Paid, Owned, and Earned Media or POEM for short.

If you’ve been dabbling in social media, you’ve probably come across one or more of these marketing terms.

Even if you don’t fully understand these digital marketing strategies, it’s critical to know the difference between them. The knowledge helps in leveraging valuable insight into your business and promotes awareness.

At Cleverism, we’ll demonstrate how each of these individual marketing frameworks forms the perfect marketing triangle to strengthen your business.


Like air on earth, paid media is found in every corner of the digital space. Paid media is a vital component to improve brand-value, drive traffic, and acquire sales. Paid media are advertisements that are bought by a business to be sponsored.

In short, a company pays a fixed value and the advertiser hosts its content to an audience.

We see this all the time.

Ever searched for ‘Warm woolen socks’ on Google and received a page full of results?

When you pay close attention, you’ll notice some of the links have a tiny additional text called ‘Ad’ or ‘Sponsored’ or ‘Promoted’ over them. This means the company paid Google to sponsor their website for relevant keywords to drive traffic or promote awareness.

Paid Media & Its Pricing Models

Primarily, paid media platforms utilize two popular methods of models to charge for advertising. Let’s find out more about them.

1. Cost Per Click (CPC) or Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Every time an ad pops up during a keyword search, an impression of the ad is generated to the user. An impression is considered when an advertisement loads on a user’s device – PC, smartphone, or tablet.

In the CPC model, the company or website only pays the advertiser if a customer clicks and enters the website.

To summarize.

  • Customer searches for a related keyword on Google
  • Google shows them your company’s ad
  • Customer clicks the ad and enters your website
  • Google charges you for it

Simple, isn’t it?

Here comes the advanced metrics. Each ad click varies in price depending on the popularity of the keyword.

For example – ‘Gold’ is a high-value keyword searched numerous times. Hence, the charge per click is significantly high if your website deals with jewelry.

However, if you own a farm and wish to sell Ostrich eggs, the keyword ‘Ostrich Eggs’ has a lower CPC value. This is because the keyword is unpopular and isn’t searched nearly as much as gold.

The CPC model doesn’t charge for impressions generated. However, the next pricing model does.

2. Cost Per Mille/Thousand (CPM) or Pay-Per-Impression (PPI)

In this model, the advertiser charges the business every time their ad shows up in a search result. Even if the customer doesn’t click the impression, the impression is billed. Advertisers such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc. charge for every 1000 impressions of the ad.

Let’s take an example –

The CPM of ‘Luxurious Hotels’ is priced at $5 due to moderate search activity.

The CPM of ‘Budget Hotels’ is priced at $10 due to high search activity.

As the owner of a 5-star hotel, it’s in your best interest to take the 1st option even if the 2nd one generates more results. You’ll get twice the value of 2000 impressions for the price. Also, you’ll narrow down your keyword searches for luxurious hotels only.

Apart from this, brands can opt for advertising techniques to reduce their overall ad spend.

Forms of Paid Media

Paid media is offered by various online platforms. Each of these options is targeted to different demographics and interests. There isn’t one destination that’s suited for every business.

Let’s take a look at 3 popular paid media types.

1. Search Engine Advertising

If you’re used Google or Bing, it’s impossible to have missed a sponsored advertisement show up in your search results. Chances are you’ve clicked these ads without prior knowledge that they were sponsored.

Search engine advertising is a popular method of driving traffic or simply spreading brand awareness. Google receives over 2-trillion searches a year, which is 5.6 billion searches in 24 hours. Still too big to comprehend? How about 63,000 searches every second.


The potential of paid media through search engine advertising is only getting started. With more people entering the digital portal every day, search engines are influencing businesses worldwide.

2. Display Advertising

While browsing a website or watching a YouTube video, have you noticed a banner at the bottom that sticks throughout your visit?

That’s called a display or banner ad.

An embedded banner is a popular way to allow the user to browse their favorite websites without being intrusive.

Banner ads are popularly used by affiliate marketers to earn a commission for every purchase made. Google AdSense is another popular platform that employs banner ads. Articles are a great way to provide free information to readers and in return, monetize the readers through display ads.

3. Influencer Marketers

You’re probably familiar with celebrity endorsements. Your favorite actor or actress representing a brand in their style. Those days are history.

A new breed of marketing called influencer marketing has taken its place. Influencers are everyday individuals that have a large following targeting their niche on social media.

  • Influencers that have less than 1,000 followers are known as Nano Influencers
  • Influencers that have 1,000-to-100,000 followers are known as Micro-Influencers
  • Influencers between 100,000 to 1-million are called Macro Influencers
  • Finally, the elite celebrity influencers are known as Mega Influencers

The influencer market is set to a revenue threshold of $10-billion by the end of 2020.

The reason influencer marketing is a hit with the fans is due to the personal interaction between influencers and their followers. Trust is the driving force behind influencer marketing. People embrace honesty and humility.

Influencer marketing is branding done right. Ordinary everyday folks who recommend tried and tested products to their loyal followers.


Now that we understand the concept of paid media, it’s critical to gain control of your advertising space. Owned media is the concept of freedom to endorse your digital properties depending on your budget and limitation.

Every marketing channel that utilizes the full control of the business and its owners is considered an owned media. This applies to properties hosted on other platforms such as Facebook pages, Instagram pages, WordPress websites, etc.

Owned media is considered the core foundation of a well laid out marketing plan. Without owned media, it’s impossible to run a paid media campaign.

First, let’s see the various marketing funnels that owned media utilizes.

1. Website/Blog

It’s no surprise that a website is an ultimate form of control that a brand possesses. After all, a website is personal and is polished to utilize the color and culture of the brand. It’s your digital property to demonstrate product information and to increase awareness.

Moving on, a website without a blog is like a body without a heart. The blog serves as the central source of information that pumps out content to impact the customer’s buying choices. It’s also a point of information for niche related content that increases user awareness.

For example, if you sell soaps or liquid sanitizers, a blog describing the dangers of germs and why it’s necessary to maintain hygiene at all times informs the reader to purchase your products.

2. Social Media Pages

The world is acquainted with social media for various reasons. What started as a way to network and connect is now a global marketing revolution that influences brands to distribute their products.

While owning a social media page isn’t the same as owning a website, the freedom to operate the pages within regulations is still yours. Every blog post can be promoted, interact with your followers, advertise products, and much more.

3. Mobile Applications

Similar to a website, a mobile application provides brand access to personalization and marketing digital presence. When your brand wishes to be creative and perform in-depth research on statistics, a mobile app offers the freedom to track and observe user behaviors.

Mobile apps are perfect to attract users that aren’t connected via desktops, tablets, and laptops. Since smartphones are portable, it’s ideal for brands to invest in developing an app dedicated to their brand.

Push notifications are a great way to send product alerts or coupons for discounted items.

4. Email Campaigns

Often an overlooked space, an email is among the best personal tools available. Offering the freedom to customize an email campaign and reach out to both – new and old prospects is invaluable. A top-notch email strategy grows your business by sending emails related to

  • New product launches
  • Latest blogs
  • Sales and Promotions
  • Exclusive Loyalty Programs
  • Referral Campaigns

Emails aren’t as intrusive as phone calls and people are likely to click an email if they’ve subscribed to your website. Encourage readers to subscribe with pop-up notifications that trigger on your landing page and blogs.

Maintaining your loyal customers is worth more than attracting new leads. Emails are a great way to stay in touch with your followers on a weekly or monthly basis.

5. Message Boards

If the blog is the heart that pumps information to your website, then a message board or forum is the brain where the discussion happens. While social media pages allow user engagement, dedicating a forum to your loyal followers increases brand presence.

With more users visiting your website to discuss and exchange ideas of your brand, the overall health of your website increases with sustained traffic.

Forums act as a place for people to report issues or discuss feedback. A self-hosted message board offers a bridge between your brand and the community.


We are down to the final piece of our media triangle – Earned Media. It’s easily the most important framework of the 3.

Unlike paid or owned media, the control aspect in earned media is a bare minimum. There’s very little control. Because earned media directly connects to publicity.

Publicity for your brand.

This type of content isn’t created but rather received from your customers. And since it’s the third party, the options of control are out of the question.

But it’s not all sticks and stones. The biggest advantage of earned media is it’s ‘Free of cost’. While this factor is a major advantage if your brand gains positive publicity, it’s a destructive trait if your brand fails customer loyalty.

Let’s discuss the variations of earned media.

1. Print/Online Article

We don’t mean hiring a newspaper to write a positive segment of your company. No.

That’s considered paid media.

When a newspaper covers your company’s achievements for their story, it’s free publicity. Customers who buy and read the article gain knowledge of your brand.

A newspaper usually covers upcoming startups or well-established businesses in their respective categories.

2. Television/YouTube

Let’s say you ran a popular burger stand in New Jersey. You decide to relocate and expand to another city – Texas. The local television station covers your brand as a news segment to its residents living in Texas.

This type of media is the oldest of all.

In modern times, YouTube channels have replaced the good old idiot box.

With numerous people providing reviews of food, cosmetics, clothing, and other products online. This type of coverage is perfect to reach a large section of viewers. Consider this free endorsement.

3. Social Media Posts

Popularly known as Tweets, Facebook Posts, or Instagram images. Call them what you may but social media is a hotspot for word of mouth. Reviews are everlasting. Every time a user writes a positive or negative review about your brand on social media, many readers are impacting their choices based on it.

Numerous social media platforms provide the option of recommendation to their users. If a user loves your product, they recommend it by sharing it with their friends. Likewise, if a user finds your product lacking, they alert their friends and family against it.

4. Review Sites

When making a dinner reservation, it’s quite common to take the help of a review site to satisfy your dining experience. Websites such as Yelp and Google Reviews are popular destinations for users to share their feedback without bias.

Every review written about your company on review sites is earned media. With many of the review sites working directly with the company, the management provides a direct response to a positive or negative review.

5. Gossip

Good old word of mouth is often the oldest cited example of earned media. A conversation about a product impacts people and their buying decisions.

Ever had a neighbor recommend you the best lawn mower because your old one made a rustic noise? That’s earned media.

Had a friend recommend an amazing triple loaded cheeseburger?
Yep. Earned media again.

Any time a business or a product is affected due to a conversation, it’s a point towards earned media.

Now that we understand how 3 crucial foundations of marketing work. Let’s talk about a possible fusion of two or three different media types – ‘Converged Media’.


If you haven’t taken a guess already, converged media is a collision of two or more of the above 3 media types.

Gone are the days when standalone media tactics reigned supreme. Today, a combination of integrated marketing tactics is critical for success.

Let’s take 3 examples to demonstrate converged media.

Example 1 – Tesla

Electric automobile baron Tesla invited its customers to create video testimonials describing their experience with their products. Happy customers began sharing their positive experiences earning Tesla a ton of earned media reputation.

But Tesla took it up a notch to add every customer experience to their website. Thus, creating a merge between earned media and owned media.

With people viewing the testimonials as a positive affirmation from past buyers, Tesla’s sales skyrocketed.

Example 2 – Burberry

Fashion apparel brand Burberry came up with a shared media strategy. They encouraged customers to wear their recent Burberry purchases and send a picture of it to the company’s official email.

Thrilled customers took various pictures and were featured on Burberry’s official Facebook page.

Another classic example of earned media + owned media.

Example 3 – Blogs

Let’s say you own a travel blog and review exotic locations for your readers to gain information. (Owned Media)

Unfortunately, the views aren’t to your expectation.

No problem.

Simply, head over to Google Ads and sign up for an ad package featuring your travel blog and redirect interested leads to your blog. (Paid media)

If your customers are impressed with your content, they leave you 5-star feedback. (Earned Media)

That’s a fusion of 3 media types integrated into one blog.


Evaluation of all aspects of media is important when building a marketing strategy for your brand. While an owned media type represents your control in its entirety, it’s hardly worth anything without traffic or customer testimonials to prove the authenticity of your products.

Each element contributes to the social media trifecta based on its strength. Ignoring one or the other media type can prove to be disastrous.

Have you used any of the following media types in your business strategy? How did it work?

We’d love to know in the comments below.

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