In the last lesson, you learned all about creating a digital marketing strategy. We covered customer and competitor research, setting marketing goals to align with business goals, and what to consider when selecting digital channels. Let's expand on that last point. There are a lot of digital channels to pick from when planning strategies and campaigns—from email to social media to video and beyond. But all those channels fit into three main categories of digital media— paid, owned, and earned— and a strong digital strategy takes advantage of all of them. You'll find out more about each one as you move through the program, but let's start with a quick overview. First, paid media is exactly that— it's any form of digital promotion a brand pays to put online. Some examples of paid media include banner ads, video ads, social media ads, shopping ads, and pop ups. You'll learn more about some of these types of paid ads later in the course. The big advantage of paid ads is that they produce results quickly. The downside is that those results go away instantly when you stop paying for them— and paying for ads can get expensive over time. That's why paid media is just one piece of a larger digital strategy. Paid ads can lead directly to purchases, but they also help drive traffic to a business's owned and earned media channels, as well. Now, let's move on to the second type: owned media. Owned media refers to all the digital content a brand fully controls. Owned media content can be persuasive, but unlike paid media ads, it doesn't advertise or sell products directly. Instead, it provides value by giving customers what they need in order to make informed decisions. Think of it this way: If paid ads bring consumers to a company's website, owned content is what convinces them to stay. Owned media includes things like website content, blogs, eBooks, and social media content. Documents like whitepapers and case studies can also inspire confidence by explaining why brands make certain decisions and conveying the results through real-world examples. The thing about owned media is that it can't do much on its own. No matter how great a company's website or case studies are, they can't educate customers who don't know they exist. Businesses can bring customers to their own content through paid ads and ranking highly on search engine results pages. We'll break down some ways to improve search rankings in a bit. Right now, let's move on to the last type of digital media: earned. Earned media is any positive digital exposure generated through personal or public recommendations. Companies don't create or own earned media, and they can't pay for it directly. It's generated by customers in response to things like product quality and customer service, in addition to successful marketing campaigns. So, if a brand starts a formal partnership with an influencer, that's paid advertising. But if a customer likes a product so much that they tell their friends about it for free, that's earned media. Basically, it's the reputation a brand builds for being great at what they do. Earned media can take the form of social media mentions, blog posts, written or video reviews, or positive press coverage, like product profiles or best-of lists. Customer-generated content can help businesses sell products, but it does way more than that. It also helps brands reach new markets and build public trust. Before we move on, let's review: To be successful online, brands use a combination of paid, owned, and earned media. Paid media is advertising you pay for, like banner or video ads. Owned media is content a brand creates and controls, like website content, blogs, or case studies. Earned media is positive, customer- generated content that raises awareness and enhances a brand's reputation. Now that you know about the different types of digital media, you're ready to learn more about the specific tactics and channels brands used to reach customers.