We’ve all heard the rumors about the different types of advertising choices your bank may have. Some banks are told that they should only pay for media to get as much exposure as possible.

Some banks are told owned media will save tons of money in the long run and will be much more effective than paying for space. Others are told that a word-of-mouth recommendation will be the difference between landing a customer or not.

The truth is that all types of media have benefits and challenges. It is how you use them that will decide the success—or failure—of your advertising efforts.

There are three types of media that all work differently to promote your bank.  Each has specific benefits and challenges.

  1. Owned Media

    Owned media is exactly that, your bank owns it. It exists in places like your social media pages, your email lists, your blog, or your static website. No payments for display ads are necessary because you own the space.  You can put items of your choosing there. While you don’t technically own your social media platforms,  the cost of using them is free.

    Benefits: Owning the space has many benefits. Because you own the space, you control it. It is cost effective because you do not have to pay a third party to display your advertising. It has longevity and can reach niche audiences.

    Challenges: The biggest challenge is that it takes time to scale. It takes time to get Likes on Facebook, get Followers on Twitter, and get people to subscribe to your emails.

  1. Paid Media

    Paid media is, once again, pretty self-explanatory. It is media that your bank pays a third party to have displayed.  It comes in the forms of display ads, sponsorships, and paid search listings. Where you post your advertisements affects how many people see them, how much they cost, and how many others you are competing with.

    Benefits: Paying for space give you several benefits. The advertisements are in high demand and still give your company a lot of control.  You decide where you want them posted and how much you want to spend. Also, if you have a large budget, you can advertise on a very large scale.

    Challenges: Paid media comes  with challenges, too.  First, so many people are paying for them that  it creates a ton of clutter. On just one web page alone, you see many different advertisements competing for attention.

    There are additional challenges as well. Due to the increase in number of display ads, consumers have become much better at ignoring them altogether. As a result, there’s a decline in response rates.

    Display ads also give your bank no chance to establish a relationship with customers. They act strictly as self-promoted advertisements. Worse, they provide very little credibility. If your bank had been recommended by a friend through Facebook, then it might hold more value to that potential customer.

  2. Earned Media

    Earned media comes when people and other companies share your content willingly. They believe it’s valuable to themselves as well as to others. They take it upon themselves to get the word out. That comes in the form of word-of-mouth recommendations, shares on social media, and features on publishing sites and other companies’ websites. In other words, your work is voluntarily given out to others.

    Benefits: The biggest benefit is that it is the most credible. People trust when a friend tells them to use a product. So having that established “stamp of approval” gives your bank an edge during the purchasing decision. It also creates transparency that allows consumers to trust you. Trust is vital when making purchasing decisions and especially valued when working with a financial institution.

    Challenges: The biggest challenge is that you do not have control. You cannot force someone to recommend you or share your content. It also can be negative. Some people may not be happy with your products and services and will tell others about those issues.

    In addition, it poses a challenge when trying to measure its effectiveness. How are you supposed to measure how many times someone recommends your bank to a friend? Exactly, it is very hard to do so.

While all three types of media have different challenges and benefits, there is one way to ensure you get the most out of your advertising opportunities.

You need to combine the three methods.

In doing so, you will balance the benefits and challenges of each to get the full exposure your bank needs. All media channels need to work hand-in-hand to leverage each other.

For example, if your bank were to create a blog post (owned media), you could use Facebook to raise awareness for it. However, the organic reach is quite low. Instead, you could pay for it to become a sponsored post (paid media), and it would reach more people. By posting it on Facebook, you open up the chance for someone who is already a fan to share your post (earned media) with a friend and create an additional bond with a consumer.

That being said, an agency that only believes one type of media will skyrocket you into success doesn’t understand the way different types of media work together to leverage each other.

Traditional types of advertising aren’t going to work on their own. They need to be combined with new forms.  You can create relationships that go beyond seeing your bank’s advertisement in a newspaper.

In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, or in an old one. Embrace newer forms of advertising to maximize your exposure and reap the rewards that follow—more customers and stronger relationships with them.


What’re some of your thoughts on owned, paid, and earned media? Leave your suggestions in the comment section below!