What is Earned Media?

Earned media is the term we use to describe unsolicited promotions online. Essentially, if your web presence (content, product, brand, etc.) is praised or recommended and you didn’t have to pay for it, it’s earned media.

Common Types of Earned Media:

Earned media can take just about any form that we use to communicate quality online. Some common types of earned media are:

  • High ranking search results
  • Social media shares (excluding ads)
  • Reviews
  • News coverage/mentions
  • Content syndication

Why Earned Media Is Uniquely Valuable

Earned media is the most trusted and influential source of commercial information. According to repeat Nielsen studies, earned media tops the list of most trusted commercial sources. In the 2013 study, earned media stands a full 15% above its nearest rival. It also holds three of the top four spots of most-trusted sources:

what is earned media and what forms of advertising does it include

In short, earned media is awesome. Just check out the first stat from below: we trust and rely on earned media more than any other kind of advertising.

What sane marketer can turn their back on that opportunity? More and more, we see that earned media is on the rise as the preferred way for consumers to learn about and interact with brands and products.

As a refresher, earned media consists of endorsements you don’t pay for. It includes media like organic traffic from search engines, online reviews and word of mouth, and organic social sharing.

What kind of power does earned media have? Here are 50 powerful stats, broken up by category.

I. The Most Trusted Form of Advertising

II. Organic Search Engine Traffic

III. Organic Social Traffic and Mentions

IV. Online Reviews and Word of Mouth

what is earned media

  • Earned media is the most trusted form of advertising. (Nielsentwitter-icon
  • 92% of consumers say they trust earned media, while only half trust paid ads. (Webbed Feet) twitter-icon
  • Just eight percent of Internet users account for 85 percent of advertising clicks. (comScore) twitter-icon
  • Lead generation driven by earned media out-performs lead generation driven by paid media by a delta of 10-15%. (Conductor) twitter-icon
  • 70% of people want to learn about products through content vs. through traditional advertisements. (Inc) twitter-icon
  • 68% of US consumers find online ads annoying. (TechCrunch) twitter-icon
  • Adblock usage grew by nearly 70% in one year. (PageFair) twitter-icon
  • Earned media drives 4 times the brand lift of paid media and 51% of millennials are more likely to be influenced by earned media. (BazaarVoice) twitter-icon
  • Brands relying on earned media marketing save over $14 dollars for every new customer acquired. (Hubspot) twitter-icon
  • 74% of ‘mainstream’ global enterprise senior marketers believe content based earned media marketing will be the majority media mix in the near to medium future. (Econsultancy/Epsilon) twitter-icon

what is earned media

  • 74% of global citizens use search engines at least once a week. (Ipsos) twitter-icon
  • 87% of online adults say the internet and cell phones have improved their ability to learn new things. (Pew Research) twitter-icon
  • 94% of shoppers conduct research online before making an online purchase. (Internet Retailer) twitter-icon
  • 61% of shoppers say they always or often use a search engine when shopping online. (Internet Retailer) twitter-icon
  • 72% of Millenials say online search is their most trusted source of information. (Edelman) twitter-icon
  • 64% of the total population say search engines are their most trusted source of information. (Edelman) twitter-icon
  • Before ever entering a store, 62% of Millennial shoppers already know what they want to buy through prior online research. (Bazaar Voice) twitter-icon
  • 94% of people click on organic content instead of ads online. (Search Engine Watch) twitter-icon
  • Over half of all website visits (64%) are organic. (Conductor) twitter-icon
  • Search is the #1 driver of traffic to content sites, beating social media by more than 300%. (Outbrain) twitter-icon
  • 85% of retailers say that search marketing is the most effective way to acquire new customers. (org/Forrester Research) twitter-icon
  • 72% of enterprise-level SEMs across selected global markets believe their SEO is successful. (Conductor) twitter-icon

what is earned media

  • Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing. (Hubspot) twitter-icon
  • 72% of online adults use social networking sites. (Pew Research) twitter-icon
  • 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions. (Gartner) twitter-icon
  • 18% of consumers would switch to a new retailer if they offered social media engagement. (Acquity Group) twitter-icon
  • Social media has overtaken pornography as the #1 activity on the web. (Reuters) twitter-icon
  • Pinterest is now the 3rd most popular social network in the U.S. in terms of traffic. (Experian) twitter-icon
  • For the highest gift-related keywords for both Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, Pinterest was the most common top 3 result. (Conductor, + Conductor) twitter-icon
  • Every second, two new members join LinkedIn. (Fast Company) twitter-icon
  • 50% of US adults see, read, or hear about a tweet every day. (Digiday) twitter-icon
  • 53% of people mention products and services (AKA earned media) in their tweets. (Bazaar Voice) twitter-icon
  • 936 million people log onto Facebook daily (DAU) for March 2015, which represents a 17% increase year over year. (Facebook) twitter-icon
  • More than half of all online adults 65 and older (56%) use Facebook. This represents 31% of all seniors. (Pew Research) twitter-icon
  • Roughly half of internet-using young adults ages 18-29 (53%) use Instagram. And half 0f all Instagram users (49%) use the site daily. (Pew Research) twitter-icon
  • 85% of online adults (globally, excluding China) consider themselves regular YouTube visitors. (globalwebindex) twitter-icon
  • The number of hours people are watching on YouTube each month is up 50% year over year. (YouTube) twitter-icon
  • By 2018, video internet traffic will be 80% of all consumer internet traffic. (Cisco) twitter-icon
  • One in four online minutes are spent on social media. (GlobalWebIndex) twitter-icon

what is earned media

  • 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, and only 33% trust ads. (Nielson) twitter-icon
  • 88% of people have their reasons for trusting online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts. (BrightLocal) twitter-icon
  • 72% say reading a positive customer reviews increase their trust in the business; it takes reading between 2-6 reviews to get 56% of them to this point. (BrightLocal) twitter-icon
  • Mobile shoppers who view customer content like reviews show a 133% higher conversion rate. (Bazaar Voice) twitter-icon
  • 86 percent said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews. (ZenDesk) twitter-icon
  • Websites that contain validated reviews convert 3.2 times more than those that don’t. (Reevoo) twitter-icon
  • 91% of B2B buyers are influenced by Word of Mouth (WOM) when making their decision to buy. (McKinsey & Company) twitter-icon
  • 74% of consumers identify Word of Mouth (WOM) as a key influencer in their purchasing decision. (Ogilvy/Google/TNS) twitter-icon
  • For Millennials, Word of Mouth is the #1 purchase influencer (for four categories surveyed: apparel, packaged goods, financial products, and big ticket purchases. (Radius Global) twitter-icon
  • For Baby Boomers, word of mouth is the top influencer for financial products and big ticket purchases, and third most influential for packaged goods. (Radius Global) twitter-icon
  • A recommendation from a trusted friend conveying a relevant message is up to 50 times more likely to trigger a purchase compared to another recommendation.(McKinsey & Company) twitter-icon

Want to learn more about earned media? See how Investopedia outranks big rank competitors with organic search.

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