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Making the PESO model work for your agency

As an agency, deciding where to put your client’s ad spend can seem overwhelming. Especially with advertising costs steadily increasing, and billions of ad dollars being wasted on the wrong channels every year. 

We suspect that many of your clients don’t have the patience or endless ad budget to wait for you to test out every channel and get the marketing mix right. 

The PESO model (paid, earned, shared, and owned media) is a helpful framework and one that we hope all agencies are using. However, even if you use PESO as a guide, it still takes time to test out and analyze how each channel is working, before you know which ones produce the results your client is aiming for. 

With this in mind, we’re going to show you how to work smarter, not harder when it comes to the PESO model, and demonstrate how data can help you pick the best marketing channels for your client’s audience - before the campaign even begins. 

Audiense blog - PESO image
Paid Media

Paid media refers to paying for ad space to promote your client’s brand (their product or service). Paid media channels include TV, radio, podcasts, print media, social media ads, influencer marketing, google ads etc. The goal is to drive clicks, conversions, and ultimately sales. 

The benefits of paid media can mean reaching large audiences, creating highly targeted ads, and drumming up lots of brand exposure, but there are drawbacks too. Paid media can be expensive, and competitive and it requires you to constantly monitor how it's performing. 

So how can you make paid media work for your client? It begins with assessing their goals of the campaign. 

If your client’s goals look like these, then paid media could be the right fit: 

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Drive website traffic 
  • Generate leads 
  • Boost sales 
  • Target niche audiences 
  • Retarget audiences 
  • Improve search engine visibility 

Once the goals of your client have been set forth, it's time to decide which forms of paid media you’ll choose, and that all depends on the audience. 

By using an audience insights tool like SOPRISM, you can quickly identify the best paid media channels for your client’s audience. Using the brand Birkenstock as the example, SOPRISM can surface paid media insights, like the ones below: 

Audiense blog - paid media insights - SOPRISM

Based on the insights, the best channel is print media (ie. magazine ads, placed in Marie Claire, Allure magazine, Conde Nast, and QVC). 

In terms of social channels, Facebook actually comes out on top for this audience group, and the majority of their remaining ad budget should be spent here.  

Choosing paid media channels isn’t rocket science when you use a tool like SOPRISM to guide you. Using an audience intelligence tool like SOPRISM is also a way to show your clients you are taking a data-backed approach to media buying and in turn making sure you make most of their ad budget. 

Earned Media

Earned media essentially means unpaid publicity through PR, word-of-mouth, and organic promotion. It includes things like free media placements, press releases, article bylines, blogs, social media shares, viral content etc. 

This type of media is extremely valuable, not to mention it is completely free. This type of exposure can really help the credibility and reputation of a brand. 

That being said, it’s a lot more difficult to pull off, because it’s dependent on third parties. This makes it hard to publish a brand message right away, because it involves building relationships with people like bloggers, journalists, and media outlets. 

As an agency, the best move you can make when working with a new client is to identify those top thought leaders, bloggers, journalists, and media outlets in relation to your client’s audience. 

By weeding out the best opportunities for earned media early, you give your clients a step up, and you can provide them with earned media, made easy. 

Using the tech company Snowflake as the next example, Affinio makes it easy to explore their  audience and surface the top thought leaders, bloggers, journalists, media outlets, and articles for this audience.

Audiense blog - interests - Affinio

So before even speaking to your client, and getting to know their industry, you can surface the top ways to get them earned media. 

Shared Media 

Shared Media is the content shared about your brand, through social media. This includes of course social media posts, reposts, blogs, reviews etc. It's the customer who shares/reshares the content, not the brand.

An example of this is Spotify Wrapped: The music streaming brand Spotify provides its customers with an overview of their listening habits of the past year, and people absolutely love it. So much so, that millions of Spotify users take it to Instagram to share their Spotify Wrapped on their stories, generating incredible brand exposure. 

This type of shared media is so genius because it doesn’t feel forced on Spotify’s side. All they do is provide their audience with these cool listening analytics about themselves, and users organically decide to post it. 

Shared media is a tactic that you’ll see work really well for your clients with a big social media following or online community. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make it work for your client’s with smaller followings too. 

This media type isn’t something you have full control over, since the content is shared by a third-party, but you can help your client come up with their own version of “Spotify Wrapped”. 

The key is creating compelling content the brand’s audience will love. It could mean a Christmas commercial that tells a heartfelt story that audiences feel compelled to share all over social, or content and “challenges” their audience resonates with and wants to take part in. Whatever it is, it has to be in line with the brand’s audience, and their top interests and passions. 

Uncovering what those interests and passions are, is so simple when using an audience intelligence tool, because it can surface the top interests that audience members share. 

Let’s take the Vegan food brand Gardein, based on the insights that surfaced on this brand's audience, we can infer that the majority are moms, who love to cook and share recipes, and who are talking about getting ready for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Audiense blog - Audiense Insights - Vegan audience

Thanksgiving as a vegan can be a tricky holiday, especially if not everyone at the dining table is vegan. One can guess that members of this audience feel a little left out during this holiday season, which is so centered around turkey and non-vegan food staples. In an attempt to create some shared media, the Gardein brand could create a “share your favorite vegan “Thanksgiving recipe” campaign, and begin by creating a post that features a well-known vegan influencer, that resonates with the audience. In the post, that influencer could share their favorite vegan Thanksgiving recipe, and encourage people to do the same, drumming up lots of shared media for the brand. 

The above example is just a way to display how audience insights can help inspire content that really resonates with your client’s audience, and in turn can equate to a lot of exposure, shares, likes, reposts etc.

Shared media, although sometimes completely out of your control, can work for you, if you have the right audience insights tools in place to kick-start something worth sharing. 

Owned Media 

Owned media, the last of the mix, refers to content that a brand produces, and posts to their owned channels (ie. website, blog, newsletters, whitepapers etc.) meaning they own the content 100%.

This type of media is used to build awareness, trust, and thought leadership. 

The obvious benefit of owned media is the fact that the brand has complete control. They decide how and what they want to communicate to their audience.  

The con is that because it’s fully owned by the brand and published through their owned channels, these channels sometimes have a limited reach, especially if they have a small audience. It also takes time to create the type of interesting content your audience seeks out and spends time reading/watching/engaging with. 

Blogging is a popular format of owned media, as most brands themselves have a dedicated blog section on their websites. But few brands have the type of blogs that bring recurring readers. 

Some brands though have positioned themselves as complete thought leaders and experts, and have built up a reputation where users seek them out for answers. One brand that does owned media right is HubSpot. In April alone, Hubspot had 42 million visitors to their website, and the majority of that traffic can be attributed to the amazing blog content they produce. They know exactly the type of content their audience is looking for. 

With the help of Audiense, you can too. Just take a look at this next example of a report on skincare brand Clinique’s audience. Using the Audiense insights tool, we can surface the top interests and articles that resonate with their customer base. 

Audiense blog - Affinity Clinique audience - Audiense Insights

Audiense blog - Content Clinique audience - Audiense Insights

A lot of the articles that they’re consuming involve celebrities, this is what interests them. So any skincare blogs Clinique produces should revolve around things like “Taylor Swifts skincare routine”, or “3 Ways Chrissy Teigen tightens the look of her skin”- you get the idea. 

Creating content related to these “interests” is what will make your clients-owned marketing efforts worth it. 

Media-planning made easy 

Media planning can be a daunting task as an agency. With pressure to perform, and limited client budgets, it can be hard to build out a media mix that renders results right away. 

The PESO model is a popular framework that can act as the starting point, but it’s audience insights that help determine the perfect media mix. 

Work smarter not harder, and use an audience insights tool to make the PESO model work for your agency. 

Sign up for a demo of our audience insights tools here, and take a data-backed approach to the PESO model. 

Audiense blog - Start a trial - Audiense Insights