‘The best things in life are free’ seems like an adage that was made keeping in mind social media. While the platform is not free technically anymore, it is definitely cost effective and has become the digital marketing hub that marketers now exploit to the fullest.
With marketers warming up to the social world, the grey area has been transferred to paid and owned digital media. Brands manage to create digital presence through owned media options such as official micro sites, SEO and SEM campaigns, however, most of these digital initiatives fail to transform into meaningful communications.
Digital briefs right now usually come on the lines of creating a viral piece of content or getting a million likes! To give the right brief, marketers need to understand digital beyond social media.
Understanding paid and owned media
Paid and owned digital marketing medium consists of options such as display ads, retargeting, dynamic creative optimisation, audience targeting, SEO, SEM, banner ads, SMS marketing, email marketing and a lot more. However, most of these options are not used on the basis of requirement, but for the sake of completing the digital mix.
“The way brands need to approach digital is to define the end objectives and these can’t be engagement on social vs. RoI on search. A brand should rather state its objective, for example, ‘Use digital media to increase the brands consideration among TG’ or ‘Use digital to enhance the lead funnel for offline conversion’ or ‘Use digital to drive online sales’, said Sabyasachi Mitter, MD, ibs.
Paid and owned media are more of a permanent nature. While most brands still go with the campaign approach, brands such as Tata Tea and Harley Davidson have managed to create platforms that promote their brand message continuously on a larger scale.
Tata Sky’s ‘Jaago re’ campaign has an official website which allows people to register their petition and gain votes for it. Harley Davidson, on the other hand, promotes the feel and experience of its bikes to consumers through various features on the website.
Unlike social media, paid and owned media has no brand ambassadors; thus, it is very difficult to create awareness about the engagement that one can create through these options. Also, paid and owned media, when used strategically, help in creating a web of communication that taps all touch-points.
“Today display advertising has advanced, giving marketer options with a mix of audience data platforms, widely known as behavioural targeting, retargeting with/without dynamic creative, search retargeting, etc. This will help a marketer target its relevant audience and deliver better results vis-à-vis to plain vanilla display ads. Display ads on websites offer highly engaging content, viz. vertical sites; it might not necessarily deliver the same results, but helps in brand awareness,” explained Pritesh Patel, Managing Director – India and Middle East, Komli Media.
While social media creates engagement and recall, paid and owned digital media gives sustainability. Brands need to get out of their campaign approach towards digital and keep elements such as search with an ‘always on’ approach, said Vineet Gupta, Managing Partner, 22feet.
The way forward in digital is to maintain balance between social media and paid and owned media. Elements such as social media pages and search can help in giving sustainability and display ads, apps games, video ads can be campaign based.