Determining the Value of Paid, Earned and Owned Media

As a small business owner, how can you measure the performance and return on investment of your combined paid, earned, and owned media channels?

  • Paid media = advertising = CNN TV ad
  • Earned media = publicity = press coverage on
  • Owned media = media you create and control = your website

As this blog post from Fast Company explains, the most effective digital communication plans seamlessly integrate content across paid, earned, and owned media channels. The challenge is determining the ROI of these different channels and figuring out how much time and money to invest in each one.

It’s difficult enough to measure a single isolated channel because each one is affected by the others. For instance, many marketers have worked hard over the past year to develop appropriately customized ROI measures for social media. But your paid and earned media can influence your owned media, so how do they figure into the equation? And how can you measure the interplay between the three channels? As the author points out:

It is encouraging to see marketers recognize the need to create campaigns with content that is tailored for each of these unique channels. Creating a campaign concept that has “legs” for the diverse channels of paid, earned, and owned is no easy task. And neither is the process of effectively coordinating efforts across these channels. Where the trouble lies is that holistic performance measurement has been left behind.

Here’s the 5-step process recommended in the article for creating a holistic, cross-channel score to discover which digital media channels are giving you the most value.

1. Define what success is. This could range from improved customer retention, to understanding customer loyalty, to generating more offline sales.

2. Collect all of your paid, earned, and owned metrics into a single data repository. Create a table that includes the individual elements within each channel. For instance, for your business “earned media” might include SEO, Facebook, Twitter and blogs.

3. Develop a statistical modeling framework that distills multiple channel metrics into single measurement scores for paid, earned, and owned. This is accomplished by rotating and splitting the interrelated data streams into distinct components. using data reduction techniques to determine the underlying movement within the channel, then further reducing the dimensions of the data to determine the cross ecosystem channel impact on consumer connections.

4. Choose or develop a technology platform. You’ll want one that facilitates frequent data extraction from channel sources and interfaces easily with known earned analytics providers. It should also include a transparent database system for storage of cross-channel data with easy access for QA, ad-hoc analysis and modeling, and a dashboard UI customizable to enable your “definition of success.”

5. Dig into your new ecosystem’s connection scores to determine what touch points are working for consumers and where your growth opportunities lie.

This is a complicated process, but if you can break down the value of your paid, earned, and owned digital channel categories and how they work together, you’ll be able to invest your time and money more effectively.

Since every business is unique, at Accendo Digital we work with you to find the best web strategy for your company. We have an in-depth and well-rounded perspective of the internet, marketing and digital platforms. Contact us to learn how we can use this perspective to develop a strategy that will work for your business.

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