The Pros and Cons of Paid Media

From billboards to Facebook ads, paid media is an essential part of any company’s promotional strategy. Simply put, paid media is marketing that is paid for – any external marketing that involves paid placements (such as TV ads, billboards, social media ads, print advertisements, sponsorships and other promotions) is paid media. This shouldn’t be confused with advertising. While paid media works to develop a brand, advertising is typically focused on selling a product and can be an element of a paid media strategy.

The Value of Paid Media

There’s a reason paid media is so popular: it works. Paid media’s reach extends beyond owned media (a company’s blog, website or social media channel) and earned media (public relations) in helping grow your brand and getting your message out. Audience targeting is another reason paid media can be so effective – by choosing the right media, your messaging can be seen by your most relevant audiences. For example, advertising on social media is an effective way to get your messaging to a younger audience, while cable TV advertising would be more effective with an older audience. Paid media is highly flexible and gives promoters control over who sees what, when, and where, making it the best tool for reaching all types of audiences. Even if your brand’s messaging doesn’t resonate with your audience, they’re still seeing and feeling your brand’s presence.

The Downside of Paid Media

There are some drawbacks to paid media, the most obvious being the fact that it doesn’t come free. However, judging by the anticipated record spending on advertising this year, companies seem to feel they’re getting their money’s worth.

Also worth considering is that when people see a paid promotion, they understand that the source is highly biased and might be less likely to believe the messaging or have it resonate with them. This makes creativity an essential component in a brand campaign, especially in today’s heavily saturated paid media landscape where digital paid promotion has hit record highs year after year and spending is projected to continue increasing.

Paid Media and Your Branding Strategy

Paid media is an essential part of any comprehensive media strategy; the strengths are too valuable to ignore as an effective way to grow your brand. While there are drawbacks to paid media, incorporating it as part of a SCOPE (social media, community outreach, owned media, paid media, earned media) strategy balances out a communication or marketing plan to expand your brand and effectively get your messaging out to your audiences.

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