PAID AND EARNED MEDIA: Building an Integrated Strategy How Marketers can set themselves up for social media success with an integrated approachWritten by Sarah Sikowitz, VP, Group Media Director, & Matt Wurst, Director of Digital Communities Executive SummaryThe social media space is becoming increasingly crowded as more brands and people engage on thevarious platforms. According to industry estimates, fewer than 10% of a brand’s Facebook fans seecontent that is posted by the brand. Eager to connect with and engage their target consumer, brands arefighting for attention in this fragmented and crowded space, and can no longer rely on smart contentdistribution alone to drive engagement and organic fan acquisition. As a result, it’s important for brands tolook to paid media as an integral part of overall community strategy.This report outlines how brands should begin to think about a strategy that integrates paid and earned inorder to maximize their opportunity across social channels.
The Benefits of Paid and Earned IntegrationThere are several benefits to an integrated approach to managing paid and earned media: Paid media can help grow an audience that is more likely to engage. Paid media can be used to drive community growth. Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms offer both the insights and targeting capabilities needed to deliver ads to the people that are most likely to join a brand’s community and even to those who are most likely to take action once they join. Earned media content can increase interaction with paid efforts. Communities can be seen as creative testing grounds for content to be used within ad placements. If a brand’s community responds well to a specific piece of content, it’s likely the same content could perform well in advertising, too. Both Twitter and Facebook offer advertisers the ability to utilize earned media content in their paid placements. Paid media can help surface owned or earned content more widely to a community. Engagement and action – not just reach – are critical for any brand actively managing a community. Paid media can be used to deliver a brand’s content to their community, in case it’s not seen through organic placements alone. This in turn encourages the community to stay engaged and active.When working in tandem, paid and earned can create a virtuous cycle – building engaged audiences whointeract with content and influence their friends to do the same. Community Insights Connect an Integrated Earned and Paid StrategyCommunity and social data is essential for integrating earned and paid media successfully. This dataprovides a tremendous amount of insight around how people are engaging in a community – who theyare, as well as how and when they engage – and can be used to create more informed and strategicmedia strategies. Community insights can: Reveal content that is well-liked or discussed among a community. This content can then be used in advertising targeted to existing or potential community members. Ads that utilize content that has already been shown to resonate with the brand’s community are likely to elicit a better response and extend the reach of a brand’s most engaging content. For example, if a brand posts a video in their community that quickly becomes one of its most buzzed-about posts, they might then run advertising for this video to acquire new fans or to improve the reach of the content within their community, furthering the video’s impact. Uncover the types of content that best resonate among specific demographics within a community. For example, if a retailer learns that women 18-34 in their Facebook community respond well to posts that include pictures of shoes, they can use this insight to inform the creative in their Facebook advertising campaigns aimed at this target demographic.
Reveal the days and times when a community or target demographic is most likely to engage, based on the content. For example, a CPG brand might learn that their Twitter community responds more to recipes that are shared during the hours of 2-4pm. Based on this insight, paid advertising can be run during this time window to attract current and prospective followers.Social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube provide insights on what type of content fans arelikely to engage in. Community and content managers are using these insights to optimize their contentand distribution strategies within the platforms. Paid media practitioners stand to benefit from theseinsights, as well. The Three Pillars of an Integrated ApproachThere are three pillars to a truly integrated approach. 1. Planning: Create an integrated content creation and paid promotional calendar. Content creation and paid promotional planning should go hand in hand. As the editorial calendar comes to life, brands should also be thinking about the goal of the channel as a whole, which content they should leverage in paid placements and who the target audience should be. Knowing that content may be repurposed in a paid placement also ensures that the content creator adheres to or creates alternate content that will render well in advertising. If the teams controlling paid and earned are separate, they should come together or assign a lead to manage and approve the integrated process. 2. Execution: Be prepared to respond quickly to community reaction and insights. Communities react to content in real-time, often in unexpected ways. An integrated team is ready to respond quickly to new community insights and capitalize on new opportunities; for example, using paid placements to amplify content that is suddenly driving high levels of engagement or increasing reach against an audience that may not be responding organically. 3. Measurement and Reporting: Set up an automated system to measure earned and paid media together. Automated reporting and measurement across both paid and earned channels are ideal for an integrated approach. Monitoring the impact of each channel on shared KPIs provides a more accurate view of the role each channel may be playing in overall success. Paid Opportunities Across Social PlatformsAs brands continue to invest in their earned channels by creating digital content, paid media will becomea more critical piece of the activation. This isn’t new, but publishers are finally beginning to developadvertising products to allow this to happen more seamlessly. Here are some of the opportunities on theleading social platforms:
FacebookFacebook offers the opportunity to engage with fans through status updates, photos, videos, events andpolls. Paid media can serve as a virtual megaphone to amplify the brand message and extend it to theirfans or their fans’ connections. Brands can use Facebook Insights to inform strategy when buyingFacebook’s Premium Ads, as well as Marketplace Ads.Recently, Facebook launched two new ad products to better connect a brand’s paid and earned efforts onthe platform. Reach Generator gives brands a guarantee that they will reach 75% of their fans over a 28day period. Premium on Facebook is a package of highly-trafficked placements, including the right-handhomepage placement, logout page, and desktop and mobile newsfeed. The creative specs for theseplacements mirror the content brands are already posting to their page.360i recently created an integrated paid and earned strategy for one of its large retail clients. Based onthe insight from the community team that video content was driving higher fan engagement, the mediateam used Facebook’s Video Page Post ads to reach fans and friends of fans. The brand saw 187%increase in daily page engagement when the media was running, as well as a 30% increase in daily viralreach.TwitterMarketers can utilize any or all of Twitter’s three ad products - Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts andPromoted Trends - to increase engagement with followers of the brand. Promoted Tweets allows brandsto target their best performing content (tweets) to related Twitter streams on desktop and mobile.Promoted Accounts is a way for brands to grow their followers through placement on a user’s Twitterhomepage targeted to users within a specific geographic area or with specific interests. Marketers canuse Promoted Accounts to grow a follower base more likely to be interested in their content. PromotedTrends is currently sold on a national level and user engagement depends on the trend topic a branddecides to promote.360i client USA Network utilizes Promoted Tweets to spark conversations around its shows. When Twitterusers search for relevant keywords, such as show titles like “Psych” or another USA show (e.g. BurnNotice), the Promoted Tweet will show at the top of the results.
YouTubeYouTube allows brands to reach viewers that are using the platforms search engines. Marketers canutilize promoted videos, pre-roll and True View in-stream videos to drive engagement with their content.Using Google’s precise targeting capabilities, marketers can ensure that this content gets in front of thespecific users that they most want to engage.There are a number of established and emerging social platforms which have not developed themeasurement tools or paid media products to allow marketers to implement specific strategies. That said,these platforms should not be ignored as brands continue to expand their digital footprint. Establishedplatforms, such as Foursquare and LinkedIn, are places where brands can engage with consumersaround specific activities or topics. Platforms like Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ are greatplaces for brands to curate and drive engagement around content. Marketers Can Be In Different Phases of Social MaturityMarketers must evolve to succeed within this ever changing landscape. With so much to consider, it maybe difficult to identify the next step. In order to move forward, we suggest establishing your brand’sstaging in the space. Are you crawling, walking, running or already in the middle of a marathon? Onceyou establish the stage, take inventory of your current channels [know your environment], ask the rightquestions [identify your challenges] and start working towards a goal [maximize your opportunity]. Phase Crawl Walk Run Marathon Know your Limited investment in Steady investment in at Integrated and Seamless integration across environment social channels, earned least one social platform, consistent approach to channels as reflected in media but no integrated Paid and Earned internal coordination, agency approach to paid and alignment and automated earned measurement and budgeting Identify your Where is your audience Are the internal teams Are you measuring the Are there opportunities to challenges most likely to engage? within your organization resulting performance continue to innovate owned, talking or at least aware between the two? earned and paid media What type of content of each other? channels? could you use to Do you have a engage them? Are you working with the strategic approach to same agency partner to appropriating budget manage each channel? across both channels? Maximize Educate yourself on Create a clear path to Develop a Experiment with new social your available social communication internally measurement plan that platforms and apply your opportunity platforms and the types and align your agency helps you evaluate approach to see if it can of content that will partners accordingly. holistic results across scale. resonate with your both channels. audience. Develop a test plan to understand the best way Allocate budget for the teams and according to this channels to work measurement and the together. results you hope to drive.
RecommendationsPlanning in silos limits opportunity and prohibits marketers from optimizing each channel. An integratedstrategy ensures continuity of voice across platforms and generates comfort, authenticity and familiarityfor users as they engage with the brand. Brands must take the proper steps to identify their brandadvocates and create an authentic, relevant voice across all communications. 1. Consider your investment in owned and earned channels. If it’s significant, understand the levers you can pull to continue to engage with your most valuable customers. Educate yourself on how paid can be used to drive this activity within your communities. 2. Evaluate your organization’s maturity phase. What phase of social maturity is your organization in? Is there an open dialogue between the departments that manage social and paid media? If not, make those connections internally. Align with your agency partners to ensure there is communication between teams externally. 3. Develop and execute a test. Using the recommendations discussed in this report, begin to understand how the channels can work together and what types of results you can expect to see. About 360i360i is an award-winning digital marketing agency that drives results for Fortune 500 marketers throughinsights, ideas and technologies. 360i helps its clients think differently about their online presence andevolve their strategies to take advantage of the new world of marketing communications – one wherebrands and consumers engage in interactive and multi-directional conversations. In 2010, Ad Age named360i to its prestigious Agency A-List. Current clients include Kraft Foods, JCPenney, Coca-Cola, NBCUniversal and Diageo, among others. For more information, please visit http://www.360i.com or follow uson Twitter @360i. Ways to Connect With 360i 360i.com/insights blog.360i.com twitter.com/360i firstname.lastname@example.org