories, blogger product features, favourable reviews, or social media mentions.

What are the benefits of earned media

In addition to the above, for me, one of the key benefits of earned media is of course, trust. Customers today are far more likely to trust each other as opposed to trusting brands. For this reason, many markers see earned media as the holy grail. 

User Generated Content (UGC)

A very imortant type of earned media used by brands today is User Generated Content or UGC.

A study by Ad Week indicated that 85% of consumers felt that UGC was more effective as the message came from someone they know.

What About Budget? How much Do I need to Spend on earned Media?

Even while earned media is mostly free, occasionally it may be expensive. You may create a free basic account on numerous third-party review websites and platforms, for instance. For a premium account fee, they do nevertheless also provide more benefits.

Despite the fact that you might choose to pay for some accounts, the actual recognition and acknowledgment you receive on these platforms is what is referred to as earned media.

The resources required to develop a profile, any platform or software fees, and additional charges for content creation are some expenses to take into account when it comes to earned media.

How much time is spent on earned media

Setting up: Earned media usually comes about as a result of other marketing initiatives. Say, for instance, that someone reposts your most recent blog entry or your most recent campaign poster. Although the sharing is considered earned media, the actual post demands that you first plan, write, and publish the material.

Results take time to appear: It can take a few weeks to a few months to measure the results of earned media. Of course, you’ll be able to quickly monitor social data like likes and shares.

It takes longer to track impressions, clicks, and other SEO-driven metrics, though. To increase interaction and inspire others to link to your website, it is best to regularly promote your content as well.

How profitable is earned media in terms of return on investment (ROI)?

Measuring with 100% precision is the toughest obstacle in estimating earned media ROI. First of all, it might be challenging to gauge the actual effort required to generate earned media, such as word of mouth, whether it involves contacting influencers or boosting marketing initiatives.

Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint if an increase in traffic or sales is purely attributable to earned media.

However, even though the results of earned media are only approximations, most businesses believe they are well worth it because it fosters real brand loyalty and trust.

What kinds of news are earned?

Any brand mentions, shares, or reviews that occur outside of owned or paid channels are considered earned media, which is effectively word-of-mouth advertising. These well-known instances of earned media are listed below.

1. Media coverage (public relations)

Many new or tiny firms don’t have a sizable budget for marketing. It’s difficult to get on the screens of potential buyers in your target market, even with a strong social media presence.

Instead, some businesses concentrate on obtaining publicity from already-existing media sources. You might be able to obtain some free media coverage if your product is unique or provides something fresh. After all, the media adores an interesting tale or discovery.

Sending out a catchy press release could help you gain media attention. Include something distinctive to make your press release stand out from the sea of similar ones. This could be as simple as sharing some of your background or as complex as including a sample or trial of your product.

An event can also be sponsored if you have a little extra money. You’ll be able to show off your product or service to a chosen audience in addition to having your brand name appear in headlines.

2. SEO

Unpaid media also includes search engine optimization (SEO). You want to get organic views for your content rather than paying for a paid advertisement space.

As an illustration, if you write content for particular keywords or search terms, you might start to notice an increase in visitors, better search rankings, or even a featured snippet.

Naturally, it might take some time before you see any SEO results. SEO has a longer-term, more strategic focus than paid media. However, SEO can be a very effective component of contemporary marketing plans when combined with paid or owned media. Consider compiling an SEO report to monitor development over time.


3. via social media

It is clear why social media is a great channel for earned media thanks to brand mentions and reposts. In actuality, the majority of brand discussions and content sharing occurs on social media. Be sure to interact with your followers and invite them to share user-generated content (UGC), which you’ll repost or retweet so they can get exposure as well.

When used in conjunction with owned and paid media, social media performs especially well. Take the case where you post a piece of owned content, such as a blog post, on one of your social media profiles.

Then you make the decision to use paid media to promote this social media post across the platform and draw attention to your blog. Earned media coverage and social media shares rise as a result.

Alternately, you could decide to repost a piece of UGC on your own brand’s social media page (of course with the creator’s consent). This is a blend of owned and earned media.

If the user-generated content (UGC) post is particularly well-liked, you might even use various paid social ads to further advertise the products featured in the UGC.

When we talk about UGC, it’s difficult not to mention brands like GoPro, which was of course built on UGC. 


Here’s another way of combining all three types of media: You make a social media post (on your owned channel) asking users to share it with their friends in exchange for a chance to win something (earned media). Next, you pay to advertise the post as an advertisement on the platforms where you promote sharing (paid media).

Paid posts promote social media sharing: owned, paid, and earned media

As a result? You can see the advantages of paid, owned, and earned media strategies at work on social media using just one piece of content.

4. Sites for independent reviews

Reviews and recommendations are generally regarded as excellent ways to increase credibility. They provide a chance for good word of mouth to happen by highlighting any feedback or user-generated content from existing customers.

By asking your most satisfied customers to leave reviews, you can establish a presence on independent review sites in your niche.

5. Word-of-mouth promotion

The powerhouse of paid, owned, and earned media is word-of-mouth advertising, which is also a type of earned media strategy. Include this kind of marketing in your company’s strategy if you consider all the advantages it offers.

Main Differences between owned, paid, and earned media?

Do you have a job that is paid? Both owned and earned media channels have their respective roles in a successful marketing plan.

The bottom line

All content or marketing channels that require payment are considered paid media (i.e., Youtube ads, podcast sponsorships).

Any content that appears on channels that you establish and maintain is considered owned media (i.e., your website, your newsletter).

Earned media is any conversation or publicity about your brand that originates from others and is done so voluntarily (i.e., social media mentions from others, third-party reviews)

Remember that a single piece of content may be distributed through a single channel or a variety of them. We now turn it over to you to use the various paid, owned, and earned media channels and determine which one offers the greatest rewards.

If you need to speak to someone about your brand and the best way to combine paid, owned and earned media, get in touch or email us on info @ 1stcontent.co

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