Ecommerce marketing decisions are tough. Advertising, search engine optimization, social media, content marketing – all involve communicating a message to an audience. But depending on the channel, the marketer may not control the message, its distribution, or even the audience.
By organizing tactics into paid, earned, shared, and owned media, you better understand who creates the promotions, who owns the promotions audience, and who controls distribution.
|Paid||Your company creates the content, advertisement or promotion.||Third party developed audience||A third party controls the distribution of your content.|
|Won||A client, company or journalist creates the content.||The client or the journalist has developed the audience.||The client or journalist controls or influences the broadcast.|
|share||Your business creates the content or promotion.||Your company and a third party co-developed the audience.||A third party controls the distribution of your content.|
|Possesses||Your business creates the content or promotion.||Your business has grown the audience.||Your business controls the distribution of your content.|
PESO versus PEO
Social media platforms are an important part of integrated “shared” marketing.
However, some social-minded marketers disagree on the “shared” aspect, favoring three media accolades over PESO’s four shared media platforms and grouping the shared media platforms – for example, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok – in the “property” category.
You could say that reducing PESO to PEO still achieves the goal of helping people think about communication strategies. But it’s a mistake to assume that a business owns its social media content. And it’s detrimental if it means a company is putting too much emphasis on a channel that’s beyond its control.
point of distinction
When marketers apply the PESO model, it’s important to consider content, audience, and distribution. These three points differentiate media channels and help identify how content and ads work together.
As shown in the table above, “your company creates” both owned media and shared media content. In both cases, “your business” worked to grow the audience. But your business doesn’t control what social media platforms do with the content, and despite the growing number of followers, the business can’t easily pick up or transfer that audience to other channels.
In 2017, I have wrote“Shared media describes content created by your company that is distributed to an audience your company has developed through a platform that someone else owns or controls.”
That control is the main difference, and that’s why social isn’t a “owned” medium.
As proof that companies don’t own their social media channels, consider account suspensions.
All social media platforms reserve the right to suspend, block or delete accounts. The particular policies will be different, but any business could publish heaps of great content, build thousands of followers, and suddenly lose access to account, content, and audience.
It happens daily to small businesses.
Deletion of content
Social media platforms may remove individual posts. This is common for YouTube creators, for example.
When a YouTube creator reviews content, it’s common for the criticized party to file a copyright complaint, instantly suspending the review and forcing the creator to go through an arbitration process.
Companies are also experiencing suspensions. And, the fact that YouTube and other platforms have content restrictions and often remove individual posts confirms that social media is not “owned” media in the normal sense.
Economy of creators
Creators and the so-called creator economy also demonstrate that social is not something that companies or individuals can “own”.
Although creators can monetize their content on a given channel, they do not own their audience or the distribution of their content. YouTube does. Or TikTok does. Or Instagram does it, and so on.
For example, in 2019, many YouTube creators complained that the platform’s efforts to comply with U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act were having an unfair impact on creators’ earnings. YouTube may limit advertising and, therefore, revenue sharing on any content deemed “made for children”, regardless of the content creator’s intent.
More recently, YouTube creators feared that Google would let its contract with Roku expire, reducing views, ads and revenue for many channels.
Creators often encourage their audience to sign up for email newsletters or communities to counter this problem. If they want to increase their income, creators have to get out of the platform. Hence another example of why social media is never “owned”.
A final justification against classifying social platforms as “ownership” is that they may lose popularity. MySpace and the now defunct Friendster were significant competitors to Facebook at their respective heights. No more.
There is no guarantee that Facebook, Instagram or any other social site will survive the next five or ten years. Some legislative bodies and Web3 Defenders seek to dismantle and replace these platforms.
When companies start to think they own social media content and audiences the same way they own a blog or mailing list, they risk losing control of content and customer relationships.
The PESO model aims to help marketers think about communications in an integrated way, using all four channels appropriately.
Social media is most definitely a big part of the mix, but a company’s content should ultimately have a place on its website(s). The customer relationship must be direct, and not via a proxy such as Facebook or TikTok.