The 3 Types of Digital Media

Digital Marketing is a staple in any good campaign or marketing endeavor. The Internet is highly accessible all over the world nowadays, and therefore it is one of the best places to grow your brand. But not all digital media is created equal. In fact, there are three distinct types of digital media that you should be familiar with and able to discern from one another. This article will help you to differentiate the 3 types of digital media, as well as how to best utilize each type in your marketing plan.

Type 1: Paid Media

Paid media is any form of external advertising that you pay money for — simple right? Paid media includes things like PPC advertising, branded content, and display ads. This is what usually comes to mind when people think “advertising.” Putting money into advertising can allow you to drive the results you need, fast. This method allows you to see a much quicker return on investment than something organic like SEO, which typically generates better results over the long term. Paid media also allows you to reach a large-scale audience and direct people to your content from outside of your normal scope of reach. 

The downside to paid media is that audiences have become much less trusting and therefore less willing to engage with ads, as they are constantly bombarded with them on a day-to-day basis. Here are some ways to work around this:

  • AI-based automation. Artificial intelligence plays a huge role in providing you with the most relevant customer data at the drop of a hat. This allows you to target your paid ads with greater precision to drive more results. 
  • Chatbots. While there is still great value in providing human-to-human customer support (and you should take care not to neglect this), oftentimes the most common questions can be efficiently and quickly answered by a chatbot. This gets customers their answers pretty much on the spot. The quicker they get those answers, the more likely they are to buy your product.
  • Influencer marketing. This leverages accounts with lots of followers and a high amount of engagement and brand loyalty from those followers.
  • Video content. A report from Cisco predicts video content will account for 85 percent of search traffic in the United States by 2019. They also found that including the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19 percent and clickthrough rates by 65 percent. In the modern age, most people prefer watching a video about a product to reading about it, so you absolutely must utilize video content.

Type 2: Earned Media

Earned Media is any sort of content or material that was written about you, your brand, or your business from an outside entity. This content was not created or paid for by you, someone simply wrote it because they believe in your brand. This kind of media is invaluable because it shows that another brand or company is giving your brand a seal of approval — out of their own pocket! You might think there’s no way you could implement a strategy to get this sort of press, but there is actually an art to it. Aside from doing what you do on a daily basis (and doing it well), you should always position yourself in a way to get picked up by the press. If you’re doing something cool and unique, you could even reach out to your local paper or a popular blog and ask if they would like to or be willing to feature you. You may face a lot of rejection while doing this, but consider this a good thing. If every media outlet or blog took up every request for a feature, finally getting that article written about you wouldn’t have the effect that it does on the magazine, blog, or media outlet’s audience. 

Type 3: Owned Media 

Finally, Owned Media. This is any media that is directly controlled by your brands, such as your website, blog, or social media accounts. All of the content that you publish onto these platforms is yours, and you can update or change the content on a whim. Owned media relies on existing relationships with your customers and followers in order to draw new viewers to your content. This happens when your followers engage and interact with your content, which signals high value to the algorithm, which will favor your posts over others. The good thing about owned media is that it lasts pretty much forever unless you take it down or it gets removed by the platform. As long as your content exists, it will continue to garner results over time. 

Naturally, the best way to see success with owned media is to produce consistent, quality content that provides value to your audience. Check out our guide on how to create successful content for content marketing for tips on how to do this!


The best digital marketing strategy will utilize all three types of media because they all have their benefits and downsides. But together, they will get you the results you want to see much quicker than if you simply focused on one or two.