Not all media is equal: Paid Media vs Owned Media

Not all media is equal: Paid Media vs Owned Media

What’s the difference?

When we refer to media in our marketing – what is it exactly that we are talking about and what difference does it make in the overall marketing strategy? When you think about paid media, you can consider it to include everything from social media ads, boosted content, sponsored content, lead generation and any other form of media that is paid as a channel. 

Owned media on the other hand is everything belonging or owned by the business that does not include any of the above. These assets include things like your website for example, which is usually one of your biggest marketing tools available and one which you own. Other owned media includes your content marketing, blogs, videos, visual content, customer stories, webinars, and audio podcasts. These are assets you created that are not paid or borrowed from anywhere else and usually live on a platform you own such as your website. 

Both paid and owned media make half of what is known as the PESO model, launched in 2014 by Gini Dietrich, and is widely referred to by marketers and public relations practitioners regularly for communications. You may think media all sounds the same, but the image below clearly shows how each of these sections breaks down the media types and how they work in cohesion with each other. 

This reinforces the importance of omnichannel marketing and why a multi-platform advertising strategy is critical for your business.


Image Source: Spinsucks 


How does this deliver value?

For every business owner, the return on investment means something different, and this comes down to the industry, age of the business, brand strength and market volatility. With owned media, the value is found in the ownership of the media and how you use this to your advantage. You can decide exactly what your brand message will be and the voice in which you use to convey it and you choose the channels across where this messaging is delivered. This is your goodwill as such, and you determine its destiny! 

Paid media value is measured in metrics like website visits, reach, engagement, clicks and other call to action such as read more, subscribe now, download here, leads or the ultimate buy now sales activity.

For both, they increase the brand salience of your business across the markets meaning, the degree to which your brand is thought of or noticed. This translates to mental availability where your brand is thought of in a buying situation – ever think about buying a new red car for example and bam, suddenly all you notice are red cars on the road everywhere? This is created by mental availability. 

Where do I start?

As a business, owned media such as a website are a must and the ultimate starting point for any brand otherwise, where will you direct all the paid traffic to? You need to be providing your audience with value to build trust with the brand and your website is where you can do this with blogs, testimonials, videos, podcasts and more. Add to this your organic content on social media and this is a great start. 

Once you have this underway, you will have a good foundation to start building paid media campaigns for your business, whether it be something like social media advertising or sponsored content. If you want to understand what these can include, check out our Seriously Social Packages for more detail.

Remember, whether using organic or paid social media, there are 5 simple things you need before hopping onto social media to increase your chance of success.




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Meredith Waterhouse

Director of Marketing at Digital Marketing AOK, Meredith is a Certified Practising Marketer with the Australian Institute of Marketing (AMI) and a highly active member of the marketing community A self-proclaimed Chief Happiness Officer, she is an avid network builder and a self-motivated individual with an entrepreneurial mindset.