Extole Case Study: Merging Owned, Earned and Paid Media with Facebook’s Open Graph

The convergence of media types is a hot topic in marketing today. Once thought of as stand-alone entities, owned, earned and paid media are now more effective when combined. The question for marketers is how to orchestrate their marketing initiatives to harness these combined media types most effectively. How can owned and paid media be leveraged to drive more earned media and word of mouth (WOM)? How can earned media drive more effective owned and paid media? 

Facebook’s Open Graph facilitates this convergence. With the Open Graph, brands can engage their consumers across all owned media touch points (website, blogs, social networks, and more) and foster the creation of earned media (stories). This earned media is then broadcast across Facebook to amplify awareness organically. Brands can further increase the reach of these earned media stories by purchasing highly effective paid media (Sponsored Stories). Or in Facebook’s words — spread WOM at scale. 

Extole recently powered a Social Promotion for a leading children’s retailer that shows this end-to-end process in action. 

Case Study Overview

The promotion was a Facebook Back to School Instant Win Sweepstakes in July and August. Participants could enter daily to win a $100 gift card. To foster additional participation, users who didn’t win could refer their friends via Facebook or Twitter and if a friend won, the referrer won as well. Each entry captured name, email and a marketing opt-in. The goal of the sweepstakes was to generate 10k participants.

Driving Participation – The children’s retailer combine owned, earned and paid media to promote the sweepstakes:

  • Brand Promoted via Owned Media: The children’s retailer promoted the sweepstakes via email, Facebook tab, brand posts and page post ads.

  • Earned Media WOM: Each entry in the sweepstakes created a Facebook Open Graph story that the participant “entered a sweepstakes.” This story was broadcast across the News Feed, Ticker and Timeline for friends to see – essentially organic earned media stories. Users who didn’t win could also refer friends directly via Facebook or Twitter creating additional referrals.  

  • Paid Media to Amplify Earned Media: The children’s retailer used Facebook custom Sponsored Stories to amplify reach of its “entered a sweepstakes”. The Sponsored Stories further amplifed the impressions of these stories to drive more participation in the sweepstakes. See mock-up below. 


The Results

The sweepstakes generated 27,641 unique entries and 79,243 repeat entries for a total of 106,884 entries. Each entrant participated an average of 3.9 times. 

Let’s take a look at how that broke out across brand promotion, earned media WOM and paid media to amplify the earned media: 

  • Brand promotion: 22% (6,012 unique entries) resulted from brand promotion via email and Facebook
  • Earned media WOM: 69% (19,050 unique entries) resulted from earned media
    • 58% from organic Open Graph stories
    • 11% from friend referrals
  • Paid media amplification: 9% (2,579 unique entries) resulted from paid media sponsored stories to amplify the earned media

Optimizing Paid Media

One of the benefits of Facebook’s Open Graph is the deep insight into consumer profiles. This sweepstakes captured age range, gender and lifestyle & interest (parents and Fans of the brand).  By capturing this data, the children’s retailer was able to optimize the performance of its paid spend on Sponsored Stories.  

Three days into the promotion, the retailer realized that females were outperforming males by over 40%, so they shifted 96% of the campaign budget to targeting females. The results over the next couple days:

  • Reduced cost per entry (CPE) by 42%
  • Increased average # of female entrants/day by 55%, without increasing spend 

Facebook’s Open Graph and the Convergence of Media Types

With Facebook, brands are able to implement strategies to test the impact of the convergence of owned, earned and paid media types – today. Brands can use owned media (website, Facebook Brand Page, and more) to foster earned media (in the form of consumer stories) to fuel more effective paid media (Sponsored Stories).  At Extole, we’re on the cutting edge of helping brands see this in action. 

To learn more, check out our coverage of the case study in Inside Facebook or Contact Us

follow extole