The Power of Earned Media
Storytelling is a universal and intrinsic human activity. Through stories, we analyze and interpret our experiences, both to understand them and share them by word of mouth. For marketing professionals, ‘word of mouth’ refers to consumer-to-consumer communication about their consumption experiences. Though traditionally shared in person, word of mouth communication takes place within a variety social media channels today. For advertisers, this online communication pertaining to a brand is referred to as earned media, in other words, the accumulation of “likes,” “retweets,” user reviews and other user-generated content featuring a product or company. Thus, earned media is where word of mouth meets the web.
While the cost of maintaining earned media is fairly inexpensive, earned media is among the most influential and valuable forms of advertisement today. Paid advertising can cost millions of dollars and although it is both necessary and effective, a simple recommendation from your peer about a product they love goes a long way. As consumers, we are exposed to advertisements all day, everyday, and are therefore most sensitive and responsive toward simple, honest accounts from individuals in our network.
In recent years, several businesses have faced public scrutiny for falsifying consumer reviews on websites such as Yelp, Google Local and CitySearch. Although this hasn’t necessarily deterred customers from leaving reviews, consumers are looking for indicators of product review authenticity. For this reason, businesses should invest in their company’s online presence and facilitate an honest conversation about their brand amongst consumers. In doing so, businesses can develop relationships with new and existing consumers and utilize the fact that customers will always trust the suggestions of other customers more than traditional advertisements.
In 2014, increasing your brand’s presence online will be essential. We have already seen an increased number of marketing professionals making larger investments in digital content surrounding their brand—more specifically, digital video. According to a survey conducted by AOL networks in April 2013, three-quarters of marketing professionals worldwide planned to increase their spending on branded video content or video ads in the next year. The study also found that digital video ads beat out TV ads for achieving consumer engagement goals. As shown in this study, digital video provides an opportunity to be heard by consumers and maximize their engagement with your brand.
As the world goes mobile, digital video ads and video product reviews are proving to be more powerful, engaging, and convincing than text. For advertisers looking to facilitate earned media, digital video will be instrumental. Through services provided by companies like VideoGenie, businesses enable consumer generated videos, each reviewing a product and spreading the word about your brand online. By rewarding and incentivizing your customers to tell their story and show their loyalty to your brand, businesses can drive earned media, enhance their online presence and reach out to new consumers online.