The importance of data analysis for planning: Paid, earned, shared and owned media

Category: Data and analytics
If you released a new product, service, or brand, could you say – with absolute confidence – that your conversions were because of your launch campaign? And which campaigns were most effective?
  • Was it your PR that generated a buzz?
  • Were your paid social campaigns more successful than your organic social posts?
  • Or did you notice an uplift in direct traffic to your site, and assume that brand awareness played a major part in conversions?

In the second of our series of four blogs, we’ll look at how data benefits your paid, earned, shared, and owned media strategy.

What is paid, earned, shared and owned media?

Understanding what these channels are and how each contributes to your overall marketing strategy is vital to making your budget work more efficiently.

Paid media

Typically, this is any marketing that you pay for:

  • Pay Per Click (PPC) on search engines such as Google and Bing.
  • Paid social ads, including sponsored updates on platforms including Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Remarketing and banner advertising.
  • Also, TV adverts, radio, and print advertising.

Earned media

Effectively, this is third party endorsement of your brand, product, or service:

  • Press releases and influencer relationships.
  • Online reviews (Google reviews, Trustpilot, TripAdvisor, etc).
  • Blogs and articles written by people outside your organisation, promoting your business.

Shared media

Basically any content (shares and mentions) posted by other users to social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram, about your brand.

Owned media

The content you create and publish on a channel you own, such as:

  • Your website and blog.
  • eBooks, whitepapers, and other resources you publish.
  • Content you distribute on your own social media channels.
  • Emails you produce and send out to your contacts.

Which channels should I be targeting?

A good marketing strategy targets all these channels at the right time in the user journey. You need a balance of sources in your marketing mix. These four categories of media influence each other in multiple ways, and they all have an impact on your conversions.

It’s important to understand the difference, to measure your efforts in each area, how they affect each other, and how they relate to your customer journey at various points of your marketing funnel.

Marketing funnel diagram.

Relying on one area too heavily can leave you vulnerable if something happens outside of your control to reduce the reach or effectiveness of your activity.

Tracking and measuring media effectiveness

The most effective way of tracking and measuring the effectiveness of your activity is to add UTM tags (you might also refer to them as UTM parameters) to your inbound links. These tags will identify details of the visit and where it originated from.

Tagging your links allows you to easily analyse the effectiveness of each channel – even campaign – much more easily. The table below demonstrates how four mediums performed against each other in terms of generating website visits and valuable inbound phone calls.

Mediahawk sources report.

Bringing it all together

You can then start doing some correlative analysis to see how your sharing impacts traffic to your site compared to other people’s sharing of your content and, subsequently, what impact this has on your conversions and revenue.

For multi-channel activity, it’s particularly useful to analyse each campaign by source, and see which channel was the most effective at generating a response:
Example of a multi-channel marketing campaign.

Questions UTM tags can answer

There are five UTM tags you can track. Some examples of the values you can capture to find out precisely which activity is driving your traffic are:

UTM tag Example of value to track
utm_source Identify the platform a visit originated from: e.g. utm_source=google, utm_source=twitter, utm_source=monthlynewsletter
utm_medium This is the medium, such as email, or cost-per-click: utm_medium=email, utm_medium=cpc, utm_medium=social, utm_medium=referral
utm_campaign You might be promoting an offer, or targeting a specific segment, so you would use campaign, e.g. utm_campaign=christmas-offer, utm_campaign=running-shoes
utm_content If you’ve got three CTAs on an email for example, you might use: utm_content=cta-toplink, utm_content=cta-textlink, utm_content=cta-button, to understand which CTA was most effective
utm_term This tag captures paid search keywords that have resulted in clicks on your ads. You leave the value field blank, it maps to the keyword in Ads, and the value is populated by the keyword that the visitor used to get to your website: utm_term={keyword}
  • Source, Medium, and Campaign are the most important tags to use because these identify the tactics and strategy that were successful.
  • For paid media, using Term with a blank value allows you to capture the keywords that are valuable to your business.
  • Content is useful for A/B testing and content targeted ads.

Don’t get caught out!

I’ve seen plenty of marketers fall into the trap of looking at their direct traffic and thinking that brand awareness must be great if visitors are typing in their URL directly. But, direct traffic also includes visitors that clicked links in emails and eBooks.

By tagging links in your owned media, such as emails and PDF or online resources, you can drill down into the finer detail of precisely what content and activity is driving visits to your website.

Get more campaign insight than ever before

Tracking this level of detail is one of the hardest things for marketers. Yes, you can track conversions. But trying to figure out which activity – and which channels – are driving your current results needs a bit more information. As well as calls, Mediahawk also tracks other interactions on your website, so you can see the exact touchpoints that lead to conversions. You can see:

  • Which channels are most effective during each stage of the journey.
  • The activities that influence highly valuable inbound phone call conversions.
  • Where your marketing budget is most effective, so you can eliminate wasted spend.

Book a demo and find out more about Mediahawk >

Next week: Part three of our series will explain how analysing the finer details of user behaviour can give you a tactical advantage.
In case you missed it, take a look at part one on segmentation and targeting.

About the author

Author: Natalia Selby

Marketing coordinator at Mediahawk, with over 10 years experience in analytics, content management and eCommerce.

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