Changing the game for Earned Media

Studying referring site traffic to some of our online campaigns from 2007 to 2009 a very interesting shift not only seems to be emerging, but is already well under way.

Back in 2007 almost every visitor was either sent via direct traffic, search or paid media. Today this picture has shifted dramatically. Today, earned media is becoming the main source of traffic to our sites. This presents some exhilarating consequences.

There are especially two interesting things about this:

    – The first being the fact that it is not necessarily social media that is earned media. In 2008 most of the traffic to one of our biggest campaigns came from earned media sites with no social media components.

    – The second is a point similar to one I tried to argue in the presentation Changing the Currency. That attention is becoming less important than value (or worth according to Jenkins). Because in the new marketing economy, where marketing moves from existing inside media channels to becoming an integrated part of our everyday lives. Our activities start relying more and more on people sharing our stuff with others, rather than noticing a display advert inside some form of media.

    “Value transports much better in everyday life compared to attention. Nobody spreads stuff because they noticed it, They spread it because it’s meaningful and adoptable.”

The bottom line is this: If the stuff we are seeing with our campaigns is becoming the norm, not an inconsistency. If this isn’t just a social media thing, but a larger media thing. Then strategy and creativity in marketing should be more concerned with creating something of shareable worth, rather than stories that interrupt and generate attention. Because these stories wont spread, and if it doesn’t spread, then Jenkins might be completely right: it’s dead…

Graham Brown over at Mobile Youth just published a video sharing his ideas regarding Earned Media in a bigger context. A good format and a very recommended watch:

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