How Marketers are Integrating and Tracking Paid, Owned and Earned Media

As if marketers don’t have enough funnels, buzzwords, metrics and influencers to track, reporting on our hard work is well, more hard work.

To embrace the hard work marketers do in influencer marketing of course there need to be some metrics to track and segmentation of content types. I find it most efficient to segment metrics and media into paid, owned and earned.

It is uber important to understand that these content types overlap and feed off of each other and that integration of these media types equals epic success.


marketing metrics grid


This guide is simply a tool to aid in the organization and reporting of the three types of media. If you have suggestions or tips to share and/or add I’d love to hear from you on Twitter @grouphigh.


Definition: Content that is sponsored by a brand. These pieces are present and exists because someone paid for it to be there.

Purpose: Paid content is how many brands make owned media thrive. Instead of paying for content that blatantly markets a brand, many marketers are finding success in paying to promote a story-worthy asset that is part of a trail leading qualified consumers back to their brand.

Examples: Sponsored Tweet, product review, purchased email blast.

Metrics to consider: Traffic generated to site, leads generated, social followers generated and conversions.


Definition: Content that a brand puts on the internet. Blogs run by brands and any content they put on their social channels.

Purpose: The purpose of owned content is to engage with and intrigue a brand’s current following. The foocus on owned content should be to grow stronger relationships with people who already know about a brand.

Examples: A brand’s blog and all their social channels. I find it easier to think of any content that I own and can legally repurpose as being the defining factor of owned media.

Metrics to consider: Social shares of content, comment counts on blog and sentiment of posts.


Definition: This area can get a little tricky and is powered by paid and owned content usually. Earned media is usually considered to be all types of brand mentions that a brand earns organically. So any influencer shout out or posts linking to a brand that was not paid for are considered earned media.

Purpose: Earned media should represent the fruits of a marketer’s labor. Marketing relationships are fostered and brands are lifted by marketers and the content that really matters is from happy consumers and influencers.

Examples: Blog post talking about how awesome a brand is or an Instagram shout out.

Metrics to Consider: Number of earned media for given time period, social shares of posts, traffic back to site and new followers gained.


Since the metrics are different for each content type, I suggest sitting down with your team, boss, client or marketing contact to decide which metrics you want to use and implement moving forward.

I can show my company how the content types power each other but when it comes to reporting, I highly recommend separate reports.

When I report back to my company every month on content I paid for, produced and earned for GroupHigh, I have a separate report for each category and then compare it to the preceding month and the same month last year. This is key since the metrics are different for each content type.

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