Point of view: Power of sharing

Joe Mandese

Big Madison Avenue agencies like to divide the world of media models into neat little piles that are easy for them to understand and manage. In the old days, it was things like ‘reach and frequency,’ GRPs and CPMs. These days, it's the holy trinity of ‘paid, owned and earned’.

Paid, of course, is good old-fashioned ad-supported media that agencies plan and buy, and place their ad campaigns on. Owned is branded content or sponsorships that they either create for the client's brand or wrap the brand around. And earned describes media impressions that agencies and brands earn a right to attach themselves to by creating a connection with consumers who become the direct conduit for the brand's messages – typically social media, but quite often conventional PR and word-of-mouth.

Lately, another term has been muscling its way into the advertising industry's media lexicon: shared media. You could say shared media is a variant of social media, especially the kind that used to be called viral. It is typically content that deliberately or accidentally sparks the kind of interest among consumers that they can't resist passing along to others. Sometimes, in the case of a brand-connected viral video, the behaviour can be a powerful way of generating attention and impressions. Recently, some interesting ad models have emerged to turn the underlying human compulsion to share things into a structured media marketplace, such as AdKeeper, Spongecell and Say Media.