KPIs for Marketing

KPIs for Marketing: earned media engagement

Learn about the essential KPIs for measuring earned media engagement in your marketing campaigns.

In the digital age, marketing has evolved beyond traditional forms of advertising. Companies need to focus more on building relationships with their customers, rather than just pushing products or services. One of the ways to do this is through earned media engagement. But what exactly is earned media and how can it be measured? In this article, we’ll explore all of this in detail and discuss the key performance indicators (KPIs) for measuring earned media engagement.

Understanding Earned Media Engagement

Earned media refers to any promotion or coverage of a brand, product, service, or event that is generated by third-party sources such as social media, online reviews, press releases, news articles, and mentions. Earned media engagement then refers to the audience's reaction and engagement with that content. This type of engagement is non-promotional and usually more genuine than other forms of marketing. By monitoring and analyzing earned media engagement, companies can improve their brand reputation, increase brand awareness, and ultimately drive revenue.

Defining Earned Media

Earned media is a type of media exposure that is earned, rather than bought. It's when people start talking about your brand, product, or service because they find it interesting, valuable, or helpful. Examples of earned media include social media shares, blog reviews, and news articles.

For example, if a customer has a great experience with your product or service and decides to share it on their social media, that is earned media. Similarly, if a blogger writes a review of your product and shares it on their website, that is also earned media.

The Importance of Earned Media in Marketing

Earned media is important because it helps build trust and credibility. When people see positive reviews or mentions of your brand or product from third-party sources, they are more likely to trust and engage with your brand. This is because they perceive the information as being more genuine and unbiased than promotional content that comes directly from the company.

Furthermore, earned media helps increase brand awareness and reach. By having your brand mentioned or shared on social media or news sites, you can reach a wider audience and potentially generate new customers. This is particularly important for small businesses or startups that may not have the budget for large-scale advertising campaigns.

Moreover, earned media can also help companies identify areas for improvement. By analyzing the feedback and comments from customers on social media or review sites, companies can gain valuable insights into what their customers like and dislike about their products or services. This information can then be used to make improvements and refine their marketing strategies.

Earned Media vs. Paid Media and Owned Media

While earned media is generated by third-party sources, paid media is any promotional content that a company pays to have displayed, such as ads or sponsored posts. Owned media refers to content that a company creates and controls, such as a company's website or blog posts.

While paid and owned media are important aspects of marketing, earned media is considered more valuable as it is seen as more genuine and credible. This is because earned media is based on the opinions and experiences of real customers, rather than being created by the company itself.

However, it is important to note that earned media is not entirely within a company's control. While companies can encourage positive reviews and mentions, they cannot guarantee them. Therefore, it is important to have a well-rounded marketing strategy that includes both earned and paid media, as well as owned media.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Earned Media Engagement

Now that we understand what earned media engagement is, let's explore how to measure it. Companies can track various KPIs to monitor the success of their earned media efforts:

Social Media Shares and Mentions

Social media shares and mentions are a powerful tool for building brand awareness and improving brand reputation. Companies can track the number of shares and mentions of their brand on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This KPI helps measure the reach and engagement of the content being shared and can help identify which posts are resonating with their target audience.

For example, if a company shares a post about their new product launch on Facebook and it receives a high number of shares and comments, it indicates that the post has resonated well with their audience. This can help the company understand which types of content are most effective in engaging their audience and can inform their future marketing efforts.

Backlinks and Referral Traffic

Backlinks are links from other websites that lead back to your own. These links are an important factor in search engine optimization (SEO) as they help improve a website's ranking on search engines. By tracking the number of backlinks and referral traffic to your website, you can monitor the effectiveness of your earned media efforts.

For instance, if a company partners with a popular blogger who includes a link to their website in their blog post, it can help increase the number of backlinks to their website. This, in turn, can improve their website's search engine ranking and drive more traffic to their website.

Organic Search Rankings

Organic search rankings refer to the position of your website in search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords or phrases. This KPI can help identify which keywords are driving traffic to your website through organic search and can help you optimize your content for better ranking.

For example, if a company is selling organic skincare products and their website ranks high on Google's search engine results page for keywords such as "organic skincare products" or "natural skincare products", it indicates that their website is optimized for those keywords. This can help drive more organic traffic to their website and increase their brand visibility.

Brand Mentions and Sentiment Analysis

Brand mentions are any references to your brand online. Sentiment analysis involves analyzing the tone and emotions associated with those mentions. By tracking brand mentions and sentiment, companies can gauge how their brand is being perceived by their target audience and make adjustments to their marketing efforts accordingly.

For instance, if a company receives negative reviews or comments about their product on social media, they can use sentiment analysis tools to identify the underlying issues and address them. This can help improve their brand reputation and increase customer loyalty.

Influencer and Blogger Outreach

Influencer and blogger outreach refers to partnering with key influencers or bloggers to promote your brand or product. By tracking the engagement and reach of these partnerships, companies can measure the success of their outreach efforts and identify which influencers or bloggers are most effective for their brand.

For example, if a company partners with a popular beauty influencer to promote their new line of cosmetics and the influencer's post receives a high number of likes, comments, and shares, it indicates that the partnership was successful in reaching their target audience. This can help the company identify which influencers are most effective in promoting their brand and can inform their future outreach efforts.

Measuring and Analyzing Earned Media Engagement

Tracking and analyzing earned media engagement is crucial for understanding the success of your marketing efforts. Earned media is any publicity or exposure that is gained through word-of-mouth or third-party endorsements, rather than through paid advertising. This can include social media shares, online reviews, press coverage, and more. By measuring and analyzing earned media engagement, you can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and identify areas for improvement.

Social Media Analytics Tools

Many social media platforms offer built-in analytics tools that can provide insights into user engagement, reach, and sentiment. For example, Facebook Insights can help you monitor the success of your Facebook campaigns, while Twitter Analytics can provide data on engagement, impressions, and audience demographics. These tools can help you track the performance of your social media content, identify your most popular posts, and measure the impact of your social media campaigns.

In addition to these built-in tools, there are also third-party social media analytics platforms, such as Sprout Social and Hootsuite Analytics, which offer more advanced features and customization options. These platforms can help you track your social media performance across multiple channels, compare your performance to industry benchmarks, and generate detailed reports on your social media metrics.

SEO and Backlink Analysis Tools

SEO and backlink analysis tools, such as Ahrefs and SEMrush, can help companies track their organic search rankings, backlinks, and referral traffic. These tools can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your SEO and earned media efforts and help identify opportunities for improvement.

For example, by tracking your organic search rankings, you can see how well your website is performing in search engine results pages (SERPs) and identify areas where you may need to improve your content or optimize your website. Backlink analysis tools can help you track the number and quality of backlinks pointing to your website, which can impact your search engine rankings and overall online visibility. Referral traffic analysis can help you identify which websites are driving traffic to your site, which can help you build relationships with those sites and potentially earn more backlinks and referral traffic in the future.

Sentiment Analysis and Brand Monitoring Tools

Sentiment analysis and brand monitoring tools, such as Hootsuite Insights and Mention, can help companies track their brand mentions and sentiment across various platforms and analyze the engagement and reaction of their audience to their brand.

By monitoring your brand mentions, you can stay on top of what people are saying about your company online and respond to any negative comments or reviews. Sentiment analysis can help you understand the overall tone of the conversation around your brand, and identify any areas where you may need to improve your messaging or customer service. These tools can also help you identify brand advocates and influencers who are promoting your brand online, which can help you build relationships with those individuals and potentially expand your reach and engagement.

Strategies to Improve Earned Media Engagement

To improve your earned media engagement, consider implementing the following strategies:

Creating Shareable and Engaging Content

To encourage social media shares and engagement, create content that is valuable, informative, and entertaining. Ask your audience to share their thoughts and opinions and encourage them to share your content with others.

Building Relationships with Influencers and Bloggers

Partnering with influencers and bloggers can help increase your reach and provide valuable exposure for your brand. Reach out to influencers and bloggers in your niche and offer to collaborate on content or promotions that would benefit both of your audiences.

Leveraging User-Generated Content

User-generated content, such as customer reviews and testimonials, can be a powerful tool for building trust and enhancing your brand reputation. Encourage your audience to share their experiences with your brand on social media and website reviews.

Optimizing Content for SEO and Social Media

Optimizing your content for SEO and social media can help increase your visibility and reach. Identify relevant keywords and include them in your content, meta descriptions, and social media posts.


Earned media engagement is an important aspect of modern-day marketing. By tracking and analyzing KPIs, companies can monitor the success of their earned media efforts and make adjustments to their strategy. By implementing strategies such as creating shareable content, building relationships with influencers and bloggers, leveraging user-generated content, and optimizing content for SEO and social media, companies can improve their earned media engagement and ultimately drive revenue.