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PESO model: Owned, Earned, Paid, Shared & Converged Media explained

In the online marketing and content marketing area, one can no longer ignore the terms of Paid, Owned and EarnedMedia around. With the advent of social media platforms, a new channel has emerged: SharedMedia. Each of these channels is part of the so-called PESO model (Paid, E.arned, S.haired, Owned) and serves a purpose and requires a specific approach that you must master in order to be successful. With the increasing complexity of the connections between these media types, converged media also comes into play. In this post, we'll look at the different types of media and how they can be used. Knowing these terms and using their meaning correctly helps you to be one step ahead of your competitors in terms of online marketing strategy and customer journey.


If you'd like to learn more about this topic, download our ultimate guide to Owned, Earned, Paid and Shared Media or check out our landing page dedicated to PESO, where we describe how Meltwater can specifically support you here.

→ Download the free guide

What is the difference between paid, owned, earned and shared media?

Before we dive deeper into the matter, of course, an explanation of the four media types must first be found.

What is owned media?

In contrast to paid media, owned media are media channels over which you alone have full control. This includes, for example, your company website, your blog, your newsletter and your social media accounts. Owned media can take many forms. Whether specially conducted studies, white papers, etc. - the goal of using owned media is not just to save money! Rather, it is about providing potential leads with suitable, high-quality content via various channels during their journey through the sales funnel.

You can divide owned media into 2 categories:

  1. The content you host (website & content)
  2. The content you distribute (newsletters & social media accounts)

1. Website and blog

Your website: This is your most valuable "media possession". It's not just a long-term platform that you have full control over, but also a platform where you can convert visitors directly to customers.

Your content: Having a thorough content marketing strategy is one of the best ways to build a long-term relationship with your audience and establish thought leadership on a particular topic. In this sense, blogs, e-books and webinars are a direct extension of your brand and your expertise.

A report by Edelman Earned Brand (2018) showed that 64% of consumers want companies to take a stand on problematic issues on social media. Your blog is an ideal platform to position yourself on issues that you consider important.

2. Newsletter and social media accounts

If you're not promoting your content, don't expect someone to do it for you.

Your social media accounts: Even if you have no control over social media yourself, you are the owner of your accounts and therefore have control over what you post and when.

→ Here you can find a guide to the social media image sizes for 2021

Your newsletter: To this day, email marketing remains one of the most efficient forms of owned media. Campaign Monitor has shown that, on average, consumers' preferred method of communication with brands is always email, regardless of the market. More so, email is preferred two to three times more often than social media communication.

→ Here you can find the Best Practices newsletter

Owned media are powerful because they enable brands to communicate controlled messages to their audiences. The opposite is that it only appeals to audiences who are already familiar with a company. As a result, it is not the best way to get new customers and grow your business. -Angela Wiesenmüller, Marketing Director EMEA, Meltwater

What is paid media?

Today's media inflation may make it difficult for you to get your message across organically, but it also brings with it a variety of ways to successfully promote it. The use of Paid Media (in German: Paid Media) serves as a paid method to promote content and increase your visibility. Basically, every marketing method that you have to pay for counts in the paid media category: Every ad on social media, display advertising, sponsored posts, Google Ads and so on. Now you might ask yourself: "Why should I pay money for advertising on platforms where I can also be organically visible?" The answer lies in the interplay of the three types of media that support each other when used correctly. We will come to this in more detail a little later in this post.

Using paid media is the most pragmatic way to reach new audiences. Paid media may be associated with print, television or radio advertising, but paid media has evolved into something much more digital and direct. The effective means of paid media today include native advertising, social media campaigns, search engine advertising (SEA) and retargeting.

Native advertising

The term native advertising refers to ads that are meant to look like regular content.

Here is an example from, where only the "Paid Program" tag can be used to distinguish between regular content and sponsored content.

Paid social media campaigns

It is estimated that 3.8 billion people are actively using social media platforms. Therefore, one can assume that your target group is also among them.

This makes paid social media one of the best ways to increase your reach, generate new business opportunities, increase brand engagement, and drive more visitors to your website.

In addition, you can use social ads to target social media users based on sociodemographic criteria such as location, language, age, or even personal interests, making it easier for brands to target only the most relevant people.

Most social ads on social media platforms are designed in such a way that they appear in the form of native advertising and fit into the user experience. On Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram, ads marked as sponsored content can appear in the normal feed of your target group - on Instagram even between the normal stories.

Search Engine Advertising - Search Engine Advertising (SEA)

The goal of search engine advertising is to help businesses generate traffic based on what their target audience is looking for in search engines.

When doing targeted research for relevant keywords, paid search can give your company an edge over the competition - if you're willing to pay the price. The higher the search volume and the intention to buy a keyword, the higher the price.


Retargeting enables you to reach visitors again as soon as they leave your website. And that's how it works:

  1. A visitor lands on your website
  2. The visitor leaves your website
  3. The visitor sees your ad on a third party website and may come back

While using paid media is a fantastic way to get your message, product, or service to the right audience, it's still a form of advertising, and your target audience knows it too.

What is earned media?

It's earned media when a third party supports your brand.

Simply put, earned media is a media presence that you have “earned” through word of mouth. Whether through great content that you've distributed, through SEO tactics that pay off, the great customer experience you offer, or a combination of all of these elements - earned media literally has to be earned. Only if you perform well in the long term will you get it back in the form of earned media from your fans, followers and customers. This can be done through mentions in press releases or on social media, positive reviews, reposts, recommendations, etc. Earned media can also arise when you help journalists and authors write articles or you manage to get your own content published in industry publications through your expertise and opinion leadership.

Earned media should be a given if your own and paid media channels work. - Perri Robinson, EMEA Enterprise Marketing Manager

Online review sites

Did you know that 76% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends? In other words, organic reviews and testimonials are one of the best ways to gain credibility.

Organic influencer reviews

Even if you can't pay influencers to promote your brand, they can still stand up for you and speak organically about your brand - simply because they like you, your brand, your company, or your products or services. This is very important as 63% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 say they trust influencers more than the brands themselves, according to an Edelman study (2019).

This is something that we see in the world of product reviews as well.

Here's an example based on the June 2020 release of the video game "The Last of Us Part 2". Less than a month after its release, Google submitted over 300,000 queries for the exact search term "The Last of Us Part 2 review".

And because we are dealing with a video game here, YouTube is full of thousands of reviews from journalists, influencers, and casual gamers (an example of earned media).

While the game seems controversial, this type of media coverage is pure gold for Naughty Dog, the studio behind the game, and Sony, the publisher.

What is shared media?

Shared media includes all content posted on social media related to your brand. What is meant are posts on platforms such as

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • TikTok

These posts can come from brands, companies, media outlets, and individuals.

What are examples of paid, owned and earned media?

Paid mediaOwned mediaEarned media
Banner advertisingOwn blogA post goes viral on social media
Paid ads on social mediaCompany websitePositive customer reviews
SEA (search engine advertising)Own social media accountsWord of Mouth Marketing
Paid guest postsOwn groups and fan pages on social mediaSEO (search engine optimization)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of paid, owned and earned media?

Of course, every sophisticated and promising marketing strategy needs a balanced mix of all three media types. However, each shape has its own advantages and disadvantages. In the following video these are summarized particularly well in just two and a half minutes:

Why is it important to distinguish between paid, owned, earned and shared media?

doesn't just rely on the use of a single tactic. In order to generate qualitative leads, high-quality content must be produced and published on a regular basis. Guest contributions, co-marketing campaigns, a promotion and a social media strategy for disseminating the content should all work together.

The term “content” is a fairly general term. Therefore, it is important for marketers to know a range of different media types that can be used as leverage in the marketing of content: namely paid, owned, earned and shared media. You can combine these four media types in different ways so that they can be particularly supportive in lead generation. For this reason, a distinction between the three media types mentioned is essential for the implementation of successful content marketing campaigns.

How can you best use the PESO model for lead generation?

We have written this guide so that you can use all three media types particularly effectively. In the following you will find suggestions on how you can best use paid, owned and earned media in combination for your company.

Generate leads through paid media

There are various paid techniques you can use to strengthen your owned media and gain more earned media. For example, social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest offer advertising opportunities with which you can increase your media presence. In our experience, LinkedIn and Twitter are the most effective social advertising platforms in the B2B space. Of course, you can still use a similar strategy on Facebook, YouTube, or Pinterest. It all depends on where your audience is, where they're most active, and where they're most likely to engage with your brand. A high level of engagement with paid media can easily lead to earned media!

Generate leads through owned media

Due to its in-house origin, owned media is of course a controllable way of conveying the desired brand message without sounding too much like advertising. If you are interested in qualifying freshly generated leads through earned media or in generating more leads in general, it is important that you focus on creating high-quality resources that are interesting for your target group. At the end of the day, this content you create will help your leads determine whether or not it is worth working with you.

Generate leads through earned media

Thanks to the increasing popularity of social media platforms like Twitter and Quora, it has become easier for editors and journalists to ask companies for quotes and insights for their articles. This type of accreditation helps your target group to build trust in your expertise. Regular guest posts in other publications can, for example, help to increase both the traffic and the number of leads for your company.

Generate leads through shared media

If you manage to meet the ravages of time with your content, then shared media will also be crucial for your lead generation. Because really relevant, informative, entertaining or innovative content occasionally manages to go viral and reach millions of people worldwide because it is shared thousands of times.

Converged Media as the solution to all problems?

It can be assumed that owned, earned, paid and shared media will, above all, exploit their full potential together. Because the fact is:

  • Owned media will not be attractive if you do not use other external sales channels.
  • Paid media will not deliver without a first media impulse of their own.
  • Shared and earned media won't work if you don't have anything (not your own media) to share from the start.

In order for your MarCom strategy to deliver the best results, you have to juggle all four channels.
When these concepts all come together, it is called converged media. Converged media is achieved when two or more media types interlock. Converged Media can help reach the target audience where it is really necessary, regardless of the channel, medium or device.

In order to design an optimal purchase process and to pick up the users at any time, a mix of the respective categories must be designed and thus rely on converged media.

Converged media in the customer journey

The individual media types are especially important for media planning. If you take owned, paid, earned and shared media into account in your strategic planning, you anchor the company on the Internet for the long term. The focus is not necessarily on company-internal goals, rather the online users are the focus. This becomes clear in the customer journey, which shows which different decision phases a user goes through in the purchasing process. In this process, all touchpoints count as they can help build relationships between your company and the prospect. The aim is to retain the user in the long term. If you are particularly customer-oriented, it is imperative to use an integrated approach to create a dynamic, cross-channel customer journey.

How can you measure the success of paid, owned, earned and shared media strategies?

Of course, there is no effort in the world to make lead generation more successful if you cannot measure your efforts. Those who take advantage of paid placements usually receive the corresponding dashboards including evaluations at the same time. KPIs like the CTR, impressions and the number of leads generated are usually delivered automatically. The metrics for owned media can usually be viewed without any problems.

However, it looks different with earned media. In order to be able to view all mentions in the network automatically, it is advisable to use a media monitoring tool. This tool automatically evaluates all results based on specific searches as required.

You can measure all variants with our tool! For a personal, free consultation, simply fill out the following form and learn more about how Meltwater can help you with PESO. Alternatively, you can find out more about how you can work on your PESO strategy with Meltwater here.