Balancing activities across owned, earned, shared and paid media strategies is the best way to get a demonstrable return on investment (ROI) for today’s marketing and communications campaigns. This is the integrated digital media framework I use with my clients, no matter the challenge. A client recently asked me to explain it to senior management and what follows is summary of my presentation.
How Canadians use Social Media
Canadians love social media. Eighty-four per cent of Canadians are on Facebook and almost 80 per cent use it daily. YouTube is used by 59 per cent of Canadians and almost half of those use it daily. Almost half of Canada’s population, 46 per cent, are on LinkedIn. Only 20 per cent of those use it daily. This is because people post their CVs, and then tend to forget about it. This is changing. LinkedIn is introducing more social features and is becoming more content friendly.
You may have heard rumours that Twitter is dead and nobody uses it anymore. But, Twitter is alive and well in Canada. Forty-two per cent of us are on Twitter and 45 per cent of users are on it daily. This is where we go for breaking news and to connect with journalists, policymakers and politicians.
Almost 38 per cent of Canadians is on Pinterest, an image-based social network. Another 37 per cent are on Instagram and of these, 61 per cent use it daily. This is important because the majority of Instagram users are in the 22 to 35-year-old age group. This is where you reach the millennial generation.
Canadian Media Consumption Trends
At the same time, mainstream media is in decline in Canada. We’re leaving mainstream media in droves. Time spent reading newspapers is down 75 per cent since 2011. Magazine reading time down 77.5 per cent. TV watching time is down 6.9 per cent. (Don’t let that number fool you. It includes time spent watching Showtime, HBO and Netflix. If limited to Canadian terrestrial TV such as CTV or CBC and Global the number would be about 80 per cent.) Radio listening time is down 25.6 per cent since 2011.
What’s not down? Time spent on the Internet. It’s through the roof. The number of minutes each of us spends each day online up one 119 per cent since 2011. This upward trend is being driven by the adoption of smartphones. People are not limited to desktop computers. Everything is being driven by mobile.An Integrated Digital Media Framework
Most people think of media as being in two blocks: social media and mainstream media. But, my challenge to you is to put that paradigm aside and think about the four main groups media types. They are: earned, shared, owned and paid.
- Earned Media is what PR people like me used to depend upon. Before 2005 our goal was to get our clients in the news. Or conversely, to keep their names out of the news. We focused on this almost entirely. Now, in the digital context, the definition of Earned Media it is much broader. It includes other influencers such as members of the public who have large or loyal social media followings.
- Shared Media includes social media but it’s more. It includes partnerships, alliances, syndicates and more.
- Owned Media is self-published content. Before 2005 this would have included customer magazines, flyers or newsletters. Today Owned Media includes digital content, and the central hub is usually the company website.
- When people see the term Paid Media they often think ‘advertising means huge budgets’. This is not necessarily true thanks to pay per click models which put advertising within reach for most organizations.
No matter the communications challenge–marketing, advocacy, community relations, employee engagement–the best solutions have pieces from all four quarters of the digital media landscape. A balanced communications strategy is going to maximize the return on investment.
Digital Media Framework Example
Here’s an example to demonstrates a marketing challenge…getting the new apartment block of a not-for-profit organization rented out. All four media quadrants are represented. In the Earned Media we have publicity and media relations playing a big role. Adding other influencers will broaden this. Company employees as ambassadors, for example. Most employees have social media accounts. They could be sharing stories about their work and the company’s missions and achievements on their own networks to help build awareness of the new apartments. Encouraging residents’ to leave Google Reviews will drive the apartments’ website up search rankings and build word of mouth.
Social media is the mainstay of Shared Media tactics. Our campaign research indicated that Facebook and Twitter were the best channels to promote the apartments. This means posting stories and managing conversations to keep the community engaged. Also, we included monitoring to see beyond our own channels. Where are relevant conversations happening on social media? Should we insert ourselves into those conversations, or work to attract participants over to our own properties?
Under Owned Media, we looked at designing campaign landing pages to drive rental inquiries. A recommendation is to showcase stories about apartment dwellers and community life on the website. Video content is encouraged because almost 80 per cent of all Internet activity is video consumption. To build authority we recommended ensuring that all content is search optimized. Google is prescriptive about how to present information. So this was a priority to help get apartment website to the top of Google search rankings.
For Paid Media, we recognize the company is a not-for-profit enterprise, so advertising budgets are small. Still, it’s important to include paid tactics because of the way that the social media algorithms work. Without putting paid behind communication it’s increasingly difficult to get a ranked in the news feed. But, putting a couple of dollars behind content can create a great springboard to organic viral reach. We recommended Facebook and Twitter ads, native ads and sponsored content. Native ads are stories that look and feel like an editorial but are paid for. In the old days, we used to call it advertorial. We also recommended Google AdWords. These reach people who are much closer to making a rental decision.
Media is not limited to social or mainstream paradigms. Instead, we have four digital media types that can be leveraged for business communications. Click To TweetEvery communication strategy should have component pieces from each of those four corners. The recipe is adjusted for every problem, but these are the basic building blocks of a successful strategy to achieve business goals and see a good return on investment for marketing and communications efforts.
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