NEW YORK: Brands can increasingly plan and optimise earned media – often regarded as an unpredictable part of the marketing process – in advance of their campaigns, according to new research.

Kate Sirkin, evp/global research director at Starcom MediaVest Group, and Seraj Bharwani, chief analytics officer of Visible Measure, wrote in the latest issue of Admap magazine that "strategically planning earned media has now become a reality". (For more, including examples of this idea in practice, read the Admap article: Planning for earned media.)

Drawing on data from VivaKi, Starcom MediaVest Group and Visible Measures, they reported that long-form branded video campaigns – that is, featuring content of at least 30-seconds in length – yielded anywhere between 2% and 2,000% of earned media (EM).

In examining the results of previous marketing efforts, they found three variables had a strong statistical correlation with earned media success when discussing video. These related to the creative, where the material was syndicated, and paid-media investments.

"Not surprisingly, newsworthy branded videos with celebrity participation (performance, stunts, etc.) around major public events drive noteworthy excitement, buzz and sharing activity," Sirkin and Bharwani said.

An additional discovery was that publishing properties which were contextually relevant to the content in question were "more conducive" to encouraging sharing.

"Finally, the overall weight and volume of viewership (i.e. reach through bought media) in the first few days of a campaign matter significantly to the ultimate EM outcome," they said.

A campaign that reaches two million viewers in its first week after launch will also witness a "significantly different" contribution from earned media than one attracting the same number of viewers spread across 10 to 12 weeks.

Sirkin and Bharwani said: "A campaign's early momentum and viewership growth raising its profile above the noise of competitive videos weighs heavily on the overall EM outcome achieved by the campaign."

Data sourced from Admap