Acquisition & Engagement

How top marketers boost ROI up to 1000% by synergizing paid, earned, and owned media

John Koetsier

Treating paid, earned, and owned marketing separately costs marketers conversions, ranking, and revenue.

Ultimately, it ends up leaving 50-100% of your potential results on the table.

Used strategically together, however, each can amplify and multiply the other. At TUNE, we’ve just completed a massive report showing how marketers are boosting conversions on paid marketing and magnifying impact on owned media. This means more owned and earned success, higher conversions on performance advertising, better retention for brand marketing, and much, much more.

That’s all good in theory, but evidence is better.

What kinds of results are marketers seeing when they synergize paid, earned, and owned channels? Here are just a few of the examples we collected.


This is part one of a five-part series on Better Together: The elements of paid & organic marketing
Get the entire free report now


The traditional definition of paid, earned, and owned is simplistic. In a traditional understanding, these are separate, distinct, siloed. In reality, each impacts all of the rest, and all organic forms of marketing (owned and earned) are synergistic with all paid marketing.

And, believe it or not, vice versa.

Paid app installs can boost organic ASO 17-148%

One example: paid app installs and organic app installs.

One TUNE client is a major international travel company. The company typically gets about 10,000 app installs each day on the iOS App Store, 90% of which are organic. And by app install advertising with multiple partners, the company adds about 1,000 paid installs every single day.

These organic installs, over time, are signalling factors to app stores that interesting things are happening with an app. That was the case for this company, and in one particular period of time, the results were explosive: app installs doubled with the same amount of paid user acquisition.

Another TUNE customer is a major e-commerce player which typically gets about 10,000 installs per day on the iOS App Store.

Generally that’s 25-50% paid, and 50-75% organic.

Recently, the company saw interesting results when it synergized paid, earned, and owned media. Brand marketers increased their paid spend over just a two-day period, but that correlated with a 148% increase in organic installs over the following week.

The final result?

A little over two times the organic installs per day for just 20% more paid installs.

This is exactly why the TUNE Marketing Console includes analytics and instrumentation not just for paid acquisition but also for organic … and tools to improve your organic rankings.

Paid SEM/PPC can boost organic SEO 10-39%

We don’t just see the paid, earned, and owned effect in mobile app installs, however. Paid and organic marketing are better together in a wide range of channels. For example, marketers I surveyed  have seen paid search boost their organic search engine optimization up to 39%.

Why?

Laura Simis of marketing agency Coalmarch notes that since page traffic is a factor in SERP ranking, boosting traffic to a specific page via paid media can improve that page’s ranking. The inverse is also true: reducing paid campaign spend can have negative repercussions for organic rankings.

The head of a San Francisco marketing agency saw the same relationship via a test he ran for a major genealogy site:

In an effort to reduce marketing costs, there was an effort to test pausing ads on keywords where we already ranked number one organically. Overnight there was a 15% decrease in spend but also a 22% decrease in sales. Total conversion rate fell by 20%. As soon as we re-activated the paused keywords, our conversion rate bounced back by the same 20% as before the test.
 – Ryder Meehan, Principal at Meehan Digital

Michael Bates at We Are Boutique saw a similar effect:

When a client reduced their PPC budgets following the launch period, the number of sessions through the PPC channel fell by 62%. We also saw a 33% decrease in the number of returning visitors to the site via other channels, despite organic rankings remaining steady and site content remaining substantially the same. As PPC budgets were reallocated, and campaigns optimized to target early-stage research queries, we saw returning users to the site increasing once again, and overall site revenue increases. Organic conversion rates increased by 74% month on month, and revenue increased 39% as the percentage of returning users to site was once again improved.

This isn’t a reaction that only small brands and boutique agencies experience.

Billion-dollar brands are seeing similar results. Companies with massive 7-figure search engine marketing budgets are seeing the same things, according to marketers we spoke to.

The upshot is that when consumers see similar results in both organic and paid areas of a search results page, that triggers different behavior. And this paid, earned, and owned synergy effect is even more important on mobile, where fewer results appear, thanks to smaller screens.

Organic SEO plus paid retargeting ads can boost sales 22%

It’s not just SEO and SEM, and organic and paid app installs. Paid, earned, and owned media synergize on virtual all channels, including organic SEO and paid retargeting.

That popular space shows how marketing leaders can enhance owned assets with paid to drive more action in what’s already working. Here’s one example:

Five years ago we started working with organic marketing through search engine positioning thanks to content marketing. The traffic that we obtained through this mechanism represented 77.4% of our sales to new customers. Two years ago we took advantage of this traffic and started doing remarketing work through Google AdSense and Facebook Ads. This allowed us excellent segmentation thanks to the use of organic traffic that we now also achieve in paid advertising through remarketing.
 – Cristian Rennella, CEO of elMejorTrato

The result?

A 21.9% increase in revenue and, according to Rennella, the best marketing strategy move he’s made in the last few years.

Organic social plus paid social ads can boost social-sourced sales 680%

Organic social and paid social are well-known to be synergistic — it’s one of the most common in paid, earned, and owned media.

But what about sales generated from social activity?

Sandra Rand, VP of Marketing at OrionCKB has experimented with social marketing for more than 12 years. Mixing organic and paid social in the right proportions helped her massively increase social commerce:

One client saw a branding video — one that was not product-focused or with a strong call to action to buy — really get traction on Facebook organically. It resonated because it hit people at an emotional level and sold them into the importance of the company’s mission. Once we put some paid social budget behind it, it took off and sales followed.
 – Sandra Rand, VP of Marketing at OrionCKB

Sales followed, just as ad costs fell and return on ad spend jumped:

“This approach, using a video intended for organic as an ad, reduced cost-per-action by 3.6% and increased return on ad spend by 24%. With the increased level of volume, we were also able to increase the number of purchases driven by Facebook 680%!”

That’s impressive.

Organic social can boost paid and earned web traffic 1000%

Organic social can also impact organic (and paid) web traffic … sometimes dramatically.

Marketers know that organic social can relate directly to improvements in paid … but perhaps not many have seen the dramatic impacts that TeliApp, a digital marketing firm in New Jersey, managed to achieve for a manufacturing client.

For two different clients of ours, one an insurance franchisee and another a home goods manufacturer and distributor, we noticed that posting about current events that are related to their products works better than merely posting about the product itself. The supporting data was overwhelming, and so we modified both their respective organic and paid search campaigns. For one client, we increased their Facebook page following by nearly 1,900%, and their corresponding website traffic by over 1,000% over the same three-day period.
 – Joshua Weiss, CEO of TeliApp

More examples, and more insights

There are many more examples in the full report, as well as insights on why paid, earned, and owned marketing synergies happen.

And, crucially, how marketers can make more of them happen.

The report contains data from hundreds of millions of paid clicks and taps by marketers in SMB and enterprise companies. We gathered insight from over 50 marketers who have built campaigns for companies like Vodaphone, El Corte Inglés (the biggest retail group in Europe), top e-commerce sites in North America, and some of the largest social and shopping apps in the United States.

Get the full free report here:

Better Together
The elements of paid & organic marketing: How to find and optimize your best combinations

Author
John Koetsier

As Mobile Economist at TUNE, I forecast and analyze trends affecting the mobile ecosystem.

I’ve been a journalist, analyst, and corporate executive, and have chronicled the rise of the mobile economy. Before joining TUNE, I built the VB Insight research team at VentureBeat and managed teams creating software for partners like Intel and Disney. In addition, I’ve led technical teams, built social sites and mobile apps, and consulted on mobile, social, and IoT. In 2014, I was named to Folio’s top 100 of the media industry’s “most innovative entrepreneurs and market shaker-uppers.”

I live in British Columbia, Canada with my family, where I coach baseball and hockey, though not at the same time.