Converged media; redesigning the media landscape.

Bought, owned, earned.

The acceptance and success of social media has dramatically shaken up how advertisers traditionally define Bought, Earned and Owned media. The once clear cut lines between the three media types are now seen as a blurry mess. Strengthened by Altimeter Group's research, it has been forecasted that the three "distinct media are beginning to converge, [and] soon they'll be inextricably entwined". Based on this forecasted amalgamation of media, the industry has dubbed the new term "converged media". This change has been caused by the new empowered consumer, who is now consulting the new types of media (Facebook, Twitter, Forums etc) to finalise their buying decisions. With this foreseen convergence in mind, it is fundamental that marketers keep up.

In doing so, it is essential that marketers have an understanding of the traditional forms of marketing, and how they are converging in the digital scene.

Bought Media

Bought Media, also known as Paid Media, is any type of media buy, where the presence has been paid for. Traditionally, bought media consists of; print ads, TV slots and billboards. In comparison, the current bought media landscape comprises of pay per click search ads, banner ads, Facebook sponsored stories etc.

An example of converged bought media is the presence of Facebook ads appearing on the user's newsfeed. Such ads are camouflaged with their typical newsfeed content and as such, some may not consider the content as bought media.

Owned Media

Owned media is defined as a channel that the brand independently owns and controls, a space where company content is published. An example of a company's owned media would be their company website, blog, Facebook etc.

Owned media convergence can be seen when a paid media type (eg. advertisement, or print ad) is presented in a owned media channel (youtube, blog etc).

Earned Media

Earned media is a channel that is comprised of user generated content. Besides word of mouth, earned media consists of; reviews, likes, shares, re-tweets etc.

Earned media is being converged with paid media. Most predominately, users are now being paid to "like" or "share" content. An act this is traditionally seen as an earned media form.

11 Tips to Help Your Company Get Back on the Converged Track.

The same study that uncovered the current convergence, has published 11 steps that aid businesses with the transition from traditional media (bought, owned and earned) to the new converged media.


1. Understand Converged Media

As the most important step, marketers must be aware of the current changing landscape; being the convergence of media. As such, a presence in all media channels is essential in order to maximise reach.

2. Plan a Stable Foundation

A stable foundation using bought, earned and owned media should be established. Keep in mind that all strategies should be founded upon the companies owned media, and then paid and earned strategies can be added to the solid foundation.


3. Ability to Achieve Earned at Scale

As earned is the most sought after media channel, it also comes with a significant downfall; being that it is the most difficult media to obtain. In saying that, the organisation as a whole must understand the importance (quality and quantity) and the underpinning strategies behind obtaining the proposed converged goals.

4. Align Teams and Departments

All deparements in a company must be of the same understanding of the converged goals and upcoming changes. It is not effective in any scenario, to not inform key members, and assume that their roles will not be influential in your strategies.

5. Align Agencies and Vendors

All external agencies and partners must also be aware of your strategies and they too must align their efforts as appropriate. Therefore you may need to provide a relevant brief to ensure total alignment.


6. Aligned Content/Creative across Channels

Empowered consumers directly look for consistency over the various channels. If a brand isn't consistent it immediately sets off alarm bells. Keep in mind that although there is an online barrier, humans are the same; in that, when building relationships consistency, trust and ongoing communication are key.

7. Real-time Capabilities

Marketers need to keep in mind that the internet runs, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - it does not stop for anyone. Therefore customers have the ability to communicate in real time about the product and brand experience. Therefore the brand must be continually responsive dependent upon the strategy they deploy and the responses they receive.

8. Channel Flexible

As experienced by all consumers, the expansion of technology has aided the empowerment of consumers by providing access to various channels they can use to obtain information. As such, it is essential that brands stretch themselves over various channels, and ensure that they maintain their presence over all.

9. Influencer Relations

As Marketers, we are trained to understand and appreciate that word of mouth is the best marketing tool. With this in mind, influencers are the strongest consumer drivers and as such marketers need to keep a friendly, yet strong relationship with their brands influencers. Keep in mind that influencers have the power to affect paid, earned and owned media channels.


10. Social Listening/Analysis of Crowd

More than ever, in this day and age business revolves around satisfying consumer needs. The best way to determine satisfaction is to monitor social media channels and respond as required. Remember; consumers have altered the current changing media, and as such marketers should keep a finger on the pulse in order to react to the changes directly.

11. System for Identifying & Measuring KPI's

The main goal of marketing strategies are to be successful and meet the campaign objectives. As such, key performance indicators and measurement systems need to be identified and deployed in order to measure the effectiveness and success.

Overall marketers need to keep in mind that although the media channels are undergoing a total overhaul and consumers are gaining strength, the traditional marketing strategy, metrics and logic stay the same.

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