Google’s use of its owned media channels sets the bar for brands looking to utilise their own assets. General manager and media director for Spinach, Ben Willee, explains.
Imagine for a second your brand is Google. Your owned media assets including YouTube and Google Search attract almost 20 million Aussies, according to Nielsen, as they watch hours of user-generated video content and conduct more searches than you can poke a stick at.
You’re sitting on a golden goose in terms of owned media.
So how would you harness that if, say, you had a bone to pick with the Australian Government?
Image Source: Mumbrella
The ongoing battle over the news media bargaining code has seen Google draw on its owned assets to stunning effect. The business invests heavily in telling its clients to use ‘emotive’ placements such as video and with YouTube’s reach, the combination is hard to beat.
Since the stoush began to unfold, the company has weaponised YouTube content creators and utilised the granddaddy of owned media placements: the Google search homepage. In mid-January, the business posted a video of its Australian boss outlining why it believes the code is untenable and will “break” search. Within the hour, the video was shared or referenced by every major news outlet in the country.
By effectively using owned media, Google has generated a constant stream of earned media, which, according to Nielsen is 88% more trustworthy to customers than owned media alone. In addition to this, there’s been a bloody great big pop up on the search page linking through to Google’s preferences for what the code should look like which is hard for anyone to miss. Even your mum.
As some media pundits have pointed out, if Google wanted to show it didn’t have too much power in the digital world, using its enormous platform to argue with the government might have been the wrong approach.
While few brands have the reach Google does online, there are lessons to be learned about harnessing the power of your own assets.
Unlike earned and paid media, brands have the most control and influence over owned media platforms. This includes cost. It’s far more cost-effective to utilise your owned media channels that it is to invest in paid media.
And this isn’t just an approach for taking on the government. I’ve seen plenty of econometric models for retailers that show the powerful impact on bottom-line sales from websites, in-store signage, shop windows, eDMs and catalogues have on consumers. Leaving owned media channels out of the mix or treating them as secondary to other channels is doing your brand a disservice no matter what sector you are in.
You could make the case that Amazon is the master of owned media in the US using a data-led understanding of people’s shopping habits to sell ad space to retailers. They’re not quite there yet in Australia and they’ll have to watch out for Woolworth’s Cartology which has access to 12.5 million Everyday Rewards members and piles of owned media that allows ‘Woolies’ to partner with its suppliers and flog the hell out of client products and their media assets at the same time. If you can email more than half the Australian population, you’re sitting on a gold mine.
When audiences are exposed to your owned media channels, you’re being presented with an opportunity. To ensure you’re not letting it go to waste, keep these three tenets in mind:
Give equal attention to owned, earned and paid
Don’t treat owned media as an afterthought. Spend the time, and the budget, to ensure you’re getting the most out of your owned channels.
Apply the principles of media planning to your owned channels
Sure, social media is fun and easy for your marketing team, but how much genuine reach are you getting? Is the time versus benefit equation being applied evenly?
Talk to your agency partners about owned media channels
Just because they’re your channels doesn’t mean you need to manage them on your own. Speak to your agency partners about how you can use them to maximum effect.
Get it right like Google and when the money starts rolling in, you, and the bean counters, will be happier than a dog with its head out the window of a fast-moving car.