<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://dc.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=61497&amp;fmt=gif">

Paid, owned and earned media: what's the difference?

Posted by K.McCaffrey - 28 February, 2018

What's the difference between paid, owned and earned media? If you're new to marketing, it's important to understand the different types of media a business can use, how they impact each other, and most of all, how to effectively leverage each kind.

Paid media is when a company pays to advertise on a channel, such as television adverts, flyers, sponsorships and paid searches. This type of media feeds into owned media, and creates earned media. You can’t have one type of media without the other but you can put more of your time and money towards the media outlet that serves you best.

Owned media is a channel that the company controls, such as a website, blog or Facebook account. This type of media is good for connecting with already established customers and existing potential customers.



Unlike owned media (company website and blog) and paid media (banner ads and traditional offline advertising), earned media is content that your customer constructs. This includes Facebook likes, retweets, customer commendations as well as offline word-of-mouth. It has the largest reach, the highest response rates and is also the most difficult kind of media to control. It’s special as the public becomes the main channel. People will trust their friends and family over traditional methods of advertising—and Customer Monitor can help you harness some of the power of earned media.

According to Neilsen, 83 per cent of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over advertising. When people engage with a business's owned media—be it via Twitter, Facebook of their personal blog—word of mouth, and earned media, is easy to spread. This is best kind of advertising. It costs your customer nothing, it essentially costs you nothing, and it is (hopefully) the positive kind of earned media everyone dreams out.


Related content: The buyer person development worksheet


What is earned media?

It is a two way flow of information between company and customers and is simply "talk, listen, respond". Earned media is everything your customers are saying about you: on Twitter, their blog, YouTube and anywhere else a social discussion about your company is occurring. It can be negative, it can be positive and is easily leveraged once you know who the inspired and happy customers are. By providing a click-through button for those who have rated you a 9 or 10 on Net Promoter Score (NPS), you are on the way towards your goal. That goal is to have authentic inspired third parties talking about your brand, product or company and getting your message out there—without the sole reliance on paid or owned advertising.


Related content: How to adapt your marketing messaging to millennial consumers


Why earned media?

Most paid advertising relies on the company’s reputation to bring in new customers. Earned media is where someone (not paid by the company) lays their personal reputation on the line by recommending the company.

Download Free Guide

Topics: Brand Health

Recent Posts