Boost Performance With Paid, Owned, Earned Media Integration

When you boil the digital marketing mix down to its simplest form, every marketing team is tasked with defining, aligning and refining opportunities across paid, owned and earned media. Viewing the marketing mix from this vantage point can help to break down silos and focus marketers on a more integrated, customer-centric approach.

Let’s take a closer look at this trifecta, and how email figures into it:

PAID MEDIA -- primarily focused on awareness and acquisition, leveraging the broad reach of paid elements, such as display, search, direct mail, TV, radio and more. These paid media elements typically target new acquisitions that may not be as familiar with your company/brand in an effort to garner attention and begin building a relationship with them.

OWNED MEDIA: Once consumers transition into consuming owned media elements, they’re engaging with channels like your web site, blogs, email, mobile applications, physical stores, social and community venues and more. Owned media is the media mix typically managed by marketing and customer-focused teams. There is more control in this zone, and paid media is often used to drive consumers to these owned media experiences.



EARNED MEDIA: Comprises valuable marketing impressions generated from an established customer or community base. These earned impressions may be focused on word-of-mouth experiences and include content in blogs, forums, social shares, reviews, recommendations and PR media pick-ups. Earned actions are driven by loyalty and advocacy, representing third-party social credibility.

Putting Paid, Owned and Earned into Integrated Action


Each of these marketing areas performs best as an integrated element optimized to drive consumer action across channels. Ask your marketing team to review initiatives across the mix and explore opportunities where initiatives will:

  • Complement and contribute to one another
  • Enhance the consumer experience and drive action across channels
  • Drive key marketing objectives

Let’s analyze a typical promotion (in which we were not involved) -- a sweepstakes for online real estate database Zillow  -- to illustrate some ways to boost performance across paid, owned and earned media:

  • First off, Zillow does a good job offering a fun quiz to determine a consumer’s design style. It’s always important to have a clear “what’s in it for me” when you’re asking for consumer information. This promotion deliver values with the immediate quiz results and the sweepstakes entry.
  • However, Zillow misses out on an opportunity to opt in consumers who continue to visit the sweepstakes Web page after the contest ends by including a simple email sign-up link to let them know about future announcements. In addition, Zillow could also make the quiz available as an evergreen activity for site visitors.  This would continue driving account creation. Offering social login as an option could pave the way for future site engagement and provide additional data attributes for personalization later on.
  • Zillow drives earned media impressions with easy links for sharing via Facebook or Twitter. The shared content will continue to generate visits to the site, offering up new opportunities for quiz participation and email acquisition. The social halo effect can be powerful; using it to extend the reach of campaigns into the earned media zone is always a smart move.
  • This program gets very high marks for leveraging owned media actions to gather valuable consumer data. The quiz format gathers data attributes that will be actionable for Zillow, and does so in a compelling, visual way that is very user-friendly.
  • Of course, all the data Zillow gathers via its website (owned media) can be fed back into email and web targeting and personalization, which can help make future marketing touchpoints more effective.
  • The data from the quiz results could also be used to fuel future targeting for paid media efforts. Zillow can profile highly engaged consumers and those responsive to the sweepstakes and build paid media profiles to drive smarter media buys leading to stronger conversion.
  • Lastly, the user-generated content gathered from the quiz can be leveraged across marketing initiatives, providing very relevant content for Zillow’s target market of home and design consumers.

With a bit of dot-connecting during the marketing planning process, you can enhance results and get more in tune with the cross-channel consumer. So, look for the opportunities to integrate elements across the paid, owned and earned media mix and reap the benefits of a marketing performance boost!

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