Guide to Earned Media Value & Influencer Media Value

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In 2020, a single beverage catapulted Dunkin’ to become the most celebrated Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) brand on TikTok, amassing over 4 billion impressions and 250 million views.

What magic formula did this 72-year-old fast-food giant employ to ascend to social media fame? The power of earned media value.

Historically, Dunkin’ has been a formidable competitor in the breakfast segment across the United States. However, the brand recognized the need for a dynamic figure to ignite discussions and stir excitement within a saturated market.


got my own song and it just hits different. show me how you “do the charli” while you drink ‘the charli’ using charlirunsondunkin!! @dunkin #ad

♬ The Charli – Dunkin’

Enter Charli D’Amelio, a TikTok sensation and avid Dunkin’ enthusiast. The brand ingeniously incorporated her favorite beverage into their menu, dubbing it “The Charli.” Dunkin’ handed over its social media reins to Charli to promote this collaboration and introduce the new cold brew variant. Furthermore, a contest was launched, offering fans an opportunity to meet the TikTok celebrity.

This partnership generated a massive amount of earned media for Dunkin’, with coverage spanning news outlets, blogs, and social media platforms, all buzzing about “The Charli.” This move not only increased Dunkin’s brand visibility but also attracted a younger demographic of consumers to the brand.

This brief guide will explore the significance of earned media and the role of influencer marketing in bolstering your brand’s earned media strategy.

First, let’s clarify some essential terminology:

  • Owned Media: Content that is created and published on platforms that you control.
  • Paid Media: Any form of advertising that requires payment.
  • Earned Media: Natural endorsements from external parties about your brand, often influenced by your owned and paid media initiatives (e.g., press mentions, social media buzz, word-of-mouth).
  • Earned Media Value (EMV): The projected value of all external exposure.
  • Impressions: The count of how often your content is displayed to viewers.
  • Engagements: The sum of interactions like comments, likes, clicks, and shares on social media platforms.
  • Engagement Rate: A measure comparing engagement against reach or audience size to assess interaction levels.
  • Cost per Thousand (CPM): The cost incurred by a brand for every thousand impressions garnered by an advertisement. What Exactly is Earned Media Value? Earned media value quantifies the exposure a brand gains through third-party platforms, including social media and traditional media outlets.

What is earned media value

This metric allows marketers to estimate the equivalent value of exposure that would otherwise be obtained through paid or owned media channels.

Initially, EMV aimed to value mentions by media publications and news broadcasts. Presently, content created by users on social media platforms has become a crucial element in evaluating earned media value.

The essence of EMV is to gauge how a brand’s marketing initiatives and public persona impact potential customers. Instead of a direct spend-to-gain approach, the focus is on leveraging marketing efforts to trigger a cascade of positive endorsements and word-of-mouth publicity.

A low EMV indicates potential issues with the brand’s image, messaging, or marketing strategies. Conversely, a high EMV signifies that the brand has successfully forged significant connections with its target audience.

Various methods exist for understanding and applying EMV, depending on your organization’s marketing objectives and the accuracy of your earned media value measurement.

Paid, owned, and earned media represent different strategies a brand utilizes to promote itself. Paid media involves a brand investing in external platforms for advertising, owned media refers to channels a brand controls, and earned media is the unsolicited promotion by third parties stemming from the brand’s paid and owned media initiatives.

Paid Media

This form of media occurs when a business allocates budget towards advertising on platforms not owned by the brand.

Examples of paid media include:

  • Advertisements on Google
  • Ads across social media channels
  • TV and print advertisements
  • Outdoor advertising like billboards

Google offers tools for tracking conversions from ads and product listings, assessing how these lead to actionable outcomes such as sales. Social media platforms provide analytics for tracking metrics like reach, engagement, and impressions. Traditional advertising mediums like billboards and print ads rely on pre- and post-campaign metric comparisons for performance evaluation.

Owned Media

Owned media encompasses any marketing channel a company directly controls.

Such channels include:

  • The company’s website
  • Blog content
  • Non-paid social media posts

The effectiveness of owned media is gauged through metrics similar to those used for paid media, including engagement indicators like average time spent on page, session depth, and repeat visits, offering insights into content appeal.

Earned Media

Earned media is the free promotion generated by third-party endorsements as a result of a brand’s paid and owned media efforts.

Examples of earned media are:

  • Press coverage
  • Customer reviews
  • Organic social media mentions
  • Word-of-mouth referrals

Brands must actively monitor both positive and negative mentions through social listening tools to manage their reputation and adjust strategies accordingly.

Delving Into Earned Media Value on Social Media

Earned media value (EMV) on social media is often assessed by correlating impressions to sales, a method akin to traditional TV ad spending, where all impressions are deemed equally valuable. Social media analytics facilitate the categorization of impressions into organic, paid, and viral, offering a nuanced view of content reach and engagement.

Quality Versus Quantity of Impressions

The digital landscape enables brands to discern the value of different types of impressions. Engagement rates, when analyzed alongside impressions, reveal the content’s relevance to viewers. The relationship between impressions and reach can indicate the precision of targeting efforts.

Calculating Earned Media Value

There’s no universal formula for EMV, but a commonly used equation is:

Impressions×CPM (Cost per 1,000 impressions)×Adjustment FactorImpressions×CPM (Cost per 1,000 impressions)×Adjustment Factor

This formula, despite its simplicity, incorporates variables like CPM and adjustment factors that introduce a degree of flexibility and complexity into the calculation process.

Investing in a sophisticated influencer marketing platform, like the “Find Me Creators” Database, equips brands with AI tools to ascertain the tangible value of social media endeavors, offering a direct comparison of CPM across various platforms. This comparison takes into account campaign goals, engagement levels, conversions, and other relevant metrics, aiming for a standardized evaluation of social media performance.

Earned Media Value (EMV) is crucial in influencer marketing as it underscores genuine engagement, which in turn, amplifies brand visibility and drives sales. EMV is pivotal for identifying influencers with the most beneficial return on investment.

For brands venturing into influencer collaborations, the aim is to convert marketing investments into substantial online buzz. Influencers who boast significant engagement rates offer a competitive edge, having already cultivated genuine rapport with their followers.

As brands expand their influencer networks, leveraging an influencer marketing platform like the “Find Me Creators” Database simplifies the tracking of social engagement and influencer EMV. These tools use EMV metrics for pinpointing the best return on investment opportunities, ensuring brands avoid partnerships with influencers lacking authenticity.

Employing EMV in Your Influencer Marketing Approach

Identifying your most impactful influencers sets the groundwork for enhancing EMV. Since EMV can be calculated for both influencer profiles and specific posts, it serves as a strategic tool for refining marketing initiatives.

For instance, leveraging high-impact posts from recent campaigns as repurposed content in advertisements can capitalize on proven engagement, sponsoring these for broader reach on social media.

Strategies for Cultivating an Earned Media Approach

Engaging with media professionals is crucial. Collaborating with journalists and media outlets allows brands to integrate their messaging into daily news consumption, keeping them relevant in consumer minds. This strategy, akin to affiliate marketing, is predominantly orchestrated by a brand’s PR and communications department.

Enhancing the Customer Experience

Delivering an exceptional customer experience is vital for fostering trust and positive brand perception. The GRIN Gets Real podcast highlights Dan Gingiss’s WISE methodology for customer experience excellence:

  • Witty: Use clever language to engage customers.
  • Immersive: Ensure every step of the customer journey is delightful and seamless.
  • Shareable: Create experiences customers are eager to share.
  • Extraordinary: Elevate ordinary aspects of the customer journey to remarkable.

Focusing on even one of these aspects can significantly advance your customer experience over competitors.

Community Impact

Aligning with a meaningful cause reflects positively on your brand. Consumers tend to favor brands that demonstrate ethical awareness and support worthwhile causes, with a majority showing a preference for brands that contribute to societal good.

For example, Madewell has committed to sustainability, setting goals for carbon neutrality and ensuring its denim products are Fair Trade Certified™ by 2025.

Demonstrating Industry Expertise

Establishing your brand as a thought leader through blogs, social media, and other owned channels is essential. Consistently delivering compelling, data-driven content positions your brand as a credible information source.

Conclusion: Maximizing Earned Media Value

While earned media might seem like free publicity, it is, in essence, the culmination of strategic paid and owned media efforts. It represents a tangible outcome of the investment in time and resources dedicated to marketing campaigns.

Collaborating with influencers who align with your brand ethos is an effective strategy to spark interest and conversation about your offerings. By choosing the right influencer management platform, brands can ensure their marketing dollars are invested in influencers who are most likely to deliver high EMV and positive ROI.

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