What is PO on social media?

PO, which stands for “Paid Owned”, refers to a brand’s owned social media channels and paid advertising efforts on social platforms. It is one component of the POEM framework, which examines Paid, Owned, and Earned Media.

What does PO stand for?

PO stands for Paid Owned media. It encompasses the social media channels that a brand owns and controls, as well as any paid advertising efforts on social platforms.

Paid Social Media

Paid social media refers to any social media advertising campaigns that a brand invests in to reach new audiences and drive engagement. This includes promoted posts, paid ads, and any other advertising formats offered by social platforms.

Some examples of paid social media include:

  • Facebook ads
  • Instagram ads
  • LinkedIn sponsored content
  • Twitter promoted tweets
  • Pinterest promoted pins
  • YouTube bumper ads
  • Snapchat filters and lenses
  • TikTok ads

Brands pay to boost the reach of their content and get it in front of target audiences that may not follow them organically on social media. Paid social helps brands scale their audience, engagement, website traffic, and conversions.

Owned Social Media

Owned social media refers to the social media channels and profiles that a brand owns and controls. This includes:

  • Company Facebook page
  • Brand Instagram account
  • Twitter handle
  • LinkedIn company page
  • Pinterest business profile
  • YouTube channel
  • TikTok business account
  • Snapchat account

Brands use their owned social media channels to share content, engage with their audiences, promote products/services, provide customer service, and drive brand awareness. Owned social accounts allow brands to communicate directly with fans and followers.

Why is PO important for brands on social media?

Having a strategic approach to PO is key for brands on social media for several reasons:

  • Reach new audiences: Paid advertising helps extend a brand’s reach beyond just those who actively follow them. It puts content in front of relevant audiences that may not have discovered it otherwise.
  • Amplify owned content: Running paid campaigns to promote owned content (like Instagram posts, YouTube videos etc) can help amplify its visibility and performance.
  • Full marketing funnel: PO strategies allow brands to have presence across the full marketing funnel, from awareness to consideration to conversion.
  • Comprehensive strategy: A thoughtful PO approach ensures brands aren’t putting all eggs in one basket, but using paid and owned channels strategically to meet marketing objectives.
  • Optimize spend: Having clear goals and metrics for PO allows brands to optimize social ad spend and owned channel performance for the best ROI.

In summary, an integrated PO approach gives brands the benefits of owned media’s organic reach and credibility, combined with paid media’s ability to amplify content, target audiences, and drive measurable objectives.

How can brands develop an effective PO strategy?

Here are some tips for developing an effective PO strategy for social media marketing:

Set Objectives

Define clear objectives and KPIs that you want your PO channels to achieve. This could include goals for reach, engagement, conversions, etc. Objectives should tie to overall marketing and business goals.

Audit Your Assets

Take stock of current owned social media accounts and followers. Review past performance. Identify strengths and weakness of each channel.

Evaluate Paid Options

Research advertising options on relevant platforms. Compare audience targeting capabilities, ad formats, placement and bidding options. Assess costs.

Map Content Strategy

Plan out the types of content you will create and share across paid and owned channels. Align content to audience preferences and funnel stage.

Coordinate Initiatives

Look for opportunities to coordinate paid and owned campaigns to reinforce each other. For example, running a Facebook ad to a blog post on your owned channels.

Track Performance

Establish clear metrics and reporting to continuously optimize efforts. Analyze what content performs best on each channel.

Adapt and Optimize

Monitor changing platform algorithms, audience needs, competitive moves. Continuously test and refine approach to improve PO performance.

What are some best practices for PO social media?

Some proven PO best practices include:

  • Have a unified brand voice, visual style and messaging across paid and owned channels.
  • Ensure sufficient budget to manage both owned profiles and paid campaigns.
  • Use owned channels to engage followers, paid to reach new audiences.
  • Leverage owned content assets like blogs, videos in paid social campaigns.
  • Test different audience segments, placement options, bidding tactics, ad copy in paid channels.
  • Monitor ROI and conversion metrics closely to optimize spend.
  • Document processes and establish responsibilities between team members managing PO.
  • Schedule regular strategy reviews to assess performance and realign as needed.

What are some common PO social media strategies?

Here are some of the most common PO strategies brands utilize:

Amplification of Owned Assets

Running paid ads to boost the visibility of existing owned content. For example, promoting a blog post via a LinkedIn sponsored update to reach more of a target audience.

New Audience Acquisition

Leveraging paid social advertising to get brand messaging and content in front of net new audiences that currently do not follow owned channels or know the brand.

Video Views Strategy

Using paid video ads on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram to promote branded video content and drive views, completions and engagement.

Traffic Generation

Crafting paid ads across social platforms designed specifically to drive traffic to the brand’s website or landing pages.

Lead Generation

Running lead gen focused social campaigns with clickthroughs to lead capture forms. Might include limited time offers or gated content to capture info.

Conversion Campaigns

Optimizing paid social ads to directly drive on-site conversions like sales, downloads, registrations, bookings etc.


Serving paid ads across social to users who have previously engaged with brand content or site to reconnect and convert.

Client & Audience Engagement

Using owned social channels to foster engagement between the brand, clients and audience communities through content, UGC, discussions etc.

Influencer Partnerships

Collaborating with relevant social media influencers to create co-branded content and amplify messaging through their owned channels.

Employee Advocacy

Leveraging employees as brand ambassadors sharing company owned content through their personal social media accounts.

Hashtag Campaigns

Launching hashtag campaigns and prompts on owned channels designed to organically engage audiences and promote UGC.

Live Video

Using live streaming video on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube on owned profiles to engage followers in real-time.

Thought Leadership

Positioning company executives and subject experts as trusted voices sharing thought leadership content on owned social channels.

What are some key metrics to track for PO campaigns?

To assess owned and paid social efforts, brands should tracking metrics like:

  • Audience Growth: Follower count, subscriber gain rate for owned channels.
  • Reach: Total users who saw content from owned and paid initiatives.
  • Engagement: Likes, comments, clicks, shares for owned and paid content.
  • Sentiment: Positive, negative or neutral comments and feedback.
  • Website Traffic: Number of visits driven from social channels.
  • Conversions: Sign-ups, downloads, purchases attributed to PO efforts.
  • ROI: Revenue generated compared to investment in paid and owned channels.

Analyzing audience, engagement, traffic, conversion and ROI metrics allows brands to optimize PO strategy and spend for the greatest impact.

What tools can help manage PO social media?

Useful tools for executing and managing PO social media include:

  • Social media management platforms: Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, Agorapulse to schedule and publish owned content.
  • Social media advertising platforms: Facebook Ads Manager, Instagram Ads Manager, LinkedIn Campaign Manager for paid social.
  • Social listening tools: Mention, Talkwalker, Brand24 to monitor brand mentions and conversations.
  • Analytics platforms: Google Analytics, Sprout Social, Facebook Insights to analyze performance.
  • CRM platforms: HubSpot, Salesforce to track conversion metrics.
  • Content collaboration tools: Google Docs, Asana, Slack to coordinate PO plans.
  • Image and video editors: Canva, Adobe Creative Cloud to create engaging owned content.

The right tools allow cross-functional teams to plan, create, manage, track and optimize PO social media efforts for optimal ROI.

What are some key takeaways for PO social media marketing?

In summary, some of the major takeaways for PO social media marketing include:

  • Have clear objectives and metrics to define success for PO.
  • Audit owned social media assets and capabilities as foundation.
  • Leverage paid social ads to amplify reach and conversion of owned content.
  • Use owned channels to foster organic community engagement.
  • Consider audience lifecycle stages in content and messaging strategy.
  • Ensure paid and owned efforts reinforce each other.
  • Continuously optimize based on performance data.
  • Document processes and assign responsibilities across teams.
  • Keep evolving PO strategy as platforms change.

With strategic, coordinated use of paid and owned social media, brands can accelerate awareness, generate leads, engage communities and drive conversions leveraging their marketing budgets and content assets for maximum impact.


PO encompasses the intersection of paid advertising and owned social media channels for brands. Developing an integrated PO strategy allows marketers to expand reach through paid promotion, while leveraging owned channels to foster organic community engagement. By mapping out objectives, optimizing content, coordinating initiatives and analyzing data, brands can drive measurable results. A thoughtful PO approach is key for success on social media today. With the rise of digital, PO will only become more important for connecting brands with target audiences in a fragmented media landscape.

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