The Danger of Social Media Advertising and marketing


Ecommerce advertising choices are tough. Promoting, SEO, social media, content material advertising — all contain speaking a message to an viewers. However relying on the channel, the marketer could not management the message, its distribution, and even the viewers.

Thus a mannequin of classifying media channels can assist entrepreneurs take into consideration communications in an built-in means. One such mannequin is PESO — paid, earned, shared, owned.

By organizing ways into paid, earned, shared, and owned media, you higher perceive who creates the promotions, who owns the viewers for the promotions, and who controls the distribution.

Media Content material Viewers Distribution
Paid Your small business creates the content material, advert, or promotion. A 3rd social gathering developed the viewers A 3rd social gathering controls the distribution of your content material.
Earned A buyer, firm, or journalist creates the content material. The shopper or journalist developed the viewers. The shopper or journalist controls or influences the distribution.
Shared Your small business creates the content material or promotion. Your small business and a 3rd social gathering co-developed the viewers. A 3rd social gathering controls the distribution of your content material.
Owned Your small business creates the content material or promotion. Your small business developed the viewers. Your small business controls the distribution of your content material.


Social media platforms are an essential a part of “shared” built-in advertising.

Nevertheless, some social-minded entrepreneurs disagree, favoring three media distinctions over PESO’s 4 and lumping shared media platforms — e.g., Fb, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok — into the “owned” class.

One might argue that decreasing PESO to PEO nonetheless achieves the purpose of serving to of us take into consideration communication methods. But it surely’s a mistake to imagine any firm owns its social media content material. And it’s dangerous if it means an organization overemphasizes a channel past its management.

Level of Distinction

When entrepreneurs apply the PESO mannequin, you will need to think about the content material, the viewers, and the distribution. These three factors differentiate the media channels and assist establish how content material and adverts work collectively.

Because the desk above reveals, “your small business creates” the content material for owned media and shared media. In each circumstances, “your small business” labored to develop the viewers. However your small business doesn’t management what social media platforms do with the content material, and, regardless of rising followers, the enterprise can not take or simply switch that viewers to different channels.

In 2017 I wrote, “Shared media describes content material your small business creates that’s distributed to an viewers your small business developed through a platform that another person owns or controls.”

That management is the important thing distinction, and it’s why social shouldn’t be “owned” media.

Diagram of four overlapping circles: earned media, shared media, owned media, paid media

Organizing advertising media into paid, earned, shared, and owned supplies an understanding of who creates the promotions, owns the viewers, and controls the distribution.

Account Suspensions

As proof that companies don’t personal their social media channels, think about account suspensions.

All social media platforms reserve the suitable to droop, block, or take away accounts. Specific insurance policies will differ, however any enterprise might publish mounds of nice content material, construct hundreds of followers, and all of a sudden lose entry to the account, the content material, and the viewers.

This occurs every day to small companies.

Content material Removing

Social media platforms can take away particular person posts. That is widespread for YouTube creators, for instance.

When a YouTube creator critiques content material, it is not uncommon for the critiqued social gathering to file a copyright criticism, immediately suspending the critique and forcing the creator to work by means of an arbitration course of.

Companies, too, expertise suspensions. And, the truth that YouTube and different platforms have content material restrictions and sometimes take away particular person posts confirms social shouldn’t be “owned” media within the regular sense.

Creator Financial system

Creators and the so-called creator financial system additionally show that social shouldn’t be one thing companies or people can “personal.”

Whereas creators can monetize their content material on a given channel, they don’t personal their viewers or the distribution of their content material. YouTube does. Or TikTok does. Or Instagram does, and so forth.

For instance, in 2019, many YouTube creators complained that the platform’s efforts to adjust to the U.S. Youngsters’s On-line Privateness Safety Act unfairly impacted creator revenue. YouTube might restrict promoting and, due to this fact, income sharing on any content material it deemed “made for youngsters” no matter what the content material creator supposed.

Extra just lately, YouTube creators have been nervous that Google would let its contract with Roku expire, decreasing views, adverts, and revenue for a lot of channels.

Creators usually encourage their audiences to join e mail newsletters or communities to counter this downside. In the event that they wish to develop their revenue, creators should get away of the platform. Therefore one other instance of why social media is rarely “owned.”


A remaining rationale in opposition to classifying social platforms within the “owned” class is that they’ll wane in reputation. MySpace and the now-defunct Friendster have been important Fb opponents at their respective peaks. No extra.

Nothing ensures that Fb, Instagram, or some other social web site will survive the subsequent 5 or 10 years. Some legislative our bodies and Web3 advocates search to interrupt up and exchange these platforms.

Not Owned

When corporations begin to suppose that they personal social media content material and audiences in the identical sense that they personal a weblog or an e mail record, they danger shedding management over content material and buyer relationships.

The PESO mannequin goals to assist entrepreneurs take into consideration communications in an built-in means, to make use of all 4 channels appropriately.

Social media is most actually an essential a part of the combination, however an organization’s content material ought to finally have a house on its web site(s). The shopper relationship needs to be direct, not through a proxy equivalent to Fb or TikTok.


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