What do you think of when you hear the word “peso?”
If your first thought is of Mexican currency, that’s understandable. But if you care about digital marketing, you should be thinking of the word as an acronym. PESO stands for the 4 main types of media:
It’s important to understand the differences between each of these types of media—and even more importantly, to understand how they all blend together to create a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.
Every form of media involves 3 different elements of ownership. First, there’s the ownership of the content creation process. There’s also ownership of the audience for that content and the process of distributing the content to them.
Each letter of PESO’s has a different relationship with these 3 elements.
In digital marketing, paid media comes in the form of pay-per-click advertising or running an advertisement campaign on Google, YouTube, Facebook or another social media platform. Using the 3-pronged understanding of ownership, you still own the content in this case (presuming the ad was written and created in-house), but a third party created the audience for it and controls the distribution (whichever platform your campaign is running on).
Successes of paid media in the digital space are measured by inbound traffic to your website from the campaign, and whether or not that traffic took the desired action (buying a product, signing up for something, etc.).
The advantage of paid media is that your content or media can be available on-demand to targeted users and consumers. The downside of paid media is the out-of-pocket cost to your business. PPC campaigns can get quite expensive depending on your target audience and keyword competitiveness.
In the old days, businesses invested in their “public relations.” This job was usually handled by someone in your office writing up a press release and sending it out to local and industry media. If the PR person in your office was really good, they spent time cultivating relationships with reporters in the industry and could get publicity when desired. In the age of social media, we might also consider outreach to “influencers.”
In the case of earned media, there is nothing in the process that you own. Someone else usually produces the content about you and shares it with their audience. You generally don’t own the platform that distributes the content about your brand.
The earned media game has really changed in recent years due to consumer/customer feedback and reviews. A review of your product or service on a platform like Amazon or Yelp is considered earned media, and the collective impact of all those reviews is at least—if not more—important than any relationship you have with a reporter or influencer.
As a result, digital marketing teams and tech-savvy companies are realizing the importance of asking their customers to write reviews and give them a rating. The success of your earned media efforts is measured by how often you get mentioned, your average rating and your brand’s general reputation in the online community.
Shared media refers to the content shared by brands on their social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc. With shared media, you own the content that was created and you developed the audience for it, but the social platform controls the distribution aspect.
Shared media can refer to content you share directly through your business’ social media page or content that others choose to share for you. In that regard, it’s important to have social share buttons set up on your website so that visitors can easily distribute the content for you.
Success when it comes to shared media can be measured in several different ways. For your business page, you might measure the size of your network. You can also look at incoming traffic from each platform. Another tracking measure might be how often your content is shared by an outside party.
As the name implies, owned media is where you have end-to-end ownership of all phases of the process. You created the content, you developed the audience and you control the distribution.
In the digital marketing space, this generally entails the content you produce for your website. Whether it’s a blog post, a webinar or a white paper, you’re in control of all facets of the content. The success of owned media is usually defined by website traffic, newsletter sign-ups or some other means of obtaining a prospect’s contact information.
The advantage of owned media is your complete control of the process. The disadvantage is that no one else by your team is invested in helping distribute the information to the masses.
How the different types of content interact
So which type of media is best?
This question, though understandable, is overly simplistic. The reality is that most brands need to incorporate all types of media for their benefit. All 4 parts of the PESO equation interact with each other in uniquely important ways. It’s difficult to be successful in 1 form of media without leveraging the other types to help.
For example, organic search is often the best way to get traffic for your owned media. But the companies that get those top spots in the search engine rankings usually have a paid advertising campaign to go along with it and support their organic media efforts. Paid media can help introduce your owned media to a larger audience.
Your organic search position may also get a lift from a strong shared media performance. When people share and engage with your content, it sends a powerful signal to Google’s algorithms that the content is worthwhile. Google typically rewards this with a higher position in search results.
Shared media also opens up new opportunities for paid media. Social platforms allow for highly targeted advertising. On Facebook, for instance, where people express their interests through what they like and follow, you can develop a very focused and cost-effective campaign targeting a hyper-specific subset of consumers.
Earned media is another area that can have significant impacts on your organic search. If someone is searching for your product, search engines will use the results of reviews as a way to decide which product to serve to searchers. They will also rely on the number of “mentions” you’re getting, which points to the need for influencers and external links.
In short, the question should not be:
Which part of PESO should I be using for my business?
But rather, the right question is:
What is the best way for my business to have all aspects of PESO working together?
In the meantime, feel free to share how you distinguish between the different types of digital media in the comments below.