Difference Between Paid, Owned and Earned Media

Media investment is typically divided into three ‘buckets’: earned, shared, and paid, each of which provides potential to influence customers.

None of these media are new, but the increasing significance given to owned and earned media, whereas paid media has traditionally dominated in the past, is.

It’s a positive step since it raises concerns about how to best analyse social media results and choose the appropriate level of expenditure.

Paid vs Owned vs Earned Media

The main difference between paid, owned, and earned media is that in paid media, a brand pays to use a channel; in owned media, the brand owns the channel. The channel, and in earned media, is created by the customers.

Paid vs Owned vs Earned Media

Paid media might assist jumpstart the process and increase exposure. Paid media advertising is available on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are examples of social media networks that can help you advertise your content and website.

Another way to improve your performance is to influencers to promote your products or services.

With all this things you will see increase in the reach and recognition of your content. Owned media equals making your channel. You’ll have more options to expand your brand’s digital presence if you have more owned media.

A website is one of the most common examples of owned media, but additional properties include blogs and social media platforms.

Earned media consists of many trends related to social media. An amalgamation of good organic search engine rankings is one of the most significant driving engines of earned media and content provided by the brand.

Comparison Table Between Paid, Owned and Earned Media

Parameters of comparisonPaid MediaOwned MediaEarned Media
DefinitionBrand pays a channel to advertiseChannel is controlled by brandMakes customers the channel

Sponsorships, Display ads, Paid partnershipsWebsites, Blogs, Social mediaWOM, Buzz, “Viral”
RoleChange from a foundation to a catalyst that generates earned media and feeds owned media.Build long-term relationships with current and new clients, as well as gain media coverage.Media that listens and responds is frequently the outcome of well-organized media.
BenefitsIn demand, Immediacy, Scale, ControlControl, Cost efficiency, Longevity, Versatility, Niche audiencesUtmost believable, Crucial part in utmost deals
ChallengesClutter, Declining response rates, Poor credibilityNo guarantees, Takes time to scale

There is no control, It is possible to be negative. Scale, which is difficult to quantify

What is Paid Media?

External marketing initiatives that incorporate paid placement, such as pay-per-click advertising, branded content, and display adverts, are referred to as paid media.

Paid media is an integral aspect of growing an online business’s revenue and brand awareness. Google Ads, social media ads, and more traditional choices like television commercials, print ads, and billboards are all examples.

Paid media is a great way to get a quick return on your money. It assists you in swiftly generating leads and redirecting your audience to your owned media, where you can care for them and eventually sell them.

It’s also incredibly simple to use analytics to assess the effectiveness of the media you’ve purchased.

It’s also very easy to use analytics to evaluate the effectiveness of your purchased media. All of this comes with the caveat that you can only scale as quickly as your bought media budget allows, and purchased media conversion rates are lower than owned and earned media conversion rates.

What is Owned Media?

Anything under a company’s direct control, such as websites, newsletters, catalogs, and blogs, is considered owned media. Both owned and even earned media are the two most common types of social media.

Brands own their social channels and audiences, therefore they strive to earn sharing and word-of-mouth by doing so.

You own everything with owned media: your social media profiles, as well as your website and blog. You have complete control over this content, even though you are not paying for it to appear in front of your audience.

Owned media is a sensible investment in any marketing strategy since it has a long shelf life.

You can start building a website and blog on the first day of your company and keep it updated until the end. As long as you can keep up with the maintenance, the more owned media you have, the better. You will notice how much it helps you in your digital marketing.

What is Earned Media?

Any information written about you or your business that you haven’t paid for or developed yourself is referred to as earned media or earned content.

Although earned media is usually released by a third party, there are strategies for marketers to position themselves for these changes.

Earned media is known as “publicity” in several ways. Because you didn’t pay for this material to be developed (as opposed to, say, an advertisement), your activities alone “won” you this attention.

The definition of earned media is simple: you earn the marketing that appears in front of people.

This might be anything from a news release about your company to someone on social media commenting about your items. Earned media, when used as part of a marketing strategy, is essentially free advertising.

At no expense to you, your company appears in front of your target audience. The disadvantage is that you don’t own or control what’s put out there, which means that there’s always a potential it’ll be negative media.

Main Differences Between Paid, Owned, and Earned Media

Here are the main differences between paid, owned and earned media provided below:

  1. Any digital platform should consider all three elements: owned media, earned media, and purchased media. It’s up to you to assess these three themes and determine where you should focus your resources to achieve the best results for your business.
  2. Owned media sites serve as an extension of your brand and provide new ways for consumers to interact with it. When it comes to owned media, the more the merrier as long as you can keep up with the maintenance.
  3. Earned media is the internet version of word of mouth, and it’s what drives traffic, engagement, and sentiment for a business. While there are other ways for a brand to gain earned media, the most controllable and effective are solid SEO and content tactics.
  4. Paid media can be used to promote content and drive traffic directly to your owned media properties to generate additional earned media.
  5. While each aspect serves a distinct purpose, combining Earned, Owned, and Paid Media will significantly improve the effectiveness of your digital media strategy.


A digital marketing strategy should include all three types of media: paid, owned, and earned. What your aims are and how you want to use your resources will determine how you use and combine these pieces.

The way you will use these media will ultimately provides you with results. We hope all the facts and examples mentioned above will help you to understand the difference between three of them.


1. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3453881
2. http://www.journalofadvertisingresearch.com/content/53/2/181.short

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