Owned, paid, and earned media

Marketing communication channels are the ways in which a company sends a message to the existing and/or potential customers. There are many different way in how you can do this such as TV, loyalty programs, search engine, magazines etc but in this blog I will show you the three categories of media or channels.

media pic

Owned Media

Owned media are the channels that the company actually has control over. Examples include:

  • Company website
  • Company mobile app
  • Their Facebook page
  • Email marketing
  • And so on…

Brandwatch added that promoting content through social media is key here as it provides the brand exposure that you want. A blog by Forrester also mentioned that owned media is cost efficient, and is versatile.

Paid Media

Paid media is when a company pays to leverage a communication channel.Traditional examples include:

  • TV advertisements
  • Newspaper advertising

More modern, online examples are:

  • Paid search engine
  • Display ads on websites
  • Sponsorships

The same blog by Forrester mentions that paid media is in demand, has scale, and some degree of control.

I would like to highlight the effect of event sponsorships as I think it is a very under-rated form of media. As an AFL fan, I always hear the word Toyota being used as a ‘proud sponsor’ of the AFL. As a result, I have developed a big appreciation towards Toyota even though I don’t really like their cars! Just shows how effective a secondary brand association can make when using paid media.

toyota banner

Earned Media

Definitely the type of media that marketers are trying to achieve is earned media. This is a consumer generated channel where they listen and then respond to either an owned or paid media message. Examples are:

  • Word of mouth
  • Viral marketing

Brandwatch stated that company or product reviews, social media ‘shares’ from customers, and blogs written from people outside of the company are just some real life examples of earned media.

In terms of viral marketing, this video below is of Carlton Draught, who had many people to perform the image of a person drinking a beer…check it out!

Earned media is great because consumers trust the content. It is also very credible unlike company generated content. The downside is that the consumers can share negative information about the campaign, which can ruin a company’s image.

What does this mean for digital marketers?

The whole point of these three media channels of owned, paid, and earned media is to understand that the company should aim for a converge of all three. Put more simply, below is a diagram from Titan SEO:


A company should aim to include communication channels from all three elements of owned, paid, and earned media to thrive in today’s environment.

Can you think of any more examples in these channels? Please leave a comment and tell me!



2 thoughts on “Owned, paid, and earned media

  1. I guess the combination of these three media types would be the best. Earned media seems to be most effective, since at the end we are somehow influenced by others as well. We have seen many brands that are trying to “create” earned media by sponsorship through celebrities and Youtubers.


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