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A recent report by IBEF (India Brand Equity Foundation) and Economic Times reported that India has approximately 6.3 Crore MSMEs and 42.5 Million SMEs that contributes approximately 38% towards the GDP through national and international trade. It is also estimated that there are 730 million Indians using the Internet and by 2022 there will be approximately 700 million smart phone users. The growth potential is unequivocal for businesses to eventually remove the middle men and move to a D2C (Direct to Customer) model.


The marketing landscape is filled with a plethora of media options available for businesses to incorporate both offline and online. With most traditional businesses allocating between 10 and 20% of their media budgets towards digital marketing (a trend that seems to be continuously growing over the last few years), it becomes crucial to create a definitive and balanced media strategy to ensure optimum marketing efficiency and create sustainable business growth.


In this article, we will cover Digital Media, specially: Paid, Earned and Owned. What they are, how they work, when to use them, and how to get the most out of your hard-earned money.


When it comes to lead generation, online marketing can be one of the most powerful and effective tools available to any brand. From creating customer awareness and influence, to increasing customer loyalty, to building trust and advocacy, it is almost impossible to ignore the tremendous benefits of online media marketing.  In the digital world there are 3 types of media: Paid, Owned and Earned.

Related Reading: Marketing Budgets, Growth Marketing, Marketing Tactics

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Paid Media refers to promoting content through sponsored social media, paid search, display ads, video ads, and other promoted multimedia. It can be a very effective method to expand your brand's reach, get more traffic and generate more leads. It is through this sponsored content that your business is able to reach audiences that might not otherwise have come across your brand/ product/ service/ solution. Using paid media as an option is usually done because organic growth and awareness takes too long. By leveraging paid media, companies are able to target a much larger audience, get their message out faster, target by specific locations or interests and drive exposure of their solution instantly.  Paid media can also be used to promote Owned Media assets which aids in converting prospects (in the middle of the marketing and sales funnel) to buy your solution. Some examples of paid media include Display Ads, Social Media Advertising, Search Engine Marketing, Offline Ads, Radio Ads, TV and Video Ads, PodCast Ads, Referral Programs, Influencer Programs, Affiliate Programs etc.


Owned Media is content that your business/ brand owns (i.e. content on your company website, your blogs, social media accounts, case studies, white papers etc.). More often than not, these contents are educational and 'value' resources that help persuade prospects to partner with your company or buy your solutions or even join your company. The benefit of owned media is the brand’s ability to control it (i.e. they decide what gets published, when it get published, where it get published, frequency of updates and publishing, how users/ readers can interact with it, likes and shares, visual appearance and structure, cross platform integrations etc.). Some examples of Owned Media include Website, Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, Word-of-Mouth Marketing etc.


Earned Media refers to media exposure that your business/ brand has earned through word-of-mouth. This type of media could be the result of fantastic content that you have created and distributed, the influence of your Search Engine Optimisation efforts, customer experiences you've delivered, press mentions, positive reviews, reposts, recommendations etc. or a combination of all of them. Yes, it is the most coveted type of online media. It is not solicited or controlled by the brand itself and therefore brings with it incredible credibility, influence and trust with prospects. Earned Media (online) is equal to Word-of-Mouth (offline). It is with this type of media that Viral content and unsolicited reviews happen. Some Examples of Earned Media include Public Relations, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Social Media, Review Sites, Word-of-Mouth Marketing.

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Conclusion: The importance of Balance and Integration

As the media landscape continues to evolve and businesses explore more options, it is important to acknowledge that media options of the past are not dead and they still hold significant ground/ preference with prospects. When businesses plan their marketing media it is important to maintain a healthy balance between traditional and new age, and avoid the sometimes overwhelming desire to go 'only digital'. It must also be said that while balance is equally important, so is integration. Prospects shift across platforms faster than brands and therefore adopting a comprehensive integration between Paid, Earned and Owned media strategy will ensure that brands get the maximum benefits across online media that works in tandem towards the common goals of business growth and marketing efficiency.

Related ReadingCreating immersive interactive content with Augmented Reality, Startup Killers, Successful Entrepreneurship

Trigger Worldwide is a Brand Marketing Agency, built specifically for businesses to create Sustainable Growth. Our proprietary tools and process methodologies harness Technology, Creativity & Innovation, leverage Economic Drivers and Consumer Beliefs to help businesses overcome marketing inefficiencies and achieve their Growth Agendas.


~ Trigger Worldwide

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