Before we dive into content, it might serve us well to get some definitions laid out:
Owned Media– The channel a brand controls; A website, mobile site, blog, Twitter account, etc.
Paid Media– Where a brand pays to leverage a channel; Display ads, paid search, sponsorships, etc.
Earned Media– When customers BECOME the channel; WOM, buzz, viral, etc.
But these terms may be slightly outdated. A newer wave of thinking in the marketing world is combining owned and earned media, where the byproduct is known as shared media. This is primarily because the customer has changed, individuals want to be a part of the brand on every level, gone are the days when a brand was the sole controller of what used to be ‘owned’ (Twitter is one of the best examples). That being said, paid media has stayed essentially untouched.
We still wonder, is paid media dead? Should we be paying for what we can get for free?
“Earned Media is often the result of well-executed and well-coordinated owned and paid media.” (Sean Corcoran, Forrester) Without the combination of both paid and owned media channels, earned media might not be possible at all. The lack of online visibility and interaction with the brand would drastically hinder the potential for customers to become brand advocates, which is essentially what earned media is creating. Also, it’s important to remember that you can’t have the “free” earned media without supplying the support (frequent updates and great content).
In 2012 the European Union enacted the cookie law, thus making all “personal,” stored data obsolete on the web unless you choose to “opt-in,” which we all know… people never choose to do. The cookie’s purpose is to identify individuals and create a customized online experience for the user, based on their history. They were created to be convenient and helpful for both, the individual and the e-commerce industry–matching people with their wants and needs. Without them, the internet has in a sense, digressed in it’s ability to provide that once fluid customer experience. It’s a worrisome thought to think that the U.S. might be next.
Could our [marketing] savior be ‘Native Advertising’? It’s very similar to content marketing, placing ads in the midst of a user experience which makes it feel less intrusive than traditional paid media. Pandora online radio is a fantastic example of native advertising done exceptionally well. They have a variety of “Sponsored Stations” including things like ‘Pepsi Grammys Best New Artists’ and ‘Gatorade Recover.’ All of which seek to establish that emotional connection with listeners, yielding a positive outlook on the sponsoring brands. It’s pretty great stuff I think!
Programmatic Ad Buying, the future of paid media as we know it.
The idea is using an automated system to make ad buying decisions. Interestingly enough, cookies will play a central role in how smoothly programmatic buying is implemented. If cookies cease to exist, much information that is used to inform ad buying is lost in tandem. A common fear seems to be that ads might be placed next to “controversial or low-quality content” because of such automation. Although there are clearly some hurdles, big business needs to jump on board or risk being left behind as the digital times change.
So what does this mean for media buyers? You’d assume this would lead to the loss of media buying jobs, but that may not be the case. Their roles will undoubtedly change, and probably will end up being more managerial & creative in nature.
In all likelihood, we will also be seeing programmatic ads on television as well. There are clearly some obstacles there, just like we are seeing in other platforms, but it’s coming.
“The theory is that all media can and will be traded this way,” but that’s just beyond the horizon; some of the bigger corporations are just now starting to test the waters. One of the leaders in programmatic is RadiumOne, who have worked with such brands as Hyundai, Nature’s Recipe and Disney Resorts. (http://radiumone.com) Their slogan is “We know your next customer,” a little eerie to the average person, but totally thrilling to marketers. This was on their site:
Oh, and Google’s into it, so we should be too.