Mastering Paid, Owned, and Earned Media



paid owned and earned media

Wondering how advertising can help your business? Looking for more organic traffic and/or a boost to your marketing efforts?

Any comprehensive digital marketing strategy needs to include a mix of earned, paid, and owned media. They are interrelated and overlap but are different. The experts who put together media strategies often call them different elements of a marketing pyramid.

Display ads and commercials are two examples because you pay for them. Social media sites you own and use to get the word out are owned media. A Google Review comes from a third party but helps your business. That’s an example of earned media.



This blog will go through each type and tell you how to put together a formula to attract potential customers.

Understanding the Key Components of Digital Marketing: Paid, Owned, and Earned Media

A complete digital marketing strategy takes all three into account. Each one can help you attract a target market. But together, paid, owned and earned media exceeds the sum of the parts.

Paid Media: Boosting Your Brand’s Visibility

Sponsored content, display ads, and pay-per-click advertising are all good examples. These methods and others help a small business promote content. As the name suggests, they pay for the service. The idea is to generate direct traffic and gain exposure by getting more clicks.


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Drive traffic with paid media options on Facebook. This and other paid media channels offer targeted ads. Pay-per-click charges advertisers for every click on promoted results.

One of the benefits of using paid media is an increased reach. One of the challenges of using paid media strategies is the stiff competition.

Owned Media: Establishing Your Brand’s Online Presence

paid owned and earned media

Social media channels, blogs, and websites are considered owned media channels. Unlike paid media, an owned media channel is one a small business has total control over. Newsletters and emails are examples of this type of content marketing.



A big benefit of these media channels is the lower cost. You create content and promote things like special offers. You can hire a freelance content marketer for this kind of media work.

One of the disadvantages of owned media is limited distribution channels.

Earned Media: Capitalizing on Your Brand’s Reputation

This is the other media option. It’s content in the digital world about your company that you haven’t created or paid for. This appeals to a wide audience. A product roundup or Tweet are just two examples.

A big advantage is this type of marketing costs nothing. So the ROI is always good. One of the challenges is you have no control over this kind of media coverage.



ComponentsExplanationBenefitsChallenges
Paid MediaBoosting brand visibility through sponsored content and paid advertisingIncreased reach, generating direct traffic, targeted advertisingStiff competition, cost implications
Owned MediaEstablishing brand's online presence through owned channels like social mediaLower cost, total control over content, promotional opportunitiesLimited distribution channels
Earned MediaCapitalizing on brand's reputation through digital content created by othersNo cost, wide audience reach, good ROILack of control over media coverage, reliance on external sources

Crafting a Balanced Digital Marketing Strategy

paid owned and earned media

Top internet marketers understand how earned and owned media works well with paid channels. A balanced approach increases brand awareness. Balance makes for excellent social media marketing.

Setting Goals and Objectives for Your Digital Marketing Campaigns

Developing a successful digital marketing campaign begins with setting clear, actionable goals and objectives.

These objectives should align with your broader business goals and be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Common objectives include increasing brand awareness, boosting web traffic, improving conversion rates, and growing social media engagement.



When setting these objectives, it’s important to understand your target audience and what you want to achieve through each media channel.

For example, paid media might focus on generating immediate sales, while owned media might aim to build long-term customer relationships. Earned media, on the other hand, could aim to enhance brand reputation and customer trust.

By setting specific goals for each type of media, you can create a more focused and effective marketing strategy that precisely targets your desired outcomes.

Allocating Resources and Budget Across Paid, Owned, and Earned Media

There are several things to take into account. Generally, B2B businesses should allocate 2-5% of revenue to marketing. B2C should spend 5-10%.



B2C firms should spend 18.5% on social media platforms. Twenty-five percent goes to paid media.

Allocating resources and budget effectively across paid, owned, and earned media is crucial for maximizing the impact of your digital marketing efforts. The allocation should reflect your marketing objectives, target audience, and the strengths of each media type.

For paid media, budget allocation will depend on the platforms you choose and the cost of advertising on those platforms. This might include search engine ads, social media advertising, and sponsored content.

Owned media, such as your website and social media channels, will require investment in content creation and management. Earned media, while cost-effective, may require resources for public relations activities and building relationships with influencers or media outlets.



A balanced budget will ensure that you’re investing enough to make an impact but not overspending in areas that don’t yield a high return on investment.

Regularly reviewing and adjusting your budget allocation based on performance metrics is also essential for ensuring the ongoing effectiveness of your marketing strategy.

Measuring and Optimizing Performance Across All Media Channels

Whether you’re using owned or paid media properties doesn’t matter. Optimizing everything from a blog post to social ads means leveraging automation.

For example, HubSpot has an excellent tool for email marketing. Get more control with analytics and automation.



To ensure the success of your digital marketing efforts across paid, owned, and earned media, it’s essential to continuously measure and optimize their performance.

This involves tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to each type of media and adjusting your strategies based on these insights.

For paid media, track metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates, and return on ad spend (ROAS). For owned media, focus on engagement metrics, website traffic, and content performance. For earned media, monitor brand mentions, sentiment analysis, and social sharing.

Use analytics tools to gather data and provide insights into your campaign’s performance. Regular analysis of this data will help you understand what’s working and what isn’t, allowing you to make informed decisions about where to adjust your strategy or allocate more resources.



Optimization might involve tweaking ad copy, refining target audiences, or enhancing content quality on your owned media channels.

Real-World Examples of Successful Paid, Owned, and Earned Media Strategies

paid owned and earned media

Media examples of a paid strategy include Google Ads. And ads you can buy on other owned media types like Facebook and Instagram.

Social media posts on a Facebook page you write are owned media. If the company owns the website, it can post to existing customers. That’s an owned channel.



Earned media can include public relations, like responding to a reporter’s query to quote you in press releases. Another earned media strategy is product reviews from bloggers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Paid, Owned, and Earned Media

paid owned and earned media

How do I determine the right mix of paid, owned, and earned media for my business?

Finding the right balance between advertising and marketing, including influencer marketing ideas, is crucial for businesses. By considering factors such as business size and target audience, you can determine the best approach to reach your marketing objectives effectively. Balancing both advertising and marketing strategies can yield significant results. Here are some key considerations:

Advertising vs Marketing: Understanding the distinction between advertising and marketing is essential. While advertising focuses on paid promotional activities to reach a wider audience, marketing encompasses a broader set of strategies to build relationships, communicate value, and achieve business goals. Finding the right mix between advertising and marketing ensures a comprehensive approach to engaging your audience.

Influencer Marketing Ideas: Incorporating influencer marketing can be a powerful strategy to amplify your brand’s reach and engage with your target audience authentically. Consider partnering with influencers who align with your brand values and have a strong following in your industry. Collaborating with influencers for sponsored content, product reviews, or social media takeovers can generate buzz, credibility, and brand awareness.

Paid Media Platforms: Determining the most effective paid media platforms for your industry is crucial. Google Ads, a leader in paid search advertising, can swiftly connect you with customers actively searching for products or services. Facebook Ads offer precise targeting options and a vast user base for effective audience reach. Exploring social media ads on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn can drive engagement and earned results.

By finding the right balance between advertising and marketing, incorporating influencer marketing ideas, and leveraging the power of paid media platforms, businesses can maximize their reach, engagement, and overall marketing success.

What are the most effective paid media platforms for my industry?

Google Ads is a fast way to the most satisfied customers. This is a paid search industry leader. Facebook Ads are also effective. Social media ads are another way to drive earned results.

How can I increase my brand’s earned media exposure?

Use different types. Be a thought leader on social media. Give back to your community. Hold a web conference.

What metrics should I track to measure the success of my digital marketing strategy?

A lot of these focus on a web property. Page views and web traffic sources are important. Revenue is the most important metric. Look for business abbreviations in a domain name, like .biz. Referencing your URL can drive earned media results.

How can I optimize my owned media to improve user experience and engagement?

Analyze your goals. Build content that is optimized and promotes organic traffic. Some keyword research is a great way to get more traffic and business. Using owned media to full advantage has several advantages, like building an excellent reputation and fostering brand awareness. Be aware of the value of social proof and authentic marketing. That’s evidence a product or service has a good reputation.

An excellent digital strategy will include owned, earned, and paid media. High-quality content is required regardless of the media type. This blog can give you a head start toward a successful campaign. However, deciding what works and what doesn’t and how these three types blend is important. Deciphering your analytics and tweaking your strategy is a constant process. That’s the path to complete control over any strategy.

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Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. Rob is a freelance journalist and content strategist/manager with three decades of experience in both print and online writing. He currently works in New York City as a copywriter and all across North America for a variety of editing and writing enterprises.

2 Reactions
  1. This article really got me excited about the potential of digital marketing. It’s fascinating to see how paid, owned, and earned media all play a crucial role in attracting customers and building brand awareness. I can’t wait to implement these strategies and optimize my marketing efforts for better results.

  2. Thanks Camilla. I’m sure you’ll do well.

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