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Report: Men Respond Differently Than Women To ‘Paid’ vs. ‘Earned’ Media

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Trying to get beyond the notion that “paid media” (e.g., advertising) is naturally reinforced by “earned media” (news articles, Likes/retweets on Facebook, Twitter), WPP Group’s Kantar Video and Synaptic Digital looked at how those approaches lift brands across the gender divide. One example looked at what sort of information influences consumers when buying a car. Turns out, men want their information from an independent third party, while women want both paid and earned media to help form a decision.

The report says that women seem to have the ability — or the inclination — to piece together messages from a variety of media formats that informs their decision (as shown in Kantar/Synaptic’s brand lift numbers). Conversely, men are most influenced by editorial coverage and were only marginally influenced by other formats. When exposed to all three formats (brand, earned and paid) men saw no lift whatsoever.

The study of 1,800 men and women found that in general, the combination of brand, earned and paid media led to 61 percent greater brand awareness. But separated out by gender, men’s brand awareness was increased only 32 percent by the combination versus 45 percent of women. Other details from the study:

— By itself, earned media lifted men’s brand awareness 32 percent. Given that is the same level as produced by all three — brand, earned and paid media — earned media alone doesn’t do much in concert with other formats. Nevertheless, earned media did better than other forms, such as paid media, which only led to an 18 percent lift for men and brand media, which provided a 21 percent raise in awareness.

— The difference in the combined effects of brand, paid and earned media on women are notable. Earned media alone provided a 27 percent brand lift for females, while paid produced a 30 percent increase in awareness. But when the two are combined, the lift is 46 percent.

It’s hard to say whether looking at less than 2,000 people’s reactions to paid and earned media has something larger to say about the way men and women can be reached through PR and advertising. But it can be said that, depending on the consumer target, advertising is no longer enough, especially when you’re trying to reach both sexes.

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