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 and marketing communications 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, especially in Ottawa. Eighty-three per cent of Canadians are on Facebook and almost 77 per cent use it daily. YouTube is used by 64 per cent of Canadians and two-thirds of those use it daily.
Almost half of Canada’s population, 44 per cent, are on LinkedIn. Almost a third of those use it daily.
The fourth most-popular social network for Canadians is Instagram. Almost half of the nation is on Instagram and two-thirds of those use it daily.
Increasingly, Canadians are enjoying the video-based platform TikTok. Fifteen per cent of Canadians are using this youth-oriented platform. Of those, two-thirds use it daily.
Twitter is alive and well in Canada. Forty-two per cent of us are on Twitter and half of those users are on it daily. This is where we go for breaking news and to connect with journalists, businesses and politicians.
Forty per cent of Canadians are on Pinterest, an image-based social network. A third of those use it daily.
Canadian Media Consumption Trends
After several years of decline, the 2020 pandemic has more Canadians checking out the news from mainstream media outlets. In fact, we’re spending about a half an hour more each day consuming news content.
Most of this growth is in digital formats and TV. Digital now accounts for 53 per cent of all Canadian media minutes. Still, overall reliance on mainstream media news channels continues to trend downward.
What’s not down? Time spent on the Internet. Thanks in part to COVID-19, more than three-quarters of Canadians are spending more than three hours a day online and 15 per cent are spending more than eight hours a day.
An Integrated Digital Media and Marketing Framework
Definition: Owned Earned Shared Paid Media
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 campaigns 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. When it comes to social media in advertising, we benefit from pay per click models which put paid campaigns within reach for most organizations. This also includes native ads and influencers marketing.
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 and Marketing Framework Example
Here’s an example to demonstrates a marketing communications 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 campaigns are 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 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, for social media in advertising you need only put a couple of dollars into it to 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.
Get the Paid Earned Shared Owned Media Framework
Every communication strategy should have component pieces from each of those four corners of the paid-owned-earned-media framework. 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.