Table of contents
  1. 1. What is earned media?
  2. 2. Why is the earned media value so important for brands?
  3. 3. Earned media equals trustability
  4. 4. Risk of earned media
  5. 5. Factors of earned media value

What is earned media?

Earned media describes every form of communication around your brand. It is the publicity that a brand can have via promotional efforts without payment or advertising. On the internet and particularly social media, this includes mentions, reposts, shares, and reviews. In short, the earned media value is created by the buzz that is going on around your brand.

Earned media value (EMV) is the estimated value in number or any kind of currency of the earned media belonging to a person/ organization/ company. In influencer marketing, this is a fundamental metric and one of the most significant indicators marketers can use to evaluate their influencer marketing campaign. 

 

Why is the earned media value so important for brands?

The term "earned" already indicates the characteristic of this type of media: It revolves around the value your brand or company earns by being mentioned by clients, brand advocates, and fans of your brand. In contrast to paid media, earned media is so-called "free" or "unpaid". Your brand’s customers, brand advocates, and fans talk about your brand willingly without being paid for it. Thus, earned media is a form of word-of-mouth. This form of media value is particularly important for brands because it shows how many people talk about you apart from your paid marketing efforts. If your brand has a high earned media value, this indicates that your owned and paid media efforts are successful and you were able to create awareness around your brand. Additionally, you managed to attract people who feel connected to your brand and convinced them of your products.

Example of a brand’s earned media value (green columns) © InfluencerDB premium software

 

Earned media equals trustability

Earned media is oftentimes described as the most trusted form of content for a brand. Existing customers or brand advocates can provide their honest opinion about your product without any strings attached. Social media, in particular, facilitates the spread of word-of-mouth messages. 83% of participants of Nielsen’ Global Trust in Advertising study say they trust the recommendations of friends and family and 66% say they trust consumer opinions posted online. Thus, these two forms of (online) word-of-mouth are valuable instruments for brands to have opinions, reviews, and recommendations of their products spread on the internet.

 

Risk of earned media

Earned media is extremely valuable, but it also holds certain risks. The owned and paid media can be controlled easily, as owned media is composed of the brand itself and paid media emerges according to the brand’s conception. Earned media, on the other hand, is completely disconnected from the brand’s space of action. As a brand, you have hardly any to no control over the evolvement of this medium.

It is highly desirable for your brand to be mentioned in a positive way, but of course, it might happen that negative reviews of your products emerge, which need to be handled wisely. On the internet, it's even easier for brands to get backslashes by negative comments. The more mentions and buzzwords about your brand, the higher the earned media value can be, but not every part of this value is beneficial to the brand. Thus, most popular brands usually have a social listening tool to check out what people are currently talking about them as well as to be able to intervene promptly when problems occur.

 

Factors of earned media value

If a brand is tagged in a posting, the brand receives a certain percentage of this posting’s media value. This value depends on different factors which impact whether the earned media values for a brand is rather high or low. For a brand, it makes a difference whether the brand is mentioned in the post description, tagged in the photo, or both. The weighting of text to photo mentions is about 75% to 25%. The reason is simple: Post descriptions are always visible on Instagram, both in the feed and when you open the picture. Photo mentions, on the other hand, are only visible when you click on the picture directly. Thus, making the tag visible requires an action which not every user is willing to execute for every picture.

Another factor with impacts the earned media value is the fact whether a single brand is mentioned or if the posting includes several brands. The postings above illustrate the visibility of brands for both cases.

To leverage earned media, as a brand you should aim at creating brand advocates which support your brand willingly because they like your brand and NOT because you pay them to do so. In other words, brands need to maintain a healthy relationship with their potential audience, especially with social media influencers. As a result, they will automatically create awareness and increase your trustability by connecting your brand with potential customers. By building relationships, these customers can then be turned into advocates again. Investing time and putting effort into identifying brand advocates and building relationships with them will pay off for your brand in the end.