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Paid Media is an Important Piece of the Puzzle

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Paid media is only one of many pieces that are available in marketing communication efforts. However. if it’s not used right, you won’t see optimal results.

I spent years trying to determine how all the different elements of marketing communication would work together to get the best results. Then one day I stumbled upon the PESO model which identifies four components:

  • Paid Media
  • Earned Media
  • Shared Media
  • Owned Media

PESO was developed by Gini Dietrich at Spin Sucks. She identified, organized, and figured out how all four components work together. Better yet, it’s measurable.

Over the next few weeks, we are going is to take a look at each component of the PESO model. The goal is to give you a better understanding of how it works. Let’s get started by talking about paid media.

What is Paid Media?

Paid media, as you might have suspected, are digital ads such as social media ads. No doubt if you are on social, regardless of the platform, you’ve seen an ad. There are other examples as well, that I will talk about a little later.

Paid media certainly isn’t a new concept. We’ve all been exposed to ads through more traditional means such as television, radio, and print. The idea is the same, the only difference is in this case we are talking about a digital source.

Digital could be anything that relies on internet access. Before I mentioned social media which is the most obvious because so many of us are on social. Other examples would be Google ads, the ads you see on YouTube, the video ads you see when visiting websites, or even geofencing.

Why Use Paid Media?

Why would you want to use paid media if you have a website and a strong social presence? That seems like it would be enough. Unfortunately, it’s not.

Unless your organization is really well known, how are people going to know who you are let alone visit a website or a social media channel? Even with a strong social presence, your reach can only go so far. Not everybody is going to share your post with their followers.

Another issue is that social media networks are doing more and more to keep people on their platform. Google is doing the same thing. They want to keep the traffic not push it somewhere else.

From their perspective, it’s their platform and their traffic. If you think about it, why would they want to gather traffic to their platform just to push it away? Access to social or Google is free, they make money on advertising so keeping eyes on their platform benefits them.

So how do you reach people if they aren’t coming directly to your website or social media isn’t driving them to you? Paid media.

Finally, just because people are exposed to an ad doesn’t mean they are interested in the ad. I see advertisements for makeup and perfume all the time when watching TV but I have no interest in what they are selling just as you may not be interested in the latest Bud Light commercial.

Digital ads are cheaper in most cases and they offer the ability to target your audience. You can also set your budget so you can test ads to see what the response is without spending a ton of money.

How much does Paid Media cost?

Taking out ads on traditional media outlets is expensive. Not only that but as I already mentioned, the majority of people you reach may not even be interested in what you’re selling.

Traditional advertising gives you access to anybody who engaging that specific outlet but there is no way to gauge how successful they were. In other words, they are extremely hard to measure. If you have a huge marketing budget it may be worth spending the money to get in front of a large audience but not everybody has that luxury.

While digital ads don’t completely solve this issue, you are able to test and optimize your ads and your audience. For example, Facebook lets you set the amount per day that you want to spend. For a small amount, such as five dollars a day, you can run an ad for a week to see how people are responding. It also lets you target specific interests, age groups, and genders.

So what is the cost? It depends because you make that choice. However, the more you spend, the more people you will reach and if you have optimized your ads and the audience you are targeting, you will see a good return on investment.

Final Thoughts

Organic reach such as social media and search are important but they can only take you so far. This is why paid media is an important piece of marketing communication and why it is represented in the PESO model.

While it would be fantastic not to have to pay anything to get traffic, customers, or leads the reality is paid needs to be part of your plan. Done right you will see a great return on your investment.

Shane Carpenter
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