Earned Media - Measuring the Intangibles

Earned Media - Measuring the Intangibles

When talking about media presence, it is often referred to “earned”, “paid” and “owned”. A distinction definitely makes sense here: There are a few things to keep in mind, especially when it comes to earned media, which have become more prevalent than ever in communications departments in recent years.

As the term implies, earned media refers to the presence in the media that has not been bought or commissioned, but to the part that has been „earned“. In combination with paid and owned media this results in a holistic view of a company‘s marketing activities.

Honest Feedback

Obviously, earned media is extremely valuable for every company, as it is about comments, posts or articles that were created by customers, users or even fans - voluntarily. This content is not only an honest and convincing form of advertising (word of mouth), it is also essential for further internal developments. What does the public really think about a brand? What do customers particularly like about a new product? What is most convincing in everyday life?

Downsides of Earned Media

With the great benefits that earned media brings, it also carries risks. The image created and controlled by a company has been carefully built and clearly defined. In contrast, the content created by customers and followers can hardly be controlled or influenced and is therefore quite unpredictable. If customer opinions deviate strongly from the company‘s created image, this can lead to conflicts and eventually cause damage to the company.

Measurability as a Sucess Factor

In addition, earned media is extremely difficult to measure. Even if the content can be identified, it is difficult qualitatively investigate it or to attach a pricetag. For quantifying an approximate value, the following three models can be considered: the Return on Target Influence Model, the Media Impact Model and the Impressions Model.

While the Return on Target Influence Model is the most common method for determining the effectiveness of measures, and the Media Impact Model is used to determine a return on investment (ROI), the Impressions Model deals with the calculation of the earned media value based on impressions. The larger the audience reached, the higher the awareness and thus the value for the company.

Nevertheless, earned media is not an equivalent substitute for paid or owned media. It is the combination of the three marketing components that result in a holistic value-creating strategy.

Paid, owned and earned media

In addition to the difficulty of measuring earned media posts, there is also the complex task of finding them. Companies can usually track digital content by linking or tagging it, but with traditional - especially audiovisual - media, this is much more difficult.

Tracking Down Earned Media

There are not many tools on the market that can identify and analyze earned media. Two reliable options are media monitoring tools specialized in audiovisual content via speech-to-text technology and media-content datasets for BI tools. The datasets available for various industries contain real-time information of several thousand radio and TV stations worldwide. They can be easily processed as a data source by any standard business intelligence tool (e.g. Tableau or Microsoft Power BI) - without the need for fingerprints or tracking of impressions of specific segments.

To learn more about real-time media monitoring or data cubes for BI and which of the option fits your specific business case best, simply get in touch with our experts:


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