On yesterday’s VentureBeat, there was a neat little article about the value of “earned media” for mobile developers by Gilad de Vries who is vice president (brands and agencies) at Outbrain. For those of you that might need a media refresher – there are 3 basic media categories including:
- Paid: a brand pays a third party to leverage external media channels for paid promotion (acquisition). Examples of paid media includes promotional banners, viral video, branded virtual goods, etc.
- Owned: a brand owns the media distribution channel which it leverages to increase customer conversion or retention. It’s the type of media that keeps your community of subscribers or customers coming back. Examples of owned media include applications, digital content, digital currencies, online events, etc.
- Earned: media generally crated by customers, partners and press and is promoted to the benefit of the brand. Examples of earned media includes PR news articles, blog posts, positive ratings, product reviews, awards and more.
In the article, Gilad makes a good point that paid and owned media – while nice to have – doesn’t necessarily motivate consumers into action.
Because consumers are already over saturated with paid or owned messaging all of which sounds pretty much the same with the ubiquitous call to action “download now!” Consumers feel overburdened with generic marketing messages that do little to really inform or excite them into making a purchase or download.
Think about it.
When was the last time you clicked on a mobile promotional banner or followed a call-to-action? If you’re like most of us, then your answer is “I don’t remember”.
However as Gilad suggests, earned media has greater value than paid or owned because it’s immediate third party validation. It’s buzz. And buzz is good.
Like many people I know, I’m usually more motivated to try an app out if I hear about it from a trusted friend or colleague OR if I happen to stumble across a review, blog entry or post.
Word of mouth (WOM) or earned media is far more powerful a catalyst in the consumer decision making process than paid or owned media could ever be. People are way more interested in hearing validation about an app from a third party then directly from the brand / developer itself.
Gilad suggests that developers should consider focusing on a earned media strategy as a way to potentially increase downloads. And I think this makes a tremendous amount of sense.
So here are a few tips for developers who are looking to influence their target audience into downloads:
1) Get your apps in front of the media. Send them links or codes to encourage them to download and try the app. The goal is to get them to write about your app favorably.
2) Leverage earned media – if someone writes a favorable article, review, blog post and the like - do whatever you can to promote this valuable earned media. Post it on your home page, tweet about it, share on Facebook and Linked In, send to family and friends. You want others to see AND share your earned media. The goal is to get consumers predisposed to your offering (positive messaging) so when they think about your app category, yours is the first app to come to mind.
3) Leverage mobile promotional channels with built in earned media – this means if you’re using any mobile promotional platforms like TapJoy or UrbanAirship or Drawbridge that you incorporate a reference to your earned media in any promotional campaign (i.e.) “4 stars from Common Sense Media” or “winner of the Parents Choice Award”. The inclusion of your earned media into your promotions helps to validate your IP to consumers in the moment while they’re looking at any promotional creative.
In closing, earned media is one powerful tool to help developers get downloads. It’s worth spending a little bit of money and effort to increase your PR visibility, app reviews, awards & recognition in order to drive downloads. Try it and you won’t be disappointed.
– Tim D