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Paid Media describes all marketing efforts that companies pay for. Therefore, paid media refers to all forms of advertising, such as TV and print advertisements as well as digital forms like display ads, Pay Per Click, sponsored posts on social media and retargeting. For brands, influencers can be a valuable addition to their paid marketing efforts!

The fact that TV and print advertisements are already old school in contrast to newer digital advertisement strategies is yesterday’s news. In the United States, ad expenditures for online ads exceeded expenses for print advertisements in 2010 and the trend is still growing.

Infographic: U.S. Advertisers Continue Shift to Online Ads | Statista

The rise of paid media © Statista

Classic Digital Advertisement – Display Ads

Display ads are those ads that are rather salient and function like banners on top of a website or in rectangular sections on the side, within the text, or at the bottom. These sections are specifically reserved for paid advertising and can also display videos.

According to Google, one of the best-performing display ad is sized 300×250, also known as “medium rectangle” and performs well when embedded within text content.

You Are Not A Customer… Yet! – Retargeting

Ever wondered why your displayed ad matches the holiday resort website you visited previously and reminds you constantly of finalizing your next vacation rental?

“For most websites, only 2% of web traffic converts on the first visit”, according to ReTargeter. Therefore, retargeting marketing helps to convert the 98% of people who have visited your website previously into a customer.

Hereby, the cookie-based technology tracks the online behavior of your website visitor and displays targeted ads when the potential customer is using the web later on. This awakens interest in your website again and hopefully converts potential customers into actual customers.


Retargeting Process © ReTargeter

Paying For Attraction – The Pay Per Click

A Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ad is a form of digital advertisement where advertisers pay a small fee for the ad every time someone is redirected to the website by clicking the ad or ad-link. This form of digital advertisement increases the chances to be found by others but assures that a company only pays when the ad successfully attracts someone to click and visit the website.

If the website will not have any visits, there will be no fee. Google AdWords might be the most common PPC format marketers use. In this context, PPC is offered for forms like search ads, display ads, video ads and app ads.

BUT, as online ads can be quite annoying, ad blockers become more and more favored. People tend to trust opinion leaders in terms of a product or service purchases. Influencer Marketing is still on the rise!

The Paid Endorsement – Paid Media in Influencer Marketing

In the context of Influencer Marketing, every created content that is based on behalf of a paid advertiser such as paid posts or campaigns refer to Paid Media.

Paid Posts

Paid posts on Instagram are rather simple. A company pays an influencer for his or her endorsement. So the company brings the money, the influencer shares a post presenting the company’s product in a good light. Of course, those paid posts are usually based on contracts so that both sides agree on what the posting should and should not be like.



The posting above shows influencer theblondeabroad promoting Herbal Essences. She discloses a partnership with the beauty brand in the caption. Because of the fact that the travel influencer shared just one post endorsing the brand, we assume that this is a one-time paid endorsement.


Below you see influencer Caro promoting a new line of Artdeco Cosmetics in form of a sweepstake. You would not even need the hashtags #sponsored and #ad to recognize this posting as paid. Contests are a typical form of Paid Media used by brands to drive traffic to their website.


The same goes for giveaways, which marketers mainly use to create awareness of their brand and attract new potential customers. Hereby, codes and coupons are usually used in an influencer’s posting that followers are able to use for their purchase or a free sample.

Brand Ambassadors

Although brand ambassadors do usually not get paid for promoting a brand, we still want to mention them, as paid media is sometimes difficult to differentiate from earned media and can occasionally be a legal limbo. Influencers often get something for free instead of getting paid for postings.

Thus, they are rewarded in a non-financial way, for example by being invited to check out a hotel and promote a brand, like Calzedonia’s #girlganginmykonos or L’Oréal’s #lorealbeautysquad.

Even though influencers do not necessarily get paid for a single or several posts, the endorsement is on behalf of a sponsoring advertiser.



The Takeaway

Influencer marketing and its forms of advertising are still developing. In the regard of paid media in influencer marketing, the opinion leaders also get paid to talk about a brand positively. The content strategies vary from single paid postings, to campaigns, ambassadorships, and promotions.

The endorsement on behalf of a sponsor or paid advertiser is sometimes easier, sometimes harder to identify. Hereby, the kind of collaboration between an influencer and a brand varies from influencer, to brand, to product.

Usually, there is no all-in-one solution suitable for each and every brand. Regarding your marketing goals, the different paid media options in influencer marketing should be considered alongside earned media and owned media strategies.

This article is part of our current series which concerns media values in the digital marketing world. Curious about other articles? Read more here:

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