The Convergence of Media, Minds & Metrics

Converging MediaIn this era of multiple devices, channels and screens, digital media can seem like hodgepodge of interactive elements. Building a successful marketing program means bringing everything to one table: the various media types, the teams behind them, and the metrics that prove their worth.

In a newly released report from Altimeter, Rebecca Lieb and Jeremiah Owyang discuss the converging future of paid, owned and earned media. The Converged Media Imperative looks at how brands should combine these media, and how to convince various departments and agencies to work together. Let’s have a look at the key points Lieb and Owyang brought to the table in this popular report.

Digital teams at one table

Plenty of brands have paid, earned and owned media campaigns in place. The problem is, these elements often come from three disparate departments or agencies, creating a disconnect in messaging, aesthetic and call to action. To create a consistent brand message, “paid, earned and owned stakeholders must meet at the table to plan initiatives, content, creative, media and strategies that link them.” No matter who you have on your team, at the end of the day digital marketing experts are stronger together than they apart.

Content at the core

To drive a successful three-pronged media approach, a brand must be ready to back things up with consistent, quality content. “Companies without a content strategy are unable to progress in this environment, as they lack the content marketing assets to maintain presence in owned channels, as well to effectively and rapidly respond to earned media,” the report warns.

Where agencies fall short

Brands often miss out on the full package because the way most agencies are structured today, you can’t get paid, earned and owned from a one-stop shop. “Most agencies tend to specialize in, or have a revenue model contingent upon, only one of these three key media channels.” With advertising, PR, search and social media agencies on the bill, it’s easy for a brand to get lost in the details. It’s important to be able to step back and analyze this process with a digital agency scorecard.

Where metrics fall short

Earned media is hard to measure, especially in terms of ROI – because using social media to get more social media followers isn’t exactly showing an increase your bottom line, is it? Even the case studies referenced in the report focus on fluffy metrics: “social media interactions generated,” “new Facebook Fans” and “tens of thousands of engagements.” The problem with using likes and follows as determinants of success is that they don’t really mean anything. Without meaningful metrics, brands are stuck treading water, not knowing whether or not their time, budget and effort actually contribute to sales.

The tools aren’t there yet either

Tools are the number one pain point for social today” Intel’s Director of Social Media, Becky Brown told the authors of the Altimeter report. The simple truth is that we’re just not there yet in terms of the all-in-one toolbox. But as we watch acquisition after acquisition in this space in 2012 (think Salesforce and Buddy Media, Oracle and Virture), it looks like we’re getting closer to an integrated piece of software that helps marketers manage and track converging media.


The Altimeter report reminds us that the face of media as we know it is blurring by the day. As marketers, keeping up is a matter of thinking of paid, owned and earned media as the moving parts inside a larger machine. Digitally successful brands keep these systems running with cross-departmental (or cross-agency) understanding and a combination of tools to measure metrics that actually show ROI.