Why Earned Media is More Powerful Than Paid Media

We are always seeking the best way to serve the advertiser and the consumer. This is a delicate balance because we have to inspire happiness on both sides.

We built ViralGains technology with the discovery that peer recommendations are 50X more likely to trigger a purchase than a passive ad. In our world, peer recommendations manifest through earned media.

In any ad buy there is owned media, paid media, and earned media. Owned media is the impressions and views driven by properties the advertiser owns. For example, when an advertiser like Unilever posts new video content on its corporate site and Twitter account, the engagement directly from its following is owned media.

Paid media is constituted by the number of impressions and views driven by paid placements. For example, when the same Unilever video is placed within a mobile app with the intention of driving 100,000 targeted people to see it.

Earned media is represented by subsequent impressions and views driven by sharing and conversation—when people like the Unilever video enough to share it on Facebook, Twitter, and email their grandma.

On average, we successfully complete video ad campaigns with a 30% earned lift. That means in a campaign where an advertiser purchases 1,000,000 views of paid media, our tech will drive an additional 300,000 views of earned media. Our thesis is that the additional 300,000 views of earned media are more powerful than the original 1,000,000 views of paid media. Going back to our McKinsey study, earned media is driven by peer recommendations and it is 50x more powerful than passive paid media.

In the long term, we intend to scale the ability for advertisers to reach those customers who are most likely to make peer recommendations for their content. We believe this will create the most powerful ad platform available when it comes to ROI and driving purchase intent.

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