Will earned media replace paid media as the most important driver of brand engagement and discovery? We see that the smartest marketers now use earned media tactics, insights and analytics to create value and efficiency up and down the funnel and across the customer journey.
The traditional view of earned media -- influencer marketing, social media or press coverage -- is that it generates awareness but isn’t really measurable or accountable and doesn’t result in sales. That’s certainly true for brands that have their content engagement siloed from their paid media. However, the marketers we work with have access to deep insights and analytics to connect their earned and paid media campaigns.
Digital advertising has proven inadequate for closing the discover-to-purchase loop on its own. That’s why using an insights platform to bring earned and paid channels together makes sense. You start by understanding who is engaging with your earned media content; and how, when and where they engage with it. Perhaps you work with influencers and they got your audience to share or react to a post. Should that be the end of the road of engagement? As I said recently in Adweek, the vast majority of approaches to measuring the value of earned media and influencer programs are seriously limited by a focus on the post, as opposed to the content. That content can have tremendous lifetime value, generating impressions and engagement across social media platforms. What’s more, the signals and intent from engagement with that content are a powerful new source of data for brands.
Every marketer is searching for new sources of first-party data, and now you have some that can be tremendously valuable. If someone likes or shares your brand’s visual content, that’s a pretty strong indication of interest and affinity for the brand and your products. You then have segments to target your fans (or your competitors’ fans) with marketing messages. Through your data management platform (DMP) and ad tech partnerships, you can target one-to-one or build lookalike segments. Now you can prospect, retarget and conquest based on engagement with your social media and influencer marketing content -- and you can use those audiences across every media channel and platform, extending the reach of your earned media and closing the loop with follow-on messaging.
Nearly every brand uses both paid and earned media channels. However, you’re leaving ROI on the table if you don’t have the full scope of insights and analytics about their content’s performance on social media channels. Once you have the deep level of insights about who is engaging with your content, when and where they are engaging with it, you then have the insights to inform new actions throughout your marketing stack. And, that’s the best solution for a brand to fend off any challenger.