Earned Media, Owned Media, Paid Media: The 3 Types of Digital Media and How to Use Them

Updated: June 12, 2024
Earned Media, Owned Media, Paid Media: the 3 types of Digital Media and how to use them

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Different types of Digital Media can help brands reach more people and spread the word about companies on the right channels. 

Earned, Owned, or Paid, each one of them represents different brand popularization, advertising, and opportunities to interact with the target audience.

Creating content, strengthening a brand, and generating engagement are some of the main objectives of Digital Marketing

To achieve all of this, you need to make your brand appear everywhere. In this process, knowing the types of Digital Media is crucial.

When having this knowledge, brands are much more likely to communicate better with their audience. More than that, those companies expand their operations, reaching more people through different channels. 

In all three types of Digital Media, there are good strategies to execute, bringing the expected results in brand awareness, engagement, and conversions. 

In this post, we’ll talk more about how to run a campaign in these media. The content will cover the following topics:

    What is Digital Media?

    Digital media can be any type of media that relies on electronic or digital tech to reach an audience. 

    The same or similar tech can be (and typically is) used to create, consume, edit, store, or distribute that media.

    Countless examples of digital media can be found at any given time across the web, including social media posts, videos, images, music, and more.

    Although traditional media options are far from irrelevant, as many people do still prefer doing things the old-fashioned way, it’s impossible to deny the rising importance of digital media. 

    This is especially the case in pursuits like branding, modern marketing, and audience building.

    What are the Benefits of Digital Media in Marketing?

    Embracing digital media is essential for any business hoping to succeed in the digital age. The benefits of including it in a particular company’s marketing strategy include the following.

    Boosts Brand Awareness

    Digital-age consumers see the internet as more than just a convenience. It’s also a vital part of how they make purchasing decisions and seek information. 

    Branded digital media distributed across social media and elsewhere online helps your target audience become better aware of your brand and products.

    Supports Accuracy

    When a company limits its marketing efforts to traditional media — like television spots or print ads — it’s difficult to change or add to the information if needed. 

    And there’s always the possibility that presented information could be obsolete by the time it reaches audiences. 

    Digital media, on the other hand, can frequently be easily and instantly edited or updated.

    Sparks Social Interaction

    Digital media and technology have made it possible for people, companies, and colleagues to easily connect no matter where in the world they happen to be located. 

    Brands have a golden opportunity to connect and build relationships with their customers, as well.

    Leveraging digital media as part of your marketing strategy lets your customers interact with your brand in a fun, personal way.

    It’s also an incredible way to build and nurture a community around your brand.

    Aids Productivity

    Taking your marketing campaign into digital media territory even facilitates better productivity for your team.

    Digital information is easier to access and work with, especially from different locations. Tasks get done more quickly and efficiently, allowing companies to meet their goals faster.

    The 3 Types of Digital Media

    Now that you know the concept of digital media and its importance, let’s learn more about the 3 types of digital media.

    1. Earned Media

    Earned Media is all the media a company gets through what we call “word of mouth” but in the online environment

    Any and every action of the company generates comments about those strategies. That is free media conquered because of these actions.

    Among the three types of Digital Media, perhaps Earned Media is one in which there is no direct investment in its acquisition. Of course, all the work on channels, such as social media, has resulted in it, but indirectly.

    The truth is that Earned Media is the most important since it’s more organic. When web users talk about a company, there’s a spontaneous activity, without being a bigger movement to make it happen.

    On the other hand, some efforts lead to these achievements. The main one, without a doubt, is the SEO standard adjustments required by Google.

    The work is long and needs to be committed since that will result in brands capable of appearing on the first page of Google’s results. 

    Thus, when well ranked, it’s easier to be visible to users, thanks to the improvements made in blog posts and on the brand’s website.

    Good practices are the basis of Earned Media

    When a company exploits the channels it has access to, it’s natural to engage the audience.

    Thus, spontaneous media is generated with users talking about the brand, interacting on social media, and creating content.

    To make this positive environment, companies need to implement good practices in brand management

    Although that work isn’t related to direct investment of money, there are significant efforts that make a difference. 

    Among the main ones we can list:

    • continued implementation of SEO techniques;
    • active participation in social media;
    • stimulation of interaction on social media;
    • a solid Content Marketing strategy.

    Earned Media is about people’s opinions about your brand. They will be positive when the work is well-done, which generates an organic movement in favor of the company. 

    2. Owned Media

    example of Owned Media (Types of Digital Media)

    Among the three types of Digital Media, Owned Media is that which the company owns permanently

    It’s the channels that the brand keeps and, through them, generates direct content about its products and services. 

    These channels also serve for engagement and lead education, as well as being informative from an institutional perspective. 

    We’re talking about websites, blogs, YouTube channels, social media pages, and what else the company controls with its name.

    If the brand owns this media, naturally, it invests in something that is its own, without paying for other companies to promote the business. 

    That’s the main reason why this category is called Owned Media.

    No promoted links or posts

    One of the main doubts that arise in the concept of Owned Media is about links and promoted posts

    The answer is no; they aren’t considered Owned Media, even though the company pages on social media generate them.

    The fact that brands have to pay to promote these contents is what makes that category uncharacteristic. In Owned Media, the focus is on generating content from what a company keeps as its channels.

    Besides not having to invest, the Owned Media still has the benefit of continuity. The brand will always have that channel and may disclose its activities and products at any time. 

    Strategy’s success, however, depends on the measurement of results and quality content.

    3. Paid Media

    Among the three types of Digital Media, Paid Media is the most popular. 

    It’s simply all media in which you pay to have the spread. Every direct investment that the brand makes enters this category, and the direction is for disclosure channels.

    The goal behind Paid Media is to reach more audiences, making a high number of people know about your brand. 

    To accomplish that, you invest in media with the potential to bring more awareness to the company, its campaigns, and its products/services.

    Among the main types of Paid Media, we can mention:

    • AdWords (Google);
    • links driven to social media;
    • ads in portals of related segments.

    Pros and cons of Paid Media

    On the positive side, we can undoubtedly highlight the broad scope of the activities carried out. 

    The combination of awareness and segmentation is the key to a good Paid Media strategy.

    On the other hand, it’s essential to know how to use Paid Media. The main risk is to exaggerate this disclosure, making your brand just about everywhere. 

    To your target audience, this excessive approach can be uncomfortable, causing the loss of value in campaigns.

    It’s all about being on time and accurate. Good campaigns on the right channels can bring outstanding results. Without excesses, Paid Media is one of the most effective ways to promote your brand on the web.

    Examples of Digital Media

    The number of available digital media options these days is nearly endless. However, the following are some popular picks to consider adding to your brand’s ongoing strategy.

    Video Media

    Video is one of the fastest-growing, most popular forms of digital media, and with good reason. With a mobile device in nearly every pocket, video is easy to shoot. 

    It’s also easy to edit, share, and consume, thanks to popular social video platforms like YouTube and TikTok.

    Audio Media

    Sound files of all types are forms of digital media. Of course, this includes music. 

    However, audio media — both in and out of a marketing context — can also include podcasts, lectures, voice notes, and more. 

    Audio files can be either compressed to save space (as with MP4s) or kept larger to preserve quality (as with FLAC files).

    Digital Publishing

    Nearly every publishing format that was ever popular in a traditional format now comes as a digital alternative. 

    Examples include (but aren’t necessarily limited to) ebooks, newspapers, digital magazines, articles, journals, blogs, reports, and more.

    Digital Photographs

    Although some photographers still prefer to work with traditional tools and methods, most cameras these days are digital. 

    And the cameras in smartphones and other mobile devices are becoming more impressive all the time, as well. 

    Digital photos are also easier than ever to edit and share, thanks to apps like Instagram, Facebook, and more.


    Software programs, digital apps, and digital tools are all excellent examples of popular digital media formats. 

    These options aren’t just valuable as they are, either. They’re also crucial for creating other forms of digital media, like music, video, social media posts, written blog posts, and more.

    Wrap Up

    The different types of digital media show how companies can have an excellent reach to their target audience on the web nowadays.

    Earned media, owned media, and paid media each offer unique opportunities for brand popularization and interaction.

    To maximize the benefits of digital media, it’s crucial to create compelling content that resonates with your audience across different channels.

    That’s where WriterAccess can help. With our platform, you can connect with skilled content writers who can create engaging articles, blog posts, and more to amplify your digital presence.

    Don’t miss out on the chance to harness the power of content creation and take your marketing efforts to the next level. Try WriterAccess for 14 days free of charge and explore how our platform can support your digital media tactics.


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