Paid Media vs. Earned Media - Why You Need Both - Jive PR + Digital

Paid Media vs. Earned Media – Why You Need Both

By Jiver on January 27, 2016

First off, what’s the difference between paid and earned media?

Paid media is when you have to pay to distribute marketing assets or place content about your business on a particular medium, such as advertisements.

Earned media is when someone shares content about your business without having to pay for the coverage – usually traditional media and publications.

These lines have since blurred with paid media coverage becoming more prevalent. So why do we need both? Let’s start with Facebook Ads.

When Facebook Ads first came onto the scene, it didn’t appear to be a vital player with advertisers concerned about ad blockers and other objections. But with 1.5 billion (yes, BILLION) Facebook users, Facebook Ads are now a very powerful tool.


With the appropriate Facebook ad campaign, you can target your specific demographic. Fans can share your ad, reaching a greater audience with likely similar consumer behaviours. If you have multiple demographics, you have a chance to split-test ad language and calls-to-action. What you don’t want to do is blanket distribute a Facebook ad to all demographics – that’s where you lose value.

Wait, if paid media is so great, why do I still need earned media for my business?

People generally don’t like to be ‘sold’ to. We’re moving away from explicit sales ads to meaningful offline relationships that stimulate online conversations. Chances are, you’ve used Yelp, your favourite food blog, or a friend’s recommendation to influence your decisions to try a new restaurant. Third-party endorsements help with telling a greater brand story by establishing trust with your audience and complements targeted ads.

Having a blend of both paid and earned media helps brands and businesses cover their bases – essentially, reaching customers on a variety of channels without losing impact on their marketing strategy.

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Jiver Contributor: Cindy Kok, Business Development & Marketing Specialist | Tweet her! @cindy_kok | Find her on IG! @cindy_kok

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