Upcoming Altimeter Research Report: Integration of Paid, Owned, and Earned

By Altimeter’s Rebecca Lieb, Industry Analyst and Jeremiah Owyang, Industry Analyst.

If consumers don’t differentiate between “Paid, Owned, and Earned” so why are marketers segmented by different departments and have separate agencies that do each?  Does a ‘social media agency of record’ actually slow progress?  Can a marketing effort be more effective if all of these methods are used together?  These are exactly the questions we want to answer.

I’m very pleased to announce a new research project by Altimeter Group involving myself (Earned, Owned) and Rebecca Lieb (Paid, Owned), our NY based analyst who knows advertising, agencies, and has written both a book and a recent research report on content marketing. My expertise is Earned and owned media, while Rebecca is more proficieient in paid and owned. Together, we will tackle the topic of how we see paid, owned and earned converging.  In fact she’s shared her perspective about how we’ll approach this joint report together. This report flows under Altimeter’s research theme of the Dynamic Customer Journey (more on that broader theme soon)

Five reasons the market demands this report:

  1. Earned (social content) has become mainstream. We’re past the point of experimentation. Nearly every industry requires mass deployment.
  2. Facebook’s recent announcements clearly indicate earned content is now becoming paid, and owned content needs to be paid to achieve mass appeal within an FB page
  3. Inside companies we’re seeing the corporate social strategist cross the aisle to work with direct marketers. Advertising agencies are extending their budgets into the social world. Political and coordination issues will emerge as they come together.
  4. Brands that integrate paid, owned and earned media will benefit because they will reach customers in the most effective manner.
  5. Consumers don’t consciously differentiate between ads, corporate content, and what their friends say, but instead indiscriminately use a variety of content sources.

Want to get involved? Altimeter seeks to interview and take in case study submissions from a variety of brands, agencies, technology providers, and third party topic experts, email briefings at altimetergroup.com.  If you want to receive an email copy, sign up for our newsletter or follow the Altimeter Twitter account, and be notified when this report, and others, are published.  Also, if you see some notable examples of paid owned earned already happening (the Old Spice Man comes to mind) kindly let us know in comments or send us an email and we’ll take a look.  You can see our other Open Research reports on Content Marketing, Mobile Apps, Enterprise Social Networking, Analytics and more on our research report page.  We publish them under Open Research creative commons so they can be widely read, adopted, and shared.

Between her Ad and content background in NYC, and my focus on earned/social in Silicon Valley we’ll be the dynamic duo to put these questions to rest.

Update: Altimeter is hosting a Tweetup in NYC to discuss this live on April 12, and in SF on April 3rd

22 Replies to “Upcoming Altimeter Research Report: Integration of Paid, Owned, and Earned”

  1. This will be a fascinating research project.  

    While it’s too soon to tell, it will be interesting if our recommendations are to NOT use social media agencies of record, but instead a digital agency.

  2. Jeremiah, I spent 4+ years at a successful Chicago based content marketing agency, developing and executing digital and social programs.  I’m now at a PR agency, developing integrated digital and CONTENT programs.  I’d love to be interviewed, as you deem valuable…

  3. Jeremiah, I spent 4+ years at a successful Chicago based content marketing agency, developing and executing digital and social programs.  I’m now at a PR agency, developing integrated digital and CONTENT programs.  I’d love to be interviewed, as you deem valuable…

  4. Hi Jeremiah – this analysis makes a ton of sense (and is arguably overdue) in web marketing, but I’d love to discuss the same framework as applied to mobile app marketing. There’s great work being done right now to fill in key data gaps in the mobile conversion funnel, as well as nascent (but high-velocity) work on the organic / “app store optimization” side. Building an integrated view of the future here would be a valuable companion or follow-up piece to the research you describe above. LMK if you want to discuss: chris [at] founderscoop [dot] com

  5. I believe the premise is flawed. I’ve found customers tend to actively differentiate between paid and earned. Sometimes they differentiate owned and paid, although that’s less clear depending on the sophistication of the audience. However, despite what I see as a flawed premise, I’m still on-board with the notion that marketing silos are not optimal. 

    It’s particularly problematic if silos are causing misalignment with strategic decisions and/or messaging points. While not an absolute truth, it’s been my experience that organizations are more likely to encounter inefficiencies and missteps to the degree that they silo. The risks can be mitigated with clear internal communication at regular intervals which include some form of performance assessment, in the same way one would coordinate with different members of any team.

    Having a social media agency of record is probably folly for most firms, but there are some larger organizations who want to avoid invest in overhead/infrastructure yet have enough real-time communications to outsource the execution. If their primary agency is weak in this area, then it may make good sense to tap another group with stronger skills/process/procedure. While they claim otherwise, one must face the fact that rarely is a single agency good at all things. 

    Again, organizations would do well to keep internal communications frequent and clear. Collaboration tools can go a long way to making this process easier. If silos are left truly on their own, that’s a real problem.

    Some final thoughts as I reflect on this post:

    1. Agreed, social earned needs mass deployment.

    2. I’d advise clients not to hang their hat on Facebook. These networks come and go. Allocate some budget to it, but do not become dependent on it.

    3. Agreed, ad agencies are extending into social platforms and this change does require either increased internal coordination or else resource consolidation. Either way, the left hand must know what the right hand is doing.

    4. Agreed, same as it always was: integrated approaches trump silos every time.
    5. I find that consumers do differentiate consciously. Granted, some audience segments are more sensitive than others. But the ancient, ego-satisfying idea of a mindless consumer is a meme that needs to go away. People get it far more than we like to give them credit for. Act accordingly and you may find your results improve.

    Last but not least, I wanted to specifically commend you for not only understand the value of Creative Commons licensing but actually utilizing it. Bravo!

  6. uɐǝS thanks Sean.  There’s a lot to unravel here.  While I agree at the sub conscious and conscious level consumers can tell the difference between the two (and there’s numerous trust studies that measure this) we’re seeing an integration of POE on social networks (see recent FB announcement and Twitter sponsored tweets/trending/tags)  As a result, we’re seeing the integration come together on the social networks, so we should expect this to spill over to other websites, digital displays, traditional ads and beyond.  We have to start planning for this now.   The goal of the marketer is to know when to flip which toggle on so they’re used at maximum effectiveness.  I’ll be asking Social media agencies of record their take too.  Thanks for noting about our use of Open Research, it’s expensive for us to do, but we feel it’s worthwhile.  Your comment means a lot thanks.

  7. Jeremiah, we may have something to contribute – and will follow up via email. We (Room 214) put our stake in the ground as a “social media agency” in 2006 – though much of what we were doing then and prior to that consisted of blog installs, podcasting and SEO.

    What’s been interesting to us over the years is the observation of ad agencies and PR firms racing to catch up with social (earned and owned) media. We, on the other hand, have recognized a more recent necessity of increasing competencies on the advertising side to better support our social efforts and overall value proposition.

  8. I think the agency descriptor is less impt than the agency’s *thinking.* There are social media AORs who excel at digital – and those whose raison-d’etre is merely blogger relations; likewise there are digital agencies who still don’t get social (as much as they might claim, anyway). And in fact, some might argue that the PR agency take the lead in this new world order, given their historic focus on relationships and context (vs. campaigns and widgets).

    But I raise these points only to point out the fruitlessness of making recommendations to your readers based on “what the agency calls itself” – that just stirs the hornets. I hope you focus instead on trends & strategies, regardless of the source.

    Hugely important topic btw, happy to chat with you about it sometime soon, Jeremiah.

  9. Jeremiah – I am looking forward to updating you on what we’ve been up to over here @banyanbranch – when we finally connect!  Increasingly paid is playing an important role in driving earned with our clients communities.  I think we are on for our briefing in a week.  Cheers til then!



  10. Really great stuff Jeremiah. I could not agree more that this whole notion of “paid, owned and earned” has simply created a consumer experience problem. But, it’s easy to understand why organizations, specifically agencies, keep these as 3 separate areas. First, it allows for territorial lines to be established. Two, it makes revenue capture simpler. Three, it sounds trendy. It’s sad, but true.

Comments are closed.