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How to Measuring and Report Paid Earned Owned Media


There are three major types of media in the big picture, and they could be broken down like Paid, Earned, and Owned. The media analytics methods change as we think about these three media types.

What is Paid media?

Paid media is any form of advertising that you pay for, including: Display advertising, paid per click advertising, Search engine advertising, Social media advertising, TV advertising, etc.

Paid media is a great way to get your brand in front of people who may not be familiar with it, and it can be an effective way to reach a target audience.

However, paid media can be expensive, and it is important to measure the results of your campaigns to ensure that you are getting a return on your investment.

What is Earned media?

Earned media is the free publicity that your company gets from external sources. This can include news articles, blog posts, online reviews, and social media mentions.

3 types of earned media are --

1. Positive – This is when someone promotes your brand without you asking them to. For example, if a happy customer writes a positive review about your product on Amazon, that’s earned media.

2. Negative – This is when someone says something negative about your company without you asking them to. For example, if an unhappy customer tweets a complaint about your product, that’s earned media.

3. Neutral – This is when someone mentions your company without giving a positive or negative opinion. For example, if a news article mentions your company in relation to a new trend, that’s earned media.

Earned media is important because it’s a way to build trust and credibility with potential and current customers.

What is Owned media?

Owned media is the content that a company produces and distributes through its own channels. This can include websites, blogs, social media accounts, email newsletters, and more.

Owned media is an important part of any company’s marketing mix because it allows you to control the message and build relationships with your customers.

The line between these different media is blurry because they could be acting as both.

For example, in Facebook, you can own a Facebook page or blog posts as an Owned Media, buy an ad as a Paid Media, and earn some mentions through likes and shares via ads boosting the posts.

Another example, occasionally, you'll find some cool ads that goes viral, like a super bowl ads that is a paid advertising that earned some viral results.

So if you're trying to build your brand, it becomes extremely important to figure out which media channels would work best for you. So the question becomes how do you come about setting up the analytics plan for these three different types of media.

Conversations on Social Networks never stop. Brands can't buy a conversation and stop it.

This indicates the metrics plan would need to consider beyond the cost of the media buys, especially if you need to make sense of how well you did across different media types.

You go to conferences, and experts showcase different ideas around multi-touch attribution or interesting media-mix learnings. But, if you step back and look at those research and conversations, you'll soon learn that analytics need to ensure data is set to track different measures under these two major areas.

1. Key Performance Indicators

2. Operational and tactical metrics

You can also think of this as an independent variable and dependent variable.

Key Performance Indicators or the KPIs

This means that you've selected a few critical KPIs, and it is enough to tell the key stakeholders that your marketing program worked or did not work. Also, analytics and research need to tie to an outcome.

Take three fundamental metrics in e-commerce as an example, traffic -> cart -> sales. Did your program bring enough traffic according to the plan/target, convert the target audience, and how much did you make at the end of the program in dollar value (in other words, are you getting a positive ROI).

Typically, that is what c-level managements care about the ROI and profitability, and the rest is operational metrics that support what worked and what didn't.

Here are the three typical points that you could refer to in identifying your "critical few KPIs" that matter for each media type.

Of course, these are examples only, but it would help thinking in the right direction.

Measuring Paid Media

  • How many ad exposures did the campaign ads have, traffic did they get?
  • How many of those eyeballs translated to prospects, turned into leads, converted, etc.
  • Did you meet the expected ROI or sales through the campaign period?

Measuring Owned Media

  • Did your owned media get enough traffic as expected, and did it see any incremental lift in in-direct traffic via view-throughs?
  • Did your owned media do its job in effectively driving conversions from free traffic sources?
  • Did the owned Media assist and contribute to the bottom line during the campaign period? By how much?

Measuring Earned Media

  • How many posts or mentions did your brand have?
  • Did the posts turn into conversations? (i.e., through re-tweets, replied comments, etc.)
  • Did the conversations through Earned Media yield positive growth in positive sentiments of your brand? Correlations to sales?

Don't forget, each of these media is related since they don't work in silos. So that means we also need to look at these different media types holistically.

  • Total brand exposure (traffic, impressions, brand mentions, etc.)
  • Outcome (a non-dollar outcome that is critical to the business)
  • Incremental sale contribution and ROI of the program

Operational and Tactical Metrics

Operational Metrics will speak to the management and experts in granular detail. They need to understand what worked and what didn't work. They need to scrape off any learnings as much as possible to make any future marketing investments a success.

Again, these are examples only; every marketing campaign has its objectives and goals, so make sure you're fully aware of it is coming up with the operational measures.

Paid Media

  • Where did the traffic fall short? Partner ads, ad placements, ad size, landing page, creative type, etc.
  • What part of the behavior funnel did or did not resonate well with the target audience? Looking at various ratios is pretty common.
  • The cost of traffic. i.e., CPC, CPM, Cost per conversion, etc.

Owned Media

  • Incremental traffic exposure using on-site ads. How much did the site contribute?
  • Did the conversion rate match your expectation? Was the conversion efficiency good or bad? Was it a great landing page?
  • Did it support driving the media cost down as you got more eyeballs from your owned media?

Earned Media

  • Which social network service worked the best in terms of # of mentions about the brand or products.
  • Which topics, timing, influencers contributed to the lift post-campaign period.
  • Any correlation to sales from the trended buzz around your brand during the marketing efforts? What resonated with the end-users seems to impact sales or business outcomes positively.

Overall, for operation metrics: These should be the KPIs or second tier of detail metrics that will tell each functional manager whether their strategy worked or not. (Functional managers could be Marcomm, CRM, Web/UX team, etc.)

Think it through, and it is not easy as you'll also need alignment across different stakeholders. Also, make sure you're using standard metrics to the team and ensure the key stakeholders align with what you're measuring.

It is always important to keep in mind that consumers don't draw the lines between these different types of media.

It is the business that draws the line. Therefore, the analytics should be tracking the success of the marketing program and making sure the metrics are set up to track what worked and what did not.

Every metric you track and report should have some target or goals. Sometimes, it could be based on an assumption, and it is not a bad thing at all if you miss that target.

For example, if the expected conversion rate is 1.0%, you got 0.8%, but the sales were 1.1x above the goal. That will explain why the conversion rate fell short as sales come from the high order value.

That learning will help your business learn and better plan for the future marketing program.

No channel works in isolation. Earned media would more likely need some spark from the paid media to get data to start moving.

The media's KPI ideas I've brought up are pretty vertical, but consumers and your business are working horizontally.

In Summary

Consumer journeys aren't linear. Great customer service that drives retention may have some positive impact that is not part of the marketing efforts.

The important thing is to set your tracking point, metric, and expectation. Then, learn from it, and over time, expand your research horizontally and turn that actionable insight into action.

Analytics analysts must understand the business questions and provide answers as much as possible. Stay focused, though, because depending on the objective, one could be more important than the other, and people could get confused with a bunch of data that are not relevant to them.

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Kris Twitter

As a data journalist, I enjoy curating and analyzing marketing trends, and data. The things that fascinate me the most are the transforming business landscape due to evolving marketing technologies.