Paid and Earned Media Integration: The Fuel Behind Viral Marketing

The word “viral” is thrown around a lot these days. Many equate it with earning millions of video views or popularity in general. Here at ViralGains, we define it as the maximization of earned media. For purposes of an online video, earned media represents conversation and sharing (word-of-mouth advertising), plus the consequent additional viewership that comes as a result of those social behaviors.

Of paid, earned and owned media, earned is the hardest to obtain. That means you can’t just create a video, post it and expect it to generate earned media. This is where paid media plays a significant role. Sure, there are exceptions. Some videos go viral on their own, but those are few and far between. If your company is spending money to produce online video content, it’s imperative that the right people see it.

Virality is powered by programmatic planning and buying that maximizes the deeply important views, shares, and conversations that come with video advertising campaigns. One of the benefits of paid media is precision targeting. Your content is delivered to the people who are most likely to join your brand’s community and engage through conversations and social sharing.

This paid media will directly affect your earned media. The right audience will increase your video’s exposure by sharing across social networks with family and friends. This is word-of-mouth advertising, the embodiment of viral marketing.


With most paid media strategies, you buy a certain number of views. When these turn into shares, conversations and interactions the view count soars pushing you past your paid media spend. The excess views and engagement is considered earned media.

Obviously, paid and earned media have an important relationship and should be integrated for maximum results. There are people who love your brand and will show it through interactions and engagement with your content. Your only job is to make sure your content reaches them. With paid media it’s possible, and with earned media following suit, your content will generate substantial awareness and foster consumer relationships with your brand.

Below, we’ve included a video from digital marketing agency 360i discussing the importance of paid and earned media integration.

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