Prior to the Digital Age, the traditional advertising model was fairly cut and dry, with paid placements running across radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards and television. But when websites began to proliferate and, with them, advertising opportunities, us media people got our sticky fingers on it as quickly as possible. Standard banners were placed across websites like stamps on envelopes.
After the initial excitement wore down, people began to view online ads less positively, generalizing them as nothing more than commercial interruptions from what they really wanted to see. If they could fast forward through commercials on VCRs and then DVRs, why should they be held up in their digital experiences? Advertisers had to get smarter in order to capture the attention of a relevant audience and make a brand stand out in a marketplace of options. And as any good media planner will ask, “What’s next?”
While the paid media landscape continues to evolve, brands have increasingly invested in earned and owned media. Earned media includes digital platforms where brands can freely engage with fans or followers through more organic activities, such as page posts, tweets or distributed content. When someone other than the brand shares or comments on brand content within the owned environment, it becomes earned media.