Digital Marketing

Discover - Difference Between Earned Media, Owned Media & Paid Media.

By Muhammad Hanzla Ijaz


Discover - Difference Between Earned Media, Owned Media & Paid Media.

Earned Media 

Earned media is any content written about you or your business that you haven’t paid for or created yourself. Although a third party always publishes this type of media on channels that you don’t own, like posts on social media. There are ways marketers can position themselves for earned media opportunities. Brands build earned media strategies through PR, digital marketing, and events. 

Examples of Earned Media.

  • Product reviews on YouTube, social media, or blogs.
  • A feature in a “roundup” article.
  • Online customer reviews.
  • Influencers share your content on their social media feed because they like your product.
  • Word-of-mouth marketing
  • Media publicity/coverage  


Benefits of Using Earned Media

The main reason earned media is a benefit is that it costs nothing, so the ROI will always be higher than any other media investment. It’s an organic way of building your credibility and promoting brand awareness that feels more authentic than owned or paid media tactics.

Consumers are smart enough to realize that everything a company posts about itself will be one-sided, and paid content is becoming increasingly easy to spot. Earned media, meanwhile, is seen as being unbiased, so it naturally carries more importance. Most consumers pursue trusted third-party sources when considering a purchase. It also allows you to reach an audience potentially far beyond your direct target audience.

Types of Earned Media

Discover - Difference Between Earned Media, Owned Media & Paid Media.

What is Owned Media?

Owned media refers to anything under companies’ direct control, such as websites, newsletters, catalogs, and blogs. Generally speaking, owned marketing content is free, and you can fully control who visits it. That makes it a powerful tool in your content strategy. You have to put budget behind paid, and you can’t control what you earn, but you can always create content with the hope of reaching your audience the organic way. 

Contrary to paid media, owned media follows the pull marketing strategy to raise demand for products. Rather than persuading the audience to take any action before providing them any value, it first delivers the value, often in the form of content, and allows the audience to act according to their desire. 

Examples of Owned Media.

Website, Blog, App

Your company’s website is an essential part of your owned media. It is usually the first thing customers will notice. The same goes for your blogs and mobile app. While the product and business model dictate the utility of mobile apps/websites, organizations can also use them to distribute content.

 They are essential from the following perspectives:

  • It acts as a primary source to establish the brand voice and tone.
  • They can act as a press room/newsroom, an information source for your audience, or a medium to direct your traffic to your third-party content.


Email Marketing

This strategy can help you promote new content, product updates, exclusive offers or courses, etc., directly to your subscribers. Email marketing works as a piece of your web property that reaches out to your audience with a call to action to improve brand image.

Social Media 

Brands use social media channels to create and distribute content. It’s all possible by creating official profiles/pages or groups/communities on various social media platforms. One thing to be noted is that, since social media isn’t a property of organizations, it can’t just be considered a part of owned media. Organizations have control over their pages and groups, but they’re managed by the platforms’ rules and terms of service. 


Despite the advent of social media platforms, forums might have lost their touch. Still, it doesn’t mean they aren’t effective in building communities. Using self-hosted forum software, organizations can develop forums for themselves and start content distribution and community-building activities.

Benefits of Using Owned Media.

A benefit of your owned media is that it is totally within your control. Because you are responsible for all content on your owned media, it gives you complete control over the delivered message at no additional cost. 

Paid media also gives control of the message being delivered, and earned media doesn’t cost, but only your owned media provides both of those advantages.

Developing a cohesive branding and marketing strategy for your company is essential. Your owned media is the most prominent of any effective strategy because of your ability to change it to match whatever you need to achieve your purposes.

What is Paid Media?

Paid media is one-way organizations that can promote their content through sponsored social media posts, display ads, paid search results, video ads, pop-ups, and other promoted multimedia. It may also include traditional advertising like print, radio, and TV ads or billboards. Paid media is an excellent opportunity to expand your brand reach, get more clicks, and generate more traffic. Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer paid media advertising that could potentially help promote your content and website.

Example of Paid Media.

Paid Social Media

Almost everyone is aware of paid social media and sees it in their everyday lives while scrolling through social media platforms. Nearly every social platform now offers paid options, where you can pay to publish ads for platform users to see, depending on their interests, behavior, demographics, location, etc. 

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest are the top-performing channels for paid social ads. Each offers a business account that lets you create ads or boost existing posts. Some even let users message you, like your page, and help you get more leads and site visitors.

Search Engine Ads

Search engine advertising is basically a part of marketing that includes ads like pay per click. These ads are often displayed on the search engine when you search for a certain product. The number of similar advertisements related to your product that you see on search engines is because of the keywords being used like on Google and Bing.

For example, when you’re trying to find a hotel on your browser and you see an advertisement of any cafe in the form of a banner below or above the search bar, that’s because of the unique keywords.

Banner Ads

Banner ads, also known as display ads and web ads, are usually image-based ads that show up on websites for a limited period and direct users to the advertiser’s site or a specific landing page. Such ads are embedded into the publisher’s website in the form of an image or gif. The ad’s performance comes to an account with its click-through ratio, the number of clicks to the targeted landing page from the publisher’s site ÷ by the number of ad impressions.

Native Ads

So you go on your browser and search for a particular topic of your interest. Let’s suppose an essay. We open a page, and we are entirely focused, and “out of the blues,” there comes an annoying and irrelevant advertisement or unwanted segment. Which automatically makes the user exit that site or avoid going back to that page. 

 Now that’s where native advertising comes into play. These ads are displayed according to the user search topic and use of keywords. At the same time, giving them that same feel and functionality, the appearance of the media format they are displayed in. Rather than pop-up and banner ads, native ads consist of recommendation posts or appear in social media feeds. 

Benefits of Using Paid Media

  • Due to the low cost and high reach of advertising online, a small business can build awareness quickly and cost-effectively than some traditional media.
  • Paid media complements your owned and earned media.
  • Adwords, keyword incorporation, and advertisements are all part of the PPC advertising formats that work according to your online small business.
  • Ads are affordable and measurable running paid advertising campaigns, letting you target a wider audience.
  • Test and gain valuable audience insights
  • Retargeting and retention



In the end, the main difference between paid, owned, and earned media is that paid media is a media that requires payment to gain exposure. At the same time, owned media is any online property a brand or company owns and controls. On the other hand, earned media is any content created about the brand but without the brand’s involvement.